View Full Version : autocad tips :Converting 3D drawings into 2D drawings

26th Sep 2010, 05:30 am
how to convert a 3D drawing into a 2D drawing -- either to simplify dimensioning or for presentation purposes. Here are three techniques:

If your drawing is made up of solids, you should use SOLVIEW and SOLDRAW or SOLPROF, because they provide the most accurate results.

* SOLVIEW automates the creation of floating viewports and orthogonal views of your model. SOLVIEW also creates a special layer for dimensioning. For a view that you have named "front," look for a layer called front-dim. You can use these layers to create dimensions in paper space.
* SOLDRAW works with the views created by SOLVIEW and creates 2D profiles, including hatching for sections.
* SOLPROF requires that you create your own floating viewports and that you start on a layout in model space. This command then creates profiles. You can create hidden views by choosing Yes at the "Display hidden profile lines on separate layer?" prompt and then freezing or turning off the layers that represent hidden lines.

If you drawing contains non-solids, your best bet is to create a DXB file (a binary file containing all the specifications of your drawing) and then import that file into a new drawing. cheap autocad (http://www.fishdigg.com) These results are not as accurate, but acceptable for most presentation purposes. Here are the steps:

1. Choose Tools > Wizards > Add Plotter. The Add Plotter wizard opens.
2. Click Next. On the Begin screen, choose the location for your plotter, My Computer, Network Plotter Server, or System Printer. Click Next.
3. On the Plotter Model screen, choose AutoCAD DXB File from the Manufacturers list. Click Next.
4. On the Import Pcp or Pc2 screen, click Next unless you want to import an existing plotter configuration file.
5. On the Ports screen, Plot to File should be checked. Click Next.
6. On the Plotter Name screen, you can keep the default name (DXB File) or type a new name. Click Next and then click Finish. You have now finished the setting up of the DXB plotter. You don't need to to this step again.
7. In your drawing, set up the view you want to plot.
8. Click a layout tab and create a floating viewport. (By default the Page Setup dialog box appears. Click OK to create one floating viewport.)
9. If you want a hidden view, select the viewport itself (the border). Right click and choose Hide Plot > Yes. If you don't want the viewport border itself to appear, put it on a different layer and freeze the layer.
10. Choose Plot from the Standard toolbar. On the Plot Device tab, chose DXB File.pc3 (or whatever you named your DXB plotter).
11. In the Plot to File section, name your file and choose a location. (You can click the ellipsis button to browse to a location.) Note that the Plot to File checkbox appears grayed out.
12. Click OK to create the DXB file.
13. Open a new drawing and choose Insert > Drawing Exchange Binary. Locate and choose the file you created and click Open. (If you model is rotated, just use the ROTATE command.) You now have a 2D representation of your 3D drawings, everything broken down into lines.

A new Express Tools command is Flatten, which converts a 3D drawing to 2D. The results depend on the viewpoint you are using when you execute the command. For example, a cylinder viewed using the SE Isometric viewpoint becomes a set of polylines. If viewed from the top, the cylinder becomes a circle, because that's what you see. Since AutoCAD 2007, there's a similar FLATSHOT command.

26th Sep 2010, 04:02 pm
The post above was copy and pasted from Ellen Finkelstein's site: http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/AutoCAD_tips_convert_3D_into_2D.html, in case anyone was wondering. It's always nice when you give credit where credit is due, rather than pretending that the tips you're posting are your own.

26th Sep 2010, 05:27 pm
Maybe he ran out of original ideas for a post so he decided to borrow from Ellen?

26th Sep 2010, 05:48 pm
Well that's pretty sad if he already ran out of original ideas, since he only has one post. :lol:

27th Sep 2010, 04:30 pm
It may be nice to give credit, but it sure would be nice to have a walk-through of how to use SOLVIEW and SolDraw. I did it once but my drawing was in the wrong orientation. Now I can't figure out how I did it. It is unclear which options to use. Any help is appreciated.

27th Sep 2010, 04:56 pm
Yes, I noticed there was some level of detail missing from the purloined explanation. Let's see if we can remedy that.

Please confirm. You're really using software from 2004?

27th Sep 2010, 05:50 pm
Yes...I am using AutoCad Mechanical 2004. But we are looking at moving to SolidWorks 2011. I've got a couple demos scheduled. We have a lot of legacy drawings that we will still need AutoCad to view and modify. I am not going to convert every drawing to SolidWorks. A co-worker just got a new PC with Windows 7 formatted a 64 bit. Unfortunately the AutoCAD 2000 LT he was using is not 64 bit compatible. So all he can do is view files using e-drawings.

27th Sep 2010, 05:53 pm
Given that information though how likely is it that you would be using AC 2004 to create 2D views from 3D drawings? I'd think using Solidworks would be a better option even if you had to redraw the 3D object.

27th Sep 2010, 06:16 pm
Exactly!!! But just because we are looking at SolidWorks does not mean we are going to get it. So I'd still like to know how to do SOLVIEW step-by-step. I did find a youtube video on ortho projection by searching for SOLVIEW. But he was using AutoCAD 2010 Civil.

27th Sep 2010, 06:33 pm
Draw your solid object in model space full size. Before leaving model space orient the object so you are looking at the front view. I like to make my visual style 2D wireframe.

Click on your layout tab. This gives you access to paper space. If there is a viewport in your layout when you open it for the first time delete it. SolDraw can not work on this viewport.

Right-click on your layout tab and select Page Setup. Indicate your plotter/printer and the paper size you wish to use. Then close it.

From the Draw drop-down menu at the top of your screen highlight Solids, then Setup and finally View. Or type Solview at the command line.

At the prompt Enter an option [Ucs/Ortho/Auxiliary/Section]: type U (for Ucs).

At the prompt Enter an option [Named/World/?/Current] <Current>: use the default <Current>.

At the prompt Enter view scale <1.0000>: enter a scale for your drawing such that all your views together with your titleblock and border will fit on the sheet size you selected earlier in Page Setup.

At the prompt Specify view center: select a convenient location on your screen then press Enter to anchor the view.

When asked to Specify first corner of viewport and after that to Specify opposite corner of viewport draw a box around your model space solid object.

When prompted to Enter view name: use something easy to recognize as this name will be used by AutoCAD to set up several layers. For example, the name could be Front, Top, Rt Side or SE Iso.

To add both the Top and Right side views continue using the Solview command (it will auto-repeat with the Ucs/Ortho/Auxiliary/Section option) but this time select Ortho. AutoCAD will derive each orthographic view for your model space object based upon what side of the front view’s frame you pick. You can even elect to have AutoCAD create a section through the object as well.

Pay close attention to what AutoCAD is prompting you for input on the command line and you should be fine.

Note that AutoCAD will create some specify layers unique to using the Solview command. If we had named out first view Front and we checked our layer properties we would see the following three new layers: Front-DIM (for dimensions), Front-HID (for hidden lines) and Front-VIS (for normally visible lines). If we had created a section AutoCAD automatically includes a hatch pattern and adds yet one more layer ending in the letters –HAT. You’ll have a minimum of three layers per view created. If I recall correctly I think AutoCAD also creates a VPORTS layer as well for the viewport frame(s).

It is advisable to change the linetype of any –HID layers to hidden. Hidden lines are turned off in isometric views. Also consider assigning a different color to each of your new layers.

This is a basic overview of the Solview command.

* * * * * * * * * *

To start the Soldraw command either type it at the command line or go to your Draw drop-down menu and highlight Solids > Setup then Drawing.

At the prompt Select viewports to draw: select all viewports created with the Solview command then press Enter. AutoCAD will respond with the number of solids selected.

Well that command was pretty easy wasn’t it? Depending on the complexity of your original solid object you should see both continuous and hidden lines displayed in all your viewports.

27th Sep 2010, 09:39 pm
When I specify my View Center to anchor my viewport, is it supposed to lock to the lower left hand side of my sheet and act like a rubber band until I hit enter?

27th Sep 2010, 11:01 pm
I'm mobile at the moment and not at my CAD workstation. I believe the answer is yes. It doesn't matter though since any viewport created can eventually be moved to any position on your sheet.