Using 3d Molding Polylines

Reference Number: KB-02882
Last Modified: December 17, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to create a custom frame what tool should I use?


The 3D Molding Polyline tool is much like the normal Molding Polyline tool but more flexible. A molding polyline must be drawn in plan view, so one advantage of 3D molding polylines is that you can draw them in elevation view and create vertical moldings. Another advantage of 3D molding polylines is that they do not have to be coplanar, meaning that a given edge can go in any direction in all three dimensions.

The following image illustrates three objects; each derived from a similar shape using a polyline solid (left), a molding polyline (center), and a 3D molding polyline (right):

In this article an oblong mirror with frame will be created. 

To create the mirror

  1. Click 3D> Create Orthographic View> Cross Section/Elevation  then click and drag towards the wall that will have the mirror.

  2. From the menu click Build> Primitive> Polyline Solid . Click and drag to create a rectangle.

    In this example the rectangle is 2' by 4'

  3. With the Polyline Solid selected click Open Object .

  4. In the Polyline Solid Specification dialog, on the General panel, set the thickness to 1/4"

  5. On the Materials panel select the Polyline Solid sub component and then click Library Material. Browse to or search for a mirror material.  Then Click OK to select the material. Click OK again on the Polyline Solid Specification to close that dialog.

To shape the mirror

  1. With the polyline solid still selected, click on the upper edge to make this the active edge.

    The edge of a polyline based object that has the biggest edit handle is the active side. All other sides will have smaller edit handles.

  2. Click the Change Line/Arc tool to convert that upper edge to an arc.

  3. Next click the Make Arc Tangent tool to make that arc tangent to the side edges.

  4. Click OK on the Radius of Tangent Arc dialog.

  5. Repeat steps 2 -4 for the lower edge.

To create the 3D molding polyline frame

  1. Using the Select Objects  tool select the polyline solid. Then, on the Edit Toolbar click Copy and Paste in Place .

  2. With the new polyline still selected click Convert to Plain Polyline .

  3. With the Plain Polyline selected click Convert Polyline .

  4. In the Convert Polyline dialog choose 3D Molding Polyline and Click OK.

  5. In the 3D Molding Polyline Specification dialog which opens next, click on the Moldings panel.

  6. A default square molding is already chosen. Click Replace and browse to a more appropriate molding.

    In this example, the CA-24 chair rail profile is used.

    • Set the Height and Width of the molding to be the thickness and depth of the frame desired for the mirror then click OK and take a camera view to see the results.