Is there any interest in catering to the mechanical design people in V6?

Just curious as to how people feel about Rhino as a mechanical design tool. Is this an area anyone is interested in seeing move forward in Rhino? We do well with Rhino, but that is due in large part to Rhinoscript and Python. Out of the box, Rhino lacks many basic tools needed for mechanical design.

Any thoughts?

What are these “basic tools” in your mind? I could make up a whole lot of ideas of what this means, but would rather understand what you think the basic tools are that would improve Rhino for mechanical type modeling.

Truthfully I haven’t seen any big push toward mechanical modeling features compared to say fixing up much of existing stuff (make 2d, fillets, display performance, drafting tools…)

Well, if “basic tools” for mechanical design includes folding, unfolding and and a robust set of checks and balances to go with it, then I’m all for pushing for that!


Hi @stevebaer,

  1. The most basic tool for mechanical design would be a hole “wizard” that easily creates a variety of holes used in mechanical design. For example, counterbores, countersinks, tapped holes (based off of tap drill sizes), spot faces etc. The “wizard” would need to be user configurable with regard to sizes, as often automatic feature recognition is deployed downstream by a CAM software. I know there are ways to create these features now, but it makes more sense to be able to select a hole based off of the fastener size you wish to use in your design. Here is how I do it:

  1. There needs to be a way to select all similar features such as holes or keyways. Designing often involves a series of updates and changes, so being able to select all of the same features can be very useful. What to do with those features I will cover in point #3, but the first step is to find them. Here is how I do it:

  1. There needs to be a method to change the selected features globally. For example, I may have a plate with 100 Ø5mm reamed holes. The decision is made to use 6mm dowels instead, so the Ø5mm holes all need to be changed to Ø6mm. It is painstaking to go through each hole and change it. It would be handy to have a “ModifyHoleFeature” command that would again present the user with the list of fastener sizes and allow the selected holes to be changed at once. I don’t currently have an example of this.

  2. When producing 2D drawings, there is no current method for creating centerlines or tapped holes. Failure to use these makes your drawing look unprofessional. Maybe it’s just me, but when I got into this trade we did our designing on drafting boards with pencils, and creating center lines and illustrating tapped holes was mandatory. Here is an example:

  1. Sectioning for mechanical design always involves the creation of section lines. While the style may vary, there is always some indication of where the cut is made. There should be a tool for this that works like this (but maybe with the addition of some auto-hatching):

  1. I find it necessary to create a balloon of specific areas and scale them up for clarity at times. Again, I’ve created my own tool for this, but I would think this is a common need for mechanical designers:

  1. Drag and drop view creation. This would be a great feature for creating 2D prints. The current implementation requires the creation of separate “details” in the layout, which then requires extra steps to scale and align. A drag and drop that creates details scaled and aligned would be an improvement over this basic implementation:

I have more, but I need to get some work done. :smile:



I’m no architect, but it wouldn’t surprise me if these features wouldn’t be widely used by them when it gets into the structural stuff. That’s pretty mechanical and I’m sure they use fasteners. :smile:

Architects? Fasteners? Naahh, that’s for the engineers to worry about… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I’ve got a few minutes now, so I will continue:

  1. In the mold, tool and die and fixture industries we are forced to work with CAD data imported from a variety of sources. Often this data is less than perfect. It would be useful to have some repair tools to automate the process of fixing these files. Take a look at what SpaceClaim offers in this regard (actually, changing fillets and file repair is the only reason I still keep SpaceClaim installed).

  2. There has been much discussion already about how SelDup fails as a practical tool for finding duplicate objects. It would be nice if a more useful solution was pursued.

  3. Rhino lacks any tools for creating GD&T callouts. We use GD&T daily as do most others these days. It would be nice to be able to generate a proper looking document that includes GD&T. Kinda like this:

  1. More robust alignment tools for mechanical assemblies. It would be nice to align cylinders, mate faces etc. Once they were aligned, a named position could be saved so that positioning is maintained.

  2. Tools for quickly identifying planar faces, parallel faces and perpendicular objects. Parts can be manufactured much more efficiently with the existence of parallel faces for holding, and planar faces for machining with larger bull-nose tools. Identifying features like this are a part of our daily process. Something like this:

  1. Balloons for labeling the bill of materials:

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Hi Steve,

I’m going through Dan’s suggestions and think all his proposales are useful additions.
I like to add my vote as extra weight for some features I would like to see implemented first:

Annotation sectioning this is something not easily setup by hand but essential for proper 2D drawings (not exclusive for mechanical drawing)

Balloon details, these are painstaking to do manually but much needed in annotation/layouting anything more complicated than a brick.

Annotation object centerlines:

(also @DanBayn for taking the time to express your wishes.


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Hi Dan,
SectionTools does create these. Your feedback on these would be appreciated at Section tools for architectural documentation
I guess the title of that thread could have been “Section tools for mechanical documentation” :grin: