Auto Dimensioning

Hi, I’m new to CAD so probably don’t have much to offer in way of useful feedback, but thought I’d throw something out there for what it’s worth. I’m looking at simple 3D modelling to generate technical drawings of weldments etc that I then (normally personally) make, so nothing fancy. Rhino is about 1000% more powerful than I need but came highly recommended. However I’m a little surprised that the 2D drawing side of things seems rather basic for such an otherwise amazing program. While I appreciate auto dimensioning can often produce unworkable nonsense, on other programs I’ve used it’s typically fine for this simple work. Manually dimensioning is tedious and prone to error, and at least in my humble opinion, unnecessary. I’d rather tidy up an auto dimensioned sheet than to have to manually insert each dimension.

I also don’t much like the way the 2D drawings are presented. In “Pete’s perfect world”, I’d like a sheet to open to a standard template that is in more of a print presentation. Mixing it in with the 3D model seemed very strange to me; it’s either 2D or 3D, not both at once.

As I’ve only just begun using Rhino I may be completely mistaken, in which case sorry if I’m talking out my clacker! I’d previously read that generating 2D drawings in it was in itself tedious, but that turned out to be nonsense, and the function works well.

Take that feedback for what it’s worth; 9/10ths of bugger all. Keep up the good work on a great product.


Hi Pete- make sure you check out the Layout command - does that have more the feel of 2d that you are looking for?


Hi Pascal, thanks for replying. I’m still working through the tutorials but skipped ahead to dimensioning as it’s something that is important to me, as is the ability to produce a final product as a standard 2D engineering drawing.

When I try “Layout”, even through the command prompt, I receive the following message twice, “The 15CRhLayoutDialog dialog for this command is not yet implemented”, so I’m guessing that hasn’t yet been bought in to the Mac version. However I watched an excellent tutorial on the feature and yes it’s perhaps what I’m looking for if the “import” function could import a standard blank engineering sheet? I’m not sure what file extensions I’m looking for to import a layout, it seems to want to try, but I don’t think there’s any in the sample files provided.

Speaking of sample files, just so we’re on the same page, the type of work I’m interested in is not all that more complex than the sample files provided, no organic shapes etc as any fabrication is done on manual machines at this stage. I need to get comfortable with CAD before going down the CNC path. So Rhino is really a complete overkill for me. I just wanted to use 3D to confirm no interference etc when fabricating and assembling multiple parts and dip my toe in the CNC waters.

Finally, I don’t think layout solves the auto-dimensioning capability from what I’ve seen. I quickly dimensioned up the part in the 3D to 2D model and even then came across some issues in my mind. It seemed unable to drag one end of a dimension to another point and dimensioning manually didn’t seem to have the capability to snap to specific points. So for example if I wanted to write a dimension of 70 mm, the overall length of the part, there seemed no easy way to do so. If I do it manually there’s no guarantee the dimension is accurate from what I can see, as the initial point doesn’t snap to an object. If I dimension an object, I can’t seem to hold shift to include multiple objects, hence provide a linear dimension for all of them.


You need more time with Rhino. You edit dimensions by turning on the control points. You use osnap for snapping. Seems to me You are thinking other software while trying Rhino.

@cadmaster thanks for that. I thought the osnap was on, but it seems as if I needed to manually select other snap to options in addition to the “smart” selection. Absolutely no doubt you’re correct, I’ve had very little time so far with Rhino, so I’m trying to reserve any judgement and not presume something can’t be done or is difficult until I’m more familiar. By the same token I remain sceptical (yet hopeful) that it’s the right piece of software for me. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with it, quite the opposite, it’s extremely powerful. My needs on the other hand are not. Somewhat paradoxically sometimes a less powerful program may be better suited to some users. I’m looking for something that will provide easy drafting facilities, with 3D capability, yet produce standard engineering drawings I can work from. At the end of the day I’m also going to need to cough up the money, and this is at the very top end of my budget, another reason I’m evaluating with a very critical eye. It’s like driving a Ferrari to go shopping; fine if you’ve got the money and who wouldn’t want to, but an over-kill for the purpose. You’re also correct in that I’m thinking of other software I’ve used in the past, but am trying to evaluate just one at a time. Hopefully that all explains things and I’m genuinely trying not to waste anyone’s time in my process/learning curve. Baby steps through a quagmire I don’t pretend to remotely understand.


What are You trying to do? What industry, what is your CAD background? Maybe You can use other CAD software - like ViaCAD, TurboCAD, Ashllar-Velum that are simpler and have more dimension capabilities than Rhino?
Forgot to mention this one - DesignSpark

I’ve used AutoCAD previously but not much, mainly years ago. Yes TurboCAD is an option that I’m also considering. However Rhino came recommended and so I’m going on other’s suggestions at the moment. A lot has changed in this field since I had anything to do with it.

Sorry just to elaborate, the recommendations were based on the suggestion from others that I should finally give up on the 19th century and welcome myself to 2013! I’ve been told that once I get used to something like Rhino I’ll never want to go back to a 2D drafting solution. I used to play with a friend’s Lightwave years ago, but never needed to actually make anything I modelled, but it was enough to see the attraction of modelling in 3D.

For the moment I’ll keep working through the tutorials and see how I go.