Defines a single object that combines one or more objects.
Using blocks lets you:
Create parts libraries.
Update all instances by modifying the block definition.
Keep a smaller model size by using block instances instead of copying identical geometry.
Use the BlockManager
command to view information about the blocks defined in the model.
Use the Insert
command to place block instances into your model, which scales and rotates the instance.
To define a block
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 control point is placed at the base point of the block.
Type a name and description for the block definition properties.
You can also add a URL to the block.
The objects you selected are converted into a block instance.
To redefine a block
Follow the steps for defining a block and re-use the same block name.
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.
Create an object on Layer 01.
Make this object into a block.
Make Layer 02 current.
Insert an instance of the block you just made.
Turn off Layer 02.
The block instance placed on Layer 02 disappears because the (invisible) insertion point of the block instance is on Layer 02, but the original block instance was inserted on Layer 01 when it was created, so it does not turn off.
Turn Layer 02 back on and make it current.
Make some new geometry on Layer 02.
Make this into a block.
Make Layer 01 current and insert an instance of this new block.
Turn off Layer 02.
Because the geometry is on Layer 02, the block instance you inserted onto Layer 01 disappears. The original block instance also disappears because both the geometry and the insertion point are on Layer 02.
Two factors are involved: the layer or layers of the original geometry (there is nothing to stop blocks from containing objects on different layers) and the invisible insertion point of the block instance, which can be on any layer.
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.
objects will not be maintain their grouped status inside a block.
Block > Block Definition
Edit > Blocks > Create Block Definition
Manages the block definitions in the model.
In the Block Manager dialog box, set block properties.
Block Definition list
Displays a list of block definitions in the model.
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.
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.
To resolve the issue
Click the Properties button to locate the missing block file, and then click the Update button to restore the missing block.
Or, click the Delete button to remove the link.
Link File Name
The name of the file that was imported to create the block definition.
Update linked and embedded blocks when opening this file
Updates externally linked blocks automatically.
Prompts to update externally linked blocks.
Never updates externally linked blocks.
Show hidden block definitions
Allows display of block names beginning with “*”.
Exports the block’s component objects to a file.
Delete all instances of the selected block.
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.
Lists block definitions that contain the selected block as a nested block.
Counts the number of instances of the block in the model. Nested instances are not included in the count.
Block Definition Name
The block name.
The external file name linked to the block definition.
Change the name or location of the external file.
Break the link to the external file. The block becomes embedded.
For a file inserted as block instance.
Insert geometry into the current file. This will not update if the external file changes.
Link and embed
Insert geometry into the current file and maintain a link to the external file. Linked geometry can be updated when the external file changes. See: BlockManager
. If the external file cannot be located, the geometry is still defined in the current file.
Maintain a link to the external file only. Linked geometry is updated when the external file changes. See: BlockManager
. If the external file cannot be located, the geometry will not appear in the current file.
Do not read linked blocks from this file
If the external file contains linked blocks, these will not be inserted.
Use relative file path
The relative path to the external file.
Optional web link.
Block > Block Manager
Edit > Blocks > Block Manager
Sets a base point in a model that is used when inserting the modeling as a block definition.
By default the base point in any model is 0,0,0.
The ModelBasepoint command lets you set that point. The set base point has no effect in the current file, it is only a handle when inserting it into another Rhino model.
Block > Set Model BasePoint