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Yet Another Way to Go from 3D to 2D in AutoCAD

22 Jan, 2015 By: Bill Fane

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



Now we’re going to get really tricky: switch to Model space. Use the PressPull command on the left-hand face of the part to make it 0.250 units longer. Switch back to the layout tab, and like magic, the three affected views and the dimensions have updated!

When the model changes, all affected views update automatically.


Now let’s back up a bit and look at some of the options involved in creating 2D views from 3D models. We’ll start with the selection of the model itself.

Remember when we first started the ViewBase command? It asked us to choose either From Model Space or From Inventor. That’s right, we don’t have to use a solid model from within the current AutoCAD drawing file.

We can browse to any existing Inventor file, even if Inventor isn’t installed on the computer we are currently using. The Inventor file doesn’t have to be present when opening the AutoCAD file later, so we can send a 2D AutoCAD drawing to a vendor or client without having to release the design intent contained in our 3D model. If the Inventor file is present, however, the next time the AutoCAD drawing is opened any changes to it made by Inventor will reflect through to, and will update, the AutoCAD 2D drawing. (By the way, we’re not restricted to 3D solid models; 3D surface models work just as well.)

Cool, but I have a large assembly model and I just want to create 2D views of a single part or a sub-assembly out of it.

No problem. When ViewBase reaches the point where it is asking you to select a location for the view, don’t. Instead, right-click and pick sElect, or enter the letter E from the keyboard. AutoCAD flips back to model space where it shows that all 3D objects are currently selected. You can Remove unwanted ones, or Add deselected ones back in, until you get the subset you want. Now press Enter and you’re back in your layout, ready to proceed.

But wait! We’ve hardly begun to play! It took less than a minute to edit the figure above so it looks like this:

The ViewBase family of commands has even more funtionality.



Be sure to come back for future columns, in which we'll investigate how to create and edit different types of section views, how to create detail views, and how to edit view properties.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Driving in Australia on the “wrong” side of the road wasn’t as difficult as it might seem to be, partly because the steering wheel is also on the other side and partly because our ’37 Rolls-Royce Phantom III is right-hand-drive, so we were used to driving from the other side of the car. The hardest part was that many, but not all, cars also reverse the turn indicator and windshield washer stalks. We had the cleanest windshield in Australia!

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