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Convert a 3D Solid to a 3-View 2D Drawing in Model Space

May 16, 2006

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You may want to draw in 3D, but if you need to deliver drawings in 2D, in several views, how do you convert them? In other tips, "Converting 3D Drawings into 2D Drawings," and "Convert a 3D Solid to a 2D Drawing With a Hidden View," I've discussed some methods, but this excellent method uses the new (in 2007) FLATSHOT command.

The FLATSHOT command offers you much more flexibility if you want to create the drawing in model space with several views. In this tutorial, we'll convert this solid to a 3-view drawing.


  1. Make a copy of your drawing because at the end of the process you'll delete the 3D objects.
  2. Create a layer for each of the views. As you create each view, you'll need to turn off the layers for the previous views. In this example, I made 3 layers for the 3 views--Top, Front, and Auxiliary.
  3. Click Parallel Projection in the 3D Navigate control panel of the Dashboard; FLATSHOT works best with parallel projections.
  4. Change the value of UCSORTHO to 0. You'll be switching to orthographic views, but you don't want to change the UCS each time you switch to an orthographic view.
  5. Make the layer of your first view current, in this case, the Top layer.
    Display the Dashboard (the DASHBOARD command) and choose the corresponding viewpoint (Top in this example) from the drop-down list in the 3D Navigate control panel of the Dashboard.
  6. Choose Flatshot in the 3D Make control panel of the Dashboard. The Flatshot dialog box opens. In this situation, in the Destination section, choose Insert as New Block, as you see here.
  7. At the bottom of the dialog box, you choose options for foreground and obscured lines. These options determine how the 2D profile will look. You can choose the colors for the profile and for obscured lines. To create a hidden view, uncheck the Show check box.
  8. Click Create. The dialog box closes and you're back in your drawing.
  9. Follow the usual prompts to insert the block. The exact location at this point is not important; you can move the blocks later. For some reason, the insertion point is somewhere off the block, so you may need to zoom out to see where to place the block. Don't worry if one or more of the views looks wrong. Because FLATSHOT is laying the profiles on the XY plane, from another viewpoint the profiles can look wrong, like you see here.
  10. Turn off the layer for the previous view. (Click OK when the dialog box tells you you're turning off the current layer.) You need to do this because FLATSHOT works on all layers that are on or thawed. So you turn off the previous layer so that the next FLATSHOT operation doesn't make a block of your previous 2D blocks! In our example, we turned off the Top layer.
  11. Repeat steps 5-10 for each of your views.
  12. Turn on all of your layers. Switch back to Top (plan) view. Your 2D blocks should look right now.
  13. Delete your original 3D object and move your 2D blocks to the desired location. Here's the result, with top and front views and a hidden auxiliary view.


About the Author

Ellen Finkelstein has been using AutoCAD since 1986. She has been consulting and teaching AutoCAD since 1993. Now she writes computer books and teaches management courses. She is the author of AutoCAD 2006 and AutoCAD LT 2006 Bible. You can find more tips and tutorials at www.ellenfinkelstein.com. Ellen can be reached at info@ellenfinkelstein.com




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