Caddisfly for Grasshopper

Caddisfly is getting Ready to start Creating!

Caddisfly is an Add-on for Grasshopper (algorithmic modeling Plug-in for Rhino). It’s a series of tools for Complex Structures and Free Forms Detail Designing. The main idea has been based upon having the process from Conceptual Design, Analyze to Construction on Free Form Structures Automatically by less than 5 clicks. It is being developed by Python and C# both for a better flexibility up and running for different components. Caddisfly defines some phases of progress related to special structural systems which (Space Frames, Single Layers, Grid Shells, …) We will inform you for any metamorphosis of it.

The Main Idea!

When it comes to design special and unique, there are much more accuracy and details have to be considered in order. One of the biggest steps forward is to know what you think could be real. There are lots of ways to design fluent and construct efficient. Integrated Engineering is our way as a background attitude on facing this issue. As it can provide a high range of relativity and proportioned scenarios between parameters, we try to define it for a better (integrated) responding to the path through. Mostly those projects have been designed by greater innovations and creativity which all need to have an adaptation process toward construction are great to face for high level of solutions.  One of the greatest kinds of these projects are free forms. Free forms are actually challenges for designers to design optimized, for analyzer to check the behavior and for contractors to construct because of high accuracy needed. One of major steps is form finding and optimization which should be defined from the beginning.

In our experience it almost required 7 or 8 layers of optimization from form finding, meshing and smoothing, lengths and angles, extreme heights of each module, horizontal, vertical and torsion of links between nodes, area and much more. One of the greatest criteria can effects on these optimization layers is Node Design which is the most advanced part of engineering process on free forms. Lots of experiences from huge firms like Mero Structures ( showed us the importance of Nodes. One of the best categorized solutions on Node Designing is related to Mero which defines 12 different types of Nodes from geometry to how they welded which can be followed in high range of designs.

The main idea of Caddisfly is actually to make the process of Node design algorithmically and we are spreading this idea to the whole scenario as mentioned from design the base form, analyze, optimization and toward Node models and typology control for CNC producing. There might be some phases to cover the story but in this case for our first step and phase#1, a basic node designer is just now ready to create special constructions.

The project in the pictures above is related to Ava-Center Project Skylight (The main project is designed by Fluid Motion Architects), located in Tehran, Iran and the team worked together are:

– Design and form optimization by Ardaena

– Constructed (Nodes & Structure) by Alusys Facade Co.

– Nodes and Structure Calculations by Mr. OmidAli Samavati

How it Works!

You cannot do such sophisticated process manually which needs a great accuracy and huge amount of actions all together in a proper time. So the solution for us was using Python scripting and C# developing to put it on a better way. The algorithm in background just ask the user for some special basic parameters and check if those parameters can be applied on nodes according to the section of links or it should be corrected, then it design the node.

As Caddisfly is trying to make node designing automatically, it had to be prepared for defining relations and proportions between special parameters according to the layers of optimization on many forms:

– Geometry of Nodes (Sphere, Cylinder & …)

– Outer Radius based on Links Section

– Inner Radius for Subtracted Nodes (Based on Geometry selected)

– Number of Bolts, holes and locations + the radius of holes

– Links Basic section Geometry and Dimensions

– and much more toward flexible design

When and How it's going to come out of its Larva!

We actually decided to bring it up before finalizing the codes and any version releasing to have comments of experienced firms and researchers. One of our major aims is to make sure Caddisfly is having a better flexibility on demands for updated designs. So we are widely open to any ideas, any comments and any kind of technical supports to make it more user friendly. In this case you know how to find us so anything can provide an atmosphere of sharing knowledge is appreciated. Besides we now are ready to have it as a solution for companies who are looking for free form node designing and having fun on Integrated Engineering! You can also find some of other services and ideas here!

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