Rhino or Blender for industrial design


I am a Solidworks user but I feel that the software is limiting my designs (or design potential!).

Due to that I am considering to learn a second surface 3D modeling software and I am really close to
start learning Rhino as it is a very common software in ID industry (at least in Europe) and seems very promising,
especially if you consider the potential of Grasshoper with patterns, CMF etc.

The thing is that I also tried Blender and it seems also very good, unlimited possibilities, a ton of add ons and it’s FREE!
Does anybody have any feedback, advice, experience on the topic or is doing ID with Blender?
Wasn’t really sure if there was a similar thread somewhere.

Any feedback is welcome,
Thanks in advance,

Hi Stefanos, I would recommend Grasshopper a million times over Blender for the reason that Blender only delivers meshes.
The box modeling workflow is just something entirely different than what is usual in ID.
Blender is good for its Cycles render engine and special effects though, if that interests you.
I think SW+GH is the ideal ID toolkit. For low-budget solutions, you can also consider Fusion 360.

Replying just to keep tabs on this discussion. I do all ID surfacing in SolidWorks now. It SUCKS for surfacing. (fight me)
Like the OP says ‘the software is limiting my design potential’ - totally agree.
I’d like to think that Blender is now what Rhino was 15 years ago - a shot over the bow of established, costly, and bloaty CAD tools - but haven’t built much of anything in Blender so can’t make a fair assessment. The flexibility of the platform is compelling, the ability for really quick viz/ideation, and links to XR.

Are you sure you know what you’re doing? :wink:
I don’t know, after 15 years of SW surfacing I actually prefer it to Rhino. Depends om what you want to achieve I suppose. You know it has G3 added in 2020?

Hahaha - fair assessment, I probably don’t fully know what I’m doing, I haven’t taken or passed the Advanced Surfacing exam, and just refer to techniques off YouTube or the now defunct Bible. But I >have< been using SW for 16 years and the experience has not improved. It’s less about ‘can I build this complex thing’, and more about the total lack of direct manipulation and visualization, or tools that improve iteration or make the entire CAD experience fun. I guess nothing is perfect.

Alias is by far my favorite surfacing tool, unfortunately it’s only used in a limited number of industries.

I took it earlier this year, and it’s pretty easy for someone in ID. Not that it really matters. No one’s ever asked me about SW certifications.

Rhino for industrial design surfacing. Rhino plus Blender for game engine applications.

I was a SW-only user for 3 years, and have done quite a bit of surface modeling. I can totally recommend the advanced surfacing course from SW and the Zen Surfacing tutorial from Dimonte group. The last one shows how to properly get g3 curvature.

But since a year and some I shifted first to rhino and then to blender. And now I am working mostly only in blender. (if needed I help out with the SW modeling).

Where blender shines is the ease of which iterations can be made. I design bicycles, and it’s super easy to generate several concepts in 3D. In SW it would take ages to do this. It takes some learning though getting used to all the shortcuts and workflows. Also rendering and animating is super nice, complex at times but it’s much and much more powerful than SW Visualize or Keyshot in my opinion.

One big thing for me is that there are now two plugins that make a import and export to SW possible. With Stepper (from developer ambi) I import a step file from SW to use as underlay, or just for rendering. With IGES exporter I then export my concept back to SW to use as an underlay for surface modeling. It is not perfect but it works most of the time.

Of course it’s not possible to use the surfaces created with blender in production ready 3D data. You could 3D print it though.

I also tried rhino, but I could not see the benefit over SW surfacing.

Can you recommend what you used to learn Blender?

Not a very specific one. I learned the basics on LinkedIn learning via an account we had at work. But there are countless tutorials on YouTube. I am still a beginner but I use it in a professional setting.

Coming from Solidworks things can be pretty unclear on how to do just basic stuff. Since Blender works quite fast with the keyboard, I would recommend to start learning all the shortcuts in relation to all the actions you can perform. So g - grab, s - scale, e - extrude, which you can do along every axis. And also some basic tutorial on the interface. After that learn modifiers, materials etc.

I also use box cutter and hardops, as it can make the workflow somewhat simpler. But it also means more learning so maybe not recommended when you start out.
When you have the basic skills it is just a matter of searching for additional info when needed. Additionally I use blackmesh to remesh my sometimes messy model I have with the Boolean modifier based workflow.

Because the program is so versatile there is much more to learn for me. I can get away with basic modeling but I also want to learn rigging and animation and simulations etc.

Yeah that’s why I’m asking. Youtubing and googling cast such a wide net it’s overwhelming to even decide what tutorial to follow, let alone actually do it.

Thanks for the additional info… maybe this time I may actually give it a try.