Digitizing in Rhino

Hi All,

Anybody have a good work-flow for using a digitizer in Rhino?

The big problem is going back and forth between the digitizer and the computer.

Anybody have a solution for that?

Also, the other issue is wanting some commands like points that increment while you drag the stylus along an edge.

Thanx … Chris

I don’t have a digitizer myself but here’s a link to some info on using Rhino with them if you haven’t seen it…

Excellent Brian.
I also needed to know about the ball tip in Rhino, so you killed 3 birds w/one stone.
… Chris

@cadman777, i’ve used below script with our microscribe digitizers. Just start the script, enter the number to start from and (optional) a number prefix, then pick the points with the digitizer.

TextDotSequence.rvb (608 Bytes)

To stop the sequence, press Enter or space bar.


Thanx Clement, I’ll try it.
Any idea how to use a ball tip w/o having to offset the surface or recalc point data?
Also, any idea how to use MUS commands in Rhino?
Thanx …

I never used a ball tip, just been working with the cone one which only is good for hard surfaces. If i have to do soft objects, i take the MicroScan which is attached to the MicroScribe.

Have you tried to define an offset in MUS ?

Might be worth a try, the MS is not able to tell what type of tip is mounted, if you set it to default and define an offset value. If this does not work, you can try something different, eg, by using the “Digitize Normal Line” command. Basically the offsetted point lies on that line. But i would try changing things via MUS first before going that route.


Thanx for the good advice clement.

I’m currently trying to get an answer out of the MS people to see how to more effectively use it in Rhino.

Anyways, I want Rhino to act like the MUS and CADpad. If it can, then I’ll be content.

Would you please tell me which MicroScan you have and what you use it for?

Also, what’s the accuracy of it, and how much did it cost you?

Thanx …

@cadman777, i am using our MicroScribes in the institution i teach at, mostly in the Design workflow. We bought one G2X and a G2LX which has 1 additional Axis (6DOF Spinning Stylus) to mount a MicroScan laser scanner. Since we have that for at least 10 Years, we paid a lot, The deal included Geomagic which is not used anymore.

I do not know CADpad, sorry. We used the G2X successful with Rhino 4 and 5. The G2LX comes with seperate software to use the MicroScan. I think the MicroScribe integration in Rhino is good. We also never used the MUS seperately / or without Rhino, under WIN10 the MUS has to be kept open, if not the Arm will disconnect after 30 seconds.

I would estimate the G2X digitizer arm has a maximum of 0.25 mm, if you mount it to the table and the object to digitize is mounted as well, you might get below. Which one do you have ?


Ahh … ok, so you’re an instructor or professor?

What’s your design work-flow?

Does your stylus rotate infinitely?

Exactly which MicroScan unit do you use?
How accurate is it?
What have you used it for?

Mine is a G2XL (66" x 6DOF). Tolerance not yet determined (still working on a usable fixture to do it) Got the unit used. Using Rhino 5 on Win7x64

CADpad is part of the latest and greatest MUS.
I’m still learning how to use it w/Rhino.
Not sure if the MUS gives Rhino any extra commands or abilities?

I found this in the Rhino 5 Help on ball tips:

Using a non-standard tip with the MicroScribe
If you use the MicroScribe and Rhino with tips other than the standard tip that comes with the MicroScribe, you must edit the mstip.dat file and follow these instructions, which are also contained in the mstip.dat.
Set the MicroScribe to use a non-standard tip
A Standard Ball Tip is 0.242 inches shorter than standard point tip.
Set D5Delta = 0.0 if using standard point tip.
Set D5Delta = 0.242 if using standard ball tip.
If you have a non-standard tip, measure the exact difference between the standard point tip and your tip (in inches) and type that number for D5Delta. If the tip is longer, make D5Delta negative; if the tip is shorter, make D5Delta positive.
Note: Be sure to power up the MicroScribe with the standard point tip in the home position (inserted in the stylus holder) before changing tips. Powering up the MicroScribe with anything other that the standard point tip will cause inaccuracies in the data Rhino reports.

However, I could not find any file on my computer called “mstip.dat”.

For the G2LX yes, for the G2X not. Please see my reply above why the 6DOF is needed.

Here is a chart which lists the accuracy of both devices, and here some description of MicroScan attached to the G2LX.

I am not sure either. You might ask that the manufacturer especially in regards to using balltip.

I’ve found this file under:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Rhinoceros 4.0\System

not shure if this is useful, i’ll attach it in case you want to test: mstip.zip (586 Bytes)

btw. there are two commands in Rhino 5 which are not available from the toolbar:


try if this creates the dat file or changes anything when digitizing.



Thanx for all the great info!

Thanx for the link on the MicroScan.
I saw that laser scanner some time ago, but forgot the name of it.
Guess I’ll have to revisit it to see if it’s something useful in my projects.

Thanx for those undocumented Rhino 5 commands!
That may do the trick.
Only thing is, the tip compensation is only for the length, not the radius of a sphere or any kind of offset. So all that has to be done manually, apparently.

After talking to Paul from GoMeasure3D, I have a way to do the work with minimal work-arounds. Gotta like that guy, he’s very knowledgeable and helpful. Paul sets the standard for “tech support” and “customer satisfaction”!

Thanx again for your able assistance. You helped me a LOT, so now the ball can get rolling again.

Cheers … Chris


Update: I used MicroscribeCalibrateTip and it didn’t do anything different from the Master Tip.

Do you know of any files that may be somewhere in Rhino to change the date for fixing this?

Maybe someone from McNeel will have info on this?

Cheers … Chris


there is some detailed info about both commands in the Rhino helpfile. Did you follow these steps ?


The info is too conflicting for me to make sense out of it.
The Rhino help file on my computer says one thing, and the command in view is not in the new online help file.
Also, none of the stuff in the help file on my computer is useful, since things have changed in Rhino5.
My problem is I don’t know where Rhino is looking for the Tip standards file.
Nor do I know what Rhino needs to see to calibrate a different tip.
The thing I discovered is the MicroScribe G2XL that I bought is very accurate, even though it looks like someone beat the crap out of it! I’m getting readings on a 1-2-3 block averaging .004" tolerance. Can’t argue w/that, can you?
I just don’t want to have to offset every surface by the tip’s length differential + the tip’s ball radius.
All that does is complicate the modeling process and set up a potential for all kinds of problems and errors.

Maybe @BrianJ knows about any changes between V4 an V5 regarding the Microscribe devices. @margaret, probably the helpfile needs some updates as well ?


Maybe they’ll weigh-in?

I don’t think any details about digitizing have changed in
Rhino for a couple of versions. It does what it was intended to do.

The link with the PDF file about using a ball-tip to harvest curves, making a surface from the curves, the offsetting by the radius of the ball tip is how the process works.


Thanx John, I’ve read that.

So how do I compensate for the difference in length between the Master Tip and the Ball Tip (not the ball radius)? Is this also something I have to calculate into the surface offset (which is what I’ve been doing already)?

Why did R4 have compensation and R5 doesn’t?

Would you guys consider adding a non-standard tip length compensation command as well as a ball radius compensation algorithm to Rhino?

What about working with Revware to get MUS or some other applet to work w/Rhino to fix this?

Cheers …

OK, I’m back on this tip compensation subject, except this time I just want to know how to get Rhino to recognize that the non-default tip is shorter than the default tip.

The Help says there’s a file called “mstip.dat” to set that parameter, but it’s not anywhere on my hard drive.

Does this file still work, or is there another way to compensate for a shorter or longer tip?

Thanx for the help.

@cadman777 Did you get this sorted out in the end? We are having the same problem - can’t find the mstip.dat file that’s referred to in the Rhino 5 help file. Has it been replaced/superseded by the ‘Custom Tip’ dialogue in the Microscribe Utility Software of which @clement posted a screenshot?

Also, is it possible to use the DigClick command within Rhino to calibrate and then take a point reading from the arm, without the need to have either the Microscribe hand or foot switch connected?