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Thread: Brainstorming mechanical equipment with optional equipment?

  1. #1
    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    Brainstorming mechanical equipment with optional equipment?

    Hey guys, just thought I run a couple things by you all to spark a discussion of how you think the best method of creating "options" or "accessories" to piece together. Let me illustrate the idea with one example. Take a split system air handling unit. You can have an optional electric heater accessory that "attaches" to the discharge side of the unit, which geometrically is a smaller box. Or an electrical box is yet another example for a variable volume box.

    I was thinking of having these Families already created and parametric and then nest them in, instead of building them straight into the Families. What do you guys think? Also, what about scheduling? I'll be honest, I've never make a Family be "Shared" but I believe this is how you are able to schedule nested Family items. Can someone confirm?

    I'm thinking of things such as disconnect switches, electrical panels, optional heat accessories, access/clearance geometry.... things to this nature. What's kind of good about mechanical HVAC equipment Families is that they're all pretty rectangular so our Families don't have to get all fancy-pants. That can be a bad thing too because we mechanical guys never are really challenged in the Family editor. I guess maybe a parametric and scaling valve body would be daunting but equipment is usually a box.

    Thanks in advance to all who jump in the discussion.

    -Tannar

  2. #2
    Moderator cellophane's Avatar
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    If you nest a family and want to schedule it you have to share it.

    I don't know much about the MEP side of things but it seems like a reasonable way to approach things. Create one family that is empty with a name like "--" for scheduling purposes and the rest of them should be fine. The one thing to keep in mind is your origin points will probably need to be the same as your connection points, otherwise swapping families will get screwy and you could end up with issues.

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    Senior Member ekkonap's Avatar
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    Nesting stuff will mess with connectors and lookup tables in the nested family. At least it did a few versions ago, haven't tried since.

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    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    Hi Tannar,
    Yes, youre right about shared nested families being counted in schedules. Shared sub families are great when you want to keep the host family fairly simple (Just a framework to hold everything together) and then build it up from detailed standardised parts. So I think this is a good idea for air handling equipment. So long as you keep the number of sub-component families reasonably small, linking the shared families into many different 'AHU' families results in less total family size in your project than if you had a non-shared instance loaded into every different AHU combination.

    The only downside of shared families is that wherever you have a family with a Family Type parameter, all the shared stuff of the same category, in the whole project, will appear in the same menu. So dont use them more than necesary and name them clearly.

    Connectors wont work. In fact you shouldnt put any connectors at all in the shared sub families, because this has a wierd effect on the origin, and apparent size, of the host family.
    (Try nesting a shared family with a connector into another. Place an instance of the host family and then copy it a few times. When you select one of the copies and do move the dashed line that shows the extent of the family will always include the first instance you placed. Even if it is on the other side of your project. The position of the nested connectors remains fixed however much you move or copy the host. You can even do "Connect Into" with pipes and it will route the pipes to the first place the family was ever placed)

    Instead make a bunch of short extrusions in the main family, with parametric position and angle, and place connectors on them instead.
    Last edited by josephpeel; July 25th, 2014 at 02:57 PM.

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    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    Oh yes, one other useful thing.
    Make a shared parameter called "Instance Description", or similar, and put it in ALL* your shared families.
    Then when you nest them, link this parameter to the Description of the host. That way when you schedule the components you can also easily schedule which host they are in.

    *Any parameters linked from a nested family to its host need to exist in all the nested families you want to use. Otherwise when you try to switch them with the Family Type parameter you will get a "Cant make type" error.
    Last edited by josephpeel; July 25th, 2014 at 03:21 PM.

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    in Revit 2012 I had created a plenum family which included options for filters, run-around coils and access doors front and rear using nested families. The connectors could be manipulated and even turned on and off using arrays - all controlled with pull down selections.

    Unfortunately since Revit 2014 the array trick no longer works with connectors and thus this type of family is less useful than it was.

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    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies, gentlemen. I'll keep in mind the known connector issues. I'll start placing some Families in here as I begin with a few common items to get some feedback.

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