Wish: Maker edition for hobbyists

In the context of V6, I would like to point to a proposal I made some time ago, a Maker edition for hobbyists.

Designs made with that version would be automatically uploaded to the web under a CC license. For hobbyists that’s great. Many already share their designs openly on platforms such as Thingiverse. For professionals, of course, this is not attractive. Therefore, sales should not go down. In fact, I would expect the opposite to happen when the total user base grows.

Personally, I only use Rhino from time to time, and for me it was a rather hefty investment. Normally tools at that price I would rent or borrow from the neighbor, but with software that’s not possible. In the fab lab world where Rhino was once possibly the number one tool, I am seeing more and more courses for Blender. Surely Blender is a great general purpose tool, with advanced rendering and animation features. However, for modelling I prefer Rhino, and it would be great if I could exchange files with peers that - partly for price reasons - stick to Blender.

An alternative for occasional users would be an additional subscription based license, available for rent per hour. Amazon Web Service grew to become very popular with a subscription based model. In fact, I noticed that McNeel used Amazon’s SES to send out the invitation for the prerelease program. From the SES pitch: “With Amazon SES, you can send transactional email, marketing messages, or any other type of high-quality content and you only pay for what you use.” I wonder if McNeel would also have used Amazon SES if it was only available as a software package targeted at operators of high-traffic mailing lists.

To repeat myself:

Yesterday I was told that CircuitMaker uses that model: When you save your work, it gets published to the web for everyone to see. CircuitMaker is kind of a free version of Altium Designer, a powerful CAD program for electronic circuits.

Anyhow, from my experience at fab labs, nowadays there are few hobbyist that get into Rhino. Almost exclusively, the people who use Rhino are architects and designers who picked it up in school. And almost none of them pays for Rhino. Contrast that with Fusion 360. Lots of hobbyists get into it. This is not only due to capabilities and – zero – cost. The reason is also that Autodesk is aggressively marketing their product, in a charming way: They send staff to maker spaces, to give free Fusion classes. I’m about to learn Fusion myself, for creating CNC toolpaths, simply because RhinoCam is way too expensive for me.

I agree. At our hackerspace Fusion is also becoming the main tool for the hobbyists. Many get interested when you show what is possible with rhino. But the price just puts them off when it comes to hobby purposes.

I never thought that Autodesk policy makes sense until you’ve pointed out that @feklee way :wink:

You have the concept of marketing to “hobbyists” with cheap versions totally backwards. They’re the folks who, in every other product for every other sort of hobby, massively overspend for the sake of being seen as not a hobbyist, while the real pros know where money is worth spending. See: power tools, bicycles, pickup trucks, anything. So either Autodesk is stupidly spending resources chasing after people who don’t like spending money–which, sure, dumber things have happened–or it has an angle to “monetize” them eventually. All successful “free” software is either(to put it overly cynically) a vehicle to sell advertising or a vehicle to sell consulting and support and other ancillary services. Otherwise it will stagnate and die out.

Like first, kill the competition, then start charging real money… --Mitch

I share your critical view on Autodesk’s intentions – but here you’re wrong.

Just have a peek at Blender.
No need to download, learn or even like the program!

Just spend 3 minutes on their website, check their download figures, the member count and traffic on discussion boards (scroll down to the bottom), their release cycle and the sheer number of contributors.

They are FOSS since 1998.

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Yes, but Autodesk’s prime goal is making money, not software. They have to satisfy their stockholders every quarter. So you might see some cheap or even free stuff from them to get you into their customer base in the hopes that other cheap or free stuff offered by others won’t survive, but they are not and never will be a philanthropic organization. And they are anything but open source.


I can highly recommend “Moment of Inspiration” for people who don’t need the full power of Rhino:
I used it for many years before investing in Rhino (which I mainly got for Grasshopper).
Don’t get fooled by the toy-like website, the software is - while very easy to use and lightweight - a fully working NURBS modeller for an affordable price with very good import and export options.
It uses the same file format as Rhino and the creator - Michael Gibson - is actually the initial creator of Rhino AFAIK.