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INSIDER: A Brief Tour of Select Grasshopper Add-Ons

We look at 35 Grasshopper plugins that add additional capabilities and superpowers to the number one AAD tool in the market used in AEC. Importantly, there are quite a few GH plugins working for the Mac version of Rhino + Grasshopper—a growing reality that is good for the market.

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Landscape and Urban Design

Groundhog — is a GH plugin and wiki for exploring the application of computational design in landscape architecture. The plugin is currently, apparently, in beta and activity was happening on development in 2019. Still, this is a very interesting development given what it attempts to do. Food4Rhino page. (GH Mac / GH Win)

Elk — this GH plugin is a set of tools to generate map and topographical surfaces using open source data from OpenStreetMap.org and USGS. Food4Rhino page. (GH Win)

Robotics and Fabrication

Firefly — Arduino control and internet data control for GH. This plugin was developed by Andy Payne who Architosh first met in Copenhagen at the SmartGeometry Conference that year. It allows real-time data flow between the digital world (of Rhino + GH) and the physical world like in the case of micro-controllers like the Arduino boards. Food4Rhino page. (GH Mac / GH Win)

KUKA|prc — Architosh wrote about this plugin and the folks behind it in our INSIDER Xpresso newsletter (#04) when we focused on robots in architecture and noted the work of Association for Robots in Architecture. KUKA|prc is a GH plugin for controlling KUKA industrial robots into a parametric environment.

There are several plugins for GH that control robots but this is one of the bigger ones used for architects.

RFD(robotic fabrication design) — this GH plugin supports the KUKA Robot “KR 120 R2500” but other robots will be added later, says the description on its Food4Rhino page. (GH Win)

Modeling, Advanced Form Making, Simulations

Pufferfish — A set of plugins with 305 components focused on tweens, blends, morphs, averages, transforms, etc for doing complex modeling. Learn more here at the Food4Rhino page here. (GH Mac / GH Win)

RhinoPolyhedra — for Rhino will allow you to create and visualize a variety of polyhedral shapes—over 630 different ones, in fact. It was recently rewritten to support Rhino 6 for Mac and Windows. It is now supported in GH. Food4Rhino page here. (GH Mac / GH Win). 

MeshEdit — is a set of GH components that extend GH’s ability to work with meshes. Food4Rhino page here. (GH Mac / GH Win)

Kangaroo — Daniel Paker’s famous GH plugin adds a live physics engine to the GH environment allowing for interactive simulations, form-finding and optimizations, and constraint solving. It consists of a solver library and a set of GH components. It supports GH Mac too! Food4Rhino page here. (GH Mac / GH Win)

AXOLOTL — this plugin provides a set of components for volumetric modeling in Rhino Grasshopper. They work based on the principle of signed distance functions (SDF). In boundary representations (BRep), objects are defined by vertices connected by edges and faces. Food4Rhino page here. (GH Mac / GH Win)

next page: UI, Mathematics, Agile, GH Utility, Processing, and Visualization

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Reader Comments

  1. Author of Pancake. Pancake is initally aimed for better data exchange (between Rhino5/6, direct GH file I/O for multiple formats, etc…) 🤔 Somewhere during the progress I found some tweaks are quite useful and added them, e.g. do an emergency save when GH lost responsiveness & hint param access. The plugin itself is both for advanced and everyday users (for the tweaks). I should definitely write a better description, though.

  2. Dear Pancake author, thanks for the comments. Yes! I agree a better description would be most useful for GH novices and those trying to understand the world of GH plugins. Your input is valuable so thanks again for writing in.

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INSIDER Xpresso keeps CAD industry professionals up-to-date on next-gen emerging technologies (emTech) that will revolutionize the worlds of AEC and manufacturing and design. As an Xpresso reader, you will hear from some of the most important voices inventing and using the very latest tech in areas such as AI, machine learning, algorithm-aided design (AAD), AR, VR, MR, 3D printing, 3D computer vision, robotics, and SmartCities technologies.

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