Exercise 202

Basic 2D Drawing in Rhinoceros

There is content on this page that is restricted to members. You must login to view this premium content.
If you are not yet a member, click here to learn about becoming a member.


As you begin to work in Rhino(ceros), you will need to be able to draw in two dimensions as well as three dimensions. The following exercise will teach you many basic commands. Spend time learning what certain commands do so that you will be able to effectively use them throughout the semester.

Video Walkthrough:

Part 1: Working with the coordinate system

  • Begin with a new drawing in Rhino. Choose the “Large Objects - Inches” Template File when prompted (this is what you should always choose when performing architectural drawings)
  • Next, double click on the “Top” icon in the top view window to make the top view window full screen. Select the polyline tool and type 0,0 as the starting point of your line. Note: If you type two coordinates (0,0 for example), Rhino will assume the third (or Z) coordinate is 0. If you want to add a third (Z) coordinate, simply type (0,0,1) for a coordinate 1 inch in the z direction, etc.
  • Next, type 0,24’ to create a line 24’ long along the Y-axis. The coordinate you used is an absolute coordinate and references distances from the origin (0,0). The first number in the coordinate is the x-value and the second number is the y-value so 0,24’ would be 0 along the x-axis and 24’ along the y-axis.
  • Now type 12’,24’. You will notice a new line 12’ in the x-direction and even with the previous y position.
  • For the next coordinate, we are going to use relative coordinates. Type @0,-6’. You will create a new line -6’ long in the y-direction from the previous point. Now type @12’,0. Then @0,-12’ and then @-12’,0 followed by 12’,0 and 0,0. Note: The last two coordinates are absolute coordinates to illustrate the difference.

Part 2: The offset command

  • Next type offset or select Curve>Offset Curve from the menu. Select the curve you just drew by clicking on it. Now type D for Distance and type 6” then click on the side of the curve you want to create an offset line. You will create a line inside of the existing line. These two lines represent the walls of a building.

Part 3: Trim

  • You now need to add doors and windows to your building. Refer to the drawing on the back of this sheet for guidance.
  • Begin by turning on the “Snap to Midpoint” object snap. (Checkbox next to “Mid” at the bottom of the drawing window). Now click on the polyline tool or type Polyline and draw a line at the midpoint of the uppermost wall that connects the inner and outer walls. Press enter (return) when done. Use the offset command (see above) to create two lines each 18” from the line you just drew.
  • Now erase the first line (in the middle of the window). Type trim or select Edit>Trim. Choose the cutting objects (in this case you can pick the two lines you just created using the offset command above, or you can also type all to select all lines and hit enter (return)). Next, select the objects to trim. In this case, it will be the interior and exterior walls. Hit escape when you are done. You will now have a nice hole in your wall.
  • Type join or select Edit>Join. Select the interior and exterior walls as well as the offset lines created above and hit enter. Your lines will join together to create a closed object.

Part 4: Finish Drawing & Post

Please work for the remainder of the class period (following the drawing on the back of this page as a guide, but feel free to embellish/enhance where you wish). You may wish to explore the following commands: Extend, Fillet, Chamfer, Mirror, Rotate. At the end of class, use File>Print to create an image file of your drawing (this should be a .jpg or .png file) and post the image to the course website.