Do you have the need to create a surface from a ESRI contour file, and that shape file is just 2D with the elevation as an attribute? The new released Survey Extension For Map3D will do it. It is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Step 1. Use the data connect to connect to the shape file.
Note: all you need is to connect to it there is no need to add it to the map.
Step 2. Use the “Mapcreatesurface” command to open the Create Surface dialog.
The Create surface tool is on the Input and Inquiry toolbar. if not just type the command at the command line.
In the Create Surface Dialog, select “Connection” for the source and select the shp connection you made in the data connect.
Step 3. Provide a name and location for the Raster TIFF that will be created. Then select the field that contains the Elevation value in the attribute table.
Now press the OK button.
Now the results after setting a style to the surface feature layer and placing the original contours above it in the draw order.
OK if you count all the mouse clicks it may be more than 3 steps but, its quicker than firing up ArcInfo and using the tools to create the surface there then connect to it.
To those that may want to question the accurately of this compared to ESRI software, well I took the same shp file in ArcMAP created a TIN from it and converted that into a Raster. I then added that to this dwg and compared them in both 2D and 3D views. To me I didn’t see any difference between the two.