All posts by Jay Merlan

Revisions from a revision schedule in a titleblock family are not populated on sheets

Today I was challenged with figuring out why a revision schedule from a titleblock family was not showing the revisions on the sheet that the titleblock was placed on.

I found a subtle setting in which I’ve never used before – it is to set a fixed Height of the revision schedule. I suppose this could be useful if you would like to limit the number of rows in a schedule. Apparently, this can restrict your revision schedule to the point where it won’t display any revisions whatsoever.

Revisions on sheet from revision schedule in titleblock family not showing revisions.

The fix was to change the Height setting to “Variable” rather than “User defined”.

Hope this helps someone out there!

Rotate a section to line up to an angled element in Revit

I remember my early days of Revit and working with architecture that had several angles in plan view. Cutting a section without knowing the exact angle is difficult in Revit and the Align tool currently does not work on section lines.

Here is a workaround to rotate your sections to align with any angle within Revit.

1) Draw a straight section

Make sure it is perfectly straight or this method will not work.

Cut a section in Revit.

2) Use the rotate tool

Select the section from plan view and click Modify > Rotate.

Rotate tool in Revit.

3) “Place” your center of rotation

This step is where the magic happens. Once you choose the Rotate tool, there is a checkbox on the Options Bar that says “Center of rotation”. Click the “Place” button.

Place your center of rotation in Revit when rotating elements.

4) Pick a point

Choose a point that snaps to an element that has the angle you would like to reference. In this example, we will use the midpoint of the elevator wall.

Rotate a section to align with an angled architectural wall.

5) Create a rotation reference

After you’ve picked your center of rotation, you need to create a starting angle for the rotation. This reference line should be parallel to your section line. In this example, it is horizontal.

Use a reference to rotate a section in Revit

6) Snap to the proper angle

To complete the rotation, snap to the line that you are using as a reference.

Use rotate to snap a section into place and align it.

7) Done and done

You have successfully aligned and rotated a section to match an angled element in Revit!

Align a section to an angled element in Revit

[Solved] Revit can’t create a new module in the macro manager

This morning, I ran into an interesting bug in Revit 2016. I opened up my Macro Manager per the norm, but when attempting to create a new module Revit wouldn’t save the new module. It successfully opened the dialog box to let me choose a name, language, and description, however once I clicked “OK” nothing happened. Sharp Develop did not open nor did the new module appear in the Macro Manager window.

I found the suggested fix on Revitforum.org, however it did not work for me. Perhaps because this post was for an earlier version of Revit.

Here’s actually what ended up working for me:

  1. Close all Revit instances.
  2. Navigate to your Macros folder on your C drive:
    C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Revit\Macros
  3. You may see multiple years in this folder, one per Revit version installed on your computer (e.g., 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Move the year of Revit that you are working in to a temporary folder like your desktop.
  4. Restart Revit.
  5. Go to your Macro Manager and create a new module.

By creating a new module, Revit recreates this directory and is able to successfully create a new module for your use.

A Review of BIM Track – A platform for BIM Coordination and Collaboration

While running some BIM coordination exercises at an MEP firm, I had the opportunity to test a new product, BIM Track. While the product may not necessarily be new, it is new to me.

Overview

From the BIM Track website:

BIM Track™ is a web-based collaboration platform that empowers your team with better coordination workflows. BIM Track™ provides a central hub for all coordination information from design to construction. With information at your fingertips, you can get access to your data anytime, anywhere, either from a desktop or mobile device. Charts and graphics help understand data and your management performance through precise metrics. We promote openBIM workflow solutions by supporting IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) and BCF (BIM Collaboration Format).

I chose to try out BIM Track because it has a web-based comment and issue tracking interface. This type of interface is ideal because it will let less technically-savvy team members access the comments without opening any models.

It is really a toss up between using A360 or BIM Track for this project, but since BIM Track is free (up to 50 comments) and A360 requires paying for and configuring licenses and contracts, BIM Track seemed like an easier way to test the waters with minimal time and money invested.

Shaking Hands

My initial “handshake” with this software was a firm one. The add-in prompted me to register online which was a simple form on a website. Immediately after, I was prompted to create a hub to host my projects. I created a project easily. I was able to figure this out without training.

At first glance, the functionality of BIM Track seems extremely similar to A360. The main difference that I noticed is that BIM Track is actually installed as an add-in to Revit and Naviworks which allows you to easily view a coordination item directly in your working model. This seems like an excellent feature that A360 currently does not support (they probably will roll this feature out at some point).

Playing Nice with Revit and Navisworks

From the BIM Track window within Navisworks or Revit, the user has the ability to view issues, edit issues, and create new issues. There are even some filtering options for models that have several issues to track.

BIM Track - BIM Coordination issue tracker for Revit and Navisworks
The BIM Track window in Revit.
BIM Track - BIM Coordination issue tracker for Revit and Navisworks
The BIM Track window in Navisworks.

Clicking on the “View in model” button works well. BIM Track seems to essentially save the location of the camera at the time the issue was created. This gives the user the ability to zoom to a spot in Navisworks or Revit which should make the workflow of fixing issues much simpler than our current processes.

Clicking on the “Edit” button takes the user to the web interface in which one can contribute to a comment thread or make the task complete.

Using BIM Track's web interface to manage comments.
BIM Track web interface to manage comments.

Room for Improvement

Being as robust as the software is, there is no surprise that I ran into a few items that could use improvement when using BIM Track in a live environment.

  • Navisworks completely froze when creating an issue in BIM Track. I am unable to replicate this issue.
  • When an issue is created in Navisworks, you cannot zoom to the location of the issue in Revit by clicking the “View in model” option. Ideally, it should open the Navisworks model and zoom to the location the issue was originally created rather than do nothing.
  • Commenting within the Revit or Navisworks add-in would be a “nice to have”.

Conclusion

During my initial testing of this product, it seems as though this is a worthy application for use in smaller firms and smaller projects. I think there is a lot of potential for this add-in to take off, however I would need to conduct more testing before rolling out to a 50-person team of Revit designers and engineers.

As I continue testing, I will post updates with my experiences using BIM Track.

Have you used BIM Track?

What do you think of the software? Post a comment and let us know what you think!

IronPython UI Generator and Script Library for Autodesk Revit

I just stumbled on this script library for Revit users who wish to use Python with the Revit API. In it’s simplest form, it’s a folder of IronPython .py scripts for Autodesk Revit.

Check it out on GitHub: https://github.com/eirannejad/pyRevit

There is plenty of example code written in Python that you can refer to when learning to create macros or add-ins for Revit.

To use Python with Revit, you will need to install a few things:

I don’t want to get into too much detail on how to use Python with Revit in this post, but if you need help getting started, there is a very helpful guide on Productspec.

  1. Iron Python: http://ironpython.net/download/
  2. RevitPythonShell: https://code.google.com/p/revitpythonshell/
  3. Revit Software Development Kit: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=2484975

Here’s why your Revit families hosted to reference planes may appear upside down

Hosting elements to reference planes in Revit is a technique used by many, but only fully understood by few. The most overlooked part of the entire process is drawing the reference plane itself. Did you know that there are differences between drawing a reference plane from right to left versus drawing one from left to right?

I recently came across a post by Cadline Community regarding reference planes and noticed some incorrect information. They state that the beginning and end of a reference plane is left to right, however this is incorrect. Reference planes should be drawn from right to left or the plane is technically upside down.

A Demonstration of Upside Down Reference Planes

In the example, I’ll demonstrate the difference between modeling reference planes from left to right versus right to left in Revit.

Let’s start by modeling our planes.

Drawing a reference plane from left to right in Revit.
Drawing a reference plane from left to right in Revit.
Drawing a reference plane from right to left in Revit.
Drawing a reference plane from right to left in Revit.

For demonstration purposes, I will name the two reference planes accordingly so that when placing my hosted elements I’ll know which is which.

A named reference plane in Revit.
The left to right reference plane.
A named reference plane in Revit.
The right to left reference plane.

Now we will pace a hosted family onto each plane. Note that we are using Autodesk’s air terminal family from the default library.

Placing a hosted family on a reference plane.
Choose Place on Work Plane and select the named reference plane accordingly.

Results

Notice that the diffuser that was placed on the “Right to Left” reference plane is upright and hosted properly. The air terminal that was placed on the reference plane drawn from left to right is hosted upside down.

Right side up air terminal (diffuser) on a reference plane.
Right side up air terminal (diffuser) on the reference plane that was drawn from right to left.
Upside down air terminal (diffuser) on upside down reference plane.
The upside down air terminal (diffuser) on the reference plane that was drawn from left to right.

Direction Matters

In conclusion, it is important to note that the direction that you draw the reference plane in Revit matters. Always draw the planes from right to left. Although it is easy to rotate reference planes that are upside down, elements that are already hosted to said reference planes may behave erratically.

[Solved] Error When Attempting to Rotating Multiple Connected Elements in Revit

There are times when you may have attempted to rotate multiple connected objects and receive an error: “Can’t rotate element into this position.”

Revit error - Can't rotate element into this position.

At this point, beginners and seasoned Revit users both might decide that the only option is to model the elements again. Lucky for you, there is a workaround.

Multiple Pipes, Fittings, and Pipe Accessories

In this example, we will use a group of pipes and valves, which need to be rotated. You will receive an error if you try to rotate these elements while connected, even if you select every element that is connect to your selection even if you group the elements.

Pipes, fittings, and accessories in Revit
Pipes, fittings, and accessories in Revit.

The Fix

To rotate these elements without an error, you  simply use the Mirror – Draw Axis (DM) tool and draw your line at 45 degrees. Remember to uncheck the “Copy” option in the design bar if you do not want to duplicate this group of elements.

Use the Mirror Draw Axis command to Rotate complex connected elements in Revit
Use the “Mirror – Draw Axis” command to Rotate complex connected elements in Revit
Revit - Rotate connected pipes and ducts without disconnecting them
Draw your mirror axis at a 45 degree angle.
Revit - Rotate connected objects by using the Mirror Command
Elements have been successfully rotated and all elements remain connected.

I can’t explain why this solution works, but it does. I thought I would share this technique because it has saved me countless hours of modeling duplicate elements.

A quick fix for gridline bubbles that do not copy/monitor on the same ends of the gridlines

Occasionally, you may copy/monitor gridlines from a linked model only to realize that the grid bubbles are all over the place. Some are at the top, some are at the bottom, some are on the left and some are on the right. This can be frustrating to correct if you have several views in a Revit model.

Gridline Bubbles sometimes behave erratically when using copy/monitor.
Gridline bubbles sometimes behave erratically when using copy/monitor.

We had previously posted an article regarding how to fix this issue by using propagate extents. That method works fine to correct this, however it can still be time consuming. Here we have a quick and dirty way to get grid bubbles to appear on the same side of your views in just a few simple steps.

The Fix

The first step is to duplicate your Grid family to include a second version which has the “Plan View Symbols End 1” and “Plan View Symbols End 2” parameters checked – one per type. For this example, we will call them “…End 1” and “…End 2”.

Grid family types for each symbol end
Create a grid family type for each end.

Next, you want to select all gridlines that you would like to change the orientation of the bubble.

Select all incorrect grid lines.
All incorrect grids selected.

While Grids are selected, go to your Properties window and change the type to the alternate family type that you created.

Change a family type in Revit.
While grids are selected, go to your Properties window and change the type to the alternate family type.

That’s it!

All grid bubbles on all views will be aligned to the side of your preference.

Fixed gridlines with bubbles on the same end