3DM viewer suggestions for iPad?


My partner has zero CAD background and needs to view and show my designs using her iPad. Easiest if there is an app that allows her to navigate around a 3DM file but if a better solution is to use another format that’s fine. I use Rhino in Windows.

What are app suggestions to turn and view a 3DM file or other 3D model on an iPad? Thank you.

(Dale Fugier) #2



Thank you. I tried it. It lacks essential capabilities, which is surprising.

(Dale Fugier) #4

A list of essential capabilitie might be helpful for us.


– Dale


Of course, sorry. Since it doesn’t show curves or textures, I can’t show what a surface is intended to look like. This can reduce the impact of or some of the information in the proposal or of showing the non-CAD colleague what’s happening.

In my case, I only need it to show curves. Curves are what make up what may look like a texture because those vectors will be fed into CNC. I also need to show curves if I want feedback and have only built up a skeleton or frame.

Text and dimensions would be helpful but are not essential in my opinion.

I admit that I could get around the limitations with some more work, it’s just work that is a side trip from my path to implementation.

Thank you,

Don Teeter
Sacramento, CA

(Abraham Wechter) #6

For me to find this app useful I would need to be able to see curves, dimensions and text in addition to surfaces. For example I am often meeting with manufacturing managers on the shop floor where it is not convenient to carry a laptop and we need to check a dimension on a 2d layout I have given them. My iPhone would be ideal. Especially since it can automatically synch with cloud storage so we know we are looking at the most current version. It seems the current app is aimed more at client presentations, but I can easily carry a laptop into an office for that. I would probably use the app several times a week if it could display a 2d layout.


It seems the viewer does not render shadows. Is this correct? For my purposes, which often have to do with client presentations, light sources and shadows are a must. Thank you.

(Dan Belcher) #9

Thanks, I added Shadows (IR-543) to the list of features we should implement.

iRhino 3D needs a lot of love. The backlog for the project is long.


i believe this would be an essential promotional tool which´s development unfortunately seems to have become completely abandoned instead. having a look at the backlog i see that basically all the very essential wishes to add somehow towards productivity have been noted, some very essential ones like orthogonal projections even a staggering 5 years ago.

it does not just need a lot of love -> this app needs to be rescued from inevitably vanishing out of those minds who at least can still remember it.

(Dan Belcher) #12

You are correct, we have prioritized the development of other products at the expense of iRhino 3D.


yes obviously.

facilitating one more person to keep the horizon from falling on to you is hopefully not that unaffordable. priorities sucked when something died and looking at how apple develops currently i am not even sure there will be any device left when you guys decide to pick up on playing catch up ball.

(Gustavo Fontana) #14

Hi Dan, all,

I know many of us asked for a lot of things, but that was mostly 9-8 years ago, when the first/second iPad came out. I’m not sure how many of those wishes are still relevant.

Today, 9 years later, they way we work has changed, Rhino has changed, 3D capable portable computers have changed, and the relevance, role, and use of iPhones and iPads have changed.

In the meantime iRhino 3D has been kind of abandonware. It never became useful for most, and that made it even more ignored by everyone at McNeel and us as users.

I think today’s needs and possibilities are quite different. Maybe is time to revisit the backlog?

I know that for me at least the main things I’d like on an iPad/iPhone w/ iRhino are:

  • using Snapshots (instead on manually turning layers/objects on/off)
  • viewing in AR mode (with ARkit you guys can do that quite easily)
  • using PBR shaders (starting in desktop Rhino of course)
  • opening other file types (step, stl at least)
  • saving camera views ( a client might want to load a file here and choose the view they want and send back for final rendering)
  • saving 360 turn table video out (not just a static screenshot)
  • clipping planes as simple section views
  • selecting something and seeing its size (BBox dimensions)
  • snappable dimensions

I hope this helps,


(Graham) #15

AUgmented reality intégration of almost any kind (surfaces, meshes, even just curves would do) would be the killer modern feature for me to adopt (and even pay for) a viewer app


Seems responses thus far were thin on possible alternatives to meet your needs. Perhaps examine exporting 3dm to:



Fusion 360



This one would be awesome: “Adding Sketch Ability to iRhino.”


(Gustavo Fontana) #18

Hi @Philip, All, I remember discussing this with Marlin and he convinced me that there wasn’t much value recreating a sketching app inside iRhino when there are so many good ones back then, even a great one now if you consider what you can do with the newer Concepts App.

We agreed that what we needed was a way to take model screenshots without a background (transparent png) so then that coud be pasted in the user’s favorite sketching app.

There’s still 2 reason where I still see value in sketching inside the app:

  1. If I’m doing a screensharing gotomeeting session (yes, this is a thing, and it’s extremely useful when you are on the go, with an LTE iPad: https://support.logmeininc.com/supportvideos/gotomeeting/videos--getting-started--gotomeeting-screen-sharing-on-the-ipad). Gotomeeting has annotation but only on its own whiteboard, not over other apps.

  2. If I can load a Rhino file with snapshots already save, I can sketch over each snapshot, hot save, and then myself (or one of my team members/modelers) can see all those sketched markups in ‘Desktop Rhino’ to execute those changes in the modeling environment. For this we need to be able to see 2D overlays with pixels over modeling viewports. All the pieces are already there with the layout engine. It’s just a bit of copy paste of code elements and you can ship this :laughing:.)

I think may people would pay for this, including many Rhino user’s customers, who are not consuming/using/buying Rhino right now. I have plenty of clients that would buy this if We send them prepared Rhino files ready to consume (with saved snapshots of what we want them to review). This is a growth opportunity IMO. Not sure how big/small, Bob is the money man here.

(Dan Belcher) #19

Thanks @gustojunk for this updated list. This does help. Times have indeed changed and reading through the backlog with a critical eye for priorities is important.

As always, I hope to have time to devote to iRhino 3D, but get pulled in other directions. I think the general assessment that it has fallen way, way behind the state-of-the-art is fair.


I didn’t actually mean freehand sketching as in Concepts (which I also use) - wrong choice of words on my part. What I meant was being able to use Rhinos curve commands - and an enhanced sketch command - in iRhino… and of course the most essential surface commands, making iRhino a Rhino light for the iPad (a Rhino version of Shapr3d). You can wish, can’t you :sunglasses:
The enhanced sketch command would allow you to draw freehand curves with the pencil - and after finishing the curve (lifting the pencil) iRhino would automagically rebuild the curve to a smooth degree 2 or 3 bezier spline (degree 2 for an arc-shaped curve and degree 3 for a s-shaped curve).
I would be willing to pay a lot for a modelling-capable iRhino (75 % of the price for Rhino) :grinning: