Alias- Working with exact measurements


i started to learn Alias (previously worked with solidworks and rhino mainly) and while most things are very clear, I seem to not be able to find a good way to work with exact masurements. Most of the tutorials and such use picture underlays, but i would like to create some models based on solid measurements.
I am thinking of importing geometry from Inventor to do it, but if there is another way to do it directly, i would prefer that.

What is your process for things like that?

What sort of commands can i use for input, when drawing lines? I am aware of absolute and relative coordinates, but is there a way to use angles or other input?

thanks a lot!

You can manually type in all of the dimensions you want into the command line, and also use the information window to manually key in coordinates/dimensions.

A couple of techniques I use:

-If you are modelling to technical geometry (your circuit boards or other internal components from the engineers) then you can import those and model around it. A powerful technique, especially when you are modelling something very tightly around internal components is to take spheres and scale them based on your minimum clearances. For example, if I am designing a part with a 2mm wall thickness and 1 mm of internal clearance/tolerance I’ll make a 6mm sphere (3mm radius) and snap it to the edges of my internal components. Now when I am surfacing, I know that if I am interfering with those spheres, I am too close to the components and have to make the surface larger.

-To make simple bounding boxes you can use keypoint curves to define dimensions. Keypoint lines (vs actually modelling using a 1 degree curve) allow you to open the information window and define the length and angle of the line or rectangle etc.

-You can use the rotate tool and then just pop in whatever angle you want for rotating objects on angles.

-The grid is adjustable based on your own dimensions, so if you have a particular scale you need to use you can adjust the grid accordingly. Even if it’s something weird like having a major grid line every 3.3333mm

I never tried that… like autocad?
Sphere on the edge… I will opt it in future , Thanks Cyberdemon.

@JanD, Alias is not a regular engineering software But it has all tools to attend any designer’s requirements.

In curves tool, you will find all tools you needed to create wireframe.
You can use information windows ( Windows > information > Information windows )to modify the dimensions.

Use Circular Arc tool, for angular requirement.(Circular Arc > Angle/Sweep)

Use locators or information window to reconfirm the dimensions.
You can use IGES or STEP format to import the models.

If you are planning to import dimensional images/pdf then use Canvas Image.
It’s easy to proportionately/non-proportionately scale them or add transparency to them.

A good technique for Transportation Interior design work when tons of supporting drawings are provided.

Thanks for the detailed answers!

I ended up making and importing some detailed, true on measurement splines from inventor as a base and then when needed used the keypoint curves like you mentioned. I think that´s gonna be a good workflow since making extensive keypoint curve sketches requires a lot more manual clicking.

I feel like I need to revive the “silly alias questions” thread.

I´m still figuring out what the Rhino equivalent of some tools in alias is.
For one, can I change the coordinates of multiple points at the same time? Like- i select multiple points of a curve (which are have different coordinates in every axis) and then put them all on x:500 without changing their other coordinates…

And for a similar use, can I use snap to curve/ snap to point but have it always projecting on the same plane? I think thats the Orthogonal- drawing selection in Rhino?

Sorry for the noob questions.
I would greatly appreciate any help.


If you use the move tool in the ortho views, CTRL+ALT will snap to curves, and by using the middle and right mouse buttons you will constrain movement for all your selected points to their respective X and Y axes. (Relative to the window/view, not the world space)

So if you had a bunch of points you wanted to snap to 500 (or any arbitrary number) you could either use the grid, or build a curve on the axis, move it 500 in the X, then CTRL+ALT+Middle click your curve to snap all of those to your curve.

Same technique can be used for the second question. If your point is at the correct height in the Z axis, you can middle click THEN right click snap to get it to the correct X and Y positions but the Z position won’t change.

Thanks Mike, that helps a lot! great advise.