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Radial dimension in Viewport?


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I am using viewports to lay out a drafting on a sheet layer - the viewports are taken from a 3D model. Why can't I use the radial dimension tool (archways, moulding etc)?

Vectorworks "knows" what I am trying to dimension is an arc because it will show me the arc center when I hover over the object, but the dimension tool says "can only be used on circles".

What is the work-around? Right now, I am tracing the line using the arc tool when I am in "Edit annotation", but this seems rather silly.


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It works for me. Are you in an orthogonal view? That is the only view that will give you accurate dimensions in viewports. To see dimensions in 3D planes, you need to make them in design layers.

I did see the alert you describe when in a perspective view. The text is not really relevant to the reason you have the error.



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Yes, I am in orthogonal view.

Sorry, but what do you mean "To see dimensions in 3D planes, you need to make them in design layers." ? I have a 3D model I created in a design layer and am creating viewports in a sheet layer to dimension. Not sure what you were asking.


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I think part of the issue is probably that David is using VW2014. This improved greatly in VW2015 though I still find its an issue with more complex 3d solids. Also, 3d views can be an issue as Josh says.

If you post a simple example someone could try it for you in VW2015 to see if the problem is your version or the situation in which you're trying to use radial dimensions.


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Viewport dimensioning is in the screen plane, and as such only works properly in an orthogonal view aligned to the surface you want to dimension.

If you want to show dimensions of 3D objects where the surfaces do not align to the screen plane, you have to create the dimensions in a design layer, not in the viewport.

If you can dimension the arc in a design layer but not the viewport, this is likely the source of the issue.


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I find that there are often examples where VW highlights the curve you want to dimension but then dimensioning fails with this error. This occurs even when the viewport is in a true view (ie. front, back, top, side) and the object is aligned with the axes. Its almost always with complex solids (ie. solid additions, solid subtractions) or with Extrude Along Path objects.

It drives me a bit crazy because VW seems to be able to clearly identify the curve (ie. highlight it) but can't actually dimension it.


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I AM in orthogonal view and the object IS aligned to the view. I have uploaded a sample from the project I'm working on. Other examples include simple extruded archways, this one was created using extrude along path.

Everything dimensions just fine, but not the radials.

Thanks for all the responses.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think the problem is that there is no longer a circle or arc in you drawing. the profile at the top is a 3d shape so you can only pick the corners.

Workaround is to draw a 3point arc to follow your curve in annotations and you then have a centre point to dimension to.


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