Taking measurements

I find the dimensioning tool less than intuitive. Perhaps I’m missing something. However when I want to measure a length that’s not parallel to a c-plane I get nonsense. For instance in the case shown I need to get a distance from a point of intersection to the end of an object. What I get instead is a dimension relative to the c-plane. I think creating a plane based on an object just to get a measurement is ridiculous. What am I missing?

This one normally works for me regardless of Cplane [i think]

which measurement did you use?

When I try to use that option I still get the same output as the ‘linear’ dimension. I assumed what you described would return the result but I’m not getting that.

you can use the _Length command. or_Distance

As Jeff suggests use Length or Distance to make measurements while modeling. In Rhino for Windows Distance gives the total distance; x, y and z components and angles relative to current CP and relative to the world coordinate system. Length gives the length of a line or curve along the line or curve.

The dimensioning tools are appropriate for drawings.

You could make a multi-view layout of your model by clicking Layouts in the TRH corner of your window. Then you can use the dimensioning tools on the orthogonal detail views as you would on a 2D drawing. Do not activate the relevant detail view, just use the dimensioning tools on the Layout page itself. Scaling of the dimension will be automatic. In this example I am showing the dimensions on an A4-sIze layout:


Thanks all. When I use the length command it asks for a curve and doesn’t respond to an edge. also, there’s no way to use the tool to get a distance from and edge to a point.

So far it seems I have to duplicate and edge, create a curve or create a objected orient c plane to get such information.

use sub-object selection to select an edge of a surface.
that’s cmnd-shift while selecting

Length should accept edges - I’ll check it… yeah that looks like a bug or ‘oversight’ in Rhino for Mac…
Hmmi. In a new file, this works, in the one I happened to have open it did not… still poking.
Seems to work now…
@JKayten - can you confirm that edges are not accepted for Length in your file?


Length accepts edges in Rhino for Windows V5.

Distance in Rhino for Windows V5 works from a point to an edge. For the shortest distance from the point to an edge/line/curve use the Perp and End OSnaps to find the second point on the edge/line/curve.

Works here, Length from an edge, on Mac …

IHTH «Randy

I am confused. The topic title is “Taking measurements”, the opening post talks about dimensioning, i.e. placing text to show the measurements. Now we seem to be back to measuring. What is the issue here?

@maxz he says in the first post,

Because he is using distance & measurement for the same thing, confusion can arise. In a later post he mentions using an edge to get distance. That is Pascal’s reason for mentioning that you can get the length from an edge, you don’t have to use duplicateEdge to create a line and then get it’s length. I was just confirming that the Length command works on edges, on Rhino for Mac.

You’d be surprised at the number of users who have no idea that measuring tools exist in Rhino and that use dimensions for measuring stuff…


OK, guilty, I do realized that the Analyze menu items is not as intuitive as the dimension menu. I never really used it until I had to get weight of an object.

The difference between “learning on the job” and being taught the software.


yeah, works that way on mac too… i pretty much always pre-select hence the sub-object selection… i sometimes forget other people may work differently though ; )

use the Distance command in which you’ll click two points and it will report the distance between them.

also, fwiw, i generally use the Line tool for measuring single lengths… my cursor is set to show the distance and i just esc once i see the length instead of finishing the line… probably not the best of recommendations but it’s just how i do because it’s fastest for me.

Now this could be a problem, afaik there is no object snap to let you select a point on the intersection of two polysurfaces. You will have to create an intersection curve first with Intersect


Do you have “project” turned on? That would explains why it’s snapping to a C_Plane.

I would like to be able to place a curve/line a certain distance from a point on the surface of an object that I can then use as a guide. I want the tool to use planarity of the object rather than assigning a custom plan to work with. Is this achievable?

Attached is a simple example, but this would be very useful in redesigning things.