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October 05, 2009

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Another tip to add: any "hosted" family, such as a wall hosted or roof hosted, you should make different Types of the host in the family that vary in thickness. Then flex the Host when creating geometry to be sure the objects are reacting to different thicknesses as you would expect. For example: when creating a generic wall hosted family, make a few extra types of walls in the family that have different thicknesses. Then as you flex the wall thickness, you can be sure the objects you are creating remain on the face of the wall no matter what the thickness of the wall is.

I find it helps to change the scale of the view so you can see all the parameters clearly.

Here are a few that I always recommend:

I use temporary Hide/Isolate quite a bit while I work in the Family Editor as it makes it easier to work on complext Families

I like to vary the lengths of Ref Planes to suggest logical groupings/Heirarchy (this at least until the factory allows us to color them)

I like your idea about having two types for flexing, but I still think that free-form flexing is important. If you always use the same flex values you could have just lucked upon the two values that don't make it break :-) A little free-form testing can sniff out other problems.

Don't choose a hosted tempplate unless you are positive that you will never need the Family free-standing. You can always algin and lock an non-hosted Family to another object (like a cabinet to a Wall), but you can't "unhost" a hosted one.

What I think would be a great tool to have in Revit is to export an in-place family to a external family. I am finding more often that I need a custom family that I will use in multiple situations but I want the model as a background to help generate the geometry. If I could create the initial family and export that out to an external family that would be great.

When flexing, I find it useful to flex beyond "reasonable" values to uncover the limits of functionality. For example, I will try to set a door height to 25' or a wall thickness to 1". This sort of change can create problems as elements get reversed or lose connections. You may decide that the limits are reasonable, but it is often possible to increase the reliability of a family by fixing the failing elements. Remember, others won't know what limits work well and someone will inevitably try to go beyond what you thought was a reasonable usage.

Purge! purge the main family and all nested families. Helps keep project file size down when families are loaded into live projects and therefore helps maintain performance of the project.

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