Saturday, February 21, 2009

What’s New in the Revit 2010 API: Element Creation

(Part of the What’s New in the Revit 2010 API series)

For some people, the measure of a CAD API is always how many different types of elements it can create. Revit got off to a slow start in this category, but it continues to get stronger.

In this release, the new Revit API capabilities seem divided into:

  • A significant amount of new MEP element creation
  • A little bit of new Structure / Rebar options
  • A significant amount of new capabilities around family content creation.
  • A few very interesting things around the new freeform geometry and divided surface modeling in Revit 2010.

All in all, Revit can now create 70-100 different types of elements (depending on how you count the family content-related things).

What’s New for MEP Creation?

Here are the new MEP-oriented creation capabilities:

  • Duct
  • Elbow
  • ElectricalSystem
  • FlexDuct
  • FlexPipe
  • MechanicalSystem
  • Pipe
  • PipingSystem
  • Cross Fitting
  • TakeOffFitting
  • TeeFitting
  • UnionFitting
  • Wire

(not being very MEP-savvy myself, I can’t add any real commentary to them other than to say it looks like an impressive list).

What’s New in Family Content Creation?

This whole area is new and exciting…

  • Solid Forms
    • Blend
    • Extrusion
    • ExtrusionForm
    • Form By Cap
    • Form By ThickenSingleSurface
    • Loft
    • Revolution
    • SweptBlend
  • Supporting Elements
    • Angular Dimension
    • ArcLength Dimension
    • Linear Dimension
    • Radial Dimension
    • Symbolic Curve
    • Control
    • Alignment (this looks interesting)
    • Vertex Index Pair (this is a construct which defines how different profiles in a blend link together, I believe)
    • Family Symbol Profile
  • More Elements
    • Openings
    • Model Text
  • Freeform Modeling / Surfacing
    • Curve By Points
    • Divided Surface
    • Reference Point

A Brief Story on Reference Points

A year or so ago I pinged Emile Kfouri, the Revit Platform Product Manager about why there were no “Points” in Revit (I can’t recall why I needed them – but I do know how old-time CAD people’s heads look like they’re going to explode when I say that they don’t exist). He said “Points are not BIM” – and I came to agree with the statement, in general (not that Lines are BIM – and they were prevalent in Revit still). In any case – while they’re not BIM, they are quite handy for building things – and it’s nice to see them in there.

A Few More…

Finally, there are a couple last additions and changes…

  • Rebars defined by RebarShapes
  • Hermite Splines (these are one of the building blocks of the new freeform modeling capabilities)
  • Plane from Curves
  • Topography Surface (Now this looks very interesting – just pass in an array of XYZ points and get back a surface? I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet – but it should be cool!)


Image: a spline-controlled surface with control points that can be dragged/modified.


All in all, this release presents a great deal of new capabilities around Element creation… certainly enough to keep most of us busy for the next year until Revit 2011 comes out!

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