Rhino 3D is not the minor CAD system many CAD companies were used to think
The Rhino community could not be ignored anymore! Rhino 3D is not the minor CAD system many CAD companies were used to think. Over the years the community of Rhino users has become larger and more influential with several Rhino designers holding key positions inside design and manufacturing companies of all sizes. Ignoring Rhino and his users is not anymore an option, even for a large software manufacturer such as Autodesk.
Autodesk announcement recognizes the key role Rhino is playing in the mechanical, industrial, and architectural design
Indeed, just a couple of days ago Autodesk announced the release of a "beta version" (they like to call it "technology preview") for an Inventor plug-in to read the Rhino (.3dm) file format. Technically speaking this is not a major accomplishment. The Rhino file format is open and fully documented. The software to read 3dm files is provided free of charge on the openNURBS website. The Autodesk announcement recognizes the key role Rhino is playing in the mechanical, industrial, and architectural design. OpenNURBS (.3dm) is now a file format that CAD companies must be supported in order to retain existing customers or to acquire new ones. The new Inventor plug-in "technology preview" can be downloaded from the Novedge website. If you are an Inventor user you should definitely try it.
Autodesk page dedicated to the Rhino importer for Inventor says, "This technology preview gives you more flexibility when creating designs with vendor or customer data by allowing you to directly import Rhino files into Autodesk Inventor. This translator reads Rhino files(*.3dm) bringing solids, surfaces, wires, and points into Autodesk Inventor to be directly utilized while modeling. Being able to import directly from Rhino files eliminates the need to convert the Rhino data to make it usable in your projects."
the next step should be to return Rhino the favor by documenting the Inventor file format
Autodesk is making a step in the right direction by solving a real problem for his Inventor users. The next step should be to return Rhino the favor by documenting the Inventor file format or by providing an easy way to export an Inventor model as Rhino file, as suggested by Evan Yares on a comment to the Ralph Grabowski blog.