In this tutorial, I will describe how to build a very simple family using the family creator. Don't get intimidated by the length of this tutorial! I have spelled out in great detail each step which should help you create your first family. The steps for creating a more advanced family are the same, you only have to use more reference planes, constraints, and create more geometry. The family we will be creating will be a cube in the 3-d view and in all other views the cube will be shown as dashed lines. I use a family like this to represent owner provided equipment like coffee makers, refrigerators, ect. This family will be an instance family (which means that there will only be one type, all parameters, height, width, depth will be adjustable once the family is placed.)
1. The first thing you need to do is go to the Revit button in the top left corner and select new family. Revit will bring you to the template file locations. For this tutorial, we will select the generic model template.
2. You should be looking at a blank screen with two green dashed lines that intersect in the middle of the screen. If not, go to the plan view tab. In this view, we will set up our reference planes which will constrain the box we will build.
3. Next we will create reference planes which will define the extents of our box. Create four reference planes, one above the reference plane, one below, one to the left, and one to the right of the existing reference planes.
4. You should have a square or rectangle drawn with reference planes on your screen. Use the dimension tool to dimension from the center reference plane and to the left and right side of the box. Select the EQ button on the dimension to make the dimension from the center of the box equal on both sides. Do the same thing for the top and bottom of the box.
5. Now, dimension from the left of the box to the right side of the box. Select the dimension you just created and then look up on the options bar. There should be a pull down that you can select that says Add Parameter.
6. Create a new parameter. Name the parameter Width. Do the same thing for the Depth parameter.
7. Create an extrusion. Draw the lines that define the extrusion over the reference planes. After you sketch the lines, you will notice that there are symbols that look like a lock along each reference plane. Right now they are shown as unlocked. Before you finish the sketch, click on each of the unlock symbols so they show as locked. The extrusion will now follow the reference planes wherever they go! If you forget to click the unlock symbol when they appear, you can use the align tool. After you align the line to the reference plane, the unlock symbol will appear as well.
8. Finish the sketch of the extrusion. Don't worry about the height of the extrusion for now, we will cover that next.
9. Go to an elevation view. By default your extrusion will be 1'-0" high. In the elevation view, create another reference plane at whatever height you would like. Dimension the reference plane from the floor line up to the reference plane.
10. Select the dimension you just created. Go up to the options bar again and create a new parameter. Call this parameter "Height".
11. Align and lock the top of the extrusion to the reference plane we just created.
12. Go to the family types box. You will notice that the three parameters we just created, Height, Width, and Depth are visible in this dialog box. They might be strange dimensions, this is ok. Adjust the parameters to 3'-0" x 3'-0" x 6'-0" tall. Select the ok button and the box we just created will change to the dimensions you just typed in!
13. Right now the parameters we created will probably be type properties. We want them to be instance properties so we can adjust them as needed without creating new family types. To change this, go to the elevation view. Select the "Height" dimension and look up at the options bar. There should be a checkbox that says instance parameter. If it is not checked, check it now. Go to the plan view and do the same thing for the depth and width parameters.
14. Select the extrusion and then click the visibility tool. There should be a few check boxecs here that say Plan/RCP, Front/Back, and Left/Right. Uncheck all of these. What this does is makes it so that the extrusion we just created is not shown in any views except the 3d view. Why would we do this!? So that we can show the box as dashed lines in all of the other views.
15. Go back to the plan view. Draw model lines around the extrusion we just created. Make sure you lock the lines to the reference planes!
16. Go the the elevation view. Draw model lines around the extrusion we just created. Make sure you lock the lines to the reference planes!
17. Go the the left or right view. Draw model lines around the extrusion we just created. Make sure you lock the lines to the reference planes!
18. Save the family and name it whatever you want it to be called. Now load it into your project. Enjoy your new family.
If the family isn't acting the way you expect it to, there is likely something that isn't locked to a reference plane. Go back into the family editor and check to make sure everything is locked to the reference plane. Let me know if you have issues and I will be happy to help.