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solidworks vs rhino

Old 11-16-2006, 02:39 PM
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ptxman
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Default solidworks vs rhino

Hi

I would like to hear some opinions from users who, ideally professionally or are reasonably proficient in both these packages in terms of pros & cons, relative likes & dislikes etc.

Presently I use Rhino v3, am self taught, am 'not bad' at developing complete surface models for RC applications, most projects as of late have been pylon type models which can get kind of demanding in certain areas. Im reasonably proficient at importing aifoils, background scans, reworking them into swervy curvy wings, lofting sections into fuses, checking surface quality in an amateurish way. Ive had some limited exposure to exporting these surface files out to cnc cutters for making plugs & molds, although Im toolpath program & cnc illiterate. I also have mechanical gizmos I mess around with & like to develop within 3d/Rhino. Im generally happy with the functionality, newsgroup based support although there appears to be way more educational reference material available for SW vs Rhino. I really struggle with filleting operations on anything over & above simple surfaces & of course typical aircraft are rarely simple. I 'hear' a lot about future enhancements, rolling ball fillet capability etc which I can readily visualize. But in terms of delivirables on that front, Ive almost given up. The printing & dimensioning is kind of rudimentary IMO, I would prefer better but its not really that big a deal. Better would be desirable if it came along for the ride. V4 is due to be released pretty soon which will be another level of investment. I did use Flamingo for the odd artsyfartsy rendering job but its not really a requirement I would pay for again.

On the SW front, I have never run it. Ive just done the net searching, seen the pretty pictures & noted the many big name manufactureres that have adopted it. Im particularly intrigued by the plugins like Cosmosflow but I cant seem to find many public domain case examples where they 'simulating' flow with hard numbers over & above the pretty advertisement color gradation pics. Might just be a mater of not getting a relevent link or case example yet. I would also like the ability to mimic movement geometry (ideally in 3d space) like the connected linkage models they show and/or ability to kick out avi type movies of modelled parts flying along a prescribed path. Im unclear if this is/was a plug-in or now part of SW>2006 on, or limited to 2d, or...? I am steering more & more towards getting hobby/low budget hobby parts cnc milled (some applications probably better described as 3d 'routered') as more of these services become available at lower costs. It seems like both packages kick out suitable iges? acceptable files for milling, so Im not sure if this is an issue? And of course the odd paper blueprint type output & 2d laser cutouts etc.

So with this said as an introduction, would SW offer many more features or abilities than I am using right now? Any comments on bang for the buck, or direction either company is taking etc welcome. Thx.

Old 11-20-2006, 12:44 PM
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David Turner
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Default RE: solidworks vs rhino

I've been teaching myself Rhino 3.0 as a retirement exercise. I'm doing a complete surface and solid model of a Beech Baron bashed from a Top Flite Bonanza kit. I worked around and with CAD all my work life but never was a hands on user so it's been fun to learn. I'm pretty good now at 3D modeling and not so good at surfacing which I know is an art in itself. My surfaces are good enough for my RC project but have small cracks, breaks and inaccuracies when compared to the input data. Rhino may be capable of perfect and accurate surfaces and I'm just not using all the right processes. I remember at work they were trying out Alias which supposedly was capable of getting a fully faired surface over a precise set of hardpoints. That was 8 years ago and I'm sure they have something better now.

Unfortunately I can't help you with your question about Solidworks as I only have used Rhino. I have tried the Beta version of Rhino 4.0 which is available from the website and find it much better than 3.0 but I haven't gone through all the functions yet. You can print much more easily from 4.0 and I'm just now trying to learn how to get a file with line widths to my local printer. You might try the Beta version before you make up your mind.
Old 11-20-2006, 01:45 PM
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Default RE: solidworks vs rhino

I use both. Solidworks and the beta Rhino 3D. I haven't really given Rhino a fair shake for 3D modeling as it doesn't seem that intuitive to me (however if you have used gmax or 3dstudiomax and their ilk, the user interface is quite similar. What I do use Rhino for is its ability to take a 3D surface and then flatten it. So, for wing skins for example, I export the skin from SW into an IGES file and then open it in Rhino. Then I flatten it in rhino and save it as a dxf...amazing time saving feature.

Good luck,

John
Old 11-20-2006, 03:36 PM
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ptxman
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Default RE: solidworks vs rhino


I use both. Solidworks and the beta Rhino 3D.... John
Thanks John. Interesting observations, thanks. I read your Yak thread ( it took a couple nights...). I was amazed at what you beat out of autocad 3d before switching to SW. On the advice of a 3d expert I threw in the acad towel when it came to 3d, thats when I picked up Rhino & never found a legitimite use for acad anymore since. Actually once I got my head thinking & drawing in 3d, the rest of it came pretty easy because so much of the 2d-type contruction had an autocad feel to them (lines, native geometrical shapes, snaps, intercepts, layers, blocks etc). Well, let me re-phrase that, IMO Rhino harvested the best or common & threw away the dumb or quirky things. Rhino does have many cool features like the the one you mentioned. I assume you are running v4 beta? (Im still on v3).

- how woud you compare the 2 from a pc system resources standpoint? I hear SW is pretty hungry on graphics cards as well as processor & memory. Can you see any appreciable difference loading, manipulating, refreshing etc for example moderate rc model type work? Ive got an Intel P4 3.0, twinx 1024 ram, 5700 series nvidea.. Is that enough IYO or am I already out of poop?

- in what specific regard does SW appear more intuitive?

- do you do much filleting work? If so, how do you find SW in that regard? I think this is actually my single sore point in Rhino, the rest are just being picky or inexperience on my part. I 'hear' that SWwill fillet things better or at least more often without failing vs Rhino. Im talking complex surfaces here, not joining block+ sphere native geometry type solids, rhino does that lickety split too. Other experts say whatever is being filleted in SW can be replicated in Rhino through some series of steps because its a nurbs modeler. Ive actually done some half decent looking work using Rhinos many great lofting, rail sweep & surface tools. But then things start to get ugly in a hurry when I want to marry the flying surfaces to fuses with nice fillets. The 'rolling ball' analogy makes perfect sense to me, I can conceptualize it & see what I want the end result o be, but I can rarely acheive it. Done much of this?

- have you used any SW plugin/aftermarket tools like motion simulation or cosmosflow by chance?

- any comments of SW 2006 vs earlier/later generations in terms of desirable features or versions to avoid?

- I though SW sheetmetal was suposed to nbe a supertool, doesnt taht doe teh unroll feature for you or is it limited to more basic angular bends vs things like wing sheeting?

Old 11-20-2006, 05:21 PM
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Default RE: solidworks vs rhino

With regard to filleting in Rhino, I assume it is similar to Alias which I know. I would always try the fillet tool to see what it makes for me but usually had to then reconstruct the fillet using a multi-generation birail surface. The original "fillet" surface would usually give me a good start though, in terms of building the generation curves and making them continuous with the surrounding surfaces.
Does Rhino have different degrees of continuity like Alias, ie. positional, tangent and curvature?
Old 11-28-2006, 10:14 PM
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Laird SS
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Default RE: solidworks vs rhino

For those of you who use Rhino because it will flatten wing skins, etc., try using lofted bends in SW sheetmetal. Then you will be able to create flat patterns in SW at the push of a button (icon). There should be some help files on lofted bends to help you out. If you create a drawing of the flat pattern you can save it as a dwg file that can be used in other programs. I used this method to create flat patterns of sections of an elliptical prism (sort of like a slightly squashed cylinder with one end cut off perpendicular to the central axis and the other cut at an angle of 6 degrees. Everything worked out fine. The material (steel sheet) was cut with a carbon dioxide laser using a full sized dwg pattern created by SW.

I have no experience in Rhino, but it seems that SW can do much more. There are also CNC programs that can work directly from SW models to create parts without drawings.

Bruce B.
Old 11-28-2006, 11:58 PM
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Default RE: solidworks vs rhino

Is 'SW Sheetmetal' an add-on module to 'normal' SW?

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