Rhino: What Do You Need to Know About the 3D Modeling Software?

Published on September 8, 2023 by Carlota V.

One of the most popular 3D modeling software is Rhinoceros 3D, also known as Rhino. Based on NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational Basis Splines) geometry, this surface modeling software is commonly used for architecture, prototyping, engineering, jewelry and industrial, graphic, naval and automotive design. Its latest version, Rhino 7 has improved upon Rhino 6, the previous version, which in and of itself was created to remove obstacles that can arise when using the program. It notably includes the ability to create organic shapes with new tools, as well as additional add-ons and algorithms.

But before that, for those who do not know Rhino, the software was created by Robert McNeer & Associates, a Barcelona-based company dedicated to sales, training, marketing and support for software in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Rhinoceros 3D was originally a complement to the AutoCAD software developed by the multinational company Autodesk. The success of this software lies in the fact that there is no limit to the complexity or size of the drawings. But what exactly can you expect from Rhino 7?


Photo Credits: Rhinoceros 3D

The Main Features of Rhino 7

To give some more general context, Rhinoceros 3D is a CAD software with a multitude of complex 3D modeling tools, which allow you to create unimaginable shapes with great precision and detail, whether from a drawing, a sketch or even a 3D scan. The software is compatible with most design, drafting, CAM, prototyping, rendering and illustration programs. Indeed, Rhino 7 allows you to work from curves or mathematical formulas able to accurately describe a 3D shape. On the developer’s site, it is specified: “NURBS are mathematical representations of 3D geometry that can accurately describe any shape, from a simple 2D line, circle, arc or curve to a very complex free-form 3D organic surface or solid. Because of their flexibility and accuracy, NURBS models can be used in any process, such as illustration, animation or manufacturing.”

Once the user has modeled the object, it can be exported in a .STL or .OBJ format, suitable for additive manufacturing. However, it is important to note that 3D printing is not the specialty of this 3D modeler. Indeed, the company notes that there are a few steps that may be necessary to optimize and prepare the file before printing. The most important of course is keeping in mind that designing for 3D printing is not like design for other parts. They must be watertight, with closed polysurface and non-naked edges, valid (meaning that they do not have bad geometry errors) and reducing the material used to make it more hollow is also usually necessary (unlike programs designed specifically for AM, this is not something that can be done automatically). Users should also ensure that the units are set correctly for the printer as well as the tolerances.

Still, it is still possible to take advantage of a number of interesting features with Rhino 7 that could also be applied to 3D printing. For example, Rhino.Inside.Revit which bring Rhino and Grasshopper (another popular software compatible with AM) to the Autodesk Revit environment. Grasshopper also is featured in a number of plugins including Grasshopper Player (to turn Grasshopper definitions into Rhino commands), Clash Detection (to find where objects occupy the same space) and Grasshopper Component Placeholders (as the name suggests these are placeholder components for missing plugins).

But that’s not all. With Rhino 7, they also included the new SubD tools which help to create organic shapes quickly. While this is less interesting for 3D printing (despite increased interest in biomimcry in the field), it still could be useful for users as it also allows for the creation of editable, highly accurate shapes. Additional features center on presentation and display, streamlining the workflow, fixing bugs and more.


Several functionalities allow the design of complex shapes

Buying a license

If you want to get the Rhinoceros software, you just have to buy it on the official website of the company. You will find several options, depending on the type of license you are looking for. The latest version, Rhino 7, for Windows and Mac, is priced at €995 (compared to €595 for an upgrade of the previous version). For students and teachers, the company is launching a special offer: €195 for Windows and Mac (€95 euros for an upgrade of an old version).

Finally, Rhino is well known in many different industries because of its diversity, its multiple functions and its relatively low cost. One of the reasons for this growth of users is the number of formats it can work with, acting as a conversion tool. It allows users to overcome compatibility barriers between software packages during the design process. In addition, many tutorials are offered on the site, allowing users to easily and quickly get to grips with the tool and understand its main features. A forum has also been developed to exchange and solve software-related problems in the simplest way possible, including multiple discussing challenges related specifically to 3D printing. You can find more information on the Rhinoceros 3D website HERE.

What do you think of Rhino? Do you use it for 3D printing? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

One comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. Bruce says:

    You can do all these in SelfCAD a $15 software.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Updated
Every wednesday, receive a recap of the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox.