Tips & Tricks — Don’t make a new reference file clipping boundary.

Just change the one that’s there.

Rick Sewell, MicroStation Customer Service

Rick Sewell, beloved CAD ace, helps CAD users every day. Give him a call and find out how you can save time on your projects.

By Rick Sewell, Axiom’s Resident Service Genius

So you have your clip set up all nice and neat. Then you’re told that you must also include that little section of the reference that is just outside the boundary. Ah! What a pain to have to re-clip the whole thing. My solution is to not do it! Instead, just adjust the existing clip boundary. Here’s how:

  1. Go to File | References.
  2. Select the reference that has a clipping boundary you’d like to edit.


    Figure 1. The “Hilite Mode” in the References dialog box provides options for controlling the way references are identified.

  3. Set the “Hilite Mode:” to “Boundaries”. This will highlight the clipping boundary for the selected reference.


    Figure 2. Notice the pink edge. That is the reference file clipping boundary being highlighted.

  4. You’ll now be able to see the file clipping boundary. If you were to now left-click the clip boundary and drag, you could move the reference and the boundary.

  5. Pick the “Element Selection” tool.


    Figure 3. Most people don’t realize how much control the “Element Selection” tool has over reference file clipping boundaries.

  6. In the “Element Selection” dialog box, you’ll see a little button off to the right by itself with a “No” symbol (red circle with a line through it) on it. Hover your mouse over it and a fly-over text will display “Disable Handles”. This button defines whether or not you are controlling just the reference file boundary or the reference file and boundary together. (If you were to now left-click the clip boundary and drag while the “Disable Handles” button is active, you would move both the reference and the boundary together.)

  7. Disable the “Disable Handles” feature so that you can modify just the boundary, not the boundary and the reference.
  8. Left-click on your clipping boundary and you’ll see handles show up at the vertices.


    Figure 4. The dashed line on the outside represents where the clipping boundary will end up when you stop dragging.

  9. Now, left-click on any of the vertices and drag it to change the location of the point. Doing this modifies the shape and size of your clipping boundary.

So, don’t just delete your clipping boundary. Change it!

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For more information on cool tips and tricks, check out our LearningBay courses by visiting You can also schedule a free demonstration about training solutions or talk with one of our MicroStation Consultants by calling 727-442-7774 extension 3530.

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Mastering MicroStation 3D

Why it’s like building a birdhouse.

Mike Arroyo, Microstation Advocate, Philosopher And Birdhouse Fan — I didn’t know that building a birdhouse when I was young would be so important to me later in life. But it taught me an excellent lesson in how to teach MicroStation 3D to anyone. I’ll tell you more about that in a minute. I recently recalled one of my most memorable learning experiences when I was a young boy while I was reviewing some of the MicroStation 3D online courses that Axiom has.


Mastering MicroStation 3D has more in common with building a birdhouse than you might think.

My father, a successful machinist who always worked with his hands, set aside a few hours one Saturday morning to teach me how to use his tools to build a birdhouse. My excitement quickly dissipated to despair when I realized that Dad had a different idea than I did on how this project would go down. Before I could build a birdhouse, he demanded that I master each of the required tools — one hammer, two saws, an assortment of nails, sand paper, glue and paint brushes.

For what seemed like hours, wearing working gloves that were never going to fit, he made me cut scrap lumber and inspected it to see if the cuts were straight. I hammered a hundred nails until I was able to drive them into the wood without bending them. He was deaf to my constant question of “When am I going to build a birdhouse?” until I demonstrated that I could lay down an even bead of glue. Just when I was about to quit and leave the garage, he announced that I was ready. He provided the wood I needed and in thirty minutes, I built the best looking birdhouse in Chicago, ready to paint.

So how does this story connect with learning MicroStation 3D? It’s really simple. The online courses that I’ve put together teach you how to master MicroStation 3D modeling tools, one concept and tool at a time. There are over 50 self-paced video courses that are organized into small, digestible modules with plenty of examples that you watch and then do. There are also sample files with the courses — your very own scrap pieces of wood to work with.

As topics, functions and tools become more complex, the models you create follow in complexity. Each course is designed to provide you with great modeling experience and confidence. And because each course is presented in small, manageable modules, lessons can be learned in minutes. So, even though the courses are stuffed with all the information you need, you’ll find yourself rapidly getting through them, all at your pace.

Learning is my passion and not just my job. Building that birdhouse would be the only time my father and I would build something together. But the lessons I learned while building it still drive me today. I encourage you to learn MicroStation 3D modeling, one step at a time with our LearningBay courses. I’ll make sure you have everything you need to learn.

Master MicroStation 3D!
For more information on how you can use LearningBay courses to master MicroStation 3D, contact an Axiom MicroStation Consultant today! Call 727-442-7774 extension 3901, e-mail or visit Axiom on the Web at now.

Why Does Learning 3D Seem Impossible?

Here’s how to make it easier and save you some time.

By Mike Arroyo, CAD Guru and Happiness Advocate
Even when you have years of CAD experience drawing in 2D, why does learning 3D seem so impossible? Being bright, motivated and able to understand complex software is an advantage, but never the sole reason why someone masters the 3D design world. It has everything to do with the right training methodology and materials.

Learning 3D with Axiom’s LearningBay courses will have you up and productive in no time. If you’re already familiar with 3D, the searchable courses provide an excellent reference tool.

Years ago, I attended an expensive 3D training event, ready to jump into 3D design. After two long days of disjointed training, discussing how tools work but never when to use them or why, the class spent the last remaining day modeling a sheet metal screw. I still recall the student next to me wondering how he was going to model refinery equipment, thinking that he had to build every nut and bolt.
So, how concepts are presented and what materials are being used does make a difference. The next natural question to ask is “What does good 3D training look like?” While it’s true that people learn in different ways, I’ve found that when a course includes these key items, people are able to use the information and can now start building 3D designs:

  • Modular training materials — Lessons must be organized, easy to follow, gradually building concepts while introducing related tools and functions, at the right time. Exposing students to unrelated commands will create confusion and makes 3D modeling more difficult to learn.
  • Real-world examples — Every learning module must include real-world examples that illustrate the concepts being discussed. The training should explore what makes these examples great and the materials in the examples should be included with the training.
  • Self-paced exercises — There is nothing like a solid, self-paced exercise. Good step-by-step labs explain necessary procedures, while providing all of the related details necessary to build the 3D models or generate 2D designs from 3D models.

The traffic light shown at the beginning of this article is just one of dozens of examples and step-by-step labs waiting for you to master. Learning 3D design doesn’t have to hard, the materials just have to be easy!

LearningBay, Axiom’s training division, set out to create the best possible 3D training, delivered right to your desk with something as simple as a web browser. They successfully built small, modular 3D courses, complete with sample DGNs and step-by-step labs. Today, Axiom has the most extensive 3D browser-based learning for MicroStation V8i SELECTseries 3 available, with over 40 courses.
What makes Axiom’s LearningBay 3D training so good? Schedule a demonstration and you will see within the first minute.

Call now!
For more information on MicroStation training, contact an Axiom MicroStation Consultant today! Call 727-442-7774 extension 3568, e-mail or visit Axiom on the Web at now!

MicroStation Tips & Tricks: Plotting a 3D Reference as a 3D PDF

By Rick Sewell, Axiom Director of Customer Services


Rick Sewell, beloved CAD ace, lives to help CAD users get their projects done on time. He really lives for this stuff. Give him a call and put him to the test.

If you want to impress your co-workers and superiors, then provide them with a 3D PDF that really shows your handiwork. (As a note, you will need a PDF viewer that can handle 3D PDFs such as Adobe PDF Viewer or BlueBeam’s Revu.) Here’s how:

  1. Start by opening your sheet model and ensure you have your 3D reference attached.
  2. microstation-today-3d-pdf-1

    Figure 1. It’s easy to create 3D PDFs from 3D references. This figure shows two 3D reference models that were attached before plotting.

  3. Go to File | References to load your “References” dialog box.
  4. Highlight the reference that you want plotted in 3D.
  5. microstation-today-3d-pdf-2

    Figure 2. Use the “References” dialog box to select the 3D reference or references you want to plot in your 3D PDF file.

  6. Click the little “Plot as 3D (PDF)” icon that sits at the bottom, middle of the “References” dialog box.
  7. Now go to File | Print…
  8. From the “Print” dialog box click on the “Printer” icon.
  9. You’ll be prompted to name and save your PDF. Name it what you’d like, set the location you want it saved and then press the {Save} button to begin creation of your PDF.
  10. Next, go to the location where the file was saved and double-click to open it.
  11. microstation-today-3d-pdf-3

    Figure 3. Hovering your mouse over the image of the reference that was plotted activates a toolbar with icons that have functions that allow you to navigate your 3D file.

  12. Use the items on the toolbar to navigate around your 3D file.

Want More MicroStation Know-how? Call Now!
For more information on cool tips and tricks, check out our LearningBay courses by visiting You can also schedule a free demonstration about training solutions or talk with one of our MicroStation Consultants by calling 727-442-7774 extension 3530.

Send Us Your MicroStation Tips!
Send your favorite MicroStation tip or trick to We will give you full credit for the tip and your peers will look at you with reverence.