Helpful Settings for Plotting 3D Solids in AutoCAD

This post isn’t a fix-all solution but it has helped printing/plotting issues that I’ve recently encountered. There are some helpful AutoCAD variables and an adjustment to your preferred “Visual style(s)” that can help make printing 3D solids look correct in your print.

First – The issue that we encountered was that intersecting solids didn’t have a clear intersection in the print and curved 3D objects were displaying lines where a “tessellation” of the curves would be.

print Settings for Solids 1a

The settings of the visual styles for a viewport can be confusing. Note that there is a difference of a “Visual Style” and “Shade Plot” setting. This trips me up a lot and I confuse them for each other…

For the purposes of this blog post, I will keep it simple and keep the visual style of the Viewport set to “2D Wireframe” (shown below)

Print Settings for solids 2 1a

  • Then change the “Shade Plot” setting of the viewport by selecting the edge of the viewport from paper space and opening the “Properties” palette. (right-click > Properties)
  • Change “Shade Plot” from “As Displayed” to “Hidden”

Print Settings for Solids 2 a

Change the Visual Style to not display the “Isolines”
Use the command VISUALSTYLES in the command line to open the Visual Styles palette.

  1. Select the Visual Style that you wish to change in the upper section of the palette. In this example, I changed the “Hidden” Visual Style.
  2. Scroll down in the palette to the “Edge Settings” section, Change the property called “Show” from “Facet Edges” to “Isolines
  3. Change the “Number of Lines” setting from “20” to “0” (zero).

Print Settings for Solids 2 b


In addition to making this change to the Vistual Style, changing the following AutoCAD variables helps the plot to display correctly.

Print Settings for Solids 3


The result is shown below. Hopefully you find this useful.

Print Settings for Solids 4

About AutoCAD Tips

This blog serves as a knowledge base for myself (and anyone else) so that I can reference tips & tricks that I have learned and also refer others to it as well. I hope that this blog helps you learn at least one tip to make your drafting/design experience better.
This entry was posted in Layout, Paper Space, PDF, Printing - Plotting, TIPS. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Helpful Settings for Plotting 3D Solids in AutoCAD

  1. Wisnu says:

    Good morning Greg,
    In this case, I’ve a question.
    How to completely hide the lines or silhouettes on the bends or elbows of a pipelines.
    I means, the pipelines is only consists of two parallel lines along each edges of the pipes.
    Again, thank you in advance.
    Best regards,

    In order to minimize the number of lines in a 3d construction, should I, also change the isolines to 1..?

  2. Fabrizio says:

    Hi Greg,
    I’ve another question….
    When i assign a visual style to a viewport (like “realistic”) the 2d texts, hatches, lines and polylines under the 3D dolids (i have them as a base) decreases very much the quality.
    And overall the printing files are HUGE….. so i can print such file only by passing through a PDF.
    Do you have some advice on handle with visual styles and print??

  3. Marco Vargas says:

    This is the answer I have been searching for for many years.. I don’t know how much time I’ve wasted redrawing viewports because I didn’t know this.. Thank you so much!

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