AutoCAD 2015 and AutoCAD LT 2015 Bible

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Use spherical coordinates in 3D AutoCAD drawings

Spherical coordinates are a way of specifying coordinates in 3D. Mostly, you use them with the LINE command. They’re good for finding a coordinate that you might use in a solid or surface. (I cover cylindrical coordinates, which are similar, here.)

Spherical coordinates have the format distance<angle<angle. An example would be 6<40<20. The 3 parts of the coordinate are as follows:

  1. Distance: Units in the XY plane from the last point
  2. Angle: Degrees from the X axis in the XY plane
  3. Second angle: Degrees from the XY plane along the Z axis

Spherical coordinates can be absolute or relative. You don’t need the @ symbol to make relative coordinates if Dynamic Input is on and set to the default option of relative coordinates.

Here you see a red line drawn from 8,5 to 6<40<20. Note that the length of the line is the same as the distance in the coordinate (unlike cylindrical coordinates).



Do you use spherical units? When do you find them useful?

3 comments to Use spherical coordinates in 3D AutoCAD drawings

  • Rolland Grigsby

    This tip is very helpful


  • Stijn Tas

    The name “spherical” is not present in the drawing. I made some drawings for my course with the volume inside.
    If you’re interested in the drawings I’ll send them. (e-mail me)
    Maybe they can help understanding the coordinates.

  • Luisa

    Thank you. I’m currently in school right now going through 2D courses for cad drafting… it seems to be 2D designing (especially for interior design) is counterproductive! anyway, thanks I will bookmark this site

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