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Create 3d symbol from 2d plans & elevations

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I have a whole bunch of 2d plans and elevations of commercial kitchen equipment and I would like to know an easy way of creating basic 3d symbols from them. The symbols do not need to show all the detail the 2ds do, just a solid containing the overall all envelope. If I produce a 2d outline border of each plan and elevation then extrude them, is there an easy way to "add" the extrusions together to form a 3d object.

 

Solids modelling is not my strong point so if anyone has any great tips please share.

 

Thanks!

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If you select all of the extrudes and then go to Model - Add Solids (or use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+A on Windows), it will combine the extrudes into a single object.  You can double-click the object to edit the extrudes or use Ungroup to take it back to the base extrudes.  My recommendation is to try to keep the geometry to as few Add Solids or Subtract Solids operations as possible, so if you want to add to the resulting Solid Addition object, open it up and add the extrudes there rather than adding an extrude to the Solid Addition object.  Having worked on several drawings from colleagues, it can become a huge mess to untangle geometry when it's a series of nested Solid Additions / Solid Subtractions.  It also used to very negatively affect file size to have nested geometry, though I think they fixed that back in VW2020.

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Thanks @Jesse Cogswell

Ill give that a try. I don’t think it’s a simple case of adding solids though. Image my plan, front elev and side elevations are all circles. How do I create the 3D sphere from these three 2d views? I thought extrude the circles and then somehow add the solids but only retain the common solid volume ie a sphere. This is what I want to do with my kitchen equipment 2d drawings. Maybe there is a magic tool or technique for this?

Edited by Boh

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I think I am having a hard time visualizing what you are saying.  Can you show me a screen shot or post a file?  To create a sphere from a 2D view, I would draw half of the sphere then use the Model-Sweep command to turn it into a sphere.

 

I draft literally everything outside of schematics in 3D, and 90% of my models are built out of a combination of extrudes, sweeps, and extrude along paths that are then added or subtracted together in the form of .  Occasionally I'll use the chamfer, fillet, and shell tools, but prefer to avoid them as they are no longer editable without using Ungroup and starting the process over.

 

I should also say that I usually do my 3D modelling first, then trace it to create the 2D views / 2D components of the symbol rather than starting from 2D views.

 

If I can get an example of what you are trying to do, I can put a file together of how I would approach modelling it.

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Thanks @Jesse Cogswell

I was just using a sphere for illustration. How would you create the sphere from 2d elevations?

 

My equipment elevations look like the screenshot below. I have a lot of them and I want to create hybrid symbols using the 2d drawings as the 2d component for hidden line and top/plan views and for the 3d part create a simple 3d solid which would be a representation of the actual thing (doesn't need any detail - just an outline). I could create a polyline outline of each 2d view but how would I create a schematic 3d from the 3x 2d polylines? 

 

image.thumb.png.970f663842976137b5ecc1b29929ebc8.png

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The only solution I can think of is to do a simple extrude of say the plan outline polyline. Then create 2x large cuboids and subtract extrudes of the side elevations. Then subtract the resulting solids from each other to create a final solid. This is a bit time consuming and I have about 50 pieces of equipment to model...

 

image.thumb.png.dc146e5650b5c7f988a5972be1c8e906.png

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I would start from the top view and draw a polyline outline (or even just a rectangle).  Then I'd extrude it the height of the object.  I'd only use the front and side view as reference for dimensions if all you're going for is a basic outline.  Select the top 2d geometry and the extrude to create the initial hybrid symbol.  Once it's a hybrid, go into the symbol's edit mode (either 2d or 3d).  There should be a palette floating around (assuming you're in a VW version 2019 or newer) telling you which view you are currently editing (should read either Top or 3D).  If you click there, you can select Front or Side views and paste in the 2d geometry from the front and side orthographic views that you have in the example you provided.

Once that's done, as long as the object is flat to the section or viewing plane, the detailed 2d geometry will be visible instead of the simple extrude outline.

 

Does that make sense?

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Yes that makes sense! Ideally however it would be good if you could easily tell what it is in a 3d ortho or perspective view. Your suggestion would just be a simple extrude of the plan outline which i knew I could do but was hoping for a magic trick to go a little further. Cropping the elevation contours from this extrude would be a bit more representational of the actual object for 3d ortho or perspective views. Really appreciate your suggestions tho!

 

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Unfortunately there's not really a magic trick, you just have to model it.  It does take a little practice, but you can get pretty quick with it.  It's kind of a matter of breaking down the 3D object to as few components as possible (do as much as you can to the 2D geometry before extruding, plan out where and when you will do solid addition and subtractions), but I almost always start from working from top view.  If I have a traditional 3-view orthographic like you have in your example, I'll just use the front and side views as a reference rather than building geometry from them.

 

image.thumb.png.c5b368a84eadd5d549c383f6e115a1f8.png Here's a layout similar to your above screenshot.

 

The way I would model this object is as follows:

  1. Ctrl click the circle to copy it in place
  2. Ctrl+E to extrude.  For height, type in 6'0" (forgive the use of freedom units, old habits are hard to break and I live and work in the US)
  3. Using the top view, draw a rectangle from the snap point on the left side of the circle where it intersects with the line to cover the bottom of the circle.  Because this is going to be used in a subtract operation, it's not imperative that it be exactly the right size, it can overshoot (I usually have my subtract object overshoot just to make completely sure that all of the geometry is removed)
  4. Ctrl+E to extrude the rectangle.  For height, make it 3'9" (or 4'0" for overshoot)
  5. In the OIP, set the Bot Z to 2'3".  This will place the extrude 2'3" from the "floor".  Alternatively, you could extrude -3'9" and set the Bot Z to 6'0"
  6. Select the two extrudes, then Model-Subtract Solids

I just timed myself doing that and clocked in at 14 seconds to go from 2D geometry to 3D without ever leaving Top/Plan view.  I understand that this is a very simple example, but learning the shortcuts and thinking of ways to avoid changing views can go a long way toward making the process less painful.  In your example, if you extrude the circle to the correct height from the beginning, there's no need to make the extrude of the front view.  You only need to model out the "notch" part of the side view, which can be done simply without having to extrude the whole outline, which would require to rotations and then lining it up in a 3D view before making the subtraction.

 

My best advice is just to practice.  When I was getting started, I would pick interesting objects from my apartment to draft as well as taking earlier 2D drawings I had done and redoing them in 3D.  It's not always fun and usually isn't billable, but having the 3D is killer when you need to do a quick detail or update sections (or in my case, check lighting shots or make quick renderings to show an idea to a director).

 

But here are a couple of quick tips that will make things a little easier:

  • Use Ctrl clicking on 2D geometry you want to extrude to do an instant copy+paste in place (does need to be enabled in the VW Preferences, "Allow ctrl-click in-place duplication".  When the 2D and 3D are close enough in terms of complexity, I'll draft both at the same time to build my hybrid symbol, so I draft the 2D, ctrl click, then Ctrl+E to extrude.  Takes less than a second.
  • Get familiar with working planes.  Your example is a little tricky since cylinders don't have flat sides, but you can use the Set Working Plane Tool (Shift+1 shortcut) while in a 3D view to select a face to use as a working plane.  Then you can click the "Eye" button next to the Layer drop-down in the main menu bar to set your view to be looking right at the plane (useful for matching up edges on non-orthographic planes).  This also sets the plane for drawing 2D geometry to extrude in and out.
  • I don't use it very often, but the Push/Pull tool (Shift+R, and it is somewhat automatic after drawing a 2D object while in a 3D view) can make editing 3D geometry really fast.  You will want to pay attention to what mode you are in as the default mode will get you the aforementioned nested solid addition/subtractions.
  • Use the numeric keypad to quickly change 3D views.  1,3,7,9 will do isometrics, 5 will top 3D top view (as opposed to Top/Plan), 2 is front, 8 is back, and 4 and 6 are left and right sides.  0 will take you back to Top/Plan.
  • Holding down Ctrl and using the middle mouse button will take you immediately to the flyover view.  I use this all the time for doing modeling work.
  • There is a way for VW to generate 2D geometry from 3D, so if you get more comfortable with modeling in 3D, you can auto-generate the 2D so you don't have to draw everything twice.  It's not always great, VW will sometimes make some odd choices and the resulting geometry will not follow class settings from the 3D geometry and will sometimes be assigned a random line weight, but it works in a pinch.
  • When making extrudes and sweeps, try to limit the 2D geometry to single objects.  If you have a 10 x 10 array of circles that all want to be extruded, VW has a much easier time of having 100 extrudes with one circle each than it does with a single extrude made up of 100 circles.  This goes double for sweeps, make sure you're only sweeping a single polyline.  I once got a drawing that would instantly crash when going into a 3D view.  I found that the model for a lighting fixture (of which the drawing contained 200) used a sweep that was made up of a series of lines and arcs.  I traced it into a single polyline and the drawing suddenly ran smooth as butter in 3D.

Someday, AI will make it so that you could feed in a 3-view orthographic and auto-generate a 3D object, but that day is not today.  And if we're being honest about VW, it won't get that feature until well after AI has replaced the need of having human draftspeople.

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Hey @Jesse Cogswell

 

Brilliant response, thankyou very much! I'm fairly familiar with most of your tips but as you say it is practice. Definitely some gold in there! How did I not know about ctrl clicking duplication??

Love this comment!:

16 hours ago, Jesse Cogswell said:

Someday, AI will make it so that you could feed in a 3-view orthographic and auto-generate a 3D object, but that day is not today.  And if we're being honest about VW, it won't get that feature until well after AI has replaced the need of having human draftspeople.

🙂

I've actually also just found out that much of the equipment I need to model is readily available as 3d revit files on the web so that makes things a lot easier. We'll still have to model out much of so the tips and tricks (despite no magic) you've shared here will definitely be useful.

 

Cheers

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