3D Grids in Revit: An Oldie But Goodie Done Again (Again)

So ya may not (think you) need (or want :-) to use a Grid represented in 3D in Revit® (though some (you) do… like me ;)

Figure 1

While Navisworks® represents levels and grids in 3D, Revit only reveals levels and not grids (yet?). IMO the grid representations in Navisworks are useless at best, but that’s me. So if you’re still reading and would like 3D grids in Revit and Navisworks, here you go.

A long time ago I hoped to find BIMfriend (John Raiten)'s 3D grid. I know he had a nice one from our younger days (lol) and he was the inspiration for this all those years ago, yet it’s still relevant! But because I couldn't find his, I had made my own. You can still d'load it via:

I am not going to do a full how-to-create since it is ready to go for you, but I will go into a few things that one may want to be aware of for “proper” (?) use, so on with that show.

The first image shows what the three types of the Line Based Generic Model of 3D Grids look like (in 3D, obviously).

I made the "line" portion quite thick and grey, so it pops but is distinct from other graphics.

The “circle” is an extrusion with thickness and material control. Size is only recommended to be changed at the family level, not from the project!  

Figure 2

In plan, the next image illustrates them alongside a standard OOTB grid for reference. The Type Names are specified with blue tags.

I realized a bit of a naming gotcha: I should have Type-Named "One Letter" something like

“One Letter and Two Numbers,” but since it also works with many (not all) pairs of double letters, AND it was already finished when I realized that, it is simply Type-Named "One Letter." Though. as you can see, it IS still useful for double numbers and some double letters.

Figure 3

The "Text Only" Type is really my preference so you can all consider the ones in “bubbles” as an added gift, I guess.

The parameters are quite formulaic (attempt at, lol). It's just that they do rely on some basic formulas as you have seen in the preceding image.

The "Two Letters" Type is not very much to my liking, because in order to fit the larger letters in pairs (if needed) like “MM” and “WW,” etc., the bubble needs to be too big for my taste, but there you go. Choices, always choices... and your choice is yours.

As you can possibly guess, if you change the sizes of the bubbles or the number of bubbles from the project (instead of simply choosing the correct Type) you will probably blow these up! So, don't do that.

Finally, the image below is of the Object Styles, Sub-Categories from the project environment. I set these up from the family to allow easier, more flexible choices for the glass materials I built them with.

Figure 4

Revit to Navisworks process HINT:

  • Create these on one level.
  • Group ‘em.
  • Copy the group to all other levels.
  • Create a filter that finds the families.
  • Set the filter to render them invisible in all views.
    • It is suggested to include the filters in View Templates.
    • Some folks have placed them into a workset that is “off by default” and managed their visibilities that way; this is less than optimum.
      • Note: some BIM teams disallow worksets to be used for these matters.
      • Please consult your local BIM management unit before implementing.
  • In a Management 3D View remove the filter that turns these invisible.
    • Isolate the 3D grids.
    • Export for Navisworks.
      • Export all 3D grids a one separate NW* file.
  • Do not include that file in any Navisworks clash tests ;)

Now, if you want to mess with your own copy of these, feel free to download from the link above, use, share, complain about, and get your #D Grids on.


Jay B Zallan | AECO | VDC | De­sign/Construction Technology Conduc­tor| Fine Artist

Jay brings wide-ranging Design, Delivery, Management, Mentoring and Teaching experiences to the readily changing AECO industries, founded on an expansive 35 plus year career.

He has focused on VDC planning, production, process development and research & development to help enable efficiency-generative creative project ex­ecution, delivery and success throughout the AECO landscape.

This JayZ is an educator, author and industry lecturer throughout the BIM world; Jz strives to inspire current and future generations to achieve and exceed beyond even their own expectations.

Being a Fine Artist (large format oil & mixed media canvases), Jay adds unique and collaborative insights and perspec­tives to every team he is part of.

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