Sketch Base Modeling in Rhino

Hello Everyone. If you have any experience in SolidWorks and Rhino, you might know what I am talking about. I am wondering if there is a way to do very simple modeling in rhino by modifying a “sketch”…

I am modeling plywood parts that will be CNCed and puzzled together. This is easy in solidworks because you model a solid by creating / manipulating a sketch. This sketch can be edited any any point in the entire modeling process and will automatically update the model. It would be soooo awesome if there was a way to do this in Rhino.

I know you can already create a polyline and extrude it, but if you could do back into the polyline many steps down the road, change it and thus chande the extrusion, that would be great. Instead of having to create another model and subtract it. Let me know what you think.

instead of searching for parametric behavior in Rhino, you can modify the extrusion unsing Ctrl+Shift to move/scale/rotate faces or edges of a existing objects.
Also with Record History you can perform some changes in the input curves and the extrusion will be updated.

When I am doing complicated things in Rhino which are drawn from 2D, such as a group of outlines that become a solid or extruded plate, I often leave these on a separate layer, layer with the name “Work” after it. I often make these layers blue, but that’s a choice.

From this, you can extrude and perform other operations, and then hide the work layer.

When doing a series of Boolean operations on a solid, I usually put these objects on a layer ending with the word “Tool” . These, I often make orange.

With both curves to be extruded as well as many objects to be subtracted from others, these can be grouped together.

If you are used to a stack-based system, you can also make sublayers for critical and intermediate solids.

Yes, there are some detriments to a non-parameter non-stack based system, but there are a lot of advantages.

Working with Rhino can be very interactive and organic, in that many objects can be altered without looking up their parent. You are not limited to one construction plane, and your plane of reference can be anywhere and any direction you want.

Though this power requires organization. There is nothing in Rhino to prevent you from leaving curve and point piles lingering about. Yet, as you sort and layer your drawings and designs, you will likely arrange them into groups of ideas that mean something to you–instead of a list of circles that make…a plate.

As @Diego Krause stated, many of Rhino’s non parametric tools can be history-enabled, which allows the resultant object to be updated.

[I once made a machine animation in Bongo, Rhino’s animation model. In that animation, I was able to animate bending hoses by animating their parent curve nodes. Without the animation module, you can just as easy change curve points which affect either a pipe or a rat’s tail, if you will]

The Grasshopper plugin might be the answer.

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Consider having the 2D reference data in a separate file, and use Worksession to have reference file open and visible while modeling in a separate file.


For me, I think it would be easier to just lock a layer if I was worried, about bumping it.

If it were something like the engine that a drew a machine around, I would keep it in a separate file, but being a single person working on a project, I am more interested in keeping sequential versions, and having a lot of separate files would mean that I would need a lot of separate files to keep both a document/version trail through time. Separate layers allows that.

For a big project, the final version was 3827, which was something I helped a friend with, over some years.

Not often, but once or twice I’ve made a wrong turn in a design, and I’ve picked objects from my old files. Rhino files are small if you save them small, and from there they compress down to about 20% using 7zip.

Obviously, when working with several people, separate files would be much faster, using external blocks.

It’s also easy in Rhino without creating/manipulating a sketch. Perhaps it helps if you show what kind of things you model?