Tools for Precision

A set of interrelated tools in 3ds Max Design gives you precise control of the scale, placement, and movement of objects in your scene. These are especially important tools for those who build precise models in real-world units of measurement.

Basic Tools

The tools for precision are grouped as follows:


Define different measurement systems. Besides the generic unit, you have your choice of feet and inches in both decimals and fractions. Metric units range from millimeters to kilometers. You can also define other units.

See Using Units.


Include the home grid and special grid objects. Both types of grid can act as construction planes. 3ds Max Design constructs objects using the orientation and position of the active grid. While the home grid is fixed in world space, you can rotate grid objects and place them anywhere in a scene, and align them to other objects and surfaces. You can also give each grid object its own spacing, and display any grid as a dedicated viewport.

See Using Grids.

Object alignment

Matches an object with the position, orientation, or normal of another object, or to a point in space.

See Alignment.

Object snaps

Ensure precise placement when creating and rearranging objects. Keyboard shortcuts let you change object snaps as you work. You can also set snaps to find grid lines and intersections. An angle snap sets the increment for rotation, and a percent snap sets the increment for scaling.

See Using Snaps.


These are specialized tools in the same category as grid objects. For example, the Tape object measures distances in current units, and the Protractor object measures angles. The Dummy helper is useful in constructing hierarchies, and the Manipulator helpers let you use custom controls in the program interface.

See Helpers.

Additional Tools

Rounding out the set of precision aids are tools and utilities for checking geometry, measurement, and rescaling units.

See Drawing Assistants.

How the Tools Work Together

The tools themselves establish a general order of use and interaction, although you can always change settings as needed without following this sequence.

As you work, you can change your settings (including the measuring unit) without losing any precision.