How to import/export block from/to external file into open document?

In my C# plugin I’d like to load objects defined in external files and place them to a specific location in my open document.
Also, I’d like to do it the other way round: export specific blocks into separate files.

Attempt 1: File3dm class

So far, I tried to use the File3dm class but it has no method to write an InstanceDefinition or InstanceObject into a file, nor does it give access to the block definitions in order to transform instances of them to specific points.

Attempt 2: InstanceDefinition/InstanceObject class

I also did not find a method to export/save and InstanceDefinition or InstanceObject.

Attempt 3: _-Import script

Always returns false:

RhinoApp.RunScript("_-Import myfile.3dm", true)

same with the commands _Load or _Open.

Could someone direct me to the right resource? I know my problem should be solvable.

The easiest way to import geometry from another file is to just script the Import command using RhinoApp.RunScript. However, in order to run a Rhino command from a plug-in command, your plug-in command must have a special attribute. See the following dev note for details.

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Fantastic, @dale!
One suggestion: maybe the RunScript could raise a well-named exception indicating the problem instead of just returning false. Maybe you could also link to the resource about ScriptRunner command style attribute inside of the method’s documentation.

…and for exporting a block without the user selecting it, what can I use? The following does not work:

RhinoApp.RunScript("_-BlockManager _Export <block_name> <file_path> _Enter _Enter")

I took it from this example .rvb script :

What works however, but with the user having to select the block which I don’t want:


Can you spot my error?

…also, the following hack

_ExplodeBlock <blockname>   //fails
_Export <file_name> _Enter _Enter

only works in the Rhino editor, when the user selects the block rather than specifying <blockname> programmatically. It does not run via RhinoApp.RunScript()

When scripting commands using RhinoApp.RunScript, make sure to surround literal strings that contain spaces with double-quote characters.

For example:

var filename = @"C:\Users\Dale\Desktop\Test.3dm";
var script = string.Format("_-Open \"{0}\"", filename);
RhinoApp.RunScript(script, false);

Thank you for the reminder. Yet, my filenames do not contain whitespace. Neither
_BlockManager _Export <blockname> /my/absolute/path.3dm nor _ExplodeBlock <blockname> work already, also in Rhino’s command input box. The error message is “Unknown command: < blockname>”.

It seems that the macros do not accept a block name as argument.

Can you post your 3dm file and some sample command code that I can run here?

Osszeallitas-cleansed.3dm (12.1 MB)

Great! Please try e.g.

_BlockManager _Export Haz /tmp/haz-export.3dm

Have you tried doing this in just Rhino? It appears that the BlockManager command is not scriptable in MacRhino yet…

I tried both: Rhino for Mac as well as in a C# plugin.
When do you think this could be available?

Being that the issue was just discovered, I have no idea when this will be fixed. But here is a link to the issue so you can track it’s progress.

– Dale

thank you. Do you see another possibility to export one (or multiple) blocks on Rhino Mac? As described above, also Macros like

 ExplodeBlock Haz

fail saying “Unknown command: Haz”, which is a block name.

You might consider inserting "Haz"at the world origin, selecting it, then scripting the Export command.

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Similar problem. In Rhino _Insert Haz also invokes the block manager dialog.
Via RhinoApp.RunScript(_-Insert Haz) however, it works to insert it but I am prompted in the UI for all the different options (insert as block, insertion point, rotation, scale factor).
How can I specify the options via RunScript?

RhinoApp.RunScript("_-Insert Haz _Block 0,0,0 _Enter _Enter", true)
RhinoApp.RunScript("_-Insert Haz _Block 0,0,0 0.0 1.0", true);

are not the right way.

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RhinoApp.RunScript("_-Insert Haz _Block 0,0,0 _Scale 1.0 _Rotation 0.0", true)

or simply

RhinoApp.RunScript("_-Insert Haz _Block 0,0,0 1.0 0.0", true)

do work indeed.

Thank you very much for your help, @dale. I am quite new to macros and scripting in Rhino.

If you don’t want to script the Insert command, you can always insert it yourself…

protected override Result RunCommand(RhinoDoc doc, RunMode mode)
  const string idef_name = "Haz";
  var idef = doc.InstanceDefinitions.Find(idef_name, true);
  if (null == idef)
    RhinoApp.WriteLine("Block definition \"{0}\" does not exist.", idef_name);
    return Result.Nothing;

  var iref_uuid = doc.Objects.AddInstanceObject(idef.Index, Transform.Identity);

  return Result.Success;
1 Like

great, thank you.

@dale I did a follow-up post because I was not able to import selected blocks from an external file. With a specific file I was unsuccessful with both File3dm.Objects and File.InstanceDefinitions: How to import selected blocks from a File3dm? (Or were blocks saved incorrectly in this file?).
Could you help me there?

See my reply to your other block topic…