Friday, November 13, 2009

Workaround for AutoCAD Section Plane Problem

While working on one of my presentations for Autodesk University, I discovered what appeared to be what's referred to as a "regression," something that used to work in a program, but after an update, no longer does. In this case, the regression involves the Section Plane tool in AutoCAD.

In AutoCAD 2009, and in the first customer shipping version of AutoCAD 2010, you could create section planes away from a 3D object and then use those planes to create two-dimensional elevations of the object through the use of the Create Block tool (the SECTIONPLANETOBLOCK command).

But in AutoCAD 2010, after applying Service Pack 1, this no longer works. If the section plane is not physically touching the 3D object, when you attempt to create the 2D block, AutoCAD displays an alert informing you that the section creation operation did not generate geometry because of the position of the section plane.

I reported this situation to tech support personnel at Autodesk, who have verified that this is indeed a regression and that the matter will be dealt with in a future update. Until then, the work around is to make sure that the section plane at least touches the surface of the 3D object. You should then also adjust the section plane's Intersection Fill properties so that the elevation does not include any intersection fill.

You'll learn this and much more about using the Section Plane and other tools in my AU class "Back to Flat: Producing 2D Output from 3D Models" (course AU122-2), which I'll be teaching on Tuesday, December 1, from 5:00 to 6:30 in Lagoon A.

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