Rhino 5.0 Released With 3,500 Enhancements

What happens when a CAD software vendor vibrantly involves its customers in the development its CAD system for five years? Well, you get a new version that has around 3,500 enhancements. Robert McNeeel & Associates is a very different CAD software vendor. And they have a very different way of developing CAD software.

The company has just released Rhino 5.0 and it has already been used by more than 40,000 existing users, some for real production work. The list of enhancements in Rhino 5.0 can be found here.

According to the web site:

The Rhino 5 development process started more than five years ago with one overriding goal—to remove as many of your workflow bottlenecks as possible. That meant making Rhino faster and able to handle much larger models and project teams, in addition to making thousands of large and small improvements.

You can download a full featured evaluation from here. Mac users can download an OSX version here. The Mac version is still a WIP (work in progress) and according to McNeel is “free to anyone willing to provide feedback“.

In true McNeel tradition, pretty soon Rhino 6.0 pre-release builds will be available to all Rhino 5.0 customers. According to the company:

We provide everyone as much information as possible during every development phase. We try not to keep any secrets. All our development is open to the owner of a current version of Rhino.

While users of most other CAD systems wait for a couple of service packs to be released before they adopt a new version, Rhino users do exactly the opposite. They end up using the software for production work even before it has been released. I find this truly amazing.

I remember asking Bob McNeel why he didn’t follow an annual release cycle like other CAD vendors. He replied, “We release a new version when our customers tell us its ready. In this business it practically impossible to come up with a significantly improved and robust version of a product that is fit for production use in merely a year.

  • Absolutely agree that it is nearly impossible to come up with significant improvements in a 1 year cycle for CAD.

    Nearly impossible, in the knowledge that, you need to make them stable! And without regressions!

    One thing I don’t like about Rhino is simple (and it’s a deal breaker for me) and it’s just two words: user. interface.

    Sure one could argue user interface is preference and taste, but Rhino’s isn’t about preference or taste. The way it tries to have some UI functions that mimmick Autocad is a lame way to try to appeal to Autocad users, and totally doesn’t fit the software IMO

    • Test

      I agree Kevin, that Autocad thing is what puts me off Rhino in part.
      I will have to see what this version brings. I would hope it is not only nurbs modeling, because that has very low flexibility for conceptual work.

    • NE_Heights_Elitist

      I agree the interface is old.

  • Greeko

    What truly amazes me is to wait 5 years to get 3500 enhancements… Why not getting 700 enhancements a year rather? and until the GA version is ready to let users be the guinea pigs is for me unbelievable. In a working environment for users this is really asking them to take a lot of risks. McNeel is definitly on a different business model than the top actors. It is cheap, and it tries to do as good as the others, we cannot argue it succeed to fill a gap in the CAD markey, on which many plug-in comes to fill a little smaller one. How long before Rhino 6??

    • You don’t have to wait 5 years to get 3500 enhancements. The new versions builds are continuously updated. So existing customers get the enhancements as they are developed.

    • Chad

      Guess you can’t make everyone happy…

  • I love Rhino, and I only got into it because the command set was similar to AutoCAD.
    For me, Rhino was AutoCAD with a better grasp on 3d. Easier to move views/cameras in the display etc. It was like someone had switched a light on, and AutoCAD was in the shade.

    I pretty much dumped AutoCAD 2007 when I got Rhino, as it just seemed more usable. (and lots cheaper!)
    Sadly, I found that Rhino had a couple of issues with exporting a 2d dxf so it was suitable for lasercutting – too many points, strange curves etc. I ended up having to open everything in AutoCAD to check it before sending it out anyway 🙁
    The STL export in Rhino was was OK, but never the best. I’m hoping that it has improved in V5..

    The Rhino/AutoCAD interface thing…. see history…. there were connections early on – not mimicking… I believe that there was a parting of ways..somewhere between ’95 and ’97 http://wiki.mcneel.com/rhino/rhinohistory

    (FWIW, I much prefer the Rhino interface to AutoCAD’s – I designed Buildabot on it – http://york3dprinters.com)