Rhino for drafting?

Does anyone use Rhino for drafting, or know if upgraded drafting features are coming with Rhino 5, whenever it actually comes out? 

I know that it is not (currently) intended to be a full drafting program, but I like it way more than Autocad for its user friendliness and support community.


Jun 7, 12 12:42 pm

Hey Dylan,

Rhino is a great, easy tool for line work/drawings....but in terms of "drafting" you want to be careful what you mean by that....For students it may just mean drawing an elevation with creative effort if you wanted to and no real constraints on what a drawing should be...while in the professional world, Rhino is looked down upon as a drafting tool (which is debatable) for reasons of potential disruption in workflow, compatibility, etc....but simply because it is not the conventional tool to use and does not really focus on the "standards", "plotting layout", etc. of conventional CAD programs (but of course there are workarounds). So to answer your question, Yes I do use it often for "drafting" but remember it is ultimately how you define a good workflow, output, etc. that determines if Rhino is a good tool to use. And yes, I do feel Rhino will only continue to improve as a tool. Hope this helps!

Jun 7, 12 1:02 pm

Yes, thanks. To explain further, I would like to ask about using Rhino as the primary drafting/modeling/rendering program, a BIMless version of Revit basically. Does anyone really use it to produce shop/construction drawings with no other program involved?

Jun 7, 12 2:44 pm

Plenty of industrial / product designers probably use Rhino for all their drawings, but I've haven't seen any architectural firms use it for the entire process.

Even studios I've worked at where 3d data for the entire drawing set was extracted from Rhino eventually threw it into AutoCAD for sheet layouts and detailing.

I'd be interested to find out if there is indeed any firm that uses it for A-Z in the architectural world...

Jun 7, 12 3:30 pm

During undergrad, I never relied on Rhino for orthogonal drawings etc... It was mainly used for modelling and extracting sections, exporting to autocad for cleanup work before eventually exporting it to Illustrator.

I was wondering if anyone had good experiences using Revit for modeling and CAD drawings?  I have yet to learn it but feel I should soon.

Jun 7, 12 7:19 pm

You can indeed 'layout' sheets in rhino, to scale, with viewports etc. Lineweights, linetypes, hatches are all supported in rhino. Try the 'layout' command if you haven't already.

For a small project, residential it is fine- but starts to slow down (enough to become annoying) when there are complex drawings etc. Perhaps I need a better computer.

Jun 8, 12 8:12 am

Bump? now that 5 is out

Jan 22, 13 11:41 am

I use Rhino for all of our drawings, from Renders and Design Development through Detailing, production drawings, shop drawings, and so on. 

The drafting tools are great and I prefer them to AutoCAD. I am NOT a fan of plot styles/ pen styles and Rhino gives you the ability to create layers with precise line types, and I prefer this control. 

Like someone else said, it comes down to workflow and we are very integrated with Rhino, so it works well for us. We are a sculptural and architectural atelier.


If I was opening my own office for architecture only, I would use Rhino with the plugins V-Ray (Rendering) Grasshopper  (Scripting), VisualArq(BIM), Kangaroo (Physics), and Scan and Solve (Engineering) and essentially have the entire workflow from conception to production and shop drawings covered.


Also, If you are not interested in traditional drafting, you can modify the OpenGL graphics to create custom lineweight/ linetype schemes for drawings from 3d models.

Jan 22, 13 3:08 pm

I fully believe that Rhino has 100% of AutoCADs drafting functionality, but of course no one uses it this way, so it interrupts workflow at most places.  Shame really; its such a great bit of software.  The one thing I will say is that, even though VisArq plays well with Revit, I personally think that Revit is miles ahead in terms of development.  GeomGym and Weaverbird help mend the gap a little bit, but not much.

Nicholas, are there any resources/examples online about the OpenGL thing you mentioned?  That sounds very interesting...

Jan 22, 13 6:42 pm

If you're create design development and CDs then Rhino might run into a few problems. It's one thing to create a proposal with Rhino it's another to integrate Rhino's output with the workflow of consultants. Everyone else would use CAD so whatever you give them will be in CAD and then you inherit their CAD drawings. If you want to use Rhino for the initial stages of project management then move onto CAD or Revit that could work, otherwise it won't be a good fit with industry standards.

That and Rhino doesn't have nearly as many features for CAD management as AutoCAD which is used when things are getting complicated. Things like lisps, etransmit and the CAD format itself.

Jan 23, 13 2:52 am

aphorismal - 

Yes, if you download the "Technical Drawing" plug-in for Rhino it has setting for generating dashed and hidden lines in OpenGL, and can give you an idea of a basic modification.

Options > View > Display Modes > ( Display types Menu)

From there I was able to  start creating my own OpenGL drawing schemes, so now when I right click on the viewport tab, in addition to Wireframe, Shaded, Ghosted, X-Ray, etc, I have Hidden, Technical, Silhouette, Presentation, and even have created custom GL setting for certain clients and projects. 

It is easier for me to say that a silhouette (edge) line will always be X weight, no matter what layer it is on, than having to make all lines describing the edge of an object of a certain layer or linetype. This also lets you create amazing 2-D line drawings without using the Make2D command, and set up 4-view sheets where all the views automatically update because they are showing a model, not a line drawing of the model.

Add in Section Tools, which is a great plug-in for Rhino, and you have a very powerful drafting setup.


I know everyone has different preferences, but for takeoffs and material estimates, going Rhino > Grasshopper ( + Lunch Box/ Geometry Gym) > Excel and having your drawings come out accompanied by a spreadsheet of quantities, areas, volumes, etc, Is quite amazing. I know the same thing is possible in Revit, but I prefer the absolute modelling control Rhino provides.

Jan 23, 13 12:00 pm

I am a big Rhino user and I just joined a small firm that wants to eventually move to BIM - the main problem for small firms is the expense of Autodesk software. I wounder if I can get everyone here slowly started with just basic Rhino and eventually get plugins we need. I am very curious about VisualArq and other BIM plugins. 

Mar 25, 19 3:41 pm
Non Sequitur

Just use Revit.


A small firm that i've worked for uses Vectorworks. It's not based on a subscription model so the fee's a little more manageable.


Cool, i'll check out Vectorworks. I've heard of it. RE: Revit comment, can you give me an example of how much it will cost for a 4 person office? And if you want to do clash detection, what will be the cost for one person?

Non Sequitur

^full autodesk suite is a couple hundred loonies (ie. canadian) here per user per month on subscription model. It comes with typical CAD, Revit, Navisworks and a bunch of other toys I don't use. This does not factor in the cost of the equipment.

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