Block

Toolbar Menu Shortcut

Block
Main
Main1

Edit

Blocks >

Create Block Definition

Ctrl + B

The Block command defines a block object from the selected objects and replaces the selected objects with an instance of the block.

Using blocks lets you

Define a block in a model

  1. Select the objects.
  2. Pick a base point for the block.
    This is the point around which the instance will be located, scaled, and rotated when it is inserted.
    A block control point is placed at the base point of the block.
  3. Type a name for the block definition.

Block Definition Properties

Name

The name of the block definition.

See: Naming conventions in Rhino

Description

Optional descriptive information.

Hyperlink

Adds hyperlink information to a block definition. This information can be retrieved with the Hyperlink command.

Description

A description of the URL.

URL

A web address. Click the address to open the page in the default browser.

Define a block by inserting another file into a model

Define a block by dragging another file onto a model

  1. Drag and drop a supported file from Windows Explorer onto the model.
  2. Specify the Insert file option.
    A block definition will be added to the model.

To redefine a block

Note

Block Instances and Layers

The properties of the geometry (curves, surfaces, etc.) that are contained in the block instance are controlled either by the layer properties or object properties of the geometry itself. Block instances that you insert to the model insert onto the current layer and can be moved to any other layer. There is no relationship between the block instance's layer and the geometry contained in the block. For example, the block geometry does not change to match the layer color onto which the block instance is inserted.

When the block contains objects on a specific layer, turning that layer off will turn off only the objects on that layer. However, if the layer the block instance is inserted on is turned off, all of the objects will disappear.

Locking Layers

When you lock a layer, only the layer that contains the insertion point of the block instance is locked. If a block has objects that are on the locked layer, but the block instance insertion point is not on that layer, the object itself is not locked because the controlling factor is the layer of the block insertion point.

Groups

Grouped objects will not maintain their grouped status inside a block.

Properties by parent

This option is only useful for objects in blocks. Think of a block instance as a container that contains objects (block members). A block instance is the parent of its block members. A block instance has its own properties. If By Parent is selected in the properties of a block member, the properties will be controlled by the block instance.

Simple block example:
Nested block example:

By Parent can be selected for Display Color, Linetype, Print Color and Print Width in object properties. For the Render material, select Use Object Parent. Render materials are only visible in Rendered and Raytraced display modes by default.

BlockManager

Toolbar Menu

Block

Edit

Blocks >

Block Manager

The BlockManager command manages the block definitions in the model.

Steps

Block Manager

Block Definitions

Name

Displays a list of block definitions in the model.

See: Naming conventions in Rhino

Link Status

Displays the status of block instances linked to external files.

Up to date

The block definition and link file match.

Linked file is older

The linked file is older than the block definition.

Linked file is newer

The linked file is newer than the block definition.

Linked file is different

The linked file and the block definition do not match.

Not linked

The block definition was not created by importing a file.

File not found

The file that was used to create the block definition cannot be found.

The missing block location is marked with a text dot object listing the missing block name.

For a description of the process Rhino 5.0 uses to locate files used by worksessions and linked instance definitions, see Rhino Wiki: File finding.

To resolve the issue

Link File Name

The name of the file that was imported to create the block definition.

Hidden and reference blocks

Model has <n> hidden and <n> reference block definitions.

Show hidden block definitions

Allows display of block names beginning with * (asterisk character).

Show nested reference block definitions

You can look at and modify the properties of nested linked blocks. However, any changes made to nested linked block settings are temporary and are never saved. To permanently change linked block settings, edit the model containing the linked block.

Description

Displays the description field of the block definition.

Embedded and linked blocks should

Always update

Updates externally linked blocks automatically each time the model is opened.

Prompt when update required

Prompts to update externally linked blocks.

When a file opens, the Block Definitions to Update dialog box prompts for action.

Never update

Never updates externally linked blocks and does not prompt.

Block preview image

Turns on a graphical preview of the block.

Preview image right-click menu

Wireframe

Sets the view to Wireframe display mode.

Shaded

Sets the view to Shaded display mode.

Rendered

Sets the view to Rendered display mode.

Top

Sets the view to World Top.

Bottom

Sets the view to World Bottom.

Left

Sets the view to World Left.

Right

Sets the view to World Right.

Back

Sets the view to World Back.

Perspective

Sets the view to World Perspective.

 

Buttons

Properties

Opens the Block Definition Properties dialog box.

Block Definition Properties

Block Definition Name

The block name.

File Name

The external file name linked to the block definition.

Browse

Change the name or location of the external file.

External File

For a file inserted as block instance.

Read linked blocks from this file

Blocks linked to the file being inserted are also inserted.

Block definition type

Blocks linked to the file being inserted are always read as linked blocks, no matter what the Block definition type is.

Embed

Insert geometry into the current file. This will not update if the external file changes.

Embed and link

Insert geometry into the current file and maintain a link to the external file. Linked geometry can be updated when the external file changes. If the external file cannot be located, the geometry is still defined in the current file.

Link

Maintain only a link to the external file. Linked geometry is updated when the external file changes. If the external file cannot be located, the geometry will not appear in the current file.

Blocks are saved with both absolute and relative paths.

Layer Style

Defines how layer names are organized

Active

Merges layers with the same names.

Reference

Creates a parent layer using the name of the linked file. Layers in the linked file appear as sub-layers under the parent layer.

Description

Type an optional description.

Hyperlink

Adds hyperlink information to a block definition. This information can be retrieved with the Hyperlink command.

Description

A description of the URL.

URL

A web address. Click the address to open the page in the default browser.

Export

Exports the blocks' component objects to a file.

Delete

Delete the selected block definitions and all instances of the block in the model.

Block definitions nested in another block cannot be deleted.

Update

Redefines the block definition to match the original imported file. Use the information in the Link Status column to determine if the file needs to be updated.

Update linked blocks by selecting instances in viewports

By this procedure, you can update specific linked blocks without opening Block Manager to browse through the block list.

  1. Start the scriptable command -BlockManager.
  2. In the command-line, click Update > Select.
  3. Select instances of linked blocks in the viewport, press Enter.

Block Definitions to Update

This model contains blocks linked to external files that have changed.

Select the block definitions to update

Name

Displays a list of block definitions in the model.

Link Status

Displays the status of block instances linked to external files.

Link File Name

The name of the file that was imported to create the block definition.

Select All

Selects all block definition names in the list.

Clear All

Clears all block definition names in the list from the selection.

Update Later

Updating the block definitions is postponed until you update manually or reopen the file.

Update Now

Updates all of the selected block definitions.

Used by

Lists block definitions that contain the selected block as a nested block.

Count

Counts the number of instances of the block in the model. Nested instances are included in the count.

Select

Selects and highlights block instances of the selected block definition name in the model.

If block instances are selected before the Block Manager is opened, those block names will be selected in the Block Definition list.

Refresh

Refreshes the block list, updating the link status and block properties. This is useful when linked block references may have changed outside the current model.

BlockEdit

Toolbar Menu

Block

Edit

Blocks >

Edit Block in Place

The BlockEdit command allows selecting a block instance to change the block geometry and update the block definition.

Steps

  1. Select a block instance to edit.
    Or
    Double-click a block instance.
    The block geometry opens in the Rhino window. All other objects are locked.
    You can now edit the geometry in the block using any editing techniques.
  2. Click OK to accept the editing.
    To cancel, click the [X] button at the upper-right corner.
Command-line options

PromptToEditLinkedBlocks

Linked blocks are not stored in the Rhino file, but are a connection to an external model. To edit linked blocks, Rhino opens the external model in a separate instance of Rhino. The current editing session is paused until the external file is locked.

Yes

Prompts to open a linked block.

No

Opens the linked block without prompting.

In the Edit Linked Block dialog box, checking the Don't ask this question again... box automatically sets the PromptToEditLinkedBlocks to No.

Block Edit options

The Block Edit dialog box displays the block name and a list of any blocks nested in it.

Add Object

Adds selected objects to the block definition. If the selected object is a block, this becomes a nested block and will display in the tree the next time the BlockEdit command is run.

The object added is copied to the block definition and the original object remains in the model.

Remove Object

Removes selected objects from the block definition.

When the block is updated, the removed objects are added to the model as separate individual objects.

Set Base Point

Repositions the block insertion point.

When the block is updated, the block instance will shift so the new insertion point is placed at the block insertion location.

Notes

ReplaceBlock

Toolbar Menu

Block

Not on menus.

The ReplaceBlock command redefines selected block instances with a different block definition.

Steps

  1. Select block instances to change and press Enter.
    If you select one of several instances in the model, a command-line message displays the number of additional instances in the model.
  2. Select a block instance that uses the desired block definition.
    Or select a block definition from the list.
Command-line options

SelectFromBlockDefinitionList

Displays a list of block definitions in the model to select from.

All

Selects all instances of the current block definition including unselected, hidden, and locked instances.

None

Selects no additional instances. Only the selected instances will be changed.

Or

Select a block from the definition list.

CopyLinkedBlockDefinition

Toolbar Menu

Not on toolbars.

Not on menus.

The CopyLinkedBlockDefinition copies a linked block with Reference style layers.

To create your own example:

  1. Create a simple file called BlockDef.3dm that will be used as a block definition.
  2. Start a new model called "FancyModel.3dm".
  3. Use the Insert command to create a linked block definition with "reference style" layers.
  4. Name this block "A".
  5. Run the CopyLinkedBlockDefinition command and copy "A" to new block named "B".
  6. Run the CopyLinkedBlockDefinition command and copy "A" to new block named "C".
  7. Adjust the layer settings for the three blocks.
  8. Run BlockManager and see that you have three linked blocks that reference the same "BlockDef.3dm".

See also

Work with blocks, groups, and worksessions

McNeel Wiki: Using blocks

 

 

 

Rhinoceros 6 © 2010-2019 Robert McNeel & Associates. 16-Jul-2019