Justification planes for beam families

I am still baffled in front of some functionality in Revit families.

One of these is the possibility to create our own justification axis for positioning a beam.

As an example, I design a specific beam, using the “Metric Structural Framing – Beams and Braces” family template.

I draw a little extrusion, and constrain its length. I want have my beam centered on the red dot, so I set the central plane as Reference: Center (Elevation)

Then I load it into my project and I try different values for the z-direction justification:

As you can see, my beam isn’t centered on the plane set as Reference: Center (Elevation), but keep only its geometrical Top, Center and Bottom as references.

As a workaround, I found out that References Planes can overwrite these geometrical References, but only if they are place outside the geometry. So, I draw two reference planes, I set their References respectively as Top and Bottom, and I place then evenly around the Center Axis of my beam.

Then, I load it back in project, and test again the z-direction justification of my beam:

OK, it works!

I have also made a lot of trials and mistakes with the different possibilities of these Reference Planes, but I’m still unable to understand some of tricky parts of these functionalities.

And, just in case, if you have any clue where I can find some documentation, please let me know.

About Grasshopper

Did you ever try using Rhino? I know, I know, it’s not a BIM software, it’s just able to make pretty 3D drawings and nice pictures. But, as I have already said, nice pictures are still the best way to sell the BIM, and Rhino is actually a great software.

Apart from its capacities to design every shape you can imagine and its user friendly interface, Rhino come with a lot of plugin which make it really powerful.

Among these plugins, my favorite is Grasshopper. It’s a graphical interface for designing parametric shapes in Rhino. In other word, instead of simply drawing what you imagine, you explain to Grasshopper what you’re imagining, and it designs it for you.

As an illustration, here is the interface of Grasshopper, alongside with Rhino. Pretty, isn’t it? The red surface in Rhino is the visualization of what we are designing in Grasshopper by wiring these little boxes together.

As an example, we can start by generating twenty points randomly:

Then we use them to draw twenty circles:

And finally, we extrude each circle to create cylinders:

And the best part is that we can still edit anything you want.

If you want fewer cylinders, just change the number of origin points:

Or change the circle’s radius:

The possibilities are almost endless, and, shame on me, I start to think that this little plugin can even be more powerful than the almighty CATIA. At least, it’s far less expensive, since it came freely with a license for Rhino.

You can find a lot of help on the Grasshopper forum, and a beginners Guide here. I’m also very fond of the Grasshopper Learning Material made by Woo Jae Sung

Grasshopper has its own plugins and developing interface, which make it even more useful. I will probably talk again about these plugins, some of them has become a full part of our BIM workflow.

Inside Revit 2013



In any BIM related department, Christmas came generally in May. And with my heart full of joy and wonder, I have downloaded the new version of Revit, hopping to finally find the Answer of the BIM, the universe and everything.
So, no, it’s not the Answer, but Autodesk keep going on developing a BIM solution largely accessible by anyone, with a great user interface and, since we aren’t designing the Guggenheim museum of Bilbao every day, large modeling possibilities.

For my part, I was quite impressed by the new stairs tool, which is now allow us to design and document properly almost every type of stairs. The new IFC implementation seems finally able to import correctly a model and there are also some improvement in view templates, Revit Server, and many other.

If you want a more exhaustive description of these new enhancements, David Light describe them in his blog.
I haven’t try yet all these new functionalities, so I will be back on it later on and describe more precisely what we can do whit this new Revit