Friday, May 30, 2008

Surface UV display mode

In Rhino 4, surface and polysurface objects can be set to show their U and V directions by applying a new or modified display mode to a viewport or to individual objects using SetObjectDisplayMode.
To make a new wireframe display that shows U and V directions, open Options > Appearance > Advanced Settings. In the list of display modes, select WireFrame and click the Copy button near the bottom of the page. The current Wireframe display mode will be duplicated and you will see the controls for this new mode. You may want to rename it from the default 'Copy of Wireframe'. In the 'tree' view of the display mode controls on the left, choose Objects, then Surfaces. On the Surfaces page look for 'Surface Isocurve Settings' The default setting here is 'Use object's color' but the drop down list includes 'Use Specified UV colors'. Selecting this option will change the control to show color swatches for U and V - click on the swatches to access the color picker dialog to set the colors you like. Other display modes that show surface isocurves can be changed using this same setting in that display mode's controls. Make any other changes you like in the display mode and exit Options. The new display mode will show up in the viewport title context menus by default so that the viewport can be changed as a whole to this display mode, and it will be available to the SetObjectDisplayMode command, which sets selected objects' display modes in the active viewport. You can save custom display modes from the Options > Appearance > Advanced Display page by selecting it from the list and clicking the Export button.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Accessing Toolbars in Rhino 4.0

For those of you who have just moved from Rhino 3.0 to Rhino 4.0 or who have yet to discover all the Rhino 4.0 improvements, this is one that is quite a time-saver. Specially, for those of you who have small screens...

In Rhino 4.0 you can access any toolbar by clicking with the right mouse button anywhere on the grey space of the interface. When you do this you have the list of all Rhino toolbars, as well as any plug-in you might have installed. You just need to click or unclick to make them visible! As opposed to Rhino 3.0, where you had to do it through the menu.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Scanning and reverse engineering

My job involves doing technical support for Rhino. A common question I get is: "I have a scanned part and I need to turn it into a NURBS model". This can be a difficult and time-consuming task but it can be done using native Rhino tools or a reverse engineering plugin for Rhino A little over a year ago, I wrote a document that describes this process and the techniques involved using just native Rhino commands. It covers analyzing the mesh to determine what kind of clean-up may be needed. Once the mesh is cleaned up and made water-tight, it is ready for rapid prototype printing. The second part of the document describes how to manually reverse engineer NURBS surfaces from the mesh.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Osnap Activation

This is an old tip, but I've realized a lot of people don't know about it; if you right-click on any Osnap it will be selected while all others will be deselected, if they were selected in the first place.

And on the same order of ideas, if you wish to toggle between enabling or disabling active Osnaps, you can add this macro to an Alias (menu: Tools > Options > Aliases):

_DisableOsnap Toggle


Monday, May 19, 2008

Activating History in Rhino 4

By default, History recording is turned off in Rhino 4. To record history, click in the Record History pane in the status bar at the bottom of the screen. Recording lasts exactly one command and then turns off again so that you need to set this for every command for which you would like to record history. When the 'Record History' text is bold in the status bar pane, history recording is on. To force Rhino always to record history for eligible commands, right click in the Record History pane and set a check mark to 'Always record history' in the context menu. Note there are other settings available there as well. These settings can also be set at the command line using the History command.

In order for history to be recorded for a command, recording must be turned on before the command completes- it's ok to start recording history for Loft while the Loft dialog is up for example. See Help for details and a list of History enabled commands.