Rhino 3D software: 3D Modeling Software for Architecture and Industrial Design

Are you looking for the perfect 3D modeling tool for your 3D printing project? Rhinoceros 3D, also known as “Rhino”, or “Rhino 3D”, is computer-aided design software. Rhino CAD is used primarily in architectural trades, industrial design, and jewelry design. From rapid prototyping to production, check out all advantages offered by this computer-aided design program!

Rhino 3D software

Rhino 3D: What is this 3D modeling software?

Rhino software is developed by Robert McNeel & Associates. The software user license costs about €1000, but a 90-day free trial of the full software version of Rhino is available.

Rhino is developed for Microsoft Windows and Mac operating systems. Before Rhino 6, you could also include Grasshopper, a visual scripting language, to your experience. Now Rhino 6 totally embraces Grasshopper, this programming language is now fully integrated. Grasshopper is primarily used to build generative algorithms, such as generative art. 

This 3D modeling software is a professional program, it will allow you to develop really complex models and geometries.

Why should you start to use Rhino?

Rhino 3D is a free form surface modeler that uses the modeling by curves technique (NURBS or Non-Uniform Rational Basis Spline). NURBS is a mathematical model that renders curves and surfaces in computer graphics. This mathematical model offers great flexibility and precision during the whole 3D modeling process. With this technique, you work with curves when modeling rather than by linking polygons. You create your three-dimensional surface by manipulating curves. This kind of modeling uses adaptive mesh, which enables you to optimize the number of faces forming the object’s surface. This modeling technique is the most accurate there is. To learn more, you can refer to our page about 3D modeling.

Rhino includes a really complete set of tools to help you develop all your projects, no matter what is your industry. You will find all the general tools, transform tools, points and curves options, surface features, and a lot of mesh tools to export your meshes or convert NURBS to meshes for display or rendering.

This program is not only useful for 3D creations, indeed, using the Make2D feature of Rhino will also be good for you to create 2D drawings and drafts, but you will also be able to develop your technical illustrations and communicate all your ideas using both 2D and 3D.

Rhino is particularly useful for additive manufacturing, but this program can actually be used for many different applications. It is an accurate 3D modeling software, perfect to design or for engineering analysis and it also provides deep analysis and visualization features. Rhino 3D modeling software can also help you generate great photorealistic rendering and makes animation or illustrations. 

Design realization requires high‑quality 3D models in every phase of design, and Rhino’s developers really understood that. From presentation to analysis, and fabrication, this modeling software always offer new tools and enhancements to help ensure that the 3D models used during your process are the highest possible quality.

Easy to learn, you will need practice but you will quickly be able to focus on design and being truly productive!  

Rhino and 3D printing

The development of this software started 20 years ago with the idea to give ideal tools to marine designers to build computer models that they could use to control the manufacturing process of their equipment. There is, since the beginning, a real connection between this program and digital manufacturing. 

Models created with Rhino 3D are accurate and usable for any manufacturing processes and especially additive manufacturing!

Why should you choose Rhinoceros 3D for your 3D printing projects? This software is particularly adapted to industrial design and could help you with your rapid prototyping and production processes. Moreover, this 3D program offers you great freedom in your work, you can totally create freeform surfaces. That’s not all, because Rhinoceros is a CAD software commonly used for architecture, marine design, jewelry design, automotive designs, CAD / CAM, reverse engineering, product design, as well as multimedia and graphic design industries. Improving product design is easy thanks to this powerful 3D modeling tool

Rhino 3D provides various functions to make  CAD files printable in 3D. Here are a few:

  • Mesh: many file formats used in 3D printing use polygonal mesh in their design. The “Mesh” function available in Rhino software allows you to modify a part designed using NURBS in a polygonal mesh. This is especially useful in order to export the model into polygonal mesh file formats like STL and OBJ, which are accepted on Sculpteo’s website. 
  • “Difference”: Rhino allows you to perform Boolean operations (addition and subtraction of volumes). This way, you can create closed volumes suitable for 3D printing. 
  • Join: In 3D printing, two parts of an object must be attached in order to obtain a single object. Using the “join” function merge the intersections of two volumes in order to create a single object. 
  • “Test Solid”:A model can only be printed if the modelled object is closed. This function will identify “open” modelling”. The “Show Edges” command will help you locate the open sides so the modelling can be easily corrected. 

As you can see, when it comes to 3D printing, the analysis tools of Rhino are very useful also. You will have measurements, surface, geometric and other tools to assure your model is prepared for 3D printing. 

3D Rhino file formats

Before using additive manufacturing, you will have to export your 3D design in a format compatible with professional or desktop 3D printers. The Rhino 3D file format uses the extension (.3DM file). You can export your Rhino 3D modeling into many formats accepted on Sculpteo’s online 3D printing service. When your modeling is finished, you can then export the file into formats such as 3DS (3D studio), DXF (AutoCAD), SKP (Sketchup) and IGES. Before doing so, make sure that your target format supports colors and textures.

If you need help preparing your 3D file for printing, feel free to consult our Rhino Tutorial.