Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Import CAD into a sketch, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- This tip I want to talk about using CAD files to help you shape 3D geometry, either in families or in projects. I'm going to be working in a family. So what I have here is, I have one of the door families that comes included with Revit. It's one of the residential door styles and just to show you where this came from, if you go to the door command, you go to load family. In the doors folder, a couple releases ago they added some subfolders in here and some additional door families for you to choose from. So this one that I'm looking at here on screen comes from the residential door folder and it's just this one here called two panel wood door.
So I loaded that one in and placed it as you can see and interesting feature that these new doors have is that if you go to find level of detail, they actually show trim and hardware. So you can see I have a door knob now and I have this simple, square trim board going around the edge of the door. So let's say I want to customize that trim board. Make it a little bit more ornate, okay. So, if you go over to your lumbar yard, you might find lots of different trim boards available, different casing options. And here's a pretty common casing profile that you might find in your local lumbar yard.
And I've drawn this just with simple lines and arcs right here in auto CAD. And this is a very simple auto CAD file. It only has layer zero in, within in. So what I want to do is use this shape that's already drawn and help me build the 3D form back there in Revit. So, simple enough, right? So let's select this door and I'll click edit family to take me into the family editor. And then I'm just going to hold my shift key down and orbit slightly so that we can look at this from a better vantage point.
And here's that casing profile that I want to customize. Now, there's a couple approaches I could take to this using a CAD file. I could insert the CAD file first and then use that as a basis to trace the shape that I want to extrude or sweep or whatever tool I'm going to use. In this case it's a sweep. Or, it turns out that you can actually import the CAD file directly into the sketch mode and it will use the line work within that CAD file directly in the sketch. Which saves a little bit of steps, right.
It can be kind of interesting. So the traditional approach to do this would be to first insert the CAD file. So, if I go to insert and I click import. Select my casing here. I'll do a manual placement and just kind of place it right there. That would give me the CAD file right there as a single object and then I could go to create and perhaps extrusion and I could use my picc lines and picc all of the lines using my tab key. Finish that. And it would give me a 3D object based on the shape of that CAD file.
Then I would have to delete the CAD file, which is still here, right. It's kind of sitting there on the ground. So I would delete that. But, when I delete that it would still be part of this file. There would still be information left behind. So when you go to manage, for example, and you look at purge unused, there are some materials here that weren't being used in this file. There's eight of them, okay, and that's listed right here, but notice it says additional number of imported categories to purge. And there's still one item there. And that came from the CAD file that we brought in. So, it would be real important to remember to purge that out if you want to kind of keep your file as lean as possible.
Now let me delete this and let's repeat that process, but this time I'm going to work directly on this casing. Now, if I choose edit sweep on this casing and click select profile, it's actually using the profile family. And so, truth be told, that would actually be a better way to do this. Is what I would want to do is go to application menu, new family, choose a profile template, and bring the CAD file shape into the profile. Build it there, and then load it in here and use it as a profile. And it's a little bit more steps, but it would be generally a better approach.
But in this case, I'm going to simplify by just switching this back to by sketch and then click the edit profile. Now notice here, that this is the plane that the sketch is on. So I'm going to click edit profile and I'm in sketch mode and I've got all my sketch tools, but it turns out that if I go to insert, and I click import CAD, I can go right to that same casing file, import it in exactly the same as I did before, and then Revit will alert me that it's actually going to explode the CAD file.
Now, in general you might a little bit nervous about that because typically we try and avoid exploding CAD files. And it's even warning us here that it might hurt performance. But I'm going to go ahead and say yes on that. And then there's the shape right there and to move it into position, I might be able to do that easier from a floor plan. So I'll open up the ref level floor plan, zoom out a little bit, and select this shape. I'll go to move. Just kind of snap to an end point and maybe snap right there. And then mirror it so it's going the correct way.
So I want to make sure I uncheck copy so that I could mirror it right there and kind of flip it around. So now it's positioned correctly where it's supposed to go. Let's go back to our preview view here. And you can see there it is right there. And then when I click finish and finish again, it now sweeps that shape around the door frame. Okay, so, I could stop here and I could save the file, but let's remember what it told us about exploding the CAD file. So that that might be detrimental to performance.
Well here's why. There's a couple things that are left behind as a consequence of that CAD file. Now the file itself is not anywhere on screen. I don't have to delete it, but if I go to manage and I look at purge unused, well this time, items to be purged, it says nine. And if I expand this, you may recall that we had all of these materials here, but we did not have this one. Okay, that material came from the CAD file. So what I'm going to do is, assuming I want to keep these, I'm going to select those with my shift key, uncheck, and only check the render material here and purge that one.
And then the other thing you want to look at is here under object styles, notice that that layer zero from auto CAD came across as well. And we don't really need layer zero for anything here in Revit. So I'll just simply select that zero layer, click delete here, and get rid of that as well. And then that will eliminate any of the artifacts that are left over from importing that CAD file. So, if you decide to use a CAD file to help you shape your 3D geometry, it certainly can be a convenient way to go, especially if you have a library of these profile shapes that already exist.
Just be sure that when you do it that you remember to purge out any of the leftover artifacts that came in as a consequence and that'll help keep your files nice and lean and performing at their most optimal level.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.