Question about CAD software for product design

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  02 February 2013
Question Question about CAD software for product design

I know this question has been asked to death in one form or another, yet after hours of google research, I'm still not sure I have my I thought I'd ask here!

My question: I am trying to learn to 3D model so that I can design and and then create (via CNC Milling, 3D printing, etc.) an iphone case. Is that out of Rhino's depth (and the reason there are so few tutorials online about it)? Is SolidWorks, (or any Parametric modeler for that matter) the only real option for 3D modeling objects that must be to perfect scale for manufacture? Or is Rhino more than capable and just another way of getting there?

I know this is a very elementary question, but forgive my ignorance! This seemed like one of the better forums to ask on.

Portland, OR
  03 March 2013
Hi Dan,

If you want to do 3D printing then you're only limited by the file type - as far as I'm aware, most 3D printers will use either .stl or .step files. I'm pretty sure Rhino can export as .stl files so you won't have an issue in that respect.

The main issue you're likely to run into, particuarly if you're designing components to fit onto an existing product, is model accuracy. Parametric modellers (Solidworks, ProEngineer, Catia etc) are tools designed specifically for producing models to be used for manufacturing and thus give you a high level of control and accuracy over the detailing. In my experience, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to achieve the same from most poly/mesh modellers.

This is not to say that it can't be done, but if you have the luxury of choosing then for this sort of thing I'd go for a parametric modeller every time.


  03 March 2013
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