Help: Basic Design from the experts

Hi there,

I need some general guidance from this wonderful community. I’m proposing a large scale sculpture that will be 3D printed. Right now, I’m designing and making the maquette using RHINO. Here are some questions for the community that I would love to have answered pre-design process to avoid realizing that I did this all wrong and won’t work. I’m an artist, not a designer, or architect and need some tips to avoid any heartaches later, please bear with me.

Here are my questions:

1.) The project site is in meters they want me to produce a maquette of the design. It’s always easier to scale down in rhino, correct? I was going to design the entire project in actual size (feet) then scale down smaller size (cm) for the maquette. Just making sure this is the best practice. I will be 3D printing the entire project and maquette and woul hate to have to redesign the entire piece. I want to make sure the files are close to perfect.

2.) I’m drawing out the site. Is there an option to draw a polygon with different angles? I’m not sure if I draw using lines then joining the entire component together. The plot is not a perfect rectangle.

3.) The totem like sculpture will have different thicknesses at certain points in it’s form. Is there a way to put on a measurement calculator of the entire object I am drawing out? Currently, I am using the linear dimension to measure but the more complex the design more tedious measure becomes. There must be a way of doing this that I don’t know and can see the measurements all the time. I have anxiety with math please don’t judge me. I’m wondering if there is a easier to see the size of the piece?

I’m using Rhino for mac. I hope I’m clear with these questions.

Thank you for any guidance.

It would be better to help if you could add a sketch of the sculpture and the location (“floor plan”).

Yes, draw the object in full size and use the unit that you are comfortable with but make sure that you pick a unit where your smallest feature (the smallest edge that you will find on your model) is at least one order of magnitude bigger than the document tolerance while keeping your document tolerances in the .01 - .000001 range (which is where internal Rhino calculations will work best).

I’m not sure I understand this one. Can you use Polyline?

Again not completely sure what you want to achieve but the only way of showing updated dimensions all the time is EITHER by turning on history before placing dimensions (e.g. linear dims) or leaders with the field set to curve length OR by using the BoxEdit command to open a panel that will display the bounding box size of the selected object(s).

Thanks @wim

“make sure that you pick a unit where your smallest feature (the smallest edge that you will find on your model) is at least one order of magnitude bigger than the document tolerance while keeping your document tolerances in the .01 - .000001”

So you mean if my tolerance is set at .000001, I should make sure my setting is .000002? I don’t really understand the tolerances super well. I will keep it in mind.

I’ve uploaded a file to show you the sculpture. They are re-imagined flowers drawn by the community, in some parts of the sculpture will twist. I’m working each piece to make sure if an engineer looks at them there will be no problem. This is how I’ve measured the piece, is there a way @wim to have various measurements across the entire to make sure I am designingthis properly?

@msmr I’m drawing out the plans as the company only gave out a floor plan 1:200 scale. I was going to redraw the floor plan based on actually size.

Thank for your expert adice @wim I’ll keep you comments in mind tonight as I draw this out.

Flower for Forum Discussion on Measurements.3dm (2.2 MB)
@wim a sample

I think this project will kill me. Rhino seems to bring this out in me. Practice makes perfect, right?

@wim @msmr

Here’s what I got done today. Basically I am taking drawings done by kids and trying will make them into a sculpture. I need to make sure the size is appropriate


Do any of you two experts also know how I can bring back my objects back the the grid on the Cplane? I used rhino a few months ago and seem that I forgot everything. Propsal Seeds Draft.3dm (6.1 MB)

I printed a smaller version a few months ago but I seem to forgot everything. Here’s kinda what I am trying to achieve once again.

Use Align. Bottom in the Right of Front viewport and location of 0 to put the bottom at z=0.

thanks @davidcockey

Maybe it’s me. How do I get my objects back on the cPlane? As if I was opening a new template. A reset button. I’m sorry for the trivial questions. Suggestion @davidcockey

If there was a reset button, how would Rhino know what part of the object should be moved to the CPlane after you have manipulated them? The CPlane is, as the name suggest, assisting you to construct objects, there is no hidden tag for an object somewhere that says: “this belongs on the CPlane”.
What I would do:
Set all CPlanes to the World Origin: View > Set Cplane > World Top (World Front, etc.), you can skip this if you are certain you have not moved them around.
In the Right Viewport: draw a line, starting at the origin (type a single zero), direction Y-axis (Ortho on)
In the Osnap panel: set Project Osnap on, this will project any point you click on to the CPlane, so including the start and end points of a Move command. Also set the “Perpendicular” Osnap to on.
Select the object to move, and type “Move”.
Click on the base of the object, or any other part you want to move to the CPlane.
Click on the line you drew earlier at a point perpendicular with the move direction.
You have now moved the object to the CPlane, but only in the Z-axis direction.


thanks @maxz

I’ll try that now.