Alibre and Rhino

Discussion in 'Software' started by LP, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. LP
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    LP Flying Boatman

    I looking at getting Rhino and just recently ran across Alibre. The Alibre website mentions a Rhino plug-in that allows modifications made in Alibre to be transfered to the Alibre components with Rhino.

    To digress for a moment, Alibre appears to be a worthwhile entity in itself. I've only just started learning the software and I'm not sure of the limitations placed on the free version.

    My question then is, without intimate knowledge of either software, since these software essentially interface with each other, it would appear that they have different strenghts (and weaknesses). What would those be?
  2. RThompson
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    RThompson Senior Member

    Hi Learpilot,

    Alibre (I have only used a trial version for a few hours - six months ago)

    Alibre is a mechanical modeller. Basically its expertise is solids modelling of straight lines and arcs (it can do more but I suspect reaches its limit quickly).
    It is also parametric, that means you create relationships between objects that can be edited at a later date.
    Also the history of an object can be edited after the fact.
    eg you can draw a box, fillet the corners, draw another box along side and specify it to be 20mm from the first box.

    Then go back and make the first box bigger, the second box will move itself so that it matains its 20mm spacing.
    You might then go back and "turn off" the fillets on the first box.

    It is miserable at editing organic shaped objects (as are most mechanical modellers). hulls decks etc are generally organic shapes.
    It is good at interior layouts/cabinets etc.
    It also has good capacity for paper layouts/printing
    Good for assemblies of multiple components (maybe rhino generated parts?)

    Rhino (I have much more experience with this one...)

    Rhino is a (nurbs) surface modeller.
    Basically you can create any shape surface with great precision and control.

    You cannot edit the history of an object (very well).
    solids modelling is not its forte.
    Mechanical modelling can (and is) done but it is not parametric.
    Not to good at print layouts and drawings (in fact - woeful).

    Very intuitive GUI (for me). Very easy to learn AND use.
    Has surface editing and fairing tools competitive with anything available.
    Very good import/export options.
    besides the lack of history and parametric edits it can do almost anything a mech. modeller can do.
    By far its real strength is its ability to create/manipulate organic shapes - with ease. simply and without great file overheads (file structures, history trees, component libraries, various browsers etc etc.)
    Rhino also has native basic hydrostatics

    finally it might say something that over the last 3 or 4 years rhino is/has becoming the weapon of choice in the skills required for "yacht design vacant jobs"

    If I was to limit myself to one peice of (low price) cad software it would be Rhino, without doubt. bang for buck it can't be beaten for yacht design. (not that I'm biased or anything... :p )
    Rhino also has a very good support service. and very active online forum

    This is my opinion only.
  3. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    I am not neutral here as I am selling both Alibre and Rhino.
    They work great together, You can model a hull in Rhino from offsets or by lofting frames imported from other programs. Alibre can then import the hull as a "surface feature". This feature can be used to trim bulkheads or frames. You can also sketch the cross section of a bulkhead at the center line and then "extrude to the surface".

    I think you can do with Rhino only, but not with Alibre only.
    Alibre do have a loft command. You can make a free form shape by lofting a few sections, but Rhino gives you much better control of the curvature.
    Another alternative is to do all the 3D work in Rhino, then make 2D sections and use IntelliCAD (AutoCAD clone) to make presentation (working) drawings with dimensions, title blocks etc.

    I suppose you know there is "Christmas offer" from Alibre Inc to all users of Alibre Xpress, upgrade to Alibre Design Professional for 50% of the normal price...
  4. CGN
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    CGN Senior Member


    These are some images of parts that I been doing just for fun to learn using Alibre, Is a good software is not Solidworks or PTC but is very similar and has most of the features, the price is ok.

    I really haven't using the plug-in I don't think the plug in is very useful, at the beginning I was hoping they will do the contrary of what the plug in does which is to import the surface form rhino into Alibre, so if you modified the surface in Rhino you can use the plug in to "re-import" the rhino model and update automatically the model inside Alibre, same way as solidworks - Rhino Plug-in.


    Attached Files:

  5. petereng
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    petereng Senior Member

    I know this is an old topic but here goes. 1) I've been using rhino and alibre for over 10 years each. They have both been exceptional at what they do with both being supported extremely well. 2) I'm a mechanical engineer and do a lot of yacht structures design and analysis. I mainly use Alibre for mechanical design which for its cost is fantastic value. Does nearly everything the bigger systems do at much less cost. I mainly use Rhino for geometry preprosessing of structures that others send me. This geometry comes from all sorts of CAD systems from boat builders, naval architects, engineers etc etc. I generally have to rebuild geomerty because theres a lot of sloppy CAD work out there when it comes to importing into a FE system. I also use Rhino for the freeform stuff. 3) Recently I have become very interested in designing hulls etc in Alibre. This is so the entire model is parametric. Its taken me a little while to sort out how to do various things but it has been surprisingly good at doing hulls (monos and multihulls). I also use Orca3d for the hydrostatics etc. My process goes like this: a) establish stations in Alibre and create the lofting curves as required for the design. Most hulls need 4 or 5 stations. The beauty of parametric is that now I can move them back and forth to give me what I want as well as change the station shape. b) Add guide curves as required to get the local shape correct c) loft the hull as a solid d) export the hull into orca via a step file and check for fairness (zebra plot etc) check the hydrostatics and even do the lines dwg if needed. e) If the hydrostatics, fairness or any thing is not right go back to Alibre, move a station, change a loft etc then go back to Orca recheck and repeat until happy. Then once happy I can progress to shelling the hull, adding the cabin bulkheads etc and they are all downstream parametric. What a treat. Then I can do part drawings etc to a very high standard. In rhino/orca it would take 4-5 hours or more to develop a hull so its fair and at the co-efficinets I want. In Alibre combo its less then an hour and I'm onto other parts of the boat. I'd consider Alibre or any of the SW/SE parametric systems for boat design. Peter S
  6. LP
    Joined: Jul 2005
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    LP Flying Boatman

    It's good to hear your response Peter. I'm very curious to know which version of Alibre you are using. It's changed a little bit since I first created this thread and I have purchased the PE version since. The PE edition is also very limited when it comes to comes complex 3D operations.

    I use Freeship to design my hull forms. I've had difficulty in getting usable 3D geometry into Alibre 3D, but have managed to bring in 3D IGES cutting surfaces that I can use to cut bulkheads and frames, etc. This provides me with no parametric shapes and provides me with no downstream abilities.

    This is a thread that covers what I am trying to do.

    Your process is very analagous to what I am trying to accomplish. The biggest difference is that I create my hull elsewhere and want to start the Alibre process with a finalized hull from Freeship rather than use Alibre for it's generation. It's been a while since I've opened my Alibre up, but I believe I need Pro or Expert for surfacing abilities. Ideally, I could import a 3D hull and manipulate it directly. Alternatively, I would like to take my imported hull geometry and use it as a guide for hull generation along the same method that you have described.

    Again, what version of Alibre are you using?
  7. petereng
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    petereng Senior Member

    Hi LP - I use Expert. The PE version is very limited in terms of import & export. But if you had pro or expert you could bring in a step or iges file from any other CAD program then use it as reference geometry. As long as the imported geometry is very good. For instance depending on tolerance settings and various things iges can be very flaky with cracks. Alibre will fix some of these during import but rubbish in rubbish etc etc. But I think Alibre would do a very good hull once you figured out a game plan for what you usually do. I design row boats and multihull hulls currently in Alibre and it takes 1/10th the time (vs rhino3d or Orca3d ) and they are very fair. Peter

  8. petereng
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    petereng Senior Member

    Hi LP - heres a couple of images of my current rowboat I'm working on. 4.5m long 1.1m wide modelled in alibre, imported into rhino4 for orca3d hydrostatics and lines dwg. Also use rhino for surface analysis to check fairness. But could be used for any size boat. I have even done lapstrake hulls in alibre. Peter

    Attached Files:

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