I'd like to thank this community for opening my eyes and showing me the way

I have been using Rhino off and on for somewhere around 15 years. I’m not a modeler by vocation, but I dabble here and there. I had access to a licensed copy, so I used it. I fell in love with the interface, but the moment my geometry got even remotely complex operations would fail and I would eventually abandon it out of frustration.

I decided to give it another go a couple weeks ago and ran into the same issues. Instead of throwing in the towel and going back to Fusion 360, I made a post here venting my frustration and got responses of what amounted to “you’re using it wrong”.

Using it wrong? It’s a 3d modeling tool and I’m using it to 3d model, how could that be wrong?

I decided to post another thread about a specific issue I had and got kind of a snarky response that I had garbage geometry.

The gem of information came from a user posting a command I had never used though. See, I model using solids mostly, whether they be primary solids or solid extrusions. I never really approached it as modeling with surfaces. So while I thought the ways I was modeling were rather clever (and by all rights, they would have been in a solid modeler), in reality I was in fact making steaming heaps of surface soup.

So I decided to start using Explode and ExtractSrf to break down my models into their respective parts and rebuilding them using PlanarSrf. I started actually using Sweep1 and Sweep2 instead of doing 20 boolean operations to get the right curvature. I started just experimenting with more surface tools.

The results in just a few days have been staggering. My models now have much more refined geometry with sweeping curvatures and more organic shapes while simultaneously being comprised of a fraction of the surfaces that my old models used to be. I now spend more time working with Exploded surfaces, really only joining them to check to see if it’s a solid object with ShowEdges, before exploding it again to keep working.

I now no longer get frustrated when a Boolean operation doesn’t work (I do still use them for some stuff) and it’s not the end of the world when I see the dreaded “open polysurface” for object type after an operation.

I’m writing this in hopes that other people who are coming from parametric modeling programs and struggle to make Rhino work for them see this and know that if you just post here and don’t take the criticism/feedback personally, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I also want to thank the people who helped me see the way. Mainly @clement as that is the person that sparked my willingness to give surfaces a try and @jim for letting me know that my geometry was garbage.


May I suggest that you use Undo instead if Explode when you do that. The reason I suggest that is when you join and explode surfaces you permanently change the trim boundaries. This is most important when things don’t join properly.
For instance, if you join and discover there is a problem with one surface and then explode and fix that one surface you may discover that you still have problems because the previous join messed up the edges of the surfaces around it. If you had used Undo instead of Explode after the first join then the other surfaces would not have been affected.


Learning something new everyday. Thanks.

// Rolf

@jim, this explains a lot actually. I kept having an issue yesterday where I would fix one side of symmetrical object, then the other side would get messed up. Then I’d fix that side, then the other side got messed up.

Duly noted to use Undo instead of explode.

I’m trying to use ExtractSrf as much as possible though so that I’m only messing with the part of the model I’m actively working on. It also makes DupEdge work a lot better in getting the exact edges I want.

Again, thank you so much.

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