I bear to say Rhino should have some parametric capabilities besides Grasshopper

Hello to mcneel team, i´m quite new, and i´m trying to learn grasshopper because of their capabilities, and I bear to compare Rhino in some aspects with the software I already know like fusion 360 and Revit of Autodesk, they got some parametric capabilities (history based only in fusion, constrains, driven dimension) as well as algorithmic design like Dynamo, so they got those two ones, fusion 360 also got both t-splines as direct modeling like rhino which make it powerful, and what I think is that Rhino also has all the potential to be even more powerful than fusion 360 is getting if introducing some parametric capabilities in Rhino 6 so it couldn’t be asking for anything but the opposite.

i wonder if these parametric features are just something you can add to Rhino…
or do you have to basically re-write it from scratch

to me, it seems to be a huge undertaking that may not be possible or practical to do without reworking large chunks of the core…
maybe not though?

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I think it would be possible (to add and reuse what’s already in there).

It’s much about storing actions, and to link some relational info about elements added. The logging part would be a bit like logging transactions in a database. At least the logging part isn’t rocket science.

The UI is probably the main thing, which takes ages to get right (unless you copy other tool’s UI concepts). Endless lotsa work in any case.

But I’d rather see Rhino continue trying to become a better direct modeller.

The parametric modellers out there are many (I’d use one of them if I’d need one. But when I’m in “inventor mode” a direct modeller is superior to parametric, so I have found that I never really needed a parametric one which only would be an obstacle) and direct modeling is what makes Rhino what Rhino really is - a direct modeller. A good one at that.

Direct modelling is actually what parametric modeler providers brag about, if they have one in their package.

Better put all effort on enhancing direct modelling and GrassHopper. GH to scale into a distributed data processing platform with a bent for processing geometry, although not limited to.

Rhino/GrassHopper is a very (very) interesting “lab deck”, an inventors “swissknife” and an automation platform for humans, useful for both rednecks and domain experts in different fields. An amazing combination, and to my knowledge even a unique combination.

My 2C,

// Rolf


Yes … I agree.
The geometric operations do not seem to be robust enough to be run in a completely automatic way.
At least for some kind of shapes.

Maybe a GH definition generator ?
… I mean: building something by hand and automatically get a definition to (re) build it … :slight_smile: :confused:

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Parametric modelling and organic shape modelling are mutually exclusive, except parametric fillets. I define parametric fillets as fillets that are mutually dependent, for example: radius of one fillet is twice as big as radius of another fillet. But the way, Rhino never had reliable fillets.

My level-1 wish on this would be to have the ability to visualize and manipulate the already included history functions through a panel and physical widgets:

  • So a widget for mirror, where we can move and reorient the mirror.
  • a widget for polar array, where it can be moved and it’s population number can be altered
  • Sweep and loft options can be readjusted together with removing
  • direction and lenght adjustments for extrude objects with curve editoptions for the basecurve

etc. etc.

with a tree-layout (ala manageblock) of the history relationships that allready is in the file.
Bear in mind that all this is already there, it’s just not available for the user to alter.

To me this is a pretty low hanging fruit that would help users who already use history
And then it can evolve from that.


They can implement something similar to the “RhinoWorks” plugin from DrivingDimensions. Here is a presentation of what was able to do:
SolidWorks model edited parametrically in Rhino

Also there is another parametric plug-in for Rhino who it is not maintained anymore called “RhinoParametrics”

RhinoParametrics V3 Teaser

and the source-code was for sale acording to this post:

I tried out both of those plugins and a couple more over the years and compared to an entry level solid modeler like Alibre or ZW3d they were useless. There have been four or five attempts at making a parametric plugin for Rhino and if you’re used to something like Solidworks you’d be very disappointed.

I’m always puzzled when these threads come up asking for Rhino to work like Solidworks or Inventor, if that’s what you want why not use those programs? If Mcneel wanted to get Rhino to the level of say Alibre or Zw3d they’d need to licence the Siemens D_Cubed constraint library as used in Inventor, Zw3d ect. Then probably a solid modeling kernel so what would the price be, $3000.00 plus, oh and a yearly maintenance now it’s using licensed libraries, be careful what you wish for!:thinking:

Then when Rhino’s moved up to that price bracket there’s an opening for a non history surface modeler at around $1000.00!:smirk:

I used Rhino with Alibre for about 10 years and the last 3 or so with Fusion. Product design done with a solid modeler because customers always want modifications then I build moulds in Rhino when the design is fixed. Without history mould design is so much easier and quicker.

The funny thing is there are quite a few posts on the Fusion forum wanting Fusion to work like Rhino or AutoCad complaining the sketch solver and timeline get in the way. Of course there are a lot of people deciding on Fusion because of it price(free) not because it’s the software they need.



Yes, you are right, but we don’t ask for such advanced features, we only need basic ones. For example something similar to Smart components from Sketchup combined with a plugin similar to Profile Builder. :slight_smile:

P.S: As Rhino it is used by more and more Architects and Designers this will be very welcomed tools. Basic parametrics to speed-up the design process.

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I concur with your point on the range of need for features. Clearly if you are in the high end CNC production world, Catia/Siemens/Autodesk offer the products that meet the wide range of needs in that enviro. I think Hughes_Tooling has good point in buying what you need for the job. The unspoken point he makes though is that if you DON’T use Solidworks and other in that class … a lower level parametric plugin just might fit your particular, lower-level needs in a satisfactory manner.

Free Fusion360 might look cheap at first, but AutoDesk could change that in a heartbeat. I and, I think a lot of others, are becoming unwilling to take “free” as the learning curve is definitely not “free” and the level of trust with software companies, their unstable/even manipulative business policies/EULAs, etc could not be lower IMHO.

I prefer to deal with McNeel and their tech/biz partners because their focus is on getting technology done right, not scraping the last greenback from my wallet.

I was unaware of the Rhino Parametrics and Rhino Direct plugs. The vids I looked at were precisely what I would like to have within Rhino for the basic work I do. I don’t need internal FEA/etc Analysis/Collaboraton or exceptionally high end modeling tools that might be available in ultra-parametric software target market. By their nature they cannot be price competitive in the small independent shop or guild/artisan market with the capital they have invested in their functionality. No criticism there, just looking at appropriate application of a tool. I have no desire to purchase a Gulfstream when a Cessna comfortably meets my need at a lower cost per mile.

My point is the Rhino target market could benefit from having just 20% of the parametric capability of the higher end products as that would accomplish 80% of what we need … at an affordable price.

I think with the independent/maker/artisan space growing and prices dropping for additive/subtractive equipment dropping, there should be a sustainable target market for this kind of Rhino 80/20 parametric plugin.

I would be a buyer.


Thanx for the heads-up on ZW3D.
Before your comment, I never heard of it.
I’ve looked at a few programs purporting to be ‘hybrid modelers’, but none of them come close to what I want and need. ZW3D may be better than anything I’ve see thus far, and the price isn’t bad, although it’s still pricey!
Thanx …


“… not scraping the last greenback from my wallet.”

Well said!
Commerce vs. common law.
Oh for the good 'ol days!

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To me value is the key.

I really don’t mind at all paying up for good value. I do it all the time.

But when tech folks get so enamored with themselves that they produce poor products AND openly degrade/abuse those of us in their customers’ “ghetto” (to borrow the snarky Zynga programmers’ euphemism about their customers) as hopelessly ignorant or even stupid (to pay their fees or have our private data scarfed and sold with nothing in return), I just have to draw the line. A bad deal is simply a bad deal. I don’t go there.

I too have been looking at parametric CAD options. The biggest thing I am finding is that when you lurk at some of the open CAD boards serving many software communities (like cnczone.com) you hear a lot of folks complaining about CAD software instability, upgrade/support charges going through the roof with few or no options, lack of trained support, lack of ANY support after you swipe your card, long known, uncorrected bugs that still impair functionality and on and on. it is eye opening.

I also help at a local community college and the CAM software they have is notorious to work for some models fine and choke on others with only minor differences. No one could depend on that type product in a competitive business situation where you are creating value for yourself and your customers.

Finding something that works well, model after model, day after day at a price you can work profitably at is the grail. If there was a basic parametric plugin for Rhino that had current support I sure would buy it.

If you are buying, I really recommend surfing the boards deeply when a package looks interesting to see if the kinds of problems showing up are acceptable in your work enviro. THEN bother getting the demo to try. It’s the hidden problems and limitations that kill two weeks of your time putzing with their software glitches rather than doing something productive. It is particularly frustrating after seeing glitz vids/bells whistles and nothing but problems after the money’s spent.

Been there, it’s suboptimal.


Hi Bruce,

Yeah, you pretty much summed it better than I could.

I’ve done that digging before buying on a number of products. Like you, I found the best places to be the non-software forums, like cnczone.com. I found that ALL developers and distributors of these CAD products are LYING SOB’s. This fact has ‘rang-true’ over the past year in searching for a user-friendly, cost-effective, functionally-useful scanner and processing software. Talk about a SNAKE PIT and DEN OF THIEVES!

One such example was when dealing with the FARO tech people. I told the sales guy from FARO (who was trying to schmooze me with “let’s develop a relationship”) that he was a necessary evil, and if I could buy without him, I would. He began pushing harder to the point that I told him that he’s nothing but a social parasite pushing product on people for profit w/o regard for their needs. That went over well, lemme tell ya! When I requested a quote on a used system, he quoted me more than for a new one! Nothing like a worthless slave with no marketable skills in a position of political power. What a POS he was. Needless to say, FARO lost my patronage. If I ever buy a CMM, it’ll be from the BIG WHORE: Hexagon.

Another example is my Microscribe. Due to the lack of ball tip compensation software, the thing isn’t very useful. Thing about the Microscribe is, even though I did a ton of research BEFORE buying, I STILL didn’t/couldn’t find out about the ball tip compensation until AFTER buying, learning and calibrating it! ALL of this critical info was DELIBERATELY HIDDEN from me until AFTER buying!. It’s like courting a woman with her parents, and then AFTER marrying, finding your new bride was a former prostitute and has STD’s. Geezzzz.

LOL! It just seems to get worse and most sales guys get paid better than tech people!

A friend asked me … "Do you know the difference between a used car salesman and a software salesman?

The used car salesman KNOWS when he is lying to you!

Clearly not true for many folks, but others it fits to a tee.


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Yup, those con-men always make more than we do. Yet it’s we who build and maintain the nation. Talk about society turned on it’s head! Truthfully, this is the new socialism, aka: neocon, “human rights”, “fair trade”, ad nausea. It’s beyond absurd. It’s authored by “men of words” who live in fantasy-land, and wield all the power in their corrupt schemes of evil social commerce. What a combination: words + power to rob and kill. And do it politely while looking you in the eye and smiling!

Yes … I agree.
The geometric operations do not seem to be robust enough to be run in a completely automatic way.
At least for some kind of shapes.

Maybe a GH definition generator ?
… I mean: building something by hand and automatically get a definition to (re) build it …

Is Implicit History no longer available? If you want automation but not gh… for some reason… maybe try its predecessor Implicit History?

I wouldn’t know. I skipped it and went straight for the clearly superior Grasshopper.