tsElements for SolidWorks added organic modeling in SolidWorks.

Was bound to happen sooner or later, right? We started worrying about this all the way back in 2011 when Autodesk acquired T-Splines. The small Utah-based company had a growing Rhino user base for its plugin that provide a unique take on organic modeling in a solid modeling environment, and they had just released a similar plugin for SolidWorks. The tsElements plugin was discontinued and now T-Splines for Rhino is headed to the burial plot, which completely ends T-Splines as it has been known.

As Develop3D reports:

T-Splines is to cease selling or producing updates of its Rhino plug-in on 7 January 2017, having made the decision to simplify its portfolio and include the technology in parent company Autodesk’s Fusion 360 CAD tool.

As Tom Finnigan, Software Architect at Autodesk, announced on the T-Splines blog, this affects more than just the T-Splines plugin for Rhino:

“Autodesk will no longer develop new versions or sell the T-Splines, Shape Modeling, and Real-time Renderer Plug-ins for Rhino. We have made this decision to simplify our portfolio and focus efforts to better serve our customers with Autodesk products.”

In the FAQ issued, Autodesk explains that they “will not update these plug-ins for Rhino V6 or any future versions” because they have “developed products that include these underlying technologies and provide similar capabilities.”


The last announcement, for T-Splines V4, was in January 2015 from former T-Splines Founder and CEO, Matt Sederberg, who went on to become Automotive Design Product Manager at Autodesk, and has now moved on to start another company called Isogeometrx, a company that is “dedicated to revolutionizing design and engineering in the automotive, marine, and aerospace industries by providing tools and technologies for integrated design and analysis.”

In Febraury 2014, Autodesk discontinued tsElements (T-Splines for SolidWorks) with the reason that “a community never really had a chance to coalesce around the concept before T-splines were acquired by Autodesk.”

tsElements for SolidWorks added organic modeling inside SolidWorks.

We knew the end would eventually come to T-Splines support for competing products as it was absorbed into Autodesk products (currently Fusion 360 and Alias). That tsElements lasted three years and the Rhino plugin lasting six shows that Autodesk was at least slightly dedicated in keeping the products going. At least long enough to ask them, “Have you tried Fusion 360?”

The T-Splines 4.0 download for Rhino 5 is still available here. The tsElements plugin for SolidWorks is no longer available for purchase, but is reported to work in SolidWorks 2016. Those with T-Splines 3.5 or later will be able to activate their licenses on new machines indefinitely.

So, there are at least two questions. Will Rhino get a new SubD plugin? And, what are you using instead of Rhino + T-Splines?

T-Splines for Rhino FAQ
T-Splines for Rhino V4


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.