Useful Sites for AutoCAD Blocks & Revit Families

1 September 2023AEC COLLECTION, Revit

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Where can we get repetitive CAD components from?

We either make it ourselves or save time by using the work of others; there are many websites that offer content available by direct download.

Content from these websites is typically available in one of three ways or a combination of all.

  1. Free – instant access
  2. Free – after registering on the site, this is normally always free to do.
  3.  Paid content – after registering – some may be on a per item basis while others may work on a paid membership scheme, possibly Monthly, Quarterly, or annual subscription.

Considerations

When downloading and using content from various websites keep in mind that you get what you pay for, like most things in life, and so when using some free content if you find it is not quite what you are looking for considering the exact size or perhaps your expected functionality, for dynamic AutoCAD blocks or Revit Families or for that matter, its materiality, it is worth keeping an open mind and consider some of these files as starter files, that may offer a good base for you to further develop your perfect content.

Many of these files sites will offer a variety of file formats for different software applications as well as some generic file formats that are cross platform compatible so not only will you find DWG, RVT, RFI files but also SketchUp, IFC, OBJ and many more.

If there is something fundamentally wrong with a file then it may be worth reporting it back to the site you got it from by way of helpful community feedback rather than a complaint, especially if it was free!

Other Sources

Apart from the generic CAD content resource sites, if you are considering a specific product, then why not go directly to the product manufacturers’ website, more and more offer their products in a downloadable form, look out for a ‘BIM’ page, Download or resources page on the manufacturers own site; these may also be from their approved suppliers’ sites as well. You may be wondering why these manufacturers are giving away their technical drawings, their IP, (Intellectual Property)? They do this to actually promote their company, so specifiers are using their products, with files that include the company name, product name and model and often even more technical data in a Revit family and the file they share would not include much of the technical data graphically, only what is needed to visually represent the product and help you position it accurately within your CAD model, 2D or 3D, and this could include connection positions for any pipes, electrical plugs, sockets etc. where necessary to help route any attaching elements.

One last thing

Some practical pragmatic advice.

  • Don’t spend much time looking for the ideal block or family, any more than 30 minutes and you are getting into that zone where you could have made it yourself quicker! If you know you and know this could happen, set a timer on your phone to help you not loose hours just looking for something.
  • Some Revit Families, and blocks, we download can be close to what we need, but not quite there, but worth looking into and then adjusting, if you know what you are doing, but here again, watch your time, if I cannot get a family to do what I need within 20 minutes or so, then I know I would be better off just creating it from scratch with the controls and parameters that I know work
  • Finally, the Caveat: downloading and using anything is always at your own risk.

The List

When compiling this list, I considered splitting them out between AutoCAD & Revit but many offer both and more and some, by their very name tell you what they offer, so in no particular order here is my ever-growing list:

Bonus – Material sites

For the renderers out there, some sites for material maps

 

Written by  Greg Benson-Shettle – AEC Technical Specialist

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