Modeling vs Building in Real

My question is this, when modeling do I have to construct every single part of a design or are some things standard? Could modeling be looked at as coding where you integrate other codes so that you’re not really reconstructing the wheel from ground up? As a new 3d artist I am trying to figure out info on things depending on the project like what type of screw, holes, etc should be used and some people just speak as though you “should know this”. So for my sanity I’m unsure of where to go to develop my knowledge. I don’t want my project to be about presentation any more I want something that is a working model. I want to have the knowledge to know in the real world how is it going to be put together which would greatly improve quality and design process.

Let’s say I’m build something simple as a table. Simple right? How would I know then how should this be translated in real? Screws must go somewhere, they must be a certain length, etc. Do you get this knowledge through experience only; should I have gone to a wood work class or read a book?

Secondly is there a way to simulate things so that I am not building things that aren’t really possible?

Hi @jamolbjames,

A lot depends on what you are modelling: if a table then screw placement will largely be governed by custom and practice. If an aeroplane, it would be by stress and loading calculations requiring degree level study. If jewellery then by aesthetics. You can’t design well in a knowledge vacuum.


Thanks man! What I get from your response is that there would be different focus areas and some research would still be needed even if you are competent in building things. There would be things that you don’t know and its okay long as you have the means to get the answer.

I think where my biggest anxiety now comes from is trying to build and figure out mechanisms. You know what I mean? Simple thing like building doors they have their own lingo “hinges, brackets, braces”. I guess it goes back to what was said earlier. Getting research into what you are building. Build it, break it and troubleshoot it. This would eventually add to your knowledge and extend your designing ideas and capabilities by combining traits and processes from different industries/experiences.

Thanks again

Hi, could you imagine the time and energy that goes into designing a car for instance. 4 wheels under a box kind of is a car, but to know the regulations of how high the lights need to be off the ground, or what space you will need for a battery vs. an engine. Going down that list , there must be a ton of things needed to know. Falling back on previous models is a starting point, but when heading into new ground such as autonomous cars, you have a whole new set of rules.
My understanding of things is, you have to be immersed in every aspect of a project to model it.
A house may have floor joists stud walls cieling joists rafters , etc. forget a one of this things and you have Problems. If you forgot you need a heating system, then you have to go back and start finding places oh how you could put it in.
Research of all aspects must be the key and fully understanding probably is the start point.—Mark

1 Like

In Solidworks, you always get a toolbox with standard parts, like literally hundreds of nuts, bolts, screws etc according to ANSI or ISO standards. I don’t know if Rhino has something similar.

More complex parts you very often can request CAD files for from the manufacturer or supplier. But that requires you to be a representative from a real company and perhaps even sign NDAs. Large suppliers often give you special logins to their sites where you can access a CAD library of the parts they sell.

If you don’t have CAD files for the parts at hand, an approximation is just fine to model. The detail level is down to what you require to get things done and clearly communicate with your partners.

I think that making things in real life teaches you how to draw things in 3D. I don’t think you should be constrained to accept those things in the real world that already exist, but I also think that it is good that to accept the limitations of the materials, physics, gravity, etc. . In order for your object to exist or function in the world, it will have to exist, and endure, and function.

Like they said in Neon Genesis Evangelion that: because of the ground you can no longer fly, but now you can walk.

Rhino and Grasshopper have enough surface capability to create almost anything you imagine. Whether or nor those things can hang in our world, or be useful, depends on you. In order to understand how things endure and work, it’s good to see how and why they fail. Take things apart. Visit a junk yard. Watch repair videos on youtube.

Whatever skill I may or may not have in Rhino comes from real world tool use. I have made things in real life, such as being an auto fabricator. I have sculpted in marble. I draw. I have made a CNC machine from scrap parts. Too many I’s in the last sentences, but you get the point. You will pull your own experience and knowledge into what you make.

Because of the power of our software and machines, we can test what we make, to some extent, such as with Finite Elemement Method for stress and strain, and for Computation Fluid Dynamics, and if the there enough money, electromagnetics can be studied. Still, that you get you only the prototype to be tested.

There is a (real) racing car that has wing/spoiler on the back. Under it, reads an inscription something like “Worked in CAD” That’s there because the first one either didn’t fit or couldn’t be pulled from the mould.

Read book, watch Youtube videos, read Wikipedia, but know that in the end, you likely will become versed in what you are versed in.

When the Wright Brothers started making their plane, they found that books and tables they had on wing design–we’re wrong.

Lastly, you will see some things designed and make their way to the media that won’t work. You will find some things that look preposterous, that do work.

A lot of this stuff may also depend on where you are in the world… As you mentioned hinges, a typical US door hinge looks like this:

Whereas a typical door hinge here looks like this:

So you will also need to get in touch with your local building customs and standards - some of this knowledge you can get from books and online, but nothing is better than consulting professionals in the area for their ‘best practices’…


That says so much about our design sensibilities here. Do you have a link to a manufacturer of your hinge type?

There are so many… here is a partial page from a wholesaler:

The ones on the interior doors in my house are the simplest 2 piece ones top left corner, the entry door is more like the 3 piece ones in the top center. We also have one or two ‘specials’ here and there depending on space and wall construction.

I’m more curious as to how they install. Seams complicated.—-Mark