I had a discussion with someone who didn't know where to begin when it comes to family creation/editing. The easiest way to get started down the family creating/editing path is to cut your chops (most times) editing an existing family. This tutorial will give you a very simple introduction into family editing by modifying the duct mitered vaned elbow to something a little more "parametric" in nature.
First thing, we need to define what our goals are.
- Do not show vanes for 45 degree elbows.
- Increase the spacing a little to make them less "muddy" on the print.
Now that we have those two goals nailed down, let's get started.
When creating or editing a family ALWAYS test your family in a blank project (this is called "flexing the part" by-the-way)! I repeat, NEVER load an untested family right into a project. So... NOTE: I will only give you instructions (no screen shots; you need to learn a very valuable lesson) but you should be able to follow along if you "read the entire dialog".
- Start a blank project and load up the "Rectangular mitered elbow with single thickness vanes".
- Place it somewhere (then select it and choose "edit family").
- Once you get the family open, open the "Family Types" dialog (upper left corner on the menu bar--the icon with the blue squares on it-).
- All of those "things" you see are called parameters. Both of our goals are going to be tackled with adjusting/creating a few parameters (this will be easy! Trust me). On the right side of the dialog choose: "Add" under the "Parameters" subcategory.
- Our parameter will be a "family parameter" and it will be "instance based", it's name should be something like: "Show Vanes" and will be a "Yes/No" type. I'd group the parameter under the "Graphics" category so you can easily find it later. ...This parameter will control the vanes visibility (we'll have to adjust something in the model later to actually use this parameter but for now, you're good).
- We'll use a formula to determine if the check box will be "true or false" so place your cursor in the "formula" column of the parameter you just made.
- I will give you the formula but I'd like to explain it as a sub note to this item. The formula is: " and(Angle > 45) " (no quotes). ...Technically speaking that formula has a little redundancy built in but I want you to get used to thinking in proper terms as well as readability. The actual formula can be as simple as " Angle > 45 " but when I use the "and(..." part I make the formula's intent a little easier to understand; to be true if the angle is greater then 45 (the `and(...' drives that point home).
- Now, on to the second task. The number of vanes is driven by the "Number" parameter but if you look in the formula for it you'll see that it is in turn driven by the "Vanes Space" parameter. So, that means we can make our edits to the "Vanes Space" parameter's formula; The revised formula will be: "Vanes Radius * 2" (no quotes as usual). ...This will cut the vanes down by half (we'll have half as many as we did before).
- Now that we've finished with those two edits, hit "OK" to exit the dialog.
- In the model, select one of the vanes and choose "Edit Group" in the menu bar.
- Select the vane again and in the properties window you will see a "Visible" parameter, on the far right side you will see a little button, select it and choose to associate that parameters value with the "Show Vanes" parameter you created in step #5.
- You're done. Load this back into your project and test it out. Congratulations! You've just modified a family.