Introduction to Grasshopper plugins


When it comes to algorithm aided or parametric design, grasshopper needs no introduction. It is a perfect tool to discover the powers of computational design with an easy to use visual programming interface. But when it comes to the plugins we can use in Grasshopper things get a little bit complicated and a lot of users end up in their work environment with a lot of unused plugins.
Starting with this article we will present our choices of grasshopper plugins mainly for form finding, energy simulation and connectivity with arduino or other devices. The list can grow depending on your workflow and tools you intend to use. We encourage to try out grasshopper plugins after understanding how grasshopper works and keep in mind that some plugins may have bugs.

Mesh Modeling/Particle and Force Fields
Weaverbird – Mesh modeling without it is just stone age modeling and you get to use the Catmull-Clark Subdivision… yup, that Catmull … from Pixar.
Meshedit – gives a few extra commands to the mesh menu which are very useful.
Lunchbox – enhance your workflow and cut on time wasted with basic shapes and concepts
Ivy – mesh analysis, tweaking, slicing and unfolding. We love the unfolding part when it comes to digital fabrication
Culebra – particle and flow behavior
Anemone – a safe method to add a loop to your definition.

Physics Engine
Kangaroo 2 – The best.. the only physics engine for grasshopper, without it form finding would be completely different.

Energy Simulation
Honeybee and Ladybug – energy consumption, solar heating, at a first glance looks scary.
Geco – a lighter approach to energy simulations

Workflow/ Interaction
Firefly – a huge colection of devices which can interact with grasshopper.
Heteroptera – dedicated for Arduino, needs a little bit of tweaking on the arduino side.

Odd ones
Elk – Import data and 3d landscapes from OpenStreetMaps
Peacock – Handy tools for jewelry models

All the plugins can be downloaded from food4rhino, except weaverbird, which can be found here.
In the near future we will have articles detailing the – when, why and how we use them.

Tips&Tricks

After downloading the plug-in, right click on it, go to properties and unblock it especially if it is an archive, otherwise Grasshopper won`t see the file.
To install the plugin, just copy it to the Grasshopper Component Folder.

 

 

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