03/19 – Creating Floorplans


Create a 3D model of a floorplan of a place that is special to you. Due: 03/26

Step-by-Step Instructions (Summary)

  1. Import an image file (PDF, jpg, gif, png, etc.) as a picture frame (PictureFrame) into Rhino (start in viewport: Top)
  2. Create accurate dimensions and learn how to scale your 2D plan correctly in Rhino (measured length / desired measurement)
  3. Trace the plan in Rhino using curves
  4. Extrude, move and accurately model built space (floor, walls, stairs, etc.)
  5. Export 3D model for 2D printout (layout)

Exercise Files:
1. Download Gallery Floorplan  (PDF)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Change your preferences in Modeling Aids:

Import a reference image
in Top view (Picture)

Scale your image:

  • find a line that is measured and draw a curve that traces that line
  • Analyze > Length to find the length of the curve (measurement will probably be off)
  • Select curve and picture frame and type Scale in command line (origin point = lower-left corner of the picture frame)
  • type in command line: (desired length) / (number you measured) = correct scale
  • Length to double-check the curve

Trace image:

  • find an intersection in your drawing and place this at 0/0 origin
  • change opacity of picture frame in Object Properties / Materials
Basic Drafting Standards:

Human Form:

Male Height 5ft 9.1in/1,755mm. Shoulder width 1ft 6.3in/465mm. Head width 6.1in/155mm. Head depth 8.7in/221mm. Chest depth 10in/254mm

Female Height 5ft 4in/1,626mm. Shoulder width 1ft 4.1in/409mm. Head width 5.7in/145mm. Head depth 8.1in/206mm. Bust depth 10in/254mm.

Steps or stairs

Terminology: the vertical face of a step and its height are both known as the riser while the horizontal face (which is trodden on) and its forward depth are known as the tread/run. Stair width, therefore, refers to the distance side-to-side i.e between handrails, and headroom is the height available or needed overhead. The step nosing is the common forward protrusion at the top of each riser. The pitch of a flight of steps is the overall incline measured as an angle from the floor.



Interior Graphic Standards list a range of common door widths as 2ft/610mm, 2ft 4in/711mm, 2ft 6in/762mm, 2ft 8in/813mm, and 3ft/914mm.

The only two standard heights given for interior doors are 6ft 8in/2,032mm and 7ft/2,133mm.

The height of ‘operating hardware’ (i.e. door handles) is given as typically 3ft 2in/965mm centreline above floor level (or ranging between 2ft 10in/864mm and 4ft/1,219mm).

Common door thicknesses 1-3/8in/35mm, 1-3/4in/44mm.


Windows vary a great deal more than doors in terms of size and position within the wall. If thumb-rules are needed Interior Graphic Standards includes the following:

maximum: of 3ft 8inin/1,118mm above the floor, a minimum clear opening width of 1ft 8in/508mm, and (in the case of an operable sash window) a minimum clear opening height of 2ft/610mm.


Average ceiling height = 8′

Review Material:
  1. How to read floor plans
  2. Architectural floor plan symbols
  3. Using a picture frame as a reference in Rhino (PictureFrame)

Azuma House Tutorial

Row House in Sumiyoshi, also called Azuma House, is a personal residence in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, Japan. It was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando in his early career. It was designed without exterior windows reflecting the desire of the owner to feel that he was not ‘in Japan’, but to compensate for lost light, an interior courtyard with cross walkway was created.

Practice Files

Download Azuma House (Row House) Floorplans

03/12 – Surface Modeling II

In Class Today:

1. Download today’s exercise file.
2. Discuss questions / problems with modeling.
3. Review next week’s assignment & personal project.

Download today’s Exercise File.

Some modeling tips:

  • Start modeling at 0,0,0.
  • Avoid primitives when possible: use curve –> surface –> solid method.
  • Save your curves on a separate layer.
  • Use your Osnaps.
  • Simpler is better: fewer control points = easier modeling down the road.

Assignment: Design a Tower

Towers are specifically distinguished from “buildings” in that they are not built to be habitable but to serve other functions. The principal function is the use of their height to enable various functions to be achieved including: visibility of other features attached to the tower such as clock towers; as part of a larger structure or device to increase the visibility of the surroundings for defensive purposes as in a fortified building such as a castle; as a structure for observation for leisure purposes; or as a structure for telecommunication purposes. Towers can be stand alone structures or be supported by adjacent buildings or can be a feature on top of a large structure or building.

Design Brief:

  • Determine the function of your tower (clock tower, observation tower, a castle, futuristic apartment block? …etc.)
  • This functionality should somehow be illustrated in your design
  • Create an Isometric view and a Front view of your design
  • Post both images to Padlet (PDF or screengrab is fine)

Some inspiration …

Recordings of today’s session:

03/05 – Surface Modeling Intro

In Class Today:

  • From curves to surfaces and solids in Rhino
  • Review array functions, rotate, copy, move commands
  • Planar Surface (PlanarSrf), Extrude Curve (ExtrudeCrv), ExtrudeSurface (ExtrudeSrf), Loft (Loft),


Design Brief:
Design a graphic logo to represent yourself. Explain the symbolism of the various elements used in your logo. The log should be a creative symbol or mark representing you and your interests. The logo may use text, but it must be combined with symbols.

  • Project Criteria:
    • Brainstorming (sketchbook): create a list of possible symbols that represent you.
    • From that list, select 2 symbols and try different combinations of them together.
    • Play with negative space, rotation, copying, moving, etc.
    • Effectively combine 2 symbols, or a letter with a symbol to create your logo.
    • Post a screenshot of your logo to Padlet.

Due: 03/12

A fun game if you really, really want to nerd out on typography:

What are surfaces?

A surface is like a rectangular stretchy rubber sheet. The NURBS form can represent simple shapes, such as planes and cylinders, as well as free-form, sculptured surfaces. All surface creation commands in Rhino result in the same object: a NURBS surface. Rhino has many tools for constructing surfaces directly or from existing curves.

All NURBS surfaces have an inherently rectangular organization. Even a closed surface such as a cylinder is like a rectangular piece of paper that has been rolled up so two opposite edges are touching. The place where the edges come together is called the seam. If a surface does not have a rectangular shape, either it has been trimmed or the control points on the edges have been moved.

A surface can be open or closed. An open cylinder is closed in one direction. A torus (doughnut shape) is closed in two directions.

Before we start creating surfaces, polysurfaces, and solids, let’s revisit the World Coordinate System in Rhino:

Create 2 groups of boxes arrayed 4 in the x-direction,
3 in the y-direction.
Practice using the “Move” command.
Move your boxes around.

Surfaces, Polysurfaces, and Solids

Rhino creates hybrid models that can include surfaces, polysurfaces, and solids.

Surfaces are individual, zero thickness sheet bodes that are 2D or 3D

Polysurfaces are two or more surfaces joined together to create zero thickness sheet bodies that are either 2D or 3D.

Solids are single surfaces or polysurfaces that form a closed body (3D only)

Creating surfaces:

Once you’ve created your curves, you can start generating surfaces. Although you can make almost any kind of shape and create extremely complex designs the technique of generating this complexity is quite simple.

  • Planar Surface (PlanarSrf) is the simplest. It will generate a surface on the inside of a closed flat (2D) curve.
  • The second option is the extrusion (ExtrudeCrv) of a curve. This can be a closed curve like the example of an open curve.
  • The sweep command (Sweep1) increases the form freedom because the direction of the extrusion can be varied. This gives you more possibilities to alter the final outcome of the shape than the straight extrusion. The shape can have different sections.
  • The loft (Loft) is in this set one of the most powerful modeling options. You not only can change the section over the height of the shape but also the location of the sections. This option can generate very simple complex shapes.

Let’s Practice!

Download Exercise File
Download Rhino File
Download Rhino File
Download Rhino File

02/26 – Precision Drawing

In Class Today:

  • Review Card Decks on Padlet
  • Introduction to precision drawing in Rhino
  • Work on precision drawing during class


Types of Angles:

Image result for types of angles



The Centermark command draws a cross or a cross and center lines at the center point of a curve.

The size and style of the centermark are controlled by the Annotation style and the Centermark properties.


The Dim command draws horizontal or vertical linear dimensions.


  1. Start the command.
  2. Pick two points.
  3. Pick the third point to locate the dimension line. When the dimension text does not fit between the extension lines, you can place the dimension text on left or right.


The DimAligned command draws a linear dimension lined up with two points.


  1. Start the command.
  2. Pick two points.
  3. Pick the third point to locate the dimension line. When the dimension text does not fit between the extension lines, you can place the dimension text on left or right.

The DimAngle command dimensions the angle of an arc, or between two selected lines, or from three points.


  1. Select an arc.
  1. Select two lines, polyline segments, linear surface, or polysurface edges.

  2. Pick the dimension location.


The DimDiameter command dimensions the diameter of a selected curve.


  1. Select a curve.
  2. Pick the dimension location.
    Dimensions always measure as though the object were projected to the current construction plane.


The DimRadius command dimensions the radius of an arc or circle.

Dimensions always measure as though the object were projected to the current construction plane.


  1. Select a curve.
  2. Pick a dimension location.

For more detailed dimension commands in Rhino, go here.

Download Template
Download Template


You can create arcs using various points on the arc and construction geometry. You can continue an existing curve with an arc to an existing curve, to a point or by an angle.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2019-01-31-at-6.06.30-PM.png
Download Template


  1. Draw the following 2D geometry and include dimensions
  2. Save your file as .3dm (you can save all these on one Rhino file)
Drawing 1: Download File
Drawing 2: Download File
Drawing 3: Download File
Drawing 4: Download File
Drawing 5: Download File
Drawing 6: Download File
Drawing 7: Download File
Drawing 8: Download File
Drawing 10: Download File

02/12 – 2D Drafting

Session 1

Session 2


  • Review Curve Basics on your own: watch all tutorial videos (posted below)

Assignment (due: 02/26)

Assignment 1: Biodiversity Card Deck

Refer to the Biodiversity Heritage Library Collection on Flickr and choose an image collection. You will use this collection to trace designs for your card deck.

It’s very important to try and have an order to what you do when building your own deck of cards. It’s easy to start working ahead, and then realize some things don’t fit or are off. Try and work on your cards in an order like this:

  1. Figure out your suits and their colors (Today’s 52-card deck preserves the four original French suits of centuries ago: clubs (♣), diamonds (♦), hearts (♥), and spades (♠).)
  2. The arrangement of suits on your number cards
  3. Corner design
  4. Designing your Face Cards
  5. Designing your Jokers
  6. Designing your Ace of Spades
  7. Designing your Back

Get Inspired:

Tutorial Videos

02/05 – Introduction

Session 1

  • Introductions
  • Course expectations and syllabus overview
  • Questions?

Session 2

  • Introduction to Rhino and examples
  • Overview of homework and assignments
  • Padlet tutorial


What you need for this class:


  • Install Rhino (see links above)
  • Image research: find images that answer the question: “What is digital fabrication?” and post at least 5 images to the Digital Fabrication Technology Padlet.

Tutorial Videos