Yet another way to switch from 3D to 2D in AutoCAD

January 21, 2015

By: Bill Fane

Learning Curve Tutorial: To quickly create 2D views from 3D models, try the ViewBase family of commands.

It was a warm and sunny December morning just before Christmas. Captain LearnCurve, his beautiful wife, their son and daughter-in-law were relaxing in the sun on the deck of the Silver Spirit…

Wait a minute! You live in Vancouver, Canada! How to relax on the deck of a boat in December?

… About 40 miles off Cairns, Australia, just outside the Great Barrier Reef.

Oh. That would explain it.

Suddenly a cry rang out: “Divers in the water!” With a series of splashes, the captain and his son went overboard, along with the divemaster and four other divers.

This is a big enough step for Captain LearnCurve …

Six dives in two days would bring the captain’s total lifespan to 226. He enjoys the freedom to move at will in all three dimensions, compared to just two when on the surface – that’s it! Topic of the month!


Generation of 2D working drawings from 3D models!

But haven’t you already covered this in two previous columns?

In fact, these two columns barely covered half of it. AutoCAD actually has four basic processes for producing 2D drawings from 3D models.

But previously, you said he had three …

More on that later. My first column on this topic was on the FlatShot command, which is the oldest and easiest. It’s still the fastest and easiest way to produce a quick and dirty view, but it has too many limitations if you want to get fancy.

Next is the sequence of commands using the SolView, SolDraw, and SolProf combination, as explained in my second column in this series. This suit is more powerful and versatile than FlatShot but takes a bit more effort and again has some limitations and gnarly elements.

The power of positive procrastination

Time and Autodesk programmers have moved on. In due course, they produced the SectionPlane family of commands, which made it much easier to produce 2D drawings and section views.

And AutoCAD 2012 introduced another set of 3D to 2D commands, which almost trivially make it easy to produce 2D drawings and section views from solid models. (So ​​by delaying this column until now, I have cleverly avoided having to write one about the SectionPlane family.)

In my first post on 3D in 2D, I boasted that I had created four ortho views and one isometric view in less than five minutes. Well, using the ViewBase command, I can reproduce this drawing in under a minute, assuming I have the 3D model to start.

I’ll demonstrate, using the same simple part from the previous article. (You can download it if you want to follow.)

  1. Open the drawing file.
  2. Click the Layout 1 tab to refresh it.
  3. Delete the existing window. (You can eliminate the need for this step in future drawings by removing it from your model file.)
  4. Start the ViewBase command. You’ll find it in the Ribbon menu> Layout tab> Create View panel> Basic button. A layout tab must be active for the layout tab to display. A few paragraphs ago, I bragged that I could create the 2D drawing views of our example part in under a minute. Okay, start the clock!
  5. After launching the ViewBase command, click From Model Space in the drop-down menu that appears. A Mississippi …
  6. AutoCAD requests a view location. Click approximately in the center of the lower left quadrant of the drawing, then click Exit from the context menu or press Enter. … Two Mississippi…
  7. AutoCAD continues to request view locations. Click above the first view, then to the right of the first view, then approximately in the center of the upper right quadrant of the layout, and then press Enter.

… Three Mississippi, four Mississippi… and stop the clock, which shows that it only took a few seconds to produce the figure below. It’s a bit faster than the 16 steps I described in the previous article, isn’t it?

With the ViewBase command, it only took four seconds to produce this drawing!

Ah, but the ViewBase command is even trickier. For starters, it assumes you’re going to create at least the three basic orthographic views – front, top, and end – and therefore automatically scales the 2D views based on the size of the layout sheet. We will have more on this later.

Now we want to add some dimensions, but there is not enough space between the views to fit them in. No problem ; just click anywhere in the top view, then use the little blue square handle to drag it up a bit. Oops, we forgot to activate Ortho or Polar – wait a minute, we don’t need to! Orthogonal views can only be moved vertically or horizontally, regardless of ortho and / or polar settings! Likewise, moving the base view results in all of its ortho children, while isometric views remain independent.

Okay, we’ve added some dimensions to the layout of the paper space as shown below. For best results with sizing, I would suggest using Object mode or EndPoint object snaps to attach dimensions.

We have moved the top view and added two dimensions.

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