Comparing rhino and pro E for use at a university?

I am quite new to both packages and have been asked to compare the two programs. The programs are currently used for product design and in this comparison i need to say which would be more suitable for future students on my course. I would be interseted to listent to your opinions about the two peices of software, and which you think is beter and why.

They are 2 completely different tools

Rhino is a NURBS surface modeller. Pro/E is a parametric 3D modelling package.

NY design guy is right. They are two different tools. Since you seem to be a professor, I assume you knew that already!

I think we all can only offer out opinions here, and here is mine.

I think ProE or SolidWorks is more valuable as a students first 3D design program. They will be able to do technical drawings for working in the shop, export easily to rapid prototyping, and its very useful to know in the real world. I’ve seen job postings requesting SolidWorks increasing rapidly, and those asking for Rhino/Alias decreasing in the last 1-2 years.

Also, Pro or SW do have surfacing ability. You can still teach your students the basics of surface modeling, so they won’t be completely ignorant of it. The students who are more advanced in form development may wish to continue on there own and learn Rhino or Alias on the side. I would certainly encourage that.

To give a little background, I graduated three years ago. I didn’t have a strong 3D solids background, and I found it tough. I took a class in SolidWorks and found a job within 6 months. I’m not saying that it is a secret to post-graduate success, but it certainly helps to have all the tools one needs to succeed.

i would disagree - respectfully - with 914. anyone can learn software, including non-designers. and that’s what is happening all over the world. so chasing 3D software skills imo is secondary to learning about Design (important, but secondary). in that context, Pro/E and the rest are more difficult to learn than Rhino. hence they become a barrier to learning. when i was studying aerospace, a high school friend attended another uni with canned aero software. at the time that sounded great. but i’m thankful my school taught theory. we coded our own apps. i can still use what i learned; he can’t.

i would recommend Rhino simply because it is so simple to use yet so powerful and i recommend IDers take ceramics classes for the same reason - immediate feedback.

if ID is about cranking out shapes, sure, learn the tough ones in school. if ID is about solving problems, then teach how to do that with the tools that provide the most iterative possibilities.

my 2 cents.

First of all, a university should have the software that companies are actually using. To do otherwise only lowers a graduate’s chances of actually working in the field. A LOT of graduates are showing off really nice Rhino work, but have you ever talked to CAD operator at an injection mold making facility? Mention Rhino and they get an instant headache.

As far as ease of use goes, I agree that some tools make more sense during iterative, conceptual phases of a project. My personal favorite is a blue pencil.

When product development programs are condensed down to six months or less, an industrial designer becomes EXTREMELY valuable to a company if they can create drafted, shelled, ready for engineering models using the same software that engineering uses. This makes changes and adjustments much easier and faster.

Of my eleven years doing this, the first five were the hardest and least rewarding. I had to hand off my renderings and foam models and watch them be re-interpreted by an engineer. The true design intent was always lost. Using CAD in general gives us the opportunity to combine the original idea with all the craftsmanship and attention to detail that makes a successful product.

Pro-E has been very very good to me!

Thanks very much for your opinions, they have given me a more in depth understanding of the two programmes.

Unless the pricing structure of software like ProE, Alias and even the relatively cheap Solidworks drops to match that of Rhino, only the very large studios will be able to afford them. Since a great many people end up in smaller firms or even hanging their own shingle, the cost of software becomes a much bigger issue than the developers would like you to believe. My advice is learn them both and get proficient in Rhino as makes the most organic forms. You will be working beside tooling pros that use ProE so as long as you can communicate, you will probably be fine.


“ProE, Alias and even the relatively cheap Solidworks”

i read this and get the assumption people still believe Pro and Alias are a lot of money. Pro/E Foundation which is very comparable to SW, is only about a $1000 more. and a large number of studios use the low-end Alias StudioTools which was, last i checked, around $3500.

so “relative” to what? left alone, that comment is very misleading. Rhino’s price is increasing. still less than others. but the difference is not a deal breaker in the way it used to be.

When you can get a desktop, notebook and Rhino for the same price as the others, your solo flight takes off that much easier. The difference may be neglible to any established firm, but for very small start-up, it can easily add up to several car payments or the rent on a workspace or the cost to prototype something. You have to make it to spend it, or you’re that much closer to insolvency.


you missed my point. your comment “ProE, Alias and even the relatively cheap Solidworks” is the point. SW is no more “relatively cheap” than Pro/E foundation. yet you distinguish. that’s misleading.

Yeah… I missed it. I was trying for a bit of humour myself by calling it relative to begin with.

I’m curious, anyone else (other than me) initially have to “down-grade” to Rhino because the money actually mattered?



After being laid off and going after contract/freelance work several years ago, I had no option but to stick with Rhino.

i planned my corporate departure. i’d bought Maya for fun well before. picked up Pro/E about 7 months before walking. i’ve upgraded both and had maintenance, but i have dropped maintenance for both. Maya bc i just don’t use all it can do and would rather buy another seat in a year (render farm). Pro bc i HAD a contract with PTC for this year but they broke it (could have pursued, but figured to hell with them).

Actually Solidworks is a lot cheaper for the student. Cumulatively it can add up. This is probably why Art Center teaches Solidworks to its grads.

PTC Pro|Engineer Wildfire 2.0 Student Edition
$ 149.98

SolidWorks Student Edition 2004-2005
$ 99.98

SolidWorks Student Edition 2004-2005
$89.95 free shipping

The prices seem to have gone up on Solidworks since last year when an intern in our company had purchased it for $67.oo

ykh is correct about foundation and Solidworks being comparable

for some students, $50 is a weekend drinking. or a pair of jeans. etc. hardly a big deal. if wouldn’t have been an issue to me considering the obvious upside. and i was living poor my second trip to college. and if it’s for a university, my old school gets seats of Alias donated to them…

If you’re considering Pro-E and have the budget for it, then I suggest ALSO getting Rhino (lab license price is good). Don’t necessarily have to teach Rhino but have a knowledgeable person who can help the students learn it on their own. Get them to do tutorials (a lot of them on the net), have a reference book that comes with Rhino available for consultation.
Teach Pro-E as it is harder to learn, and more important, since it has legacy and parametrics, to learn correct modeling techniques.
Rhino is more forgiving and flexible, which makes it an easier tool to pick up on spare time. With McNeel giving free classes to teachers, it should be a helper.

anyway, my 2 cents.
Any reason you are not considering SolidWorks?

…for students i would go with rhino, it is very intuitive…a student can be building complex geometry in rhino with a few hours of tutorials…it takes days/weeks with pro-e parametrics…

It may take a bit longer to learn a tool such as Pro/ENGINEER but one can reap what they invest. And Wildfire does not cost much more than Solidworks. I believe the base price of Solidworks and Pro/E are only a thousand dollars off from each other.

We have developed quite a few tutorials for all of the above including Rhino. I watch and observer and find it difficult for Industrial designers to prove out form in Rhino. It is weak at least. Most people I see use Alias break the construction history so fast they don’t get a chance to prove our form using parent child relationships… You really have to see someone do it before you begin to understand. I will try to put together some Video tutorials this month to share.

the more you post, the less respect i have. considering i’ve already said the same thing:

“Pro/E Foundation which is very comparable to SW, is only about a $1000 more.”

the only reason i see for you to repeat this is to sell a service you’re promoting. having watched this go on for some time, be glad i no longer moderate. i would have deleted these posts as spam. more importantly, anyone i might have referred to you, i find myself less inclined to do so now. there’s apparent desperation in all this veiled spam. which means something is wrong. perhaps you’re not able to get students. i don’t know. but your posts here have me guessing your training is not getting high marks.

be careful the perception you promote.