Drawing Organization Help- Layers and Blocks

I apologize in advance for the basic question that I am posting, but I am a little lost…

A drawing has become extremely difficult to follow and modify. It is a machine design with multiple rotating and sliding assemblies. I am in the pre-prototyping phase, and many base level components are being modified regularly. At present, there are around 25 master layers, each with three to five sub-layers. I have only recently begun to utilize blocks.

Before I completely rearrange everything, are there any discussions or tutorials specific to drawing organization? I am hoping that I can break the master drawing down into components, create a set of blocks for each component, and recreate the upper level drawings with links to the blocks. It is a bit confusing, to me, because each block may still have multiple layers.

I am also wondering if it is possible to nest linked blocks… A block used in an upper level drawing that is composed of multiple blocks.

Maybe some more information may help… Working with blocks and layers is becoming fairly straightforward. I had never utilized blocks until I started messing with Bongo.

One of the concerns that I have is that rotating the model, and to a lesser degree rendering, seem to be effected when using blocks. It might be my imagination, but it seems like the model that I have created from blocks creates more lags when rotating the model.

Is there a trade-off between using groups, and a fairly large drawing, and relying more on blocks to help in organizing and updating the file?

Hi Scott- I can imagine that blocks might lag more in some cases - the drawing has a lot of potentially tortured transforms to go through for blocks, to get the block instance to draw in the right place when the definition is someplace else altogether. I don’t know if that is what is happening here but it seems possible at least.


Thanks for the input, and yes. In the drawing, there are six sets of eleven block instances, and two more sets of three instances. Half of the block instances are fairly detailed mechanical assemblies… This doesn’t include the multiple instances of bolts generated using Boltgen. When I added the links for animation, it started to slow up a bit. This drawing size and detail is going to at least triple over the next few weeks, and I will be performing multiple animation sets. If there is a better approach, I would sure like to know it. This is pretty cool, though. I am surprised at how much I have been able to do, so far. There is a tremendous amount of help to learning all of the programs between the various forums and posted tutorials.

Hi Scott- I don’t know how detailed you’re getting but simplifying things like bolts as much as possible is best - hopefully these are not threaded or something, that would kill performance.


I know one thing. Well, maybe one thing. For most objects to be fabricated, it is definitely a lot easier to not Boolean in the female threading in the holes, or not build the actual threaded hole surface. Because when you go to fabricate it, and you already booleaned in the threading to look good in a render, or snapshots, or whatever you gotta have a backup with just the holes.

Bascially when you go to convert it to fabricating instructions, whats gonna matter is the hole size, drill point angle at the end, what size tap to use machining it, how deep to thread it, etc… (not that you don’t know that)

If you do have the correct hole size, but unthreaded and you have your threaded bolts on a different layer, block, etc…
They will overlap each other, which I would imagine can make some functions of rhino behave differently. Be that what you are using with block instances, views etc or not. (not that you don’t know this, and I’m not even sure what command are affected by overlapping surfaces except joins and Boolean operations)

I made a determination that I would make the correct size holes in the model, have point groups for specific fittings, so that I know which holes are with which fittings, etc… Then have notes on the actual fabrication regarding the drilling, tapping, lengths, machine settings etc, elsewhere. Making the points with jigs, which could be your actual jig used for marking the stock. Or even designing your machining jigs around your design in rhino.

But, yes, the fancy renderings with the bolts in place, holes threaded would indeed look more professional for presentation. You will just need more versions of your model. Some for rendering, some just for fabrication. But if bolts are really the only thing that affects how you do 2d layouts, in the case that you can manage without actual renderings of the threads, it can save making a few less unneeded versions of the model. Unless of course you do need them, you are not the one fabricating, or instructing fabrication, and you do need to experiment in 3d to find proper thread lengths, and develop fantastic machining and assembly instructions.

As the saying goes though, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. And without saying, your cat pelts probably look a little prettier than mine.

Thanks for the input, everyone.

At this time, I am having to make multiple versions. The fancy rendering version does have all the threads, and what not… Sure does take some time to render certain views. The logic of how to keep everything organized is coming together a little better for me.

I am really a noob with all this, and having gone through a few permutations, I can’t tell you, either, what all commands can be effected. Definitely the Boolean commands. I ran into some apparent randomness with layers being removed and deleted, but I could not really determine the exact sequences that I followed when that happened. That is when I moved away from a single drawing with pile of layers, and accepted that I really need to make three versions…

If the threads are actually exposed and visible in rendering, you may be able to get away with texture mapping, bump mapping to represent threads rather than modeling them. Unless there is a close-up, my guess is it will be just fine.