Dynamic Blocks function in Rhino, such as the one in AutoCAD - for Rhino 6 or already possible?

Hi Koert,

Obviously for ‘parametric’ objects Grasshopper is a great option to explore, as Mitch mentioned. I do realize though that it is a whole different workflow. Thanks for explaining the Parametric Blocks idea – seems nice but so far I don’t know how this could be implemented in Rhino.
One idea I had based on your description is allowing user to make and remember sets of EditPoints per object, so they can be easily retrieved and edited anytime. The way it would work has 2 components:

  1. Select the grip sets and name them - this info is saved into object data
  2. Anytime access the list of named selection (with multiple selection option) to for quicker edit.

Far from real parametric blocks (in fact, this would not be working on blocks) but it could be relatively easily scripted.
Would that help at all ?


Hi Jarek,
thanks for your answer. You are right, this could work very well! Scripting has not been necessary before, so we will need to look into that. Blocks have disadvantages like you wrote. Another thing that does not work with blocks is splitting / boolean etc. We would have to explode the blocks anyway. But with you idea that might even work?
Kind regards, Koert.

Any news on this side? Will there be a possibility for dynamic blocks in v6? Or shall we try with Grasshopper (which we don’t really know well)?

We are thinking to switch for our 2d production drawings to Rhino to replace the painful AutoCAD, since for the 3d design we already use Rhino.

We would still be very much interested in this feature. Working in 2d with Rhino has very little disadvantage compared to AutoCAD. The dynamic block functionality is an issue. We had a few mistakes along the way because of it. Importing a dynamic block is possible, but it shows all options at the same time. So all data is visible. The risk: when importing third party info you will not always be aware of these blocks. So imagine an arrow that points either left or right. But importing it into Rhino will make it a double sided arrow, pointing in two directions. Same goes for symbols that have multiple options. For example a wall socket, it has the option of a single, double or triple socket. Import it and you will always see the full amount, so triple in this case. Even when not using dynamic blocks you won’t see the difference from a normal block.

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Does anyone have experience in making what in AutoCAD a dynamic block does in Grasshopper or Python? Is that possible?

We have a large library of dynamic blocks (technical details and so on) in AutoCad. If we can use them or make them in Rhino then we could switch entirely to Rhino.

I know Rhino was never intended to do what we request, but since it is almost capable… :slight_smile:

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I agree with the posts above as well. Rhino is almost there in replacing AutoCad in our engineering office as well for 2D work. Since we have worksheets in the same way that paper space exist in AutoCad we only need Dynamic blocks function/library to transfer our library of items or at least have the possibility to create new ones in Rhino.

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Same issue here. We want to kick away AutoCAD (architecture, furniture design). Rhino is almost there in being as good as AutoCAD for 2D drawings. Only problem: The mac version is very limited for layouts, has some bugs and dynamic blocks are missing. I see the future of Rhino in trying to be the only 2d/3d Application you might need. Especially for small companies. That would increase the client base enormously.

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Having dynamic blocks for 2d and 3d would probably the best thing ever done in a program. It would help creating and modifying everything soooo fast.
Imagine you have a construction/detail dynamic block in 3d. You drag it in, modify it the way needed and use the command section to create the 2d drawing needed for production?



A huge risk we run into with importing DWG and DXF, Rhino shows the dynamic block, but directly shows all options the block has. In some cases makers of dynamic blocks have a right or left version in mind. Long or short etc. The risk is this: we cannot recognize if a block is static or dynamic. Whether the maker wants to show an option or the full thing.
It would be GREAT if the functionality of these dynamic blocks would just stay in tact.


I totally agree! I wish McNeel would work on this topic also in the mac version for Rhino 6.


Any news on the ‘dynamic block’ feature?
or should we go the Grasshopper way?

Hi - for the foreseeable future, Grasshopper is the way to go here.

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Hi Wim, my humble oppinion: if Rhino solves this issue there is no need to have AutoCAD anymore. The 2d part of Rhino is strong enough. But as soon as one imports an AutoCAD file the dynamic block goes nuts. It basically shows every single option the block has. So because Rhino doesn’t know how to handle this Rhino also becomes unreliable. The one piece of software that was great at converting nearly every file format now fails at converting the most used engineering format. We really hope it gets prioritised. Kind regards, Koert.

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Hi Koert - Thanks for your feedback!

Just for the record - we have this one on our list as RH-51073 and I added your comment.

As for a future way of making “dynamic blocks” in Rhino itself, that will probably use Grasshopper to some extent.

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Perhaps a stupid question: Is there anything in an imported ACAD dynamic file that Rhino can interrogate to at least then offer the Rhino user the option of selecting a particular config? Or is that level of interaction something that AD doesn’t expose to a third party?

Hi Matt -

I think there is, yes. I base that assumption on the fact that RH-51073 mentions a LISP routine that was written to deal with the information in the file. Also, if there were no way at all to get that information from the file, the issue would have been closed.
I’m sure that if my assumption is wrong, I will be corrected : )

Hi, I did start testing Rhino 6 mac again.

All performance issues seam to have been solved, compliments McNeel!
It works smooth and very well.

I did also start to test opening dwg files (created in ACAD).
Unfortunately large files do not seem to open properly. The layouts are messed up and the dimensions are out of scale.

If McNeel wants some file to test it for themself I can send it to them.

Yes, please.

I did send the file over a private message.

We are trying it out in Rhino mac 6 evaluation.

Yes parametric blocks would be really useful - Is there a feature suggestion page for rhino?