Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Customizing curtain wall corner panels, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Instructor] If you watched last week's tip about corner mullions, then you may recall that one of the potential solutions that we discussed was the possibility of creating a custom curtain panel family that had an integrated mullion element built into it. So that's just a piece of geometry inside that panel family that represents a mullion. Now I want to be clear that this is a workaround, but it is a potential solution for the situations where the built-in corner mullions don't give you what you need, and since mullions are system families, we can't create a custom mullion family, so the next best thing is to create a curtain panel family that also includes the mullion geometry.
So, this is what I want to talk about this week, is how this panel was built, and we're going to customize it to create another variation of it. So, let's first talk about how this particular panel was built. This is actually a very simple version of this concept. If you go to file, new, and family, and then go to the curtain wall panel template, that's the template you need to use to create a curtain panel. Now if you were to look at family types in here, the first thing you would notice is there are no dimension parameters.
Now there is this equality dimension here, and these two reference planes, left and right, and if we go to the exterior view, zoom to fit, we've also got one here at the top and one at the bottom. So the trick is that these four reference planes define the shape of the panel, and there is no width or height parameters, and that's because those reference planes automatically conform to where the locations of the curtain wall grids are. Now this is very important when you're building a curtain panel family to understand that, because you need to build your geometry relative to these reference planes if you want it to behave properly.
So, that's the first thing that I wanted to point out to you here. I'm going to do Control + W to close that without saving. So, next I want to tab in here, and select my existing panel, and let's edit that family instead, because it's much easier to start with an existing family and do a save as, than it is to build it from scratch. Now, I'm going to show you what's in here. It's really simple. There's just an extrusion for the glass, and then this is actually a sweep. Now, you're looking at it, and your thinking it could be an extrusion, and that's certainly true, but I chose to make it a sweep because of the complexity of the shape that's being used for that mullion geometry.
It's got all these twists and turns, and these ins and outs, and what I don't want to happen is when this panel flexes, I don't want it to inadvertently try to flex some of this shape. Revit sometimes has a mind of its own and it tries to flex those things, and so one of my favorite features of sweeps is that you can actually build them from nested profile families. When you do that, that profile family defines the shape, and then you put that inside of another family, and then it won't try and flex the shape of that profile.
So it kind of keeps that shape secure while it moves the overall sweep around. So it's just a much easier way to make sure that we don't inadvertently end up with distortion in this shape here. So what we're going to do for this example is simply customize the shape of that profile. We're going to make a new profile and save this panel family with a new name. Now, before we can jump in and start doing that, we need to know what shape we need for this new panel. So, if I go back to the dropdown right here, I've got two windows open in the background.
This is the 90 degree condition, which is working just fine with the panel that I've built. But I've got another view here called detail 75, and that one is not looking so well with the panel that I've built. Now notice that I'm in temporary hide/isolate, and if I turn that off, I've started to overlay some detail lines on top of this view, to help me figure out the shape that I need to draw here. So, there's other ways you could do this, but I think the easiest thing to do is to just sketch it out directly on the view.
So these green lines are what's already here, and allowed me to measure the angles that I need. And then what I've done is if we go to annotate, and click detail line, I've created a line style here called guides. That's just in a blue color, and then I'm going to use that to sketch out the shape of the profile that I want to create. So I'm going to start with pick lines, and I'll change the offset here to one and a quarter inches, make sure your put the inch symbol in, and that's half the width of the mullion that I'm after.
And then I'll offset it from this green center line in both directions, and so the total distance between those two bluish lines now is the two and a half inch mullion. Now I'll go back to detail line, keep guides turned on, and this time I'll just trace over using these green lines underneath as a guide. So from that intersection to that intersection, and then back to here, the same thing over here, to this little intersection here for the point, and there.
And if I do trim and extend, and clean all that up, that's the overall shape of the mullion that I need for this condition. Now if you wanted to stop there, that mullion will work just fine, but I'm going to go ahead and introduce these little pockets for the glass, like I did in the other one. So I'm going to go to annotate detail line, and I'll just trace over again, matching these intersections of the existing geometry underneath here, and create that little pocket.
Now you'll see here that that's probably a little too deep because it's hitting the center line, so I'll just take this one here and maybe move it over about half the distance to the midpoint there, looks like I need to do a trim and extend, then I will select these three lines here, mirror them around this center line for the other side, split both of these lines, and then trim and extend to finish this up.
And that gives me the shape that I want for the mullion. Now, there's one more line that I need to draw. If you hover over the curtain walls, notice that the dash line intersects right there on this green center line here. Now that's a very important location that we need to have, because that's the insertion point of this profile. So I'll just mark where that is with another detail line, and I'll snap right to the intersection of the curtain wall and the green line, and it doesn't matter how long you draw that.
You just need that end point right there. So now I'm going to window all of this, go to filter, and make sure that I only have guides. So uncheck anything but guides, I've got 15 in this case, and now I'll do Control + X to cut that to my clipboard. So that's the geometry that I needed, the shape that I want that new profile to be in. So now I'm going to switch windows, and go back to my panel family with the corner mullion, and I'll go to the plan view here, and again we've got this sweep here, but that sweep is using a profile called PRF rectangle 45.
Now you can locate that profile on the project browser if you scroll down to the families branch, and then expand profiles, here it is right here. I will simply right-click it and choose edit, and that will take me into that profile, I'm going to delete this line work, and then paste in the line work that we just cut to our clipboard. So I'll do Control + V, and I always place it off to the side first, because now I can position it very precisely.
So notice I'm still in paste mode. Until you click one of these two buttons, you're still pasting, so I'll click the move command here, I'll snap right to that end point right there, which is where the insertion point needs to be, and then snap that right to the intersection of these two reference planes here. Now if you can't move diagonally, just make sure you turn off constrain. So I'll snap right there. Now, very important, you need to delete that little short line there. The profile will not be valid with that extraneous line. So as long as you get rid of that, everything should work just fine.
So now I'm going to click load into project and close. That will close this profile family, and allow me to load it into one of my other open files. So I'm going to uncheck custom panels, and check panel with corner mullion instead, and click okay. It'll ask me if I want to save the profile, and in this case I'm going to say no. But here, I want to overwrite that existing profile, and you'll see that it just changed slightly to match the new shape. Now, that now means that my extrusion no longer touches in the correct location.
So now, what I need to do is take a measurement there, so I'm going to do measure, and I'm going to measure from this intersection to the vertical face on my profile, and that's this 23/128. Now, what you can actually do here is just select this entire piece of text here, and copy that to your clipboard. Then I'll cancel out of the measure command, select this extrusion, edit the extrusion, that will prompt me to open an elevation view, which I will do, and then I'll zoom in here, select the sketch line, that will activate this dimension, click on it, and then just do Control + V to paste in that distance that we just copied, let's finish the sketch, let's close this elevation, and now you can see this touches perfectly right where it's supposed to.
So now what we're going to do is before we close this, if you look down here, it's probably a pretty good idea to rename this profile on the project browser, because it's still called 45, and that's not really correct. So I'm going to change the 45 here to 52-5. I don't think we can use a decimal, so I'm not going to do 52.5. I'll do dash five just to be sure. So now we have an appropriate name for that, and now I want to do a save as on this family, because I don't want to overwrite the existing 45 degree version.
So I'll go to file, save as, family, and I'll just put this in the same folder as my exercise files, and add that suffix on here, and I'm going to call this 75. So this one is for a 75 degree curtain wall. Now I'll load it into my project, and close. So now all that remains is for me to go back to my detail for 75, and change these out. So I'm going to tab in here and select that curtain panel, open up the dropdown list, choose my new panel type, come over here, select this panel, do the same thing, and you'll see that it now matches perfectly.
If you want, you can delete the green lines, and that completes the modification. So, it was a few different steps. We had to trace over the shape, and get the shape, and then make a new profile, and then load that in, and remember to rename things. So there are a few places where things could go wrong if you forget one of the steps, but if you compare that to the amount of work that would be involved to create a complex family that has fully flexible angles and dimensions, that's a much more complicated family. So I'll leave it to you to decide which approach you want to take in your own work.
I would argue that if you only have one or two angles, then this approach is perfectly acceptable, and you can probably create the most common angles and have them in your library. But if you need every possible angle, and you want a fully flexible family, then you'll definitely have to sit down and plan out a much more complex family to achieve that goal.
Notes: The exercise files included with this course can be opened in the latest version of Revit. If you are using an older version, some files may be incompatible. Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
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