Rhino 3D Tutorial

How to use the 3dRudder within Rhino3D

This tutorial explains step by step the movements that will allow you to navigate your 3D models in Rhino3D using the 3dRudder, and gives you tips to optimize your navigation.
The 3dRudder is a precise device that registers angles and pressure measures and whose settings can be adjusted to your own personal use.
Also note that the 3dRudder can be used in 3D views (perspective) as well as in orthographic views.

1. Check you’re ready to start

First of all, make sure the 3dRudder CAD plugin is installed on your computer, and that the 3dRudder control panel appears in Rhino3D.
You haven’t installed the plugin yet? Click on the following link to access the plugin installation guide.

Plug the 3dRudder’s USB cable to your computer.

The 3dRudder will beep several times as shown below, meaning it’s been perfectly identified by your computer.

Sit down and make yourself comfortable. In order to make the best use of your 3dRudder we recommend you follow the indication as shown below.

Put your feet on the 3dRudder and, once you’ve found your own comfortable position, stay still for half a second until you hear a short beep (calibration).

Good to know
The 3dRudder will take this position into account as your Neutral Position, meaning as long as you maintain this position or return to this position, no movement will be triggered into Rhino. There’s a zone of tolerance around this position called Dead Zone.

2. Dolly (forward/backward)

By tilting the 3dRudder slightly forward or backward, you’ll trigger a Dolly.
The more you tilt, the quicker you move.

The Dolly is a translation movement of the « camera » towards the point of interest, also called target.

3. Horizontal Orbit

Rotate the 3dRudder around its vertical axis, to the left or the right, to trigger the Horizontal Orbit.
Speed of movement is progressive and depends on your angle of rotation.
To stop the movement, return to your neutral position.

By default, a rotation to the left will make the camera move in a circular manner from right to left, making the observer feels like moving around the target.

Tick the Invert box to switch from a mode into which you turn around the object to a mode where it looks like the object rotates on itself. This functionality will prove useful to the designers working on single objects of small dimension.


4. Pan (horizontal translation)

Tilt the 3dRudder sideways to the left or the right to trigger a Pan.
Again, the movement is progressive and proportional to the angle.

The pan is a simultaneous translation of the observer and the target.

5. Vertical Orbit or Vertical Pan

Exert an opposite pressure with the toes of one foot the heel of your other foot to trigger a vertical orbit.
1 – toes of left foot / heel of right foot = Up
2 – toes of right foot / heel of left foot = Down
Again the movement is progressive and proportional to the level of pressure.

The Vertical orbit is a vertical rotation of the observer around the target.

Hold down the left Shift key at any moment to switch from a Vertical orbit to a Vertical pan. Go back to the Vertical orbit by releasing the key.


Tick the Toggle box of the Vertical orbit section to invert the command by default. By doing so, Vertical pan becomes the regular command and Vertical orbit, the option.


Tick the Invert box to reverse the up/down command associated with your feet.

Eg. Toes of left foot / heel of right foot will trigger a Down instead of an Up movement.


6. Setting options

Dead zone

The Dead Zone represents a window of inclination angles (illustrated in orange) that trigger no movement into Rhino. The span of this window can be adjusted, to allow you find your best stability zone.
The slider is where you can adjust your Dead Zone independently for each axis.
You can also type in a numeric value comprised between 0 and 99% directly into the cell. This value will be saved for your next session.


The slider offers the possibility to adjust the speed for each axis independently, meaning a given angle can trigger a slower or quicker speed according to the value you enter.
You can also type in a numeric value comprised between 0 and 99% directly into the cell. This value will be saved for your next session.

Freeze / Unfreeze

Clicking on the Freeze button deactivate your 3dRudder (Frozen).
Clicking anew on the button will re-activate your 3dRudder (In Use) and the position of your feet on the device at this moment becomes your new neutral position.

using the Freeze command proves really helpful to modify your neutral position at any moment.

You can also trigger the Freeze control by typing “3drudderfreeze” in the command bar of Rhino3D.