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    General Question: Family vs. build in the model

    I have pit openings that are created with W6X20 beams, some channel pieces, and diamond plate. The W6X20 beams are held up with 4X4 columns. I've modeled it in the project, and it turned out great.

    My question is this: should I create these openings as a family that I can just insert into the drawing, or is that a bad idea? The only bad thing I can think of is that they won't be attached to the columns and move when the grid spacing is changed, which rarely happens anyway. What do you guys think? I've attached a quick screen shot.
    Attached Files
    Dan

    #2
    I think I would model the whole thing as a floor hosted family. The opening, and all the associated structure. Probably with a type parameter for floor thickness and opening size and pit depth and such. The walls and floor of each are still modeled separately, but the hole and structure is a single family.

    EDIT: To add to what Alf said, I also look at repetition within the project. If something needs to happen twice within the project I start gravitating to a family. If it needs to happen more than a few times, and/or it might change over the course of the project, that means it should be a family. So in this case, it happens four times (I assume, there are four rollup doors, but maybe only two bays get a pit?), and the sizing or spacing of the members just might change, so most definitely a family. If I might do another project that needed this item, then I would build the flexibility into it from the start. If I don't expect to ever do it again I probably would make things like depth, floor thickness and opening size static.

    Gordon
    Last edited by Gordon Price; December 22, 2010, 06:16 PM.
    Pragmatic Praxis

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      #3
      When I face this dilemma, I consider how many times I am (or my coworkers are) going to need the same object in the future. If the object is very specific to the current project, I do it as a model in place. If the object is something that is going to be of frequent use in our projects, I spend the time to do it as a family and put it in the library.
      Freelance BIM Provider at Autodesk Services Marketplace | Linkedin

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        #4
        Thanks for the input. I'm going to make it a family. Just to answer your questions, it only happens on 2 bays and all of my buildings use them. There are some different specs depending on what the load is (front or rear) and how wide the building is. But I can easily create a family for each one.

        One other question, these are modeled in the project using structural members. I can't use structural members in a family (that I know of). I have to build it with extrusions and such. How does that affect scheduling if I ever want to do a material take off in the future? The beams won't show up, right? How do you work around that?
        Dan

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          #5
          Originally posted by dzatto View Post
          ...
          One other question, these are modeled in the project using structural members. I can't use structural members in a family (that I know of). I have to build it with extrusions and such. How does that affect scheduling if I ever want to do a material take off in the future? The beams won't show up, right? How do you work around that?
          Yes, you can include structural members in a model family. Use Insert > Load family. That will create a category such as "Structural Framing" within "Families" in the Project Browser. From there, you need to right click on the family name and select "New Type". Name the new type, then right click on it and select "Create instance". That´s how you get a structural member into a model family. But, wait. If you want to schedule these members once they are in the project, before you do what I just described, open the structural members´ families that you are going to use, and select "Shared" in the properties dialog. Then load the structural member into the model family, compose your model, then load the family into the project. Now, since the families were inserted as shared into the model family, you will be able to schedule those structural members in the project.

          See illustration.
          Attached Files
          Freelance BIM Provider at Autodesk Services Marketplace | Linkedin

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            #6
            Let me stop you right there:

            I would consider making it a family, with Nested Structural Families in it.... If Structural Families didnt seem to play by their own rules. For instance: You know how to nest parameters through the parent family, right? Go do it with a structural framing member, or a structural column, and then come back. You basically end up having to make new families for them, because something in them (extension parameters, or the hard coded length and height tie downs...) dont play nice when nested in families. Ive been testing it every year since 8.1. Unless im missing something, they work like hell when you try to constrain them to something parametric INSIDE another family.

            For that reason, id probably make them a group. Since id rather they be the right type of family and category, than i would have it in one piece of content.
            Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
            @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email

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              #7
              Ahhh, you just answered something I've been wondering about without me having to ask it (shared stuff). You ARE good Alf! Seriously though, as usual you've really helped me out. Thanks again. :beer:
              Dan

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                #8
                Originally posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
                Let me stop you right there:

                I would consider making it a family, with Nested Structural Families in it.... If Structural Families didnt seem to play by their own rules. For instance: You know how to nest parameters through the parent family, right? Go do it with a structural framing member, or a structural column, and then come back. You basically end up having to make new families for them, because something in them (extension parameters, or the hard coded length and height tie downs...) dont play nice when nested in families. Ive been testing it every year since 8.1. Unless im missing something, they work like hell when you try to constrain them to something parametric INSIDE another family.

                For that reason, id probably make them a group. Since id rather they be the right type of family and category, than i would have it in one piece of content.
                And just like that Aaron bursts my bubble.

                Okay, so if I'm understanding you correctly, structural members don't like to be nested in families and then constrained? You're suggesting I model them inside the project like I did, and group them? I can do that too. But, when I start a new project, I'll have to model them all over again, and again, etc. etc. Or are you talking about something different when you say you'd make them a group. You'll need to dumb it down for me, I'm still a noob.
                Dan

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                  #9
                  structural families rely off of a txt file for their sizes. you would have to load the correct size into both files. try that. ??? RST is different in some areas. sometimes you have to just draw things differently to get it to work in RST.
                  -Alex Cunningham

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by dzatto View Post
                    And just like that Aaron bursts my bubble.

                    ...
                    haha, Aaron loves to burst bubbles..

                    Dzatto, give it a try. I am pretty sure the processs will have issues, because structural members are indeed the strangest of all families. I haven´t had the need to create a complex family with nested structural members, but I made some tests, and I see that I can drive both the location on plan and the length of a beam with reference planes and parameters. Therefore it might be possible to do your pit family this way.
                    Freelance BIM Provider at Autodesk Services Marketplace | Linkedin

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