A comprehensive discussion of the Make2D command which allows one to project the linework of a 3D model onto a 2D plane. This linework can then be exported as an Adobe Illustrator file.
Part of Rhinoceros
Part Type Method
Screenshot Make2d.png


The Make2D command captures linework in a selected viewport in relation to that viewport's construction plane and projects it as a two-dimensional drawing to the origin (0,0,0) of the X-Y plane.

This is the primary method to make orthographic drawings from a model, allowing one to export resulting linework as an Adobe Illustrator file.

Though Make2D is a versatile and extremely useful command, there are several known issues which are described at length. These issues can be helped or eliminated by following the general preparation instructions provided.


General Model Construction

Detail Appropriately
Consider the goal of your digital model. If you desire 1/4" scale drawings of your building, modeling the light-switches may not be efficient and will drastically slow your Make2D efforts. If you require a high degree of detail in your model, ensure that your use of layers allows you to "turn-down" the level of unwanted detail.
Join all surfaces into polysurfaces insofar as possible - everywhere surface edges are concurrent, Rhino has to calculate two edges instead of one and see if there are overlaps.
Use the Right Stuff
Make2D does not create 2 D drawings from mesh objects, only surfaces, polysurface, lines, curves, and points.

Intersect Surfaces

Rhino will not automatically generate linework where surfaces intersect with Make2D . You may therefore need to manually identify these instances and use the Intersect command to generate the curves to be captured for these intersections.


Change Unit and Tolerance Settings

Increasing your units to a larger setting (mm to feet) and reducing the tolerance settings (.001 to .01) of your model can speed up the command.
Tolerance Settings Dialogue box
This is done in file>properties>page units

Position Your Model

Make2D acts as a camera, taking a snapshot of your model in whatever viewport is active when you execute the command. Position your model and view appropriately (if you are making a plan drawing of your building - the "TOP" viewport is likely the one to make active and execute the command in). To activate a certain viewport, simply zoom in and out of it and ensure that the position's text box is a different color from the rest.

If possible try to ensure that the geometry included in the Make2D stays inside (does not touch) the viewport boundary at all (this might be impossible for interior views).

Make 2D

Save View

Once you have your view set, it is a good habit to save this view so that you can recreate the view and its corresponding linework exactly. This is done with view>set view>named views.

Ensure Proper Objects are Selected

Turn off layers that contain unwanted linework and/or details. Ensure that duplicate geometry is hidden or deleted with the selDup command. If you are doing a close up of a model that contains geometry which is off screen, you can ensure that only visible objects are selected with the selVisible command.

Make 2D

Once this is all set you can execute the Make2D command.

Viewport active1.jpg

2d Drawing Options

Once you type Make2D you will be presented with various options.

Drawing Layout

Current View
The view in the active viewport will be made into 2D lines. For instance, if the Perspective viewport is active, then that perspective of the model will be made 2D. This is useful for generating lines to overlay on a rendering.
Current CPlane
This projects the objects to the current construction plane regardless of the view shown in the viewport. Use this if the Perspective viewport is active but an orthographic projection is desired.
4-View (USA)
Creates four views with US (third angle) layout, using world-coordinate orthographic projections (not view or construction plane directions of current viewports).


4-View (Europe)
Creates four views with European (first angle) layout, using world-coordinate orthographic projections (not view or construction plane directions of current viewports).



Show tangent edges
Draws tangent edges of polysurfaces. Check this if it seems like some lines are missing in the drawing.
Show hidden lines
Draws the lines in the model that are obscured by other objects. The hidden lines usually show up as white in the drawing on the "Hidden layers" specified.
Maintain source layers
The output is placed on a layer with the same name as the input geometry. If this is not checked you can manually assign which layers corresponding linework will be assigned to.
Exporting Options

Known Issues

Speed Of Command

The command will take a long time to process for elaborate digital models. High degrees of detail may fail to Make2D if your computer is slow, and/or you do not have a lot of memory. Sometimes this can cause Rhino to crash. Bad objects and objects with concurrent edges will also take longer to execute. For complex models, consider running the command in small batches, and the resulting linework will be automatically compiled into one drawing at the origin of the X-Y plane.

Messy Models

Make2D results are directly related to the quality of your model. Clean and precise digital models will allow for clean and precise linework. Conversely, models with overlapping surfaces and poor quality will produce messy linework that will require further editing.

Missing or Overlapping Linework

Make2d is great for simplifying linework and reducing unnecessary duplicates. For example, if two identical surfaces are placed in the same exact location, the Make2d will simplify the linework to one line. Make2d will always prioritize linework for objects that are located in front, or nearest to the "camera".

This can cause issues when there is linework placed upon surfaces edges. Sometimes linework can be lost in the process. If possible, move the linework slightly away from the digital model towards the "camera," then section linework will be prioritized over the building surfaces.