3DCoat support in Rhino?

Continuing the discussion from V6 improvements and what I currenty like about Rhino:

Thanks Steve for the feedback. Let’s use this new thread for any 3DCoat requests. What doesn’t work well now or could be improved in file transfer from/to Rhino?

I shoot between 3DCoat and Rhino as well. As long as I use OBJ files, everything works okay. STLs, not so much.

The export OBJ command in Rhino does not warn you about watertight, so sometimes I have to go back and do it again if I forgot to hit join on an object.

Hi Brian,

Glad to hear about the interest in 3dcoat development.
Although obj is pretty good what I would like is a plugin that supports Rhino nurbs files into and out of 3dcoat without meshing.


  1. Ability to open Rhino.3dm nurbs files in 3dcoat without meshing first.
  2. The ability in Rhino to open exported .3dm files from 3dcoat as native Rhino nurbs files and not meshes.

So in Rhino we save our regular nurbs file, this should open in 3dcoat using the plugin either as 3dm files or saved as 3dcoat files in Voxel format. Then when exporting from 3dcoat to Rhino the Voxel file translates into Rhino nurbs .3dm without meshing.

Hope it’s doable? I know there are some caveats but just gettting Nurbs to Voxels and Voxels to nurbs would be a huge leap forward.

Thanks so much for your interest in this!

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I would also welcome a link between 3D-Coat and Rhino. The painting and UV tools in 3D-Coat are excellent.

Hi Brian,
Currently I use 3DCoat and Rhino together in two ways.
The first and most common one is to use it to create clean mesh topology of rhino meshes then UVmaps and tweak textures that are then brought back into Rhino to be used as custom mapping Rhino objects. I’ll often go back into 3DCoat and tweak again if a seam isn’t looking just right and reimport
I use OBJ for this and it is always reliable. A link that makes this easier on the to-ing and fro-ing would be great.

The second use is directly modelling in 3DCoat, particularly organic shapes and ANYTHING with branches (think of the pain of modelling a hand in Rhino). Then back into Rhino via OBJ.

So basically my current usage is fine with importing and exporting OBJs, so a link would be fine. However I’d be VERY excited to see Voxels to Nurbs translation

Hi Roland,

I’m not sure if this would be possible since it’s a mesh format that is used for transfer now. I’d suggest asking the 3DC devs to see what they think. They might need to first add the 3dm file format to their import options if it’s not there already.

It’s been about six years since I had anything to do with NURBS conversion from Voxel but at that time it required an autosurfacing approach. This result gave an isocurve alignment and edge position unlike what you would find if the design were modeled in NURBS directly. Autosurfacing is not a trivial area of CAD as I understand it so unless their is some breakthrough in this area I’d doubt that it would be easy to add to a plugin linking 3DC and Rhino in this way. Again it would be a question for the 3DC developers since the NURBS creation would happen on that side of things when writing the 3dm file format which as you know can hold many things including meshes and NURBS.

Again, I just want to offer some experience and caution in getting too excited here. A Voxel rep is much like a Polygonal Mesh when trying to surface it. Think reverse engineering… there are some autosurfacing apps out there but they are not cheap. It’s a very specific area of software development and it looks like 3DC is all about UVs and painting. I could be wrong of course… but it’s just a hunch that it’s super hard.

One more update here, I asked one of our developers @tim to look at what the applink stuff was all about and it appears that it uses obj or lwo formats. A script might be all that is needed here but I’m not sure what if anything would be better than just exported an obj with UVs, textures and materials. I’ll have to give their trial a go to have more of an idea. We’ll file any feature requests and consider them for the next round of feature development of course but at the moment the desired changes appear to be ones that would happen on the 3DC side. All except

This issue could be accounted for on the Rhino side via the command SelClosedMesh or SelClosedPolySrf prior to export.

I only mention because the export STL process gives you a warning.

Hi Brian,
I added a post to 3Dcoat’s applink forum about creating an applink for Rhino. Maybe something will come of it?

I’m also trying uformia’s symvol Voxel modeler for Rhino and my computer mostly chokes using it since I only have 3 gigs of ram, however I can do much more in 3Dcoat with my current rig and I like 3Dcoat’s interface better,

I guess is we could get a link to 3Dcoat even in mesh format that would save me a lot of time saving files back and forth then any updates like painting on the mesh or more modeling would show up instantly in Rhino. One thing mentioned previously was that sometimes obj format’s need checking for no naked edges etc before export.

Ideally it would be great if a nurbs model could be exported out of 3Dcoat, I think it would be a huge breakthrough. I guess the Bigger Brains at McNeel could chime in if they think it’s worth while. I love sculpting on my Rhino objects in 3Dcoat or making things impossible in Nurbs format like branched structures.
Thanks for your interest,

Thanks Brian, I figured as much.

Good point Eric, I believe this is because stl is used in 3D printing primarily whereas obj is for animation and rendering where water tightness is not often required. I’ll add a feature request for the option to be added in the obj export settings regardless though. Thanks for the suggestion!

Is it possible to export an obj from Rhino and UV map it in 3D Coat, then export the UV’s from 3D Coat and apply them to the nurbs model in Rhino?