Rhino as a viable candidate for replacing Solidworks

As others have replied, while this is not Rhino’s main focus, with some custom tools you can certainly do many things.

I would add that if you throw Grasshopper into the equation, you could also have some parametric design capabilities, which could be quite interesting.

The great thing of Grasshopper in this regard is that the “parametric tree” is completely exposed, so, provided that you know how to handle it, that gives you complete control over the various relationships. Obviously it is not feature-based, but for many not too complex cases it may be a solution.

If you can share an example of the type of component(s) you need to manage I can try to give you more details.

In any case I agree that the most appropriate solution would be to try to work within Rhino in parallel and develop some custom tools and workflows before considering a complete switch.

Here’s another thought…

If the goal is to get rid is SW, but retain certain aspects while gaining what Rhino can do, consider pairing Rhino with Fusion 360. They complement each other well, and native Rhino files import into Fusion for assemblies, etc.

Not knowing what you do, I’d fear you’d find yourself wanting something SW or Fusion can do that Rhino, as great at it is at what it does, simply can’t do.

Plus, a Rhino Fusion combo should still cost you less than SW.

I’m happy to have found a companion because I haven’t found a topic on this subject yet. I also thought I was the only one who required BOM’s etc from Rhino (which I find hard to believe).

As far as switching to Rhino; I’ve basically convinced my company to make the switch, the only caveat that’s stopping them is the ability to quickly make BOM’s etc. At the moment it’s just too much of a hassle.

I might try some scripting, but it should be easy to add some functionality for McNeel right? Where can we bug him? :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the thought, definitely something to consider. However Rhino already has the ability to balloon parts (we use the annotation leader) and paste a command with the ID of the part included so it extracts the required information. We just need it to be automated so we don’t have to manually add each and every leader and look up every part ID.

Right here is the correct place for that :wink:

A quick search in their tracking system shows that there are two issues logged for this feature. RH-29290 and RH-35934. The release target for both is set to “Future”. Just remember there are thousands of other wishes and bugs logged in the system.

From my point of view enough people use Rhino for mechanical design because it really does offer a lot features that really are quite easy to use. And part of mechanical design includes BOM’s, assembly and part drawings. I would think some additions in Blockmanager and incorporating tables would not be that difficult for some one at McNeel to come up with to make a real BOM feature.

“Rhino Piping” has a good free plug in for tables, and I use that in my layouts in manually piecing together a BOM. For assembly drawing I can do those as well but manually and in a separate file. It would be nice to be able to sew all those up together in one file of the main model.

There are more then those two examples wim. I have made the request for a BOM feature (and others) and bring it up from time to time just to keep the conversation going. :smiley:

And then there is this request for the Assembly drawings

Well… you need to differentiate between the YT system and threads here on Discourse. Ideally, you only have 1 single entry on YT and lots and lots of posts here on Discourse - from different people.

Honestly, as a user of both SolidWorks and Rhino, you would need to think very carefully before ditching SolidWorks and moving all over to Rhino.

Rhino is a great tool and sure you can create virtually any shape (in very skilled hands)m and you can draft…but…if I was used to SolidWorks drafting and modelling tools and forced to drop it for Rhino I would seriously doubt the sanity of my boss.

You mention that the tree fails in SolidWorks? That you want no history? You can do that in SW already. Just use freeze, or export as a parasolid and import the dumb part. We can argue all day about modelling in this app or that app but in our business we use Rhino with TSplines for concept work, take these to SW for final surfacing and parts…and drafting.

Drafting in Rhino is, well…if you want to go back 20 years, lose all manner of automated drafting tools, e drawings, associative (that works) drawing views, reliable sectioning, call outs, hole tables, etc etc.

Keep SolidWorks. Use it in tandem with Rhino. It actually partners up well. Someone suggested PowerSurfacing for SolidWorks. We have it but stopped using it as it was buggy, slow and unreliable compared to Rhinowith TSplines. I see use continuing to use v5 for some time until McNeel implement a native sub d workflow to match T Splines (either that or we switch to Fusion360 for this kind of work).


This really sums up our findings too. We are a small company with a small crew so it’s relatively easy to make a switch. Ideally we would use a single software package to save some costs and don’t have to “export-import-convert-etc.” all the time.

Couldn’t have said it any better :joy:. I really hope McNeel improves this functionality. [quote=“Kevin_Quigley, post:17, topic:43361”]
Drafting in Rhino is, well…if you want to go back 20 years, lose all manner of automated drafting tools, e drawings, associative (that works) drawing views, reliable sectioning, call outs, hole tables, etc etc.

Yes, I agree it

Thats too bad, I wonder if the issues are with the SolidWorks plugin or if the stand alone package is any better. I admit I used the the trial only for a short time, and it seemed very encouraging.

I use Inventor mainly, Rhino more than ever now that I’m doing CMM’s & pointclouds, and had used SW as my main program in the past. My view is a combination of what’s been said above.

Before switching to Inventor (I hate Autodesk b/c they’re thieves and liars, so don’t take this as a sales pitch for Inventor), I used Rhino almost exclusively. I switched from Autocad b/c I got sick of making blocks to create easy to draw large assemblies. Autocad is primitive (as in ‘stone age’) compared to Rhino. The switch was easy b/c Rhino was like Acad, except it had a zillion improvements and other functions that Acad didn’t and still doesn’t have. The 2 major problems I found w/Rhino that caused me to switch are 1. drafting tools, esp. metadata management, and 2. Assembly size limitations.

I quit using SW b/c it was not suited to my area of work: Industrial machinery, structures, piping, etc. The biggest time saver with Inventor compared to SW was/is the management of metadata. That’s where all the time is saved in the drafting area. Rhino is almost naked in that area of need. I learned real quick that SW is good for molds and that sort of thing, but not my area of work. SW metadata management is garbage, and I ‘had it out’ w/the district rep over it. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

Rhino is excellent for surfacing and product development, but it lacks the one essential for designers: bi-directional parametrics. To change something takes forever. That’s the other side of metadata. Everything is connected to each other with mathematical relationships. Can’t do that in Rhino … at least not easily, far as I’ve found. Correct me if I’m wrong. So when the customer wants something resized or changed, most times it’s as easy as changing a number or making a base sketch correction. Can’t do that in Rhino. Changing things downsteam, things that have multiple parent-child relationships, is very difficult and time consuming in Rhino.

But now, since both IV & SW can’t do surfacing and meshing worth a darn, I use Rhino. One day someone is going to develop software that’s AFFORDABLE, but which also combines parametrics, metadata management, meshing, surfacing and modeling, AND ISN’T CONTROLLED BY SUBSCRIPTION SLAVERY.

Today, all those programs are out of reach of all but the ‘uber rich’.

Not knowing your particular circumstances, I really can’t offer an opinion on your needs. Everybody has do to their own R&D, I guess!

Just my 2 cent’s worth … Chris

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Hi Chris, thanks for your 2 cents worth :wink: Have you tried either the History function in Rhino or GrassHopper?
I’m trying out some things in GrassHopper as we speak and what I can see so far is that is a really powerfull tool capable of awesome parametric designs. It takes a while to set up, but once you’re there it’s easy to expand and adjust.


Thanx for the info.

I tried the History function but didn’t do much with it. It seemed to be a lot of overhead.

If you have a simple tutorial to help me get started better than I did, I would like to retry it to see what it has to offer.

Same with GrassHopper. I tried to get my head into it, but there’s too much in my head these days to dig deep. If you have a simple getting started web link or pdf for it, I’d be grateful. GH looks like a very nice tool!

Thanx … Chris

@cadman777, what I did before I started with GH is look at these simple tutorials:

After that I tried to recreate the things I model in GH. Takes a few extra steps and some different thinking/approach, but you get some great parametric capabilities in return. GH does have its limitations, but so does every other program right?

Thanx ortho.
If I ever get time to ‘play around’ with GH, then I’ll give your suggestion a try.
Cheers … Chris

Something along the lines of the Modifier Stack in 3DS Max would be nice.

Old thread, but for the sake of others. I’m an expert Solidworks and Rhino user and this bench was impossibly tedious to set up para-metrically in Solidworks. Perhaps there was a way… but I worked on it for three days before abandoning, and spending 3 more completing successfully in Rhino. Curve through Points and Macros and Grouping was critical, all which would have need maybe, scripting in SW?

It was rigged in Rhino using History from 1. Points, 2. Curves through points, and 3. Sweeps, (To oversimplify) I was able to make the bench Parametric and adjust the “Surface” bulges at all of my predetermined support sections. You can see the huge changes from the Render to the Real. I did not remodel it.


Very nice work!