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Thread: Issues with the tool "Array"

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    November 27, 2017
    Heidelberg, Germany
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    Issues with the tool "Array"

    Hello Revit Community,

    I try to build a "complex" family which should be a flexibel "Shelf".
    Here an image what I did so far:

    So I would like to flex the following metrics:
    - width
    - height
    - depth
    - thickness
    - number (of shelf subjects horizontally and vertically)

    I did one big Extrusion and placed in it a Void Extrusion which I then made Arrays from.

    I was able to build that family, though after I built 2 Arrays (one horizontal, the other vertical), I wasn't anymore able to change the width and height, nor the thickness. All parameters changing the length got blocked. By blocked I mean I'll get this error message from Revit, when I try to change the parameter: "Constraints are not satisfied"

    I can't find another solution other than using Arrays, to build that Shelf with variable parameters. The problem with Arrays is, that they group up the Objects which the Array contains. And by grouping up Objects, I can't refer them outside of the group. Concluding to the issue of not being able anymore changing the parameter.

    Does that make sense? Sorry for my bad english (I'm not a native english speaker, if you don't know me so far)

    Does anyone got an idea for a easier solution building this Shelf flexible?
    Thanks for any help

    Sincerly your RevitNoob

    PS: I'm sure there is already such a complex Shelf family, I wanted to build it myself though. To learn more about creating families.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revitnoob0815 View Post
    PS: I'm sure there is already such a complex Shelf family, I wanted to build it myself though. To learn more about creating families.
    Great attitude!

    Now where to begin...?

    Well the first thing to know is Revit is a bit fussy about Arrays.
    In theory, and with some time, they work just as they're meant to - but there are some quirks.

    Firstly, when you "array" (polar or linear) the repeating elements (in your case the extrusion) becomes a group.
    The same lessons learned about Groups in a Project file apply to the family editor as well, insomuch:
    elements in groups do not like to be geometrically constrained.

    Well that's not entirely accurate;
    elements in groups don't mind being geometrically constrained so long as leave them "constrained" that way.

    but as soon as you attempt to adjust <Shelf Depth> or any other property, bad things happen. As you will have noted already. And this is not limited to sketched-constraints either; parametric-constraints complain just as much.

    So what to do?

    Well because you're on a voyage of discovery, it's not right to post up too many answers... so I will leave you with this one nugget, that is always applicable to arrays:

    Nested families.

    Too vague? Consider "dissolving" the exercise of design/constructing shelving. First you consider the overall dimensions, which then defines certain properties of the shelves, and then you define a pattern for the shelves.... if you compartmentalise the act (and constraints) of making/defining the shelf, you're free to only worry about the placement/repetition of the shelf.


  3. #3
    Member duende123's Avatar
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    Maybe you do not need to use nested families if instead of doing array of voids you do it with the horizontal element as Snowyweston recommends.

  4. #4
    Member anthonyB's Avatar
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    My observation is the mantra: "Build it like they build it". I try to build my Revit models like the builder will build the building on-site. Same applies to families. Therefore I would not be using Voids but would instead use nested families for the shelves and inner vertical partitions, as snowyweston suggests. You will need to utilize Reference Planes plus linking up parameters for the nested families.

  5. #5
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    December 7, 2010
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    Definitely nested families, if you want to be able to change the number of shelves or supports in either direction.

    Sent from my Phablet. Please excuse typos... and bad ideas.

    Aaron Maller
    Parallax Team, Inc.

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