N U R B S m o d e l i n g f o r W i n d o w s

© Jakob Normand 2003


Rhino is one of the best 3D programs on the market. Due to its easy-to-understand

interface, flexible rutines and very competitive pricing, the program has - in a matter of

years - become a favorite amongst designers the world over.

As you start learning Rhino, it’s important to always remember, that even though it’s

easy compared to many other 3D modellers, it still takes time and perceverence to master

the program and all its tools. So keep and open mind and don’t be afraid to ask as

questions pop up.

One of the most important things to remember when doing 3D modelling, is that the

software is but a tool, and should be considered as such. Don’t expect the software to

solve your problems, and don’t expect it to heighten the quality of your work. It might

make it look better and more complete, but a lousy design is still a lousy design - no

matter what piece of software your use!



Rhino’s interface is divided into a number

of areas which combined covers the entire

functionality of the program.

The screen grab shows what Rhino’s interface

looks like per default. The options of

customizing the interface are pratically endless,

but throughtout this course we’ll stick

with the default appearance.

As you get more into Rhino, you’ll discover

that a few commands are not to be found as

buttons, but the majority can be found using

the icon based toolbars.

One of the hardest things when learning new

software, is to remember where to find a specific

command - you know of the command,

but you don’t know where to find it. To assist

you doing this, Rhino’s interface has been

divided into areas, each covering part of the

programs functionality.




Contains drop-down menus providing acces

to all commands in Rhino.

Command prompt

Standard toolbar

Main toolbar

Status bar




Floting toolbars



NURBS is the technical term for the type of curves that Rhino use to define its curves

and surfaces with. NURBS stands for Non Uniform Rational B-Splines - an industry

standard for the representation and design of geometry.

In Rhino the follwoing geometries are available:


A point defined by 3 coordinates in relation to an axiz 0. Unless you use 3D scanners,

points are rarely used as more than reference geometry.

Lines and curves:

The most commonly used types of geometry. Lines are defined by 2 points and a

straight line in between them.Curves are defined by 2 points and a specific mathmatical

equation defining the line in between.

Polylines and polycurves:

As lines and curves are joined, they become polylines and polycurves. Poly is latin and

means “many”.


As lines and/or curves are brought into the 3rd dimension, they become surfaces. These

surfaces are what makes your model 3D. In Rhino, surfaces are always zero-thickness,

meaning that a surface in its own right has no volume, only an area.


As surfaces are joined, they become polysurfaces, and thus enables you to create more

complexe objects.


Lines og curves

Polylines og polycurves





In the Status Bar you find the follwing options: Snap, Ortho, Planar and Osnap

Snap: Turns grid snap on and off - more about the grid itself later on.

Ortho: Puts you in orthogonal mode, meaning that you can only do horizontal and

vertical operations - this goes for both drawing (curves, lines etc.) and transforming

(move, rotate etc.).

Planar: With Planar on, any future points on a curve will be in the same plane as

the first point.


Enables you to snap to different types of already existing geomtry, suc as lines,

curves, surfaces etc.

The different Osnaps are:













Endpoints on curves and edges

Nearest curve or edge

Point objects

Midpoint on curves or edges

Center of circles, ellipses and rectangles

Intersection between curves and/or edges

Perpendicular to curves or edges

Tangent to curves or edges

Snaps to a quadrant of a circle or an elleipse

Snaps to knots on a curve

Forces you to draw only in the construction plane, even if you snap

to geometry lying in front of or behind.

Eliminates all Osnaps temporarily, without you having to turn them off

one by one



When navigating your viewports, there different ways to modify your view. The 2

most important being Zoom and Pan.

Parallel projection

Zoom: Is when you’re scaling your view, changing the scale your monitor is

displaying your objects. Zooming can be done in 2 ways. Most mice are now

equipped with a mouse wheel. Scroling the wheel up and down, will zoom the

active viewport. This can also be done holding right mouse button (MB) + ctrl and

moving the mouse up and down.

Pan: Is when you move your viewport sideways, without zooming or rotating your

view. You pan by holding down the right MB and moving your mouse. This way you

can locate objects which are currently not within the borders of your viewport.

Perspective projection

Zoom: Same effect as parallel views. Activated same way as parallel views.

Pan: Same effect as parallel views. Activated by holding down right MB + shift and

moving your mouse.

Rotate: Rotates your entire scene (without rotating your objects). Activated by

holding down left MB and moving your mouse.



It goes for all the following commandoes, that they can be used by themselves and

in the middle of other commandoes.

If for example you are rotatin an object, but need a reference point outside your

current view, you can use zoom to locate it without cancelling the rotate command.

Zoom Extents

Zooms in or out so that the visible objects fills the active viewport.

Zoom Extents All (Right click)

Zooms in or out so that the visible objects fills all viewports.

Zoom Selected

Zooms in or out so that the selected objects fills the active viewport.

Zoom Selected All (Right click)

Zooms in or out so that the selected objects fills all viewports

Zoom Window

Lets you drag a window - from one corner to the diagonal - that circumferes your

new view.

Zoom Target


Lets you drag a window - from center to corner - that circumferes your new view.



The simplest pieces of geometry make up some of the most accesible tools in

Rhino. Somtimes you can go quite a way using only these tools. In Rhino 3 ht e

Solids menu consist of these primitives and tools for making pipes and extrudes.

The two latter we’ll get back to later on.

When designing in Rhino (and this goes for both simple and more complex

geometries) it’s important to always keep an eye on the commandprompt. It

constantly tells you what operation you’re doing, how far you’ve come and what to

do next.

If you’re doing a torus, the propmpt says:

Center of torus ( Vertical Diameter 3Point Tangent AroundCurve ):

So you start out by selecting the center of the torus. If the command has different

options, these are always available in the parenthesis. In this case there’s Vertical

(which does your torus vertically instead of horizontally), Diameter (which does

your torus from a diameter instead of from a radius), 3point (which does your torus

from 3 reference points), Tangent (which does your torus tangent to 3 curves and

AroundCurve (which does your torus perpendicular to a specific point on a curve).

Box, Sphere and Ellipsoid can all be done in different ways, depending on whether

you wawnt to start out from the center, a corner etc. The different approaches

are available by holding down your MB on the respective button untill the toolbar

floats. If toolbar is floatable, this is indicated by a litlle white triangle in the lower

corner of the icon.

In the following tutorial you’ll be using a few solid tools to do a simpel LEGO brick.



Quite a lot of jobs - especially when doing quick mock-ups - can be done using

simple solids. In Rhino these are found under

Solids in the Main Toolbar.

One of Rhino’s advantages is, that depending on what you’re doing, you can either

click or type your way through a series of commands. Usually a combination of the

two, is the best way. In this little tutorial you’ll be using two of the simplest tools -

Box and Tube - to do a simplified version of a 2 x 2 Duplo LEGO brick.

Start out by clicking

Box, and move your cursor to the Top Viewport.

Command Line: First corner of box:

Type 0,0,0 and press Enter

It’s allways a good idea to use 0,0,0 as your starting point. This way you always

know your reference point, and commands like Copy, Move, Mirror etc. becomes

somewhat easier to control.

Command Line: Other corner or length: Type 32, and press Enter.

Command Line: Widht:

Type 32, and type Enter.

Command Line: Height:

That was the brick itself.


Type 19, and terminate the command by

pressing Enter.



The next thing to do is - not surprisingly - the knobs. One of the big advantages of

doing 3D graphics is the elimination of repetitive jobs. Instead of doing four knobs,

you merely do one knop and copy it another 3 times.

Start by selecting


Tube in the Solids menu, and move your cursor to the Top

Command Line: Base of tube:

Command Line: Radius:

Command Line: Radius:

Use 0,0,0 as your starting piont

Type 5 and press Enter.

Type 4 and press Enter.

Since you’re doing a tube, Rhino asks for 2 radii, an inner and an outer.

Command Line: End of tube:

Type 5 and press Enter.

Now the tube itself is done, but note that Rhino displays the tube, but has not

given it a specific direction just yet - that’s your job. Move your cursor to the Front

Viewport. Make sure that the tube is vertical - hold down shift to temporarily enable

Ortho - and left click.

Now you need to move the knob into place. Start out by selecting the knob with

your LMB.

Choose Move

in the Transform Toolbar.

Command Line: Point to move from: When you did the knob, you used 0,0,0

as your starting point, do so once more.

Move your cursor to the Top Viewport and type 8,8,19 and press Enter.

Take notice of difference between , and .

What actually happens is that, starting in 0,0,0, the knob is moved 8 mm on the X

axis, 8 mm on the Y axis and 19 mm on the Z axis.



Now you need to copy the knob. Choose Copy

in the transform menu.

Command Line: Point to copy from: It’s no longer suitable to use 0,0,0 as your

starting point, as you’ve moved the knob. Instead move your cursor to the Top

Viewport, and use the center of the knob. If you haven’t alreday, turn on Grid Snap

by pressing F9. This way, you limit your movements to where the grid crosses.

Teh Copy command does not self-teminate (like e.g. Move does), so you can copy

all 3 knobs at once.

Start by moving your cursor up 16 mm (still in the Top Viewport) and click LMB. If

you’re unsure if you’re moving in a straight vertical line, hold down Shift to temp.

turn on Ortho. Pay attention to the Status Bar, as it shows you just how far you’ve

moved your knob.

The move your cursor left 16 mm and click LMB. Once again - check the Staus


The last knob can be a bit harder to move into place. But as long as you’ve got

Grid Snap turned on, it shouldn’t be too hard. If it gives you a hard time, one

alternative can be to click RMB to terminate the Copy command. Now LMB on one

of the “new” knobs, and use Copy

to move it 16 mm across.



For the sake of the scenario, copy the entire brick a few times.

You start out by selecting both the brick and the 4 knobs. This can be done in a

number of ways.

Select all objects

Ctrl + A selects all objects in a scene (including any lights, lines, curves etc.)

Select the objects one by one

Start out by holding down Ctrl. Use LMB to pick the objects you nedd, one by one.

Dragging a window

Drag a window from top right corner to bottom left corner, using LMB. When you

drag the window from right to left, all objects that the window either touches or

circles will be selected. If you drag the window from left to right, only the objects

that the window circles will be selected.

Grouping objects

Now and then you need several objects to behave as one - even though they’re

still physically seperated. To do this, use Group (Ctrl + G). Group enables you

to move, scale etc. as if they’re one object. To break appart their connection, use


(Ctrl + Shift + G).

When you’ve selected the brick and knobs - one way or the other - choose the

Copy command. Move the cursor to your Top Viewport and do a couple of

copies. Terminate the command by clickin RMB

Use Zoom Extents All Views

(højreklik) for at se alle tre klodser.



There’s 3 types of so called Boolean operations. Boolean operations is when surfaces

that overlap are used to create a new object.

Boolean Union

When 2 or more objects create a single object.

Boolean Difference

When one (or more) objects are used to remove the overlapping parts on one or

more objects.

Boolean Intersection

Creates the resulting object from the common overlapping area.



There’s a number of things to pay extra attention to when doing boolean operations,

the two most important being:

Edges don’t count! Boolean tools can only be used if the operands (surfaces or

polysurfaces) overlap - meaning that edges on surfaces can’t be used as operands.

When using surfaces or polysurfaces that aren’t closed solids, the boolean operations

can sometimes be a litlle tricky - as if they do the opposite of what you’d

expect. If this happens, you can use the command Dir to see what Rhino considers

inside and outside. The command displays white arrows on the surface that

point away from the outside surface. If the arrows point the wrong way, you can

press F and then enter (while displaying the direction arrows) to flip the vectors.

Overlap! Make sure that your operands actually overlap. It’s not enough that your

geometry almost touch. If you want your boolean operatiosn to succeed every

time, it’s a good idea to let the objects actually overlap a little. It’s not always that

Rhino is too fond of co-adjacent faces, surfaces that just touch one another, but

don’t overlap.



Fillet Edge is one of the most important, but also most problematic, tools Rhino

has to offer. Filet Edge can be used on edges that are joined, and rounds of the

edge and any connecting corners. These fillets are what make computer models

look real.

When using Fillet Edge, pay attention to the following points:

You can only assign one radius at a time. If a box needs fillet r=3 on four of its

edges and fillet r=1 on the rest, you have to assign the fillets in two turns - first the

larger one and then the smaller one. When doing multiple radii you should AL-

WAYS start with the larger one and the move on to the smaller ones.

When having done a Fillet Edge operation, it’s important to use Show Edges

to check if your geometry is still valid and that no faulty geomtry has been created.

In the dialog box, make sure that “Naked Edges” is checked, not “All Edges”. If any

edges light up in the assigned colour, you need to undo your fillet operation and try

again - usually a smaller radius does the trick.



Layers is the single most important work flow tool, especially as your models

become more and more complex. Get used to using layers right from the start! As

in most progrms that use layers, the can be turned on and off. locked etc.

In the layers dialogbox (LMB on in the Standard Toolbar RMB on

in the statusbar) you can modify your layers. The buttons on the

toolbar lets you:



Move up

Move down


Layer from object

Change layer

Select All



Creates a new layer

Deletes the selected layer, Rhino warns you if you try to

delete a layer containing objects.

Moves the selected layer(s) up in the hierachy.

Moves the selected layer(s) down in the hierachy.

Let’s you select which types of layers are shown in the list.

Selects layer based on an object selected in a viewport.

Choose one or more objects, choose layer from the list and

push this button. The chosen object(s) move to the selected


Selects all layers, to change their state all at one.

Inverts the selected layers.

Opens help on layers.



The window itself - below the buttons - displays your current layers and their state.

Check mark






Indicates which layer is active. All new objects you create will

be put n this layer. If you move the check mark, the active

layer is changed

Doubleclick to give your layers names. Use names that are

easy to understand - even to others.

Indicates if a lyer is locked, i.e. visible but can’t be edited.

Indicates if a layer is visible and editable.

Every layer have a colour. Change the colour by clicking on

the square.

Lets you assign te same material to an entire layer - more on

materials later on.

The layers dialogbox is - as all other toolbars in Rhino - dockable. It’s a good idea

to have it visible all the time, especially when doing complex tasks. Same goes for

Object Properties

side of our screen.

. The two can be stacked on top of one another on the right



Rhino’s Grid and Snap are another couple of tools that do well in aiding the precision

that Rhino provide.

The grid is the grahical net you see in you viewports, and you can adjust the size

of the grid to suit your needs.

The Grid dialogbox is located within Document Properties . Alternate you can

right click the titel of a viewport and choose Grid Options (second from the bottom).

In the dialogbox you can:

Apply grid changes to

Grid extents

Minor grid lines every

Major lines every

Snap spacing

Decides if the changes you make should be applied to

all viewports or just the active one.

Decides the overall extent of the grid.

Decides the density of your grid.

Decides the number of Major Lines (thick lines).

When you turn on Snap in the Status Bar, your cursor

will snap to your Snap Spacing. Usually it’s a good idea

to stick to “round” numbers (1; 0.1; 0.25 etc.).



Rhino has a number of curve tools, ranging from simple straight lines over

polylines, curves, polygons, ellipses and spirals.

All curves consist of control points controlling the shape of the curve. If the curves

end points are on top of one another, the curve is closed. If the curve is closed and

all endpoints make smooth transitions, it’s a periodic curve.

You can add and remove control points and manipulate the curve by moving them.

The points are not visble by default - they need to be turned on. Use (LMB

to turn them on, RMB to turn them off) or keyboardshortcut F10 (on) and F11 (off).

Control Points lie outside the curve, almost as if they have a magnetic pull, which

makes it easy to create and modify flowing curves.

An alternativ to Control Points is Edit Points

turn them off), which lie directly on the curve.

(LMB to turn them on, RMB to

Whether to use one or the other is very much a matter of personal preference.

If you need to do polycurves that has no apparent transitions, you can use Match

Curve (located under Curve Tools) to smooth out any kinks. The dialog

box lets you specify how to match the curves (position, tangency or curvature),

whether to average the curves (either changing just one or both curves), whether

to preserve the other end (so that the direction of the opposite end isn’t changed)

and whether to join up the 2 curves.



Click the word Snap in the Status Bar

grid snap.

to activate

Activate the Cirlce command by clicking and then click at 0,0,0 in your Top

Viewport. This defines the center of the circle. All commandoes tell you what to do

and when to do it in the Command Prompt, so pay close attention to it.

Pull the cursor away from the center of the circle to define its radius. LMB to end

the command when the circle is the right size. You can also use the keyboard to

type in a number and then press Enter.

Now click Polygon . Type 6 in the promt to decide the number of sides on your

polygon. Place in the way shown in this page.

Activate Interpolated Curve by clicking

curves inbetween the points you click.

. This curve tool generates smooth

LMB in the Top Viewport. The first points defines the starting point of the curve.

Every following click will add points and shape to the curve. RMB to end the curve.

Use this curve tool to do a handle. It’s important that the curves overlap the circle

in both ends.

You can always edit your curves once they are made. Press F10 to turn on Control

Points - move them around - press F11 to turn them off.



Now you need to trim off the curves. Select Trim . This command lets you cut

off and remove a part of an edge within what is refered to as cutting Objects. Make

sure that “Use Apparent Intersections” is turned on.

Select any curve that you want Rhino to take into account when cutting, in this

case all of the curves, and press Enter.

Now that you have selected your cutting objects, LMB the parts of the curve that

you want to trim off - look at the right side of this page to see where to click.

You now have 4 seperate curves. Use Join to turn these seperate curves

into a polyline. Note that if you activate the command and then select the curves

one by one, the command will automattically terminate itself as you click the last

segment. This indicates that you now have e closed polyline. If you’re working with

an open polyline, RMB to terminate the command.

Most commands can be used with both pre- and post-picking - whether you first

pick your objects and then activate the command or the other way around. If you

need all objects in a scene, you can use Ctrl + A to select all.

The closed polyline can now be used to generate a 3D solid.

Select your polyline.

Locate Extrude in the Solids menu. By moving your mouse up and down in

the different viewports, you can adjust the height of the extrusion. If you want to

extrude it to a specific height, you can use either your grid snap or you can type in

the desired height in the command prompt.



Rhino has a lot of different properties that can be changed. Som eof them you

use quite often, others you change once, others you hardly notice. These settings

are divided into 2 categories: Document Properties and Rhino Options. Document

Properties - as the name implies - relate only to the current file, and are saved

with your data. So that when you re-open the file, these settings are applied once

again. Rhino Options on the other hand are related to the program itself and are

the same from file to file, and session to session.

Here follows a number of settings from the Rhino Options that you need to do in

order to get the most from the program.




Open GL

Make sure that autosave is enabled, and set it to somewhere be

tween 10 and 20 minutes. This way you make sure that you

never loose too much work in the unlikely event that Rhino crashes.

Set “Min. number of undos” to a minimum 50 and “Max. memory

used” to somewhere between 2000-5000 kb, depending on

the amount of RAM on your machine.

Under “Display wireframe viewports”, choose Open GL, if the card on

your machine is Open GL compatible.

Enable “Redraw viewport when Rhino becomes active”. This way

you make sure that your viewports get redrawn ig you Alt +

Tab between programs.



In this tutorial you will make a simple chair. First you do the construction curves,

and then use the Pipe command to do the actual tubing.

Use Rectangle to do the base of the chair. It’s a good idea to do your

drawings 1:1 from the beginning, so that you don’t have to scale your objects later

on. In this case, the rectangle should be somewhere around 400 x 400 mm. You

can either do it by dragging the cursor from one corner to the other or use the

prompt and keyboard.

Choose the rectangle and activate Copy . Choose a random point in your right

viewport using LMB and make a copy of the rectangle about 450 mm upwards.

If you ever need to do copies of objects “in place”, you can use Ctrl + c, Ctrl + v

and Ctrl + v the same way as in most other Windows based programs - this also

goes for different sessions of Rhino.

Do yet another rectangle in the top viewport, same width but around 1/4 of the

height of the base and seat. Move

the upper part of the back rest.

it up about 800 mm, so that it makes up

You can always just grab an object and drag instead of using the Move command.

But note that move is somewhat more precise, since you get to specify both start

and end point.

Use Ctrl + a to select all three objects



Now use Explode to divide the rectangles up into their most basic parts - the

4 lines that make up each rectangle.

Select the lines shown on the right and erase them by pressing Delete on your


Now it’s time to use Osnap to do the missing curves. Osnap is a good way to

make sure that end points are actually on top of one another.

LMB on the word Osnap in the Status Bar to bring up the menu shown on the

right. This little dialog box lets you decide which parts of geometry to snap to.

When Osnap is active, your cursor will indicate this with a little white box indicating

exactly what Osnap is active.

You need Osnap to do the vertical parts of the chairs frame.

Turn on End snap to grab on to the end points of the horizontal lines.

Do the vertical lines using Line Segments (RMB on ). Notice how your cursor

snaps to the end points as you put the cursor close to them.

Round of the corners using Fillet Curve

around 50 mm.

. The radius should be somewhere

Fillet Curve works by activating the command, specifying the radius (note that the

number in the sub-options “sticks”, so if you need to use e.g. 50 mm a few times

in a row, you need not specify every time), then selecting the first line near the end

to fillet and then selecting the second curve. The command can be repeated with




When you’re done filleting, Join

all the curves.

Now use the Pipe command - located in the Solids toolbar - to turn your curve

into a 3D object. Beware to use a radius that’s smaller than the radius you used for

you fillets, or the frame of the chair will have a self-intersecting surface, as shown

on the right.

Now you do the seat by using the Arc: Start, End, Point on Arc

Arc toolbar.

located in the

Start out in your Front Viewport. The start and end should be the center of the

two tubes. The third point depends on the amount of “sack” in your seat. Use Grid

Snap or Osnap to make sure that you hit the exact center of the tubes. When the

curve is all done, use Extrude Straight to make a surface from the curve.

The back rest is done the exact samen way, only this time you start out in your Top

Viewport instead.

If you want to add thisckness to your seat and back, do so by using Offset Surface

with the Solid option turned on. You turn this option on by clicking the word

Solid in the command prompt after the command has been activated.

The chair is now done.



Rhino has a number of ways when it comes to displaying your objects. The Shade


toolbar is located under Shaded Viewport

in the Standard Toolbar.


Shows nothing but your wireframe model - called isoparms.

No surfaces, no light and no materials. The colour of

the objects is determined by their layer.


Shows surfaces as opaque objects. Isoparms are shown on

visible surfaces, lines and curves are shown as well.

The colour of the objects is determined by their layer.



Shows surfaces as opaque objects. Isoparms are shown for

all surfaces, lines and curves are shown as well. The colour of

the objects is determined by their layer.





Shows surfaces as semi-opaque objects. Isoparms are shown

for all surfaces, lines and curves are shown as well. The col

our of the objects is determined by their layer.


Shade Selected

Should be combined with Wireframe, Shaded, X-ray, Ghosted

or Rendered. Has the effect that only selected objects are


Shade Selected


Shows a preview of oyur rendered scene, i.e. materials and

lighting is taken into consideration. It’s an easy way to make

sure if all the right materials are assigned to all the right

objects without having to wait for an actual render.

Rendered Viewport



Revolve is one of the most simple surfacing tools in Rhino. It uses one or more

curves as a profile curve and revolves them around an axis, much like a real life

turning lathe.

When Revolve (located in the Surface Toolbar) is activated, it asks you for

curves to revolve, select any curve(s) you want to use and end this part of the

command by pressing Enter, Space or RMB.

Next you specify your revolve axis by indicating a start and an end point. You can

do se by clicking (LMB) in your viewports. Sometimes it’s a good idea to use reference

geometry - meaning that you do a straight line where the axis should be. You

then use Osnap-End to make sure that the axis is right.

Specifying the revolve axis automatically brings up the Revolve dialog box.

The most important thing here is “Start angle” and “End angle”. By adjusting the

numbers in these two fields, you can make revolved objects that only cover part of

a full circle.

Do a few examples similar to the ones shown on the right...



Rail Revolve works much in the same way as Revolve, only you get to specify both

a Profile Curve (same as in the Revolve command) and a Rail Curve , meaning

that Rail Revolve takes both the Rail Curve and the Rail Revolve Axis into consideration.

When Rail Revolve (RMB) is activated, you first specify the Profile Curve,

then the Rail Curve and then the Revolve Axis.

Rail Revolve has no dialog box. If you want to do rail revolves that don’t go a full

360°, you simply do a Rail Curve that is open, so that the resulting surface doesn’t

go all the way round.

If you want to do closed objects, it’s important to note, that in order to avoid litlle

spikes at the center, your profile curve has to be planar at the ends. Do this by

making sure that the first two Control Points (LMB to turn them on, RMB to

turn them off) in each end are horizontally aligned. The same thing goes for Revolve.

Do a few examples similar to the ones shown on the right...



Loft is a rather simple surfacing tool but very flexible. Loft works by lettng Rhino

connect a series of open OR closed curves with a surface. The number of curves

is unlimited, but smooth surfaces are best achieved using few curves. The order

in which you choose the curves will determine the order in which Rhino connects

them, so make sure that you pick them in the right order.

Activate Loft (located in the Surface Toolbar) and select your curves in the

correct order. Press Enter (or Space or RMB) to end your selection. The dialog box

lets you specify how Rhino should try and connect these curves.


Usually gives the best results. Takes both the curves and the

smoothness of the resulting surface into account.


Gives very smooth results. The smoothness of the resulting

surface weighs more than the shape of the original curves.


Gives very precise, but sometimes somewhat bumpy results.

Pays no attention to the smoothness of theresulting surface.

Straight Sections Instead of using smoth curves, this connects the curves using

straight surfaces.

Developable Attempts to make a surface that can be unfolded. Is mainly

used by the marine industry for making ship hulls.

Closed Loft Connects the first curve to the last curve (see example #2).


Do a few examples similar to the ones shown on the right...



Sweep 1 Rail lets you sweep any number of cross sections along a rail curve. Both

rail curves and cross sections can be either open OR closed. In order to obation

the highest degree of precision, it’s a good idea to have your cross sections actually

touch the rail curve, but it’s not essential.

You start out activating the Sweep 1 Rail (located in the Surface Toolbar),

then select Rail Curve, and then specify your Cross Sections. Note that istead of

specifying cross sections at the start and end, you have the option to specify a

point instead (see example #3).

Do a few examples similar to the ones shown on the right...



Works in much the same way as Sweep 1 Rail, only you get to specify 2 rails instead

of one, which gives a much higher degree of control.

The dialog box has a few important options:

Maintain height

Per default, Sweep 2 Rail will vary the height of the resulting

surface. The wider the distance between the 2 rail curves, the

higher the surface. If Maintain Height is checked, the height

will instead be determined by the actual height of the curves.

Rail Curve Options Much like Match Curves, this option lets you specify whether

the resulting surface should maintain position, tangency or

curvature to the rails curves. This option is ONLY enabled if

the rail curves are surface edges, andd therefore has a

directional vector.

Do a few examples similar to the ones shown on the right...



Surface from Curve Network is actually a Sweep X Rails command. It lets you

define any number of curves in either direction, and thus let you do very complex

surfaces using just one command.

As you can tell from example #3, the curves need not touch or be very precise, but

as always, using precise input gives you precise output.

If Rhino is in doubt, whether you want the resulting surface to weigh the smoothness

of the surface or the position of the original curves to be more important, the

dialog box will let you specify this for a number of points shown in your viewport.

Do a few examples similar to the ones shown on the right...



Patch, more or less, can do a surface from the most messed

up and unprecise set of curves, but the resulting surface is

more than often rather unprecise. It can although be used to

cap of planar ends in a bulgy way, otherwise hard to obtain

- as in example #2. To do so, make sure that you have “Adjust

Tangency” checked in the dialog box.

Do a few examples similar to the ones shown on the right...



This little tutorial halps you make a small computer loudspeaker. Consider the

tutorial no more that a guidance, so let you creative mind take control.

In your viewports do a set of curves using Interpolate Curve , so that it looks

like the ones on the right. These curves are used to create one side of the cabinet.

Make sure that the bottom curve is flat, so that the under side of the cabinet is flat.

Don’t join the curves.

Use Sweep 2 Rails . First pick the upper curve, then the lower, use the 2 side

curves as cross section curves.

Now move our surface and curves (select using Ctrl + A) away from the middle, so

that the y-axis becomes your centerline. That way, you can easily determine if your

object is symmetric (if desired).


your surface in top viewport. You now have both sides of the cabinet.

Use Interpolate Curve and End Snap to do the remaining curves - from

corner to corner. Use control points to edit the curves, so that they bulge a little

- almost as if it’s about to explode. Use Sweep 2 Rails to do all the remaining

surfaces (don’t forget the bottom).

Hopefully the cabinet now looks something like this:



Choose all six surfaces and use Join

to join them all up.

Start out by rounding of the top front edge using Fillet Edge . Use a radius so

that it looks somewhat like the illustration on the right. Repeat the command, and

now round of the rest of the edges - the radius should be about half that of the

upper edge.

Do a line in your right viewport, so that it looks like the bottom picture on this page.


the line and move it so that it cuts through the entire cabinet. Mirror

the surface, using 0,0,0 as your mirror axis.

Do a copy of the cabinet in place (Choose the cabinet, activate Copy

sub option “i” and press Enter - or use Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V).

, use

Hide one of the copies away using .

Use Split to seperate the visible cabinet into 3 parts. Delete the 2 sides, so

that only the middle vedge remains.



Locate Cap Planar Holes under Solids. Use to calose the sides of the vedge.

Cap Planar Holes can only be used if the holes are completely planar.


to bring forth the hidden cabinet. Select the vedge and use 2D Scale

(RMB) to scale it a bit forward and up.

Do the rest of the speaker using Revolve, Boolean Difference and Pipe.



You start out by doing a set of curves that quite closely resembles the one you did

for the loudspeakers, only this time in the shape of a cellular phone. Note that it’s

important that the endpoints meet up.

Using tools like Sweep 2 Rails and Surface from Curve Network do all six (in this

case) sides of the phone.

When all surfaces are done, join them up, and use Show Edges to make sure that

there are no holes in your geometry.



Now you use Fillet Edge to round of the corners. Once again, use Show Edges to

check your geometry.

Use the Duplicate Edge tool to make a copy of the upper edge. join the segments,

so that they become a single polycurve. Use Circle Around Curve to make

a number of circles along the curve. The radius of the circles should never exceed

the radius of the corner fillets.



Using Swep 1 Curve, make a pipe. Make sure that the surface is closed!

Use Split to cut off the part of the phone that is embedded in the pipe. This part

- containing the transition between the upper and side - should be deleted.



You now have a gab between the upper surface and the sides. To fill in this gab,

use Blend Surface. Start out by selecting all the edges of the upper part, making

sure that you don’t miss any small segments and select all edges in the correct


When you’ve selected all the edges on both the upper and the lower part, the

dialog box lets you adjust the blend bulge - the transition from one surface to the

other - and lets you specify additional cross sections. By doing so, you determine

which points on the one edge connects to which points on the other edge.



Repeat this process on the underside of the phone, so that all edges are smooth.

Now use Extract Surface to detach the top surface from the rest of the object. Hide

all other objects and do 4 closed curves in your Top Viewport. Use these curves to

Split the upper surface where you want your display to be.



Delete the 2 surfaces shown on the right, so that you now have 2 gabs - much like

when you did the surface blend between the upper surface and the side.

In order to give the upper surface a litlle depth and ornament, move the 2 inner

surfaces up and/or down slightly. Once again use Surface Blend to fill in the gabs.



Repeat the process on the remaining part of the upper surface to make a button.

The buttonitself is made by using Extrude Surface on the mid surface.

In order to divide the phone into 3 parts, do 2 thin boxes, and use Boolean Difference

to seperate them from one another. By doing so, you can actually see

through the side of the model. To close this gab, simply do a box that fits inside the

phone, so that gab can’t be seen.



Remenber to use your layers to keep your workflow and -space tidy.

Finally the exclamintion point is done using curve tools, and then extruded. Then

simply use boolean difference to subtract it from the button.



A few more fillets, and the phone is done and all ready for rendering - more on

rendering later on.

And this is what it looks like, materials applied and lighting set.



Do a fish!

Using the techniques you’ve learned so far, do a fish. Look at pictures or simply

create a fish from your imagination.


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