Is Grasshopper right for my projects

I draw rather complex 3D Projects–with around 50,000 objects/blocks. This is for “Concept Drawings”. Once the concept drawing is approved—I have to redraw to actual site dimension which usually are different. Grasshopper is a basic BIM program for Rhino. I don’t know how to use Grasshopper at this time. With the complex projects is it worth the time to draw in Grasshopper; or, Just keep doing what I am doing—and draw it twice?

Please comment

No. Grasshopper isn’t a BIM program.

1 Like

Grasshopper is visual scripting. So you can automate things in CAD without the need to write code. What you do with that is up to you. If you need to do repetitive drawing then it might by worth it. However creating parametric models in GH is a much slower workflow and of course it has a steep learning curve to master. It really depends on the actual usecase if it’s worth. In any case I believe it’s fun to do. Be aware that the term “parametric design”, which Grasshopper is usually referring to, is not a solution to make Rhino a parametric modeller.


Thanks for both comments.
1st. The Basic BIM was a limited referral to being able to change a value in a module—and the program would up-date—hence Basic.
2nd, Yes your term of Visual Scripting is a better descriptive choice. “Time” being the issue—I was thinking it would be less time just drawing it over as needed. Yes, Programming in any language is fun; however, it takes time to do — and then more time to actually get good at it. I don’t need another hobby.
Again thank for the comments … Joe

Hi Joe, what sort of parametric changes do you have to perform - and when you say ‘draw’ in Grasshopper - you wouldn’t start from scratch, you would take in your points/lines/curves etc and apply transformations in Grasshopper - but I’m sure that’s what you meant.

Depending on the experience you have, you can learn GH quickly or not. On the other hand, GH is not particularly good for large amounts of data, but it is good for defining workflows. For me this software is that it’s like a toy box, like a laboratory, like a desk to process data, not just geometrics. I know someone who uses GH as a back-end to manage the manufacturing as a central system, and who has used it to show a solution with a parametric configurator applying to a job. So, it depends on what you want to do. But you should at least give it a week or two of testing GH to see if it allows you to work better somehow, or simply because I recommend you if you like 3d modelling :+1: I’m not an architect so I can’t get too close to your needs.

I don’t think that neither Rhino nor GH are intended for conceptual modelling. I think that, knowing how to use it, it’s difficult to make a model not suitable to be manufactured, both in RH or GH. Depending on what you want to do, it’s not (or is) the fastest option for modelling, but at least it allows you to create your own tools and automate your own workflow, which I’m sure you’ll be interested in if you find out how. With the necessary tools, you can do conceptual modeling because you base on templates or parametric primitives, to quickly create models defined by inputs and outputs. Then somehow it brings you closer to programming, because it allows you to build information. Search in food4rhino if there is a BIM plugin that is useful for you.

First off thanks for the comments. I will explain what 50% of my work is.
I am an independent contractor who does many things in Rhino. I have used Rhino since almost the start of v4.
So, a Company sends me a Architectural PDF Plan of a Project, mostly residential. They have, or will quote the project—now the Client and Contractor wants a 3D drawing of what was quoted. (Note)–at this point all I have to go off of is this PDF Plan. Sometimes I get elevations called out to determine height—sometimes all I get is the plan just says ( 22 Risers @ 7 1/8" – 21 Treads ). So I take what I can get off the PDF, along with a copy of the quote and within current Building Codes, and draw the project in 3D. I add walls, windows, doors, floors, maybe even a picture outside—and take images of it to be sent out. ( The project may or may not even be started ).
Now the project has progressed ( months later ) I get a call to go out and measure what was actually built. Who knows how many changes were made, or even if they stuck to the PDF plan. I now need to completely redraw the entire project to reflect the “As Built” conditions with the stairway. All of this is done within a Money is No Object environment—with Designer, Builders, Client, Architect involvement.
So how could I use GH. Well, if I had a fill in module for Height, or any other value, I just change it—and if I understand—the model would up-date itself.
That just gets a model. Now I have to make drawings for material to be cut/ordered/manufactured—and installed.
It gets quite complex with all the pieces required. I work in a 6/7 decimal places while drawing—then at the end round down to usually 1/16" for all the trades.
So, { It is a Time issue },never using GH; however writing a little code—I can make it do what ever I want—I think. Is it worth the time to use GH on such a complex project—or, just draw the whole project twice.
And, using a true BIM program would just have its own set of draw-backs.

Comments Please … Joe

I don’t know if I fully understand what you described. In general you describe something more what a parametric modeling software is good at.

The problem with parametric models: It is easy to apply dimension changes if the workflow of creation keeps the same. But if not, you are almost always spending more time on changing things.

In Rhino there is a lightweight parametric modelling feature build in, called “History”. For simple shapes this should already parameterize your model to a certain extend (but not as a true parametric CAD software would).

If you do this in Grasshopper only, for simple operations like extrutions etc., it is actually a better alternative. However as soon as the geometry gets complicated, the effort of building parametric shapes in GH is expotentially higher. Its hard to tell… A minimal example (posted here) could help to actually decide it better.

Now reading quotes sound more like a scripting task. Not so sure if you can achieve that with vanilla GH components, but again, if you post a minimal example somebody could write it for you (Depends on the complexity of course).

Last but not least, you should test a parameteric CAD software as an alternative. Usually they are more expensive, but when your usecase fits in, then these costs are relative.