Proposal: Maker edition for hobbyists

Autodesk has 123D, a budget modeler targeted at hobbyists, especially those designing for 3D printing. Some have a 3D printer at home, others have access to a local fab lab or a hackerspace, or they make use of service providers such as Shapeways. At the fab labs that I visited, Rhino is the standard tool for 3D design. Here people have access to the software via University licenses. However, hobbyists would need to pay the full price, which is steep.

What about a budget “maker edition” of Rhino?

The difference to the professional version: When saving a model, it is uploaded to the Internet under a Creative Commons license.

Uploaded to where? Who’s going to run that? And how are you possibly going to enforce it?

Anyway, the idea of marketing a cut-down low-cost version to “hobbyists” is actually the opposite of how most other products that appeal to “hobbyists” and “professionals” work. It would be more likely to be successful to sell them a “deluxe” version loaded with extras that the “pros” know they’ll never need.

That could be Thingiverse, if its owners are willing to collaborate. They already provide an API.

Autodesk, for example, is collaborating with Shapeways, allowing direct upload. However, Shapeways in contrast to Thingiverse is not a site for sharing designs under Creative Commons licenses.

No upload, no save.

Rhino needs all the power to improve and develop the core program! There are already cheap alternatives - Bonzaj or MOI.

Every time we discuss this we get stuck with these questions:

1 - What do we leave out? When you drill down on the specifics, each group has a different list of what they think they need and what they don’t need. Spending developer time and resources stripping out tools from Rhino would result is a three-legged Rhino that would only be potentially useful to a very small number of people.

2 - How does taking tools out of Rhino add value? Rhino already IS stripped down. We designed Rhino to be very general and added a rich set of SDK tools. This is why there are so many excellent plug-ins available to add in the specialized tools individual users want.

Do you think 123D will cost you nothing in the long run?

I guarantee that the initial money you think you are saving by not paying anything up front will slowly be recovered by either Autodesk or one of their partners in this scheme. Apparently the costs to fabricate are where they make the return.

As a Full Commercial user I think it costs me under £190 a year to “maintain” my licensing of Rhino+Bongo+VRay

And if you removed Bongo and Vray from the equation it comes out as £95 p.a.
This is not much more expensive than the Premium 123D yearly license

And as I don’t see myself needing to put my hand in my pocket for another 2 years for an upgrade to v6 it will come down to a £180

During the Same period my brother (the perpetual student) would have only had to pay less than £40 p.a. for exactly the same software that he could have used commercially if he wanted to.

From what I have seen of McNeel and their pricing/licensing model including support is incredibly socially responsible.

The point is to leave nothing out.

These tools have a different UI. That’s not great for users that already know Rhino from their job or that learned to use Rhino in a course at a fab lab. Furthermore, Grasshopper is not available for these.

It’s not about Rhino vs. 123D. That’s just an example.

No but it is about the different licensing models. The free in freemium is miss leading.

A common argument from educational institutions is that they want McNeel to provide free software for all their students. As apposed to them telling their students that they will learn about this one software but it will cost them upfront 200 quid. What they fail to emphasize is that the software is theirs for life and they can do with it as they please.
As opposed to the irresponsible model of: here is some free software (we would prefer you to learn a different one but it will cost you to buy it) btw when you leave uni/college you have to stop using it unless you pay £3K but the chances are the work you find down the road might use it.

At first glance this might not look the same as freemium but it is Free at First Premium when you need it most.


Autodesk’s competitor to Rhino is Alias, not 123D, yet the price of Rhino is only a small fraction of the price of Alias (And Rhino is more capable than the least expensive version of Alias). I agree with John’s points about value, and A prefer for McNeel to concentrate on keeping the full version of Rhino available at a price which is affordable to the individual, non-commercial user.

You want a cheaper “maker” edition that includes Grasshopper?! Do you have any idea how lucky you are to have access to Grasshopper included even in the full price version of Rhino? Does Autodesk 123D include parametric scripting?

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Leave nothing out? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What you are asking is for a company to give away their flagship product, pretty much their sole moneymaker, for free for the privilege of enriching a third party site like Thingiverse? I’m trying to compute how it would benefit McNeel and coming up blank.

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Gold point. Seems to go for basically any Autodesk product. Just compare the prices and functionality of full and LT editions of Revit. For me personally the only difference is adaptive components and maybe third party API. For only 315% more…?

Parametrics is what people want and seem to be wiling to pay for. Why should that be included in the free edition?