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Instance Level Control of Nested/Grouped Shared Families

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    Instance Level Control of Nested/Grouped Shared Families

    We've decided to model the exterior fiber-cement board panels on a project.

    They're nominally 6" wide by 6'-0" long with 8mm spacing between each panel. I decided to make it an arrayed curtain wall panel and have made several nested families to achieve what we're after. The model is good and works as expected. Now there's a twist. We want to control the material of each panel individually.

    I have three levels to this family; a base panel that has instance level controls of most parameters including material which is shared and nested into a family that controls the array of the panel (and therefore has the panel grouped to keep the array associated) and this is then nested into a curtain wall panel.

    I thought that, since I made the base family shared, that I'd be able to control the material of each panel in the project. But, while I can select each panel by tabbing into to the curtain wall panel, I can't modify the material - the parameter is greyed out.

    Thought I'd see if anyone here has run into this before and, if so what the solution might be.

    We had thought of skipping the nested family approach and using the base family as a curtain wall panel with a ton of curtain wall grids but I figured that approach would slow the model down more than the nested family approach. Maybe I was wrong in my thinking.

    Thoughts, idea, comments?
    Attached Files
    Greg McDowell Jr
    about.me/GMcDowellJr

    #2
    Could you just make 3 different curtain panels, each with their own material? Then change them as required where you want different materials?

    Use "select all instances" to change them all at once. Just a (probably dumb!) thought...........
    Cliff B. Collins
    Registered Architect
    The Lamar Johnson Collaborative Architects, St. Louis, MO
    Autodesk Expert Elite

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      #3
      If I went away from the arrayed/nested family I'd have to go with individual panels for each board... and there would be literally thousands of them. I was hoping to do it with this family but I'm discovering that it's just not possible. Unless somebody can give me a better solution I think I'm going to have to go with one board per curtain wall panel. We'll see what that does to model performance.
      Greg McDowell Jr
      about.me/GMcDowellJr

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        #4
        You can specify, by instance of array (row or column) the material for the first panel, the material for the last panel, and the material of all the panels that are repeated in between, as a group (not randomly). This is by instance of array, meaning that the next occurrence of the array can have different materials for the first, last, and middle panels.

        You have to play with the limitations of the array; however, you have a good number of possibilities of combinations working with this approach of panels, and you still have the instance of the panel, since it is shared, available at the project browser, to be inserted individually, to handle the exceptions that are not possible with the arrays.
        Last edited by Alfredo Medina; November 9, 2011, 05:02 AM.
        Freelance BIM Provider at Autodesk Services Marketplace | Linkedin

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          #5
          I don't think that's going to solve my problem as we want the colors randomly distributed. But I tried it anyway to understand your approach and I'm not sure I follow. How do you control the first, last, and middle instances of the array?
          Greg McDowell Jr
          about.me/GMcDowellJr

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            #6
            Since there´s absolutely nothing random about an array, I'd go for a standard grid layout in the CW.

            Just did a quick test with 12 CW's with a total of 7200 panels, and though it takes ~1 sec to generate a CW, there's no noticeable performance hit once they are generated.

            Created a really simple panel, with a 4 mm gap on each side, and gave it a material parameter, which can be either type or instance based, depending on your needs.
            Attached Files
            Klaus Munkholm
            "Do. Or do not. There is no try."

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              #7
              And here I thought I was being clever! Well, live and learn. Thanks for testing it out for us!
              Greg McDowell Jr
              about.me/GMcDowellJr

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