VisualARQ 3 Feature Feedback: Export to AutoCAD DWG

Hi everyone,

One of the most requested features is export plans and sections, like curves, to AutoCAD DWG file format.

Currently, it is possible to create a plan view or section view object in the model, select it, and run the Export Selected… command. This option has worked for many users, but it has some limitations:

  • It doesn’t work when using a real-time plan or section viewport or detail in a layout.
  • You need to get your model dirty with these temporary objects, making the display slower and the file bigger.
  • You cannot make compositions of different views like in a layout.
  • Texts need to be exploded to curves.
  • Solid hatches are not supported.
  • It’s slow on big files or when there are complex objects (dense meshes or hatches, big curved surfaces, etc.)

What do you need to export to AutoCAD?

  • The 3D model (surfaces, meshes, BREPs, curves, etc.)
  • The visible lines and section hatches of a plan or section view
  • Layouts and details (as seen in Rhino layouts)

0 voters

Why do you need to export your plan or section views to AutoCAD?

  • To print the output using AutoCAD
  • To have the visible curves in the model-space in AutoCAD and work with them
  • To have the visible curves in the paper-space in AutoCAD and work with them
  • Other (write your answer as a comment)

0 voters

How are you currently working with VisualARQ plans and sections?

  • I use plan-view and section-view objects
  • I use real-time plan and section viewports and/or details
  • I use both (view objects and real-time viewports)
  • I do not use plans or sections

0 voters

Which one of those options will work best for you?

  • Export to DWG from the “Levels” and “Sections” panels
  • Export to DWG using a plan-view or section-view object
  • Export to DWG using a real-time viewport or detail
  • Export to DWG using a Rhino layout
  • Other (write your answer as a comment)

0 voters

We’ve discussed several ways to implement this feature. Take into account that not everything can be done. For example, exporting a project to a DWG, with only the 3D objects in the model space, and then some layouts with details inside that show only the plan or section is not possible, as AutoCAD will not compute the project plan/section lines. We need to include these curves in the DWG, so we need to put them in the model and show them using a detail, or we need to fake a detail creating the lines in the layout. Both options have problems: placing curves on the model will make the model dirty, while placing them in the layout will make those curves not have the correct scale. In both cases, panning and zooming will not work, as we will export the curves as they were shown in the Rhino layout.



My primary purpose in exporting to AutoCad is to give backgrounds to consultants for them to overlay their drawings. The primary backgrounds are plans and reflected ceiling plans (rcps are a critical wishlist item which version 3 must include) with elevations and sections as a secondary background type sent mostly for reference. These drawings need to be update-able using the same layer structure and location in 3d/2d space.

It would be ideal to be able to export the plans as part of a flattened layout that includes my titleblock.


Working in Autocad is a standard way of collaborating with other people who do now work with rhino/VA. So Autocad is a must when working on a complex project involving many people from different fields. What I missed personally from VA is a) exporting plans and sections to dwg but at the same time being able to control all the lines properties b) solving intersection lines between beams and slabs etc. a) From VA styles it is not possible to export sectioned and projected elements with separate layers, but only with the parent layer and properties bycolor, bylinetype etc. In the conrtary we should have the ability to export with separate layers, and everything else bylayer. Everyone collaborator has his own layer structure, so this is mandatory. Also, we had been working on workarounds such as exporting plans and sections automatically with one click using grasshopper and humanui, which is beatibul but needs a lot of maintance. So a dialogue would be useful such as: selecting plan, export to file with the right layers etc. I think we would contribute a lot on that if it is possible. b) We had been working on workarounds with grasshopper reading hatches, grabbing boundary polyline, and then solving the intersections with regionboundary and then hatching the new polyline etc. But this leads to numerous hatches : ConcreteSlab, ConcreteBeam, ConcreteColumn but with the same pattern. So, this messes everything a lot. Also what we miss is hatch for projected elements too. There are workarounds but again involving grasshopper. Also, one thing is that when exporting a plan from rhino to dwg the hacth are not associated with the boundary polylines. It is crucial to have the hatch associated with the boundary curve to control the hatch by the polyline just like the way autocad does it. Also, when exporting the plan there are no polylines connected. Printing live sections and plans with hidden mode is perfect but has no usability other than printing to pdf or paper.

1 Like

Difficult decision. Maybe it helps (also me) to take a look at our office’s situation:

AutoCAD is practically only used for 2d work in our office, and most collaborators handle it this way, too. There are two use cases here:

  1. quick 'n dirty drawings of all kinds, with design options strewn all over the 2d space (ugh!), and
  2. final production plans (is ‘shop drawings’ the correct term?).
    For the latter there are traditional rules for layer naming and a bunch of custom AutoLISP scripts for handling team workflow, from back in the ol’ 2d-CAD-days. Despite all BIM efforts (we use Revit, too), this is still used - and quite effectively by those who ‘grew up’ with this workflow, at least for smaller projects.

Rhino is used for case 1), too, but nobody ever used it for case 2), final 2d shop drawings. It would be possible, but still this CAD tradition from the 2000s is strong. Rhino just isn’t taken seriously as a 2d CAD tool - shame, but it’s McNeels doing also - blocks need to become better and faster, and draw order problems sorted out.

Revit had sort of a ‘hype’ in the last years, but our bosses noticed a drop in productivity. Long story, with unlucky decisions made and questions unanswered. (Rhino.Inside could be a blessing)
In the end the bosses left the decision which software to use to us - it will depend on the situation and collaboration.
Revit is a beast, and I love the casual and straightforward approach of VisualArq, but would you seriously recommend it for big projects yet?

So, Rhino for now is used in the design phase, for 3d-studies and renderings, where I like to make good use of VisualArq. Rhino/VA stands right in the middle, meaning it can do a little bit of everything, or, theoretically, it all - CAD 2d, 3d, BIM, shop drawings produced from the 3d model. That’s the idea, right? That would be something!

But for now, AutoCAD will remain part of the workflow, so yeah, DWG export.
Most interesting would be case 2). Create the building 3d in Rhino, then export a good 2d basis for annotating/detailing in ‘CAD’. Circumvent Revit… ;q
Since VisualArq does not support associative dimentions in layout space, what other choice do we have actually? (last year I recommended VA to a colleague in another, Rhino-centric, office, and they adopted it. When they later found out about the weaknesses with associative dimensions, there was some harsh language involved…)
What would help:

  • Associative hatches. Definitely!
  • A layer name translator option - every Rhino layer gets the appropriate AutoCAD layer name assigned when exporting.
  • As little line-overlap clutter as possible.
  • In the end, 2d CAD people will need the drawing in model space, plus, ideally, layouts with Details set up like in Rhino.
    Cluttering the Rhino model space with 2d stuff is toxic. How to get around this? Could it be a solution to open a new Rhino session on-the-fly, extract the 2d views to there, set up it’s layout space, too, and save the DWG over there? (Somewhat similar to what happens when you edit a linked block - it asks if another Rhino session should be opened for it.) This way you could avoid messing up the model, and do whatever is needed in a fresh scene.

But, in an overall perspective, it would be best to give people less motivation to go AutoCAD. That means, a better Rhino-2d-layout-workflow is needed. Associative dims, layer visibility troubles fixed (from McNeel), draw order…

Many loose ends. Will stop here.


ا think able to export elevations code symbols )to autoCad and the plan automatic dimension in visual arq
And created make2d for make2d section3d in visualArq

As mentioned, outside collaboration still relies on AutoCAD formats, and always as 2D information.

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Currently I would use the export function primarily to provide “official” plans (with text field and a layout…) to third party contractors.
So for me it would be important to have a reliable export that will look the same as my Rhino layout, without any messed up dimensions, text or other objects and without the need to do some workarounds like exploding stuff manually before exporting.


Lo mismo, al trabajar con otros en grupo, es necesario exportar a dwg-Autocad,
pues no todos estan trabajador desde RHINO + VA.
( lo que sea mas simple, para hacer funcional VA y otras personas, con otro softwares).

As mentioned by other, DWGs are required for coordination with consultants and contractors.

1 Like

The votes above were really useful, thanks. For procurement & manufactuer designers will often need to issue information as CAD DWGs from layout pages our from titleblocks set up in the model space. This is a system that will be a requirement going forwards so thanks for that - BUT you will also need to continue to develop alongsside your IFC exporting process or live plug ins to revit or archicad from varq for less proficent GH users an integrated or open source BIM labelling/numbering/layer system going forwards - As everything moves towrds IFC transfer for building informations it is worth remembering that builders still need drawings on the site as sometimes it is just not practical to have an a0 screen for everyone to sketch on whilst standing on an unstable scaffold…

an unstable scaffold for you or i but nor for most builders haha

This thread connects directly with this topic:

Your initiative is a very good chance make progress with the whole ‘layouts in Rhino’ topic!

In this other thread I mentioned the idea to place vaPlan/SectionView directly on a Layout. Have you given this some thoughts?
Since it is already possible to copy/paste a vaPlan/SectionView from model to layout space, why not support placing it directly there?

What’s the pros?

  • The model space is left uncluttered (very important).
  • 2d plans remain where they belong: in a 2d layout! Dimensioning can already and should be made there, again, to keep the 3d clean.
  • saving the file as DWG and opening it in AutoCAD already opens the 2d drawing (in the layout, of course).
  • Layout compositions can be made.

That I don’t understand. I just tested it: create a vaPlanView, copy/paste it into the Layout space, save the DWG, open it in ACAD - solid fills show up.

Fixes that would be needed:

  • As of now, if running a vaUpdate on a VA view on a layout, it gives the error:
    Would it be hard to make this possible?
  • A ‘Scale’ parameter should be added to the vaPlan/SectionViews on the Layouts, for obvious reasons.

This option (vaPlanSectionViews on Layouts) would not be meant as the one and only way to bring VA drawings over to 2d dwgs, but it sounds fairly straightforward, and it looks (can be mistaken) like it’s not hard to implement.

One ‘disadvantage’ would be that the 2d drawing in the DWG would reside in the Layout space in AutoCAD (or whatever people use then). This is unusual, but actually it’s clean. One could copy/paste it back over there if needed.
However, it’s a general contradiction to try to keep model space clean in Rhino, but clutter it in AutoCAD. What’s the cleanes solution for this?


Eugen, I think you could be a public speaker for all the VA users :wink:
Cheers, Jaro


Hi! Since this discussion has stalled a bit… any news on what you are planning now?
Besides, is there anything worth commenting on about my post from the 4th of July? :sunglasses:

Some time has passed. Since this feature will be one of the most important ones (for me at least): can you share the status?