Archive for the ‘Work Arounds’ Category


AutoCAD in Revit – A Bizarre Linked File Approach

March 5, 2013

Sam Swegle and I recently worked through a problem he was having with linking an AutoCAD file into his Revit Project.  He specifically wanted to link the file rather than import it since the file was still being updated by the mechanical engineer.

The problem he was having was that the HVAC components needed to be located so that they appeared to be partially concealed by a lower ceiling as viewed in his (RCP-reflected ceiling plan) with a portion of the HVAC system being exposed and fully visible where there was no ceiling.

Our initial solution was to link the AutoCAD file into a separate Revit file that would then be linked into his active project.  We opened both the active project and the empty Revit file that would receive the AutoCAD file in the same instance of Revit and copied the ceiling and then pasted it into the empty file to get a registration component to which the AutoCAD file could be aligned to.  Once the AutoCAD file was linked in and registered we applied a masked region where the ceiling was and deleted the ceiling.

The hope was that the masked region would block out that portion of the ACAD file we didn’t want to see, leaving only the visible portion of the HVAC and the ceiling that was present in our active project file.

The results were that the masked region effectively covered our ceiling in the active project.  Not what we wanted.

Now I’ve done some counterintuitive things in Revit before with mixed results and thought I would test an off the wall approach.  I had Sam override the visibility setting for the masked region and make it transparent, in the linked file, and then update the link.  For some baffling reason the ceiling could now be seen and the ACAD file was properly masked where the ceiling was.

The only thing I can figure is that the override to transparency was carried through to the active project revealing the ceiling but the masked region was still seen as a masking element as it related to the ACAD file.

Go Figure.
Still Scratching my Head on This One


3D Roof tiles in Revit

July 20, 2012

As Architects and Designers I must say that we have never been happy with the way Revit handles roof tiles.  While a surface applied pattern may work well for roof plans a flat surface has never looked good in 3D views and can often look funny in elevations. I have witnessed other extreme crazy work arounds which range from from placing single tiles to custom array families. All have a tendency to madden ones patience and can takes a hit on performance.

Recently I stumbled upon Jay Holland’s blog: BIM Aficionado and was very pleased when I found his posts on this very subject.  Jay posted an elegant (but not perfect) solution to 3D roof tiles. He has even posted a sample file and families to get us started. You can find his original post here:

It does take practice but his families and methodology work well compared to most other methods.

Image credit to Jay Holland
Happy modeling!


Revit – Specialty Equipment Category Issue

September 29, 2011

In Revit the Specialty Equipment category is hardcoded as a family category which can not be cut through in an elevation view.  The elevation view tag will highlite the cutting plane by clicking on the directional arrow.  As typical in Revit you can adjust the limits with the blue end dot drag points and move the plane closer to or further from the elevation tag.  The image below depicts the activated cut plane with the elevation directly above.

As you move the cut plane to cut through the first partition you’ll notice the elevation view of the right  partition remains unchanged.

Push the cut plane further and the standard partitions remain unchanged.  The hcap partition ends where the standard partition corner begins so we loose the hcap partition in the elevation view but we are outside the limits of that family so this is to be expected.

Of course you could assign the partitions to another family category that does permit cutting through but that could create issues with your Specialy Equipment schedule that you will need to somehow address.  The other option is to go back to the original position where all partitions are visible in the elevation, then right mouse click on one of the partitions and select “Override Graphics in View ” then “Element”.  At the control window select “Transparent” then with the Linework tool select a hidden line and mouse over the partition till one of the lines highlites then key “tab” to force the entire family to highlite and click to assign the line type.

This will allow any wall fixtures or tile patterns on the rear wall to be exposed.  You may also want to do a fill pattern at the dividing partitions to simulate a cut situation since any toilet accessories, like TP dispensers, will appear solid and floating on the hidden partition.

A special thanks goes out to David Metcalf at CADsoft who joined me on this Revit Journey of Discovery.