Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Create a fence from a railing type, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Instructor] Maybe you need a fence in your next project, so in this video I'm gonna show you how you can create one by creating a custom railing type. Now here's the final version, so if we take a look at this we can see that it's a railing, there are some nice vertical posts running along the rail at regular intervals. If I hold the shift key down and drag with the wheel to orbit around, on the backside you can see that I have horizontal members running the length of the rail as well. Now there's a couple ways that you can add both the horizontal and vertical members to a railing. So to demonstrate, I'm gonna start by creating a brand new railing here, and I'll just make it 10 feet long.
Click modify. Come over here and change it to handrail pipe, and then I'll click finish. So this is one of the standard out-of-the-box railings here. Now if you hover over the railing in one of those middle horizontal members, and you press the tab key, nothing will happen. But if you tab up at the top, you're actually able to highlight the top rail separately, click on it, and select it. That's what Revit considers a continuous rail. So when you make your horizontal members, you can either do them as continuous members, and we have two choices there, top or handrails, and then you could do them as non-continuous members, which you do in a dialog box interface.
And I'll show you where that is in just a moment. If I tab in over here, you can see that each of the horizontal members in this fence are separately selectable. That's a top rail right there, and these other two are handrails. And those are considered continuous rails. So let me select this one. Edit type, duplicate it, I'll call it fence, but since we already have a fence, I'll name it fence2. So let's look at the rail structure, non-continuous. Here you can see we have rails one through five, that's the bottom five members, they all have heights, potentially they all have offsets, in this case they're all at zero, and the have profiles and materials.
Now the list of profiles gives you some basic choices, circular and rectangular, and each of them has different sizes. And you can add to this list. And in fact that's exactly what I did with this one right here. Two by four is a custom size that I added. Now, how you do that exactly is, let me go ahead and click okay here, and okay again. Notice I've just changed the shape of that one handrail there. And I'll scroll down, locate profiles, locate the rectangular handrail profile.
You would just right click and duplicate an existing one, give it a name, and then right click and go to type properties, and change the sizes to match whatever size you need this to be. Now I already had one here, so this is the one we're going to use, 3 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch rectangular. Okay, so that's what we're seeing right there. Well it turns out that I actually don't need any of those rails, so I'm going to go to that rail structure and simply click delete to remove all of that.
Now, you do have to keep that final top rail there, you have to have at least one horizontal member in your railing. It can be a top rail, it can be a handrail one or two, or it could be a non-continuous rail. So it doesn't matter which one it is, but you have to have at least one. Okay, so now let's address the top rail next. Okay, so let's edit that. Top rail is right here, it says use top rail, it's set to yes. It's currently at three feet, let's raise that up to five feet. Click apply, notice that not only does that raise the height of that handrail component, it also stretches the height of the vertical members as well.
Now, we don't want a circular 1 1/2 inch, what we wanna do is click the small little browse button here. And notice that the top rail is a whole new type. So this top rail type family, has several types of its own. Now I've created one called 2"x4" Top Rail. 2"x4" Top Rail simply uses that profile that we just looked at to give it its shape, and then I set a hand clearance of negative 3 1/4 inches.
Now I'm gonna click okay, and then okay again, and you're gonna see that member get applied to the top rail and it also shifts over. Now you may be wondering, negative 3 1/4 inches, where did that come from? So I'll scroll back up here, and I've got a section, and if we open up that section, zoom in, here's the top rail right here. I'll do a dimension from the center of this post out to this edge, there's our 3 1/4 inches. So in order to get that top rail component in the correct location, relative to the rest of the structure, that's the number that I had to use.
All right, so let me close this. And let's keep going with this guy next. So the next thing I'm gonna look at is, how we can start adding vertical members to this fence. Now the vertical structure of this fence is a little bit more complicated, because I'm actually taking advantage of three separate settings within this railing type. So let me select the railing, click edit type, and the first method that you can use to create vertical members is baluster placement.
So when you click edit there, it displays this rather complex-looking dialog. Now what I'm gonna do is position it here in the middle of the screen and kind of stretch this window out a little bit so that we can read things a little bit better. Okay, so these vertical members that are here in the background, are actually balusters. So you've got a regular baluster with a round shape of one inch that goes up to the top rail element.
Now we saw that a moment ago when we raised the top rail and those things stretched up. Okay, well what I'm gonna do is focus on the bottom portion of this dialog instead. Okay, so down here under posts, you've got a start post, corner post and end post. Now those are all set to the same shape as the balusters. So right now you can't actually tell the difference between the balusters and the posts. What I'm gonna do is change the family here, and I've already pre-built this family and built it in.
I like to name my balusters with a name that tells me what they are. Now the out-of-the-box ones they wrote the full word baluster, I just used an abbreviation, B-A-L. Both are fine, you can do it either way, but I called it baluster post four by four. And I'm gonna assign that family in all three conditions. Now, the as of it as at the host. In other words, wherever the railing is hosted, that's where these posts are meant to start.
Now, you probably noticed that my posts actually went down into the ground. So I actually created them deeper than zero, so they actually go lower, but that's just a function of how I built them. They're gonna go up to the top rail element, but notice here, there's a top offset. So if you want your posts to go higher than your top rail, you can just put in a value there. And I'm gonna put in 5 1/2 inches for all three of these conditions.
Now the spacing is, think of it as where this post sits at the very ends, so at the start post, I need to add a little bit more to shift and compensate for the thickness of the post. So that's gonna be 1 3/4 inches, but then here I'm gonna do the same value but negative. So I'm gonna paste that in, and then put a negative right there. Now the offset is left or right, and I don't want that in this case, so I'm gonna leave it all set to zero.
Corner posts at, each end segment. So what this means is, as you draw your railing, each time you change direction, you'll get a corner post there. So let's okay this and see what that gives us. And notice that for this particular railing, all we got was a post at each end. However, if we were to edit the path, and draw another segment, going off at a dog leg here, and finish, you'll see a corner post appear.
Now these other members, those are balusters. And they're currently repeating at some distance. So what I wanna do, is all the fence boards, I wanna do as balusters. So I'm gonna go right back in, I'm going to go back to baluster placement, and now instead of this name being regular baluster, let's widen this dialog again, I'm gonna change this to fence board, and then change this to the baluster family that I've called baluster fence board.
So it's a one by four, and it's got a chamfered top. So, once again, that's gonna be associated with the host, but I wanna raise it up just a little bit at the bottom, so I'm gonna give it a two-inch bottom offset, it's gonna go all the way up to the top element, but I wanna raise it past that just a little bit, but not quite as high as my post. So I went with four inches here. And then these two settings, distance from previous and offset, determines how frequently this thing repeats.
So the distance from previous is gonna be 3 3/4 inches. Now the board itself is 3 1/2. But by going 3 3/4, I'm actually adding a little half inch gap after each one. Now, the offset at the end, I need to compensate a little bit for that, just to kind of get it to go in the middle of that little gap of space. So that's gonna be 3 5/8 inches. Now, for justify, you can start the pattern at the beginning, the end, the center, or even spread it out to fit.
I tried each one, and I was most satisfied with center, but frankly none of them are perfect. Now, the regular amount of the pattern is every 3 3/4 inches. Which in this case means that the most amount of leftover we might have is about three inches, or a little bit like that. Just the same, it's possible to tell it to fill in any excess length with another baluster. In this case, I've tried it with, I've tried it without, it didn't really make a whole lot of difference, but it certainly won't hurt anything to add that excess fill length at the end, and then I'll just put in the same spacing that we're using up above.
So when I okay both of those, you can now see that we've got all of the vertical members. So we're really close right now to having a railing matching the one up above, but there's still two things that we need to do. We're gonna edit it again, and now direct our attention to the handrails. So just like the top rail, we can create handrail components. And they can use the same types and the same profiles. So if I click on the little browse button here, instead of the circular 1 1/2 inch, I've got one here that I've called two by four middle rail no boards.
Now, the two by four middle rail part is just simply using the profile of a two by four, so it's that same profile again, and the hand clearance here is defaulting to 1 3/4, which is actually what I want it to be. Now I know at first that seems a little bit odd, because you're thinking, well why wouldn't it be 3 1/4 like the one up above. And the reason is because, when you click okay here, the handrails are a little bit bizarre because you start at the bottom and go backwards up the top, you next need to choose which position you want this on.
If I were to just click okay, nothing happens. So I have to tell it that I want this to be either on the left or the right. Now again, through trial and error, if I put it on the right, it would be 3 1/4 inches to match the one in the top rail, but if I put it on the left, then it's 1 3/4. Now the reason I'm gonna choose left is, because with the bottom rail that we're about to do, it works better on the left than it did on the right. And I'm gonna talk about why in just a moment here. So I just made the one above match it.
So let's finally do the bottom rail. The bottom rail needs to do two things. It needs to look exactly like the middle rail. So if I assign a type, and I'll choose the two by four bottom rail, it uses the same profile, it uses the same hand clearance. However, in addition to using those features there, if you look carefully at the railing in the background, notice that there's an intermediate post right here, and then another intermediate post right here.
How did those get there? Well it turns out that handrails have a feature called supports. And at the beginning, I mentioned that there are two ways to create vertical members. One of them was balusters, which we've already seen, and the other one is supports. So by coming down here, and looking at this two by four bottom rail, let's edit it's properties again. If we scroll down, we see that there's an option for supports. So I loaded in a family that I called four by four, but that family is graphically exactly the same as this post family.
I set it at fixed distance of every eight feet. So when I click okay and then okay again, I might realize that I once again forgot to do that one little setting, which was I had to tell it which position I wanted to apply this bottom rail to. So I wanna put it on the left, just like the one up above, and then finally click okay. Now, the reason that we chose left over right, is because the support family doesn't have an offset.
You can't go positive and negative with the support family. But because you can do left and right with the horizontal member, I was able to experiment that way. So at any rate, to get the post all lined up correctly, it worked out that left did a nicer job. So as you can see, creating a railing type is not necessarily easy to do, there's a lot of steps involved, there's a lot of parts and pieces. But if you're very methodical and you work your way through it carefully, you'll find that you can actually create some fairly robust railing designs and they can be anything from actual railings and handrails to fences, or really anything else that has repetition along the length of the sketch.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
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