Create a tangent reference plane

Step 1.

Choose Home tab→Reference group→More Planes→Tangent button.

Step 2.

Select one of the following face types:

  • Cylinder

  • Cone

  • Sphere

  • Torus

  • B-Spline surface

When you select a cylinder or cone, the command displays a dynamic representation of the new reference plane. As you move the cursor, the new plane moves around the selected face. For other surface types you must select a keypoint to position the tangent plane.

Step 3.

Define the tangent plane location by doing one of the following:

  • For a cylinder or cone, do one of the following

    • Move the cursor to position the plane where you want it, and then click.

    • Type an angle value in Angle box, then move the cursor to position the plane on the side you want to use, and then click.

  • For other surface types, select a keypoint that lies on the surface. The keypoint can be from an element that was used to construct the surface or from an element that was projected onto the surface.


  • You can use QuickPick to locate hidden part faces.

  • As you move the cursor, the angle distance of the dynamic reference plane changes in increments.

  • You can locate keypoints in 3D space to position the new plane accurately. Use the Keypoints QuickBar options to specify whether you want to locate the end point of a line or part edge, the midpoint of a circle or arc, or a tangency point on a curved analytic face.

    If there is more than one possible tangency between the plane and a curved face, a bold line shows which tangency is active as you move your cursor over the face.

  • You can use the N, B, T, P, and F hot keys on the keyboard to change the orientation of the x-axis. The N key selects the next linear edge as the x-axis. The B key goes back to the previously selected edge. The T key toggles the x-axis origin to the opposite end of the selected edge. The P key selects a base reference plane to define the x-axis. The F key flips the normal direction of the reference plane, which changes the x-axis orientation.

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