Working easily off ortho

I’m very often working on objects and spaces that are at some odd angle from the standard Otho directions. This brings on endless problems with doing things that are normally a breeze in standard ortho oriented C-planes. Is there some learning or tutorial that would show me how to easily work on such things as this for example

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I’d like to plot out center points and truss support angles without futzing with rotating things back and forth. I know this will likely strike some of the expert users as a caveman question, but ther it is.

Then you should make a new cplane first. The 3point option gives the best control in this case I think but in many cases if your surfaces are well aligned with the direction you need, cplane to object could work also.

When I tried that I get something aligned with the object but can figure how to rotate the C plane.

Then I’ve always the confusion when I try to navigate through views so I’m never sure if for instance the overhead is oriented to the base orthos or reletive to the created C-plane. In this case the base has moved up.

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After setting the cplane, you can use _Plan to align the cplane to your screen.

cool! Now how t rotate it…

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check the tools under Cplanes tab:
or you can use Cplane to Surface to quick choose the orientation of the axis.
Also you can configure the Cplanes to work on the viewport you changed or in all of them

then , once you change the cplane, for example in perspective view. each ortho view will update to that new Cplane
also you can store Cplanes in the right plannel under NamedCplanes Tab.

As for the plan view, that’s why I mentioned 3point option because it sets origin, x axis, y axis. So make sure you align the x axis with the length direction of your part, then you don’t need to rotate afterward.

Personally I don’t like universal cplane option. Gets really confusing quickly.

One of the greatest flaws of Rhino is that it is not obvious how the current construction plane is oriented. Probably the best way to solve this problem is using mobile construction plane.

  1. Draw a line that represents your mobile construction plane.
  2. Use MPlane command to attach the mobile construction plane to the line.
  3. Every time you want to rotate the construction plane, you rotate the line instead. The mobile construction plane is attached to the line, so it is rotated the same way.
  4. If you do not know how the current construction plane is oriented, take a look at the line - they are the same.

If you show the grid and/or the grid axes, it can be as obvious as you want it to be. There are many options for the grid, including colors and transparency. You can easily turn it on and off in a given viewport with F7.

My opinion is greatly exaggerated, but there is some truth in it. If you are a newbie, you may wonder whether the Z axis goes up or down. Rhino documentation does not answer this question. I peeked into Options>Advanced, and to my surprise I found Rhino.Options.Grid.ShowZaxis variable. (It is shown in the following screenshot.) I set this variable to True. Nothing happened - the Z axis is still invisible. I believe that all grid axes should be visible by default.

The issue is more complicated than just setting a Cplane to an object. It’s that using a key combo to move through views may or may not (it seems) coincide with the newly designated C plane. There should be a way to enter into a modeling space based on a newly created C plane that allows changing the basic views or planes relevent to it. If for instance I want to work on a wall that’s at an angle its a nuisance making sure each view will give me the relevent orates (orthos) god I hate the spell checking!

I need.

Hello - see Universal CPlanes.


Gosh, I think I’m embarrassed. So then when I want to get back to the original set of planes is there a key combo for instance to get to the default overhead view?

my workflow: i am using custom cplanes only in perspective view.
important cplanes, i save as _namedCplanes
and then the _namedCplanes Window is your friend, … double click on default top

Hello - you can reset the views and planes with 4View run twice in a row.


At some point - probably V4 and earlier - this was exposed as a general setting. However, it was moved from a general setting into the individual display modes - looks like V5 and later. It is accessible via the display panel or by drilling down into the Options>View individual display modes to the “Grid” section.


True - I have no idea what this setting actually does, as it looks like the display mode setting overrides this anyway. @wim any idea here?

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i did not understand that, why does one have to run it actually twice? i noticed that running it twice resets it completely but i did not figure out what it does after running it once and what it actually resets in the end.

It is a bit of a weird animal and I don’t think any other Rhino command behaves like this.

Running it once resets the views to 4 viewports - say you had closed one and only have a 3 viewport layout (I don’t think that’s even possible on Mac yet, but it is in Windows). If you are running in a single maximized viewport it goes back to all 4 viewports. It also sets the views to the 4 standard views.

However, running it once does not set the CPlanes associated with those viewports to default. In certain situations - but not all- the view characteristics are also preserved, such as if you have changed the projection or lens length in the Perspective viewport. But for me I cannot figure out when this happens/does not happen.

Running the command again immediately after resets all viewports to the default views, projections and CPlanes.

Methinks this procedure could be made clearer and perhaps more predictable.

Thanks for the info. When I turned it on, the Z axis was shown on both sides of the XY grid. It provides no clue which side of the Z axis is positive.

Hmm, not the case here: