Top 10 plugins for Rhino

If you're a Rhino 3D user, or looking to try something new, check out Paul Hatton's choices for the top plugins available for this modeling software...

If you're a Rhino 3D user, or looking to try something new, check out Paul Hatton's choices for the top plugins available for this modeling software...

Use Rhinos simple to navigate website to explode what Rhino can offer you. There are tonnes of resources and video tutorials.

Use Rhinos simple to navigate website to explode what Rhino can offer you. There are tonnes of resources and video tutorials.

Rhino claims to be the "worlds most versatile 3D modeler on OS X" although there is also a PC version. It handles bigger projects, faster, with more than 2,000 enhancements added to version 5. After 35 years, Rhino is still going strong and is prevalent in the area of manufacturing, 3D printing and prototyping. It has also found its way into other industries including products, architecture, and automotive design. Suffice to say that it is a very versatile piece of software. Today were going to look at how you can push it even further than its core base and enable you to achieve even more.

Section Tools

In every 3D modeling package its helpful to have the ability to create sections of your 3D models. You can do that using this handy plugin for Rhino 5. It also updates as the model changes which is handy. So if you need to create 2D drawings from your 3D models, definitely take a look at this plugin.

Create sections from your 3D models.

Visual Arq

One of the industries that utilize Rhino 3D is the architectural industry. This plugin aims to provide architects with the necessary tools to enable them to create 3D models of buildings quickly and easily. It holds a library of parametric architectural objects and even enables you to create your 2D plans directly from the model.

Make your life easier with this suite of architectural tools.

Lands Design

If youre involved in landscape design or urban planner then this plugin is well worth a look. It has a huge plant database, with customizable and editable vegetation. Naturally there is also 3D terrain modeling tools. There are other features which will bring your landscaping designs to life.

Show your clients your landscaping designs in 3D or even as virtual tours.

Mesh Paint 3D

3D painting enables you to paint directly onto your model using either vertices or faces. This can be particularly useful for adding extra details into your materials. The developer is keen to mention that this is the first release so it may still contain bugs. Use at your own risk!

Bring life to your materials by painting details in 3D.

Mesh 2 Surface

This is a reverse engineering plugin that lets users convert digitized objects from non-contact 3D scanners to CAD models. The free version lets you construct 25 shapes rather than offering a time limit trial. Obviously these limitations are removed if you decide to purchase the full license.

A powerful reverse engineering program.

Evolute Tools

This plugin allows intuitive design of panelizations using multi-resolution mesh modeling and mesh optimization. There are video tutorials and even a full primer that you can download to help you not only get to grips with the basics, but also as a reference as you become more advanced.

These paneling tools are simple and intuitive.

Paneling Tools

Ever wanted to create patterns in Rhino that are suitable for both analysis and fabrication? If so, give this plugin a try. It enables the generation of 2D and 3D cellular patterns and populating them over rectangular grids. This will save you a stack of time if youre performing these types of tasks on a regular basis.

Create attractive patterns and repeat them over surfaces.


This plugin contains a whole host of tools which make the lives of architects and engineers a whole lot easier. Tools included are things like mesh relaxation/inflation and structural modeling/sketching. Its worth checking this plugin out to see if there are any of the individual tools that will help you in your workflow.

A set of tools designed for architects and engineers.

Aux Pecker

Every piece of 3D software is striving to provide solutions to enable their users to interact with the rendered version of their models in real time. Using environment maps and textures, Aux Pecker is able to display the models materials in real time. This is not designed as a substitute to rendering software but instead as a tool to help users create pleasing images that can be used with clients in the design process.

See your textured 3D models in real time.

Fluid Ray

This is a real-time unbiased rendering plugin so you can make use of it directly inside Rhino. Get results within seconds with its impressive rendering solution. There are some impressive results achieved that can be viewed on their website so its certainly not lightweight. You can also try it before you buy.

See your renderings in a matter of seconds with this unbiased renderer.

The history of Rhino

Rhinos journey began way back in 1990 when Robert McNeel & Associates created a new graphics and Cad platform. What set it apart was that at its core it was based on the NURBS mathematical model. This enables the exact creation of curves and freeform surfaces. Rhino has its own file format (.3DM) which is ideal for the exchange of this NURBS geometry. They also developed the openNURBS 3DM file format to allow for open sharing of this type of geometry too. Rhino continues to go from strength to strength and is in constant development.

Related links

The official site for Rhine 3D
Learning and information hub for Rhino 3D
Check out Rhino's resources
Here are some more plugins
Even more plugins for Rhino 3D!

Fetching comments...

Post a comment