Rhino I love you but

Firstly apologies for the long one! I’m a long time Rhino user (started on Rhino3 around 15+ years ago) and I absolutely love modelling in it. It’s fast and just a pleasure to get things done in. With Rhino7 it’s even better. I can get some stunning looking models beautifully textured and ready to blow my clients socks off but….

I also need to get these designs made (mainly furniture, retail fixtures and some interiors) and Rhino still sucks at doing layouts. I really want to do my drawings in Rhino I really do, but I just can’t. I’ve looked at the really impressive ‘Page Layout Tools’ by Gijs that add a lot of what is missing and have read nearly every discussion on the forum relating to Layouts, BOMS (I’m aware of peters tools etc), Section tools (still geared towards Make2D but a step in the right direction), Clipping Plane Hatches (why can’t you hatch a clipping plane?), Scale Detail Views but fundamentally Rhino is a long way off having these tools nicely integrated into ‘Page Layout’ and just working. I’ve looked at VisualARQ that has some great tools but is really a BIM tool geared towards Architects not furniture/product guys like me.

For many years I always worked with SpaceClaim alongside Rhino for doing quick dimensioned drawings because it takes too long to make everything 2D, add sections, hatches, add details, fiddle around with it etc when in a fraction of the time I could copy&paste into SpaceClaim and have a drawing in a few minutes. Last year I was forced due to work circumstances to only use Inventor (not Rhino :frowning:) and although the modelling was painful the drawings were bliss! Currently I’m experimenting with Fusion360 to do quick drawings. They look great but it’s frustrating having to upload to the cloud and move out of Rhino.

For me, page layout really needs an overhaul with some obvious additional features adding to it to make Rhino competitive as an all-out design and manufacturing package.

  1. For me I want to reference the model NOT a 2D line of the model so I can see if something has changed and needs updating. It needs to be Live!

  2. Live Sections (The ability to draw a section line and create a hatched section view. This is kind of what clipping planes do, but I think sections should be layout page specific)

  3. Live Scale Detail Views (The ability to select an area on you drawing and create a detailed scaled view – circular or rectangular)

  4. The ability to select ‘layer states’ and or ‘named positions’ per view. You could reference one model but show it exploded and assembled on the same page

  5. A BOM table that you can export as csv. (@Gijs has practically handed this one to you on a plate, along with many other useful layout tools that should be built into Rhino)

I know Rhino was developed as a modelling tool and was never intended to do ‘drawings’ but it’s 2021 and Rhino has been around for a long time!

I’m sorry for the negativity but Rhino is hands down the fastest and most lovely modelling environment but also the slowest most cumbersome drawing environment.

I’d be interested to know how others deal with this pain!


Hi felttippen,

I feel your frustration, these fundamental drafting tasks could be easier to do and setup. The ability to get what you need out of a live 3D model can’t be understated. That said, there are hurtles to be overcome & they are being activity worked on. I’ve recently seen some work on Live Sections with Hatches that looks really promising.

I’m not a developer, I have a lot of experience in all your items and am a champion this cause. Drawings are the final product of the majority of workflows – we need to make that easier.


You’re probably already aware but just in case #'s 1 and 2 kind of exist with Visual ARQ, but with a few limitations. Sections actually have a lot of options and you can in fact control the hatch, lineweights, etc… The sections can also be live (it’s essentially an instantly-updated ‘Make-2d’ with more options available). You’re limited to having the sections placed within model space but for me I actually prefer that over say, Revit’s style of organization. One limitation I’ve noticed are that sections (and plans) are limited to being vertical (or horizontal). I also found that one needs a much more deliberate workflow compared to the more expensive alternatives. Since I’m modelling buildings I can get some value out of Visual ARQ’s other features. I don’t think someone should have to buy an expensive plugin just for the section tools though.

@Japhy This is great to hear. Keeping everything in Rhino is such a time saver. There are loads of rendering options etc but it seems drawings are just not as exciting! I hope these promising looking developments can see the light of day soon!

@keithscadservices I’ve just downloaded the VisualARQ trial and intend to give it some time but it does feel like a bit of a workaround using it as essentially a nice sectioning tool for furniture/product drawings. I will see if I can get it to do what I need with a nice workflow.

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Hi -

I agree that, as long as you have an alternative to turn to, Rhino is not the program to use when you have to document your models.

As Japhy wrote, a lot of work is currently being done to get the clipping plane to hatch and - equally important during modeling as during documentation - making it possible to snap to the intersections.

All your items are on the wish list and I’m sure will be looked at at some point.
I’d like to stress, though, that a lot of improvement was made in Rhino 7 with regards to text fields, as that is also an important part of being able to efficiently create documentation.

Could you outline a workflow for setting a sectioned detail?


@wim Dare I say it a little like Fusion/Inventor/Solidworks. But maybe to make it more ‘Rhino’ have an ‘Add Section Detail’ option on the layout page drop down.


Then draw your section line and drag it or have a ‘flip’ option for the direction you want it to go, ‘click’ to generate a detail at the same scale and in line with it’s ‘parent view’ showing a hatched section through that line.

This for me is hands down the one feature I would love to have.

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Thanks -

I can make things up, but, in your workflow, where are you drawing that section line?

Ideally in the layout space on the page.

For me ‘clipping planes’ already exist for reviewing models in the modelling space and sections should be a separate thing in the layout space for creating drawing section details.

Sorry if I’m over simplifying things. I’m not a programmer so I have no idea of what is involved in creating these tools. I’m simply basing creating nice drawing layouts on my experience in many other programs that are all pretty similar when it comes to layouts.

Just to add that I also have been using inventor for layout. That aspect of autodesk inventor (layouts) is an absolute joy to use and could act as a benchmark of what could be aimed for.
Rhino is just not at that level at the moment… albeit I have got some reasonable results with a bit of work.
Good luck to the development team !! Watching with interest

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I don’t think this is a technical issue nearly as much as a general workflow issue. I’m trying to imagine how you would define where a section is located in the model while working on a layout. I would love to hear some ideas on how this would get set up.

Same for me. I use Clipping Planes to control what I’m looking at while editing. They need to be fast and reliable.

Is that the intention of Section Tools? Perhaps SectionTools should be included in the Rhino distribution and not be a free plug-in. Rhino News, etc.: SectionTools for Rhino 7 - New Release

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We are rolling some of the functionality of SectionTools into Rhino 8, but not by just including the plug-in with the distribution. Work is being done to create, show and interact with sections at a deeper level. Sectioning is actively being worked on and I hope to be able to start showing off what we have so far soon.


Here is my version of a sectioning tool. I think we could use something like this in Rhino. Mine is just a hack job from an old toolmaker, but I think the idea is worth considering.


Steve just look at SolidWorks. They’ve done this really well of over 20 years.

In the drawing view on the sheet. Draw a section line/lines. That generates the section view from that view.

Move/edit the lines and the section view updates.

As a user of multiple 3D CAD systems for longer than Rhino has existed, this is all that is needed workflow wise. It is industry standard and needs no understanding to use it.

Lets not overcomplicate this by requiring a link to a clipping plane in 3D. This is a drafting task not a modelling task.


It’s a bit worrying when McNeel don’t seem familiar with industry standard ways of drafting :frowning:

I know Rhino is different, and It doesn’t need to become a heavyweight drafting program it just needs to do the basics without having to Make2D in the modelling space - Layout Sections, Scale Detail Views, View Representations (layer states & names positions) and a BOM table would be nice!

FYI @stevebaer this is how it’s done in Fusion360 - draw a line / drag a view


I do understand these approaches to defining sections, but would rather hear directly from users what they want. The Fusion and Solidworks approaches require one detail to already exist before creating other sections. I was hoping to figure out if there was a nice way to create sections without the existence of other details, but maybe that isn’t important to people.

Thanks for the quick reply Steve and please understand that this subject has come about from frustration for this part of Rhino only. It just seems to let down a piece of software that is otherwise so feature rich.

For me, I can’t think of many times when I’d show a section on a page without it referring to a parent view (even if on another page).

If I ever didn’t want to show the parent view that the section is referencing, I could just have it off the paper?

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I, personally, don’t want sections to be some weird/special object. I like clipping planes and regular details. It’s just current clipping planes are slow AF on multiple solids and have no auto-hatch functionality on the cut.

I would imagine that each detail could have some info regarding “view start”, “view direction”, and this would correspond to section of model if view starts inside of it. Also depth of sectioning would be usefull to show only some specific regions.

This kind of drafting views is typically used in ship structure design CAD software like AVEVA or Nupas.

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