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How to change XYZ axis directions?

Discussion in 'Using Alibre Design' started by SherpaDoug, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. SherpaDoug

    SherpaDoug Member

    My Alibre has the Y axis pointing what appears on the screen to be up. X points to the upper right, and Z to the lower right. This has not been an issue until I started designing parts of 3D printing. Now I find I instinctively visualize the XZ plane as the build plate of the printer. As a result my parts get imported to the printer software on their side. It can take the printer software several minutes to reorient a complex part to sit base down on the printer platform.

    All this could be avoided if Alibre started with the Z axis pointing up, and the XY plane as the visual desktop. Is there a way to change this? I may have accidentally changed it years ago and i don't know how to change it back.
    default axes image.JPG
  2. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    SherpaDoug -- Remeber that the commercialization of CAD technology was driven by architects who see the X-Axis as being "along the ground" and the Y-axis as being "building up." This "tradition" has hampered CAD technology for nearly 50 years now and is now it's own "tradition" that must be overcome!
  3. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    You may have had a custom view orientation that defined XYZ as you needed. Sounds like you may need to recreate it.
    (Menu item View>Orientations...)
  4. H-L-Smith

    H-L-Smith Senior Member

    The custom view/orientation that Harold suggests sounds like an excellent way to go. However, remember that you can rename the planes anything you wish. So, you can rename the XZ plane to Printer-Base-Plane or Prt-Base or something else that you like.

    I find that once I start working on a design I no longer think of the 3 planes in an operational way. I just keep enhancing the part/assembly without thinking of them much.

  5. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    My problem with that approach is that the X,Y,Z coordinates are screwed up from a Manufacturing or QA perspective. Other than insuring that the Coordinate System obeys the Right Hand Rule, the Orientation of the Axis should be under user control!!!
    ROB101 likes this.
  6. dwc

    dwc Alibre Super User

    As far as I have seen all subtractive (milling) and additive machines have the bed on the XY plane. This is also my experience learning math.
    But more to your problem, what slicer are you using?
    I pay no particular attention to the coordinates when modeling for 3D printing. I have never had a piece that took longer than a few seconds to rotate to the required orientation using Cura. (Even when they took more than 15 minutes to load into AD!)
  7. SherpaDoug

    SherpaDoug Member

    I have a couple of Printrbots and use Cura 15. I can't get any of the newer Curas to run. Using Cura 2 or 3 they will Home, run the axes, turn on and off the fans, but won't heat or print.
  8. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Z is the spindle axis on mills and lathes.

    But Keyshot seems to default to Y as up.
  9. oldfox

    oldfox Alibre Super User

    That would be in keeping with the graphical nature of Keyshot as it isn't a machine, nor building.
  10. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    There should be a setting in KeyShot to allow you select the Up direction of the imported model. Y-up matches Alibre but you can or should be able to change it based on the model.
  11. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User


    Horizontal mills, lathes and injection moulding machines have a Z-axis that is horizontal. In the case of universal milling machines the spindle could also be the Y-Axis. So the concept of 'Z = up' is incorrect.
    swertel likes this.
  12. ROB101

    ROB101 Member

    Sorry to bring up an old thread; but just for the sake of people searching this issue, I will say that both of my cnc milling machines, Gibbs CAM, and other customer's programs that export step files, all default to Z axis vertical (up). It would greatly help to have this as an option in later releases.
  13. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    Hi Rob -- It is more (from my point of view) that all :axis directions: should be under user control and "loadable" setting! -- Lew
    ThomasW and bigseb like this.
  14. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    You can, so long as you remember when importing.

    If you do not, it seems to be fixed for all time, and you must do a re-import for a new file.
  15. +1 to to adding global axis orientation controls. Exporting .STLs from Atom3D to Blender results in an orientation misalignment. It's easily fixed in Blender with 'R', 'X', '90', 'Enter', but having native control over axis orientations would be a nice quality-of-life feature and would benefit interoperability. Especially when you consider CAD is usually one of the first tools in the pipeline rather than the last. Not all tools further down the chain are necessarily equipped to deal with this sort of issue as easily as Blender. I imagine it might be a really big pain in the butt if you were trying to generate G-code for a CNC or something.

    This could be something as simple as exerting control over the 3D orientation of exported data or (preferably) something nicer with global influence.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020

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