A reader writes:
I have a 3D model as reference file and from the viewport in Paper Space where we do our 2D drawings. It's just like we're tracing the lines to produce the 2D drawings. A portion of the drawing that we would like to show is in an angle plane and Clip Command only works perpendicular to the camera view. How do you clip angle?
This method of tracing the 3D to create 2D in paper space for me looks more like going backwards, because we're double drafting. Is there a way to save time with re-tracing these lines from 3D. Can I just export the 3D file as 2D?
Oh my goodness. You should NOT be tracing the 3D models to produce 2D drawings! The whole point to MCAD software -- like Solid Edge, SolidWorks, Inventor, and so on -- is to automatically generate 2D plans from 3D models. These 2D plans update themselves automatically when the 3D model is changed.
I recommend you download (or get the CD) of each vendor's demo version to see which one works best for you, and then make the purchase. The software is typically US$5000 each (plus annual maintenance) but will probably pay for itself in the first year.
AutoCAD has a poorly-documented triple set of commands for doing this properly. These commands generate 2D "profiles" of 3D models, including hatching of sliced open parts and hidden lines for hidden edges: SolView, SolDraw, and SolProf.
You shouldn't be using AutoCAD for this work at all. But if your drawings are simple, then the SolView-SolDraw-SolProf trio might be sufficient.
If you are using AutoCAD 2007, then it has the FlatShot command that you might find useful. It creates a 2D profile of the 3D model at the current viewpoint angle.