Workflow from Design to Production

Hey, i study industrial design, I use Rhino for over a year now (currently completing Lvl 1 Training) and was wondering about some things:
How do you start out with complex models? How often do you revise with a client and how complicated is the process, or does it just look more complicated than it really is? How do you treat a model you have to revise often?
What about screw threads? If you need an M6 for example, can you incorporate that in Rhino?
Does it make sense for a freelancer to completely manage a Product Development from start to manufacturing?
Is it a good Idea to build models for manufacturing if I have no mechanical background and “just” a design education? Would it rather be better to stay in the design process and work with other people for manufacturing?
Does Rhino have all that it takes for it and how much experience would one need to do such jobs?

Thanks in advance!

For efficient NURBS models you break down the shape into a number of base shapes that are trimmed and rounded off…yes that’s a short answer.

Well the further along things get the harder changes become, so I try to get feedback early and often.

There are plugins for modeling threads, but that’s not something you actually need to do unless I guess you’re going to try to 3D print them. Threads are ‘specified,’ not modeled, usually.

Well Industrial Designers sometimes serve as low-rent mechanical designers, so…it depends?


In my view its a key element to collect knowledge that depends on each other otherwise your work is extrem limited.

Think by yourselve.
Can i sell a design if i cant visualize it.
Can i sell my model if its useless for production or how are the extra cost if someone else must do it.

In my eperience its key that your data is usefull to work further otherwise someone else will do it especially for small business.

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Thanks for the answers!

In a very complex model with a lot of different parts, how do you model the parts? Each on its own, starting at the origin and then fit them together later or modeling them directly onto the existing parts using cplane commands?

I saw other people saving alot of earlier models on other layers, to go back to them if needed. Is there a good rule of thumb to what is worth saving or is it better to do incremental saves?

If I specify a thread, what about the counterpart inside the model? Is it just a specified whole, or how could that work?
And other threads without a norm (does that exist?) for a plastic sports bottle for example. There are ways in rhino to create threads, but that’s probably depending on the client’s needs, right?

Thanks in advance for the answers! If you have any other “stories” about client work, what your tasks were and how it went, I would really appreciate it!

I’m trying to get a feeling for the industry since I’m going into my internship soon.

Thanks for the advice, I do agree with you!
I just don’t know anything about these processes or workflows yet, so I want to get information about them. I don’t really know the boundaries in which an industrial designer works and how far you can reach into other “territories” without risking to make very bad mistakes.

I understand your idea about risk and bad mistakes but in my view or my experiene its all about to accept the challenge that comes with jobs that will be offered to you.
The more challenge and risk you take the more you go outside your comforte zone the more you grow in skills…the skillset that is needed and the customer expectations grow exponential and the difference between poeple that can handle it and poeple that cant handle it because of there mindset get bigger and bigger.

Often companys that expect something from you cant even handle what they expect and you get no help at all.
Technologie grow so fast that what you can get in knowllege is incredible and in my view the only thing that cost you nothing and give endless options to do what you want and connect what you can.

My only investment is time and love to learn.

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Rhino is more than capable to cover the development of a product from basic conceptual design to a final model ready for manufacturing purposes.
This is what I do in my workflow:

  1. I build a library of commonly used parts and components that I could import with ease at any time and use for any of my future projects. This includes screws, nuts, washers, rode ends, hinges, bearings, electric motors, batteries, wheels, pedals, seats, rubber sealing and many others. Every part is saved into a dedicated Rhino file and put conveniently to the center of the World coordinates.

  2. I put the main pieces of the model into separate layers, because they let me quickly select or show/hide certain objects.

  3. I set a unique colour to the objects depending on their purpose. For example, I change the colour to red to all the curves and surfaces that I use to trim other geometry. I make the blend curves green. I make the projected curves and curve intersections blue. I make the offset surfaces and curves cyan. I make the important curves used as rails or profiles to build geometry (Loft, Sweep 1 rail, Sweep 2 Rails, Network surface etc) white. This is a very convenient way to quickly distinguish any object that should stand out among the others.

  4. I often use a plug-in for Rhino called BoltGen. It lets me generate 3d screws and washers with custom size and different head type and whether to include real thread (nice looking and realistic, but heavy on the video card) or leave it as a blank cylinder (not realistic, but very light and good to keep smooth framerate).


Hey, thanks for the great input!

As to the material library, I used grabcad for certain objects. Do you know any other sites for resources?

That last sentence gets the point quite well. That’s what I try to do. Invest as much time as I can and learn different things to make a whole experience.

Thank you for sharing your workflow @Rhino_Bulgaria.
About the point 1: How do you then insert those common parts to your main .3dm file?
As Linked blocks?

Take a look at my posts:

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I prefer my 3d scenes to consist real geometry that could be transferred to other devices as a stand-alone file, so I never use blocks. Instead, I simply import the actual 3d object and place it in the desired locations. I usually know exactly which screw or component I want to use in certain areas, so only on a rare occasion I would need to replace some of these with a different size or head type.

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Thank you for the clarification Bobi.