The AxisVM Export Grasshopper plugin enables creating structural models and exports them to AxisVM structural analysis and design software.
The AxisVM Export plugin communicates with AxisVM through its COM interface. The export requires that AxisVM and Rhinoceros+Grasshopper programs are all installed on the same computer. After starting the export, AxisVM will automatically launch, showing the exported model.
The main advantages of linking AxisVM with Grasshopper is that in Grasshopper, it is possible to create parametric models (templates) easily. For example, the geometry of a truss can be defined by its span, height, and structural layout parameters.
Currently, models with straight lines can be exported from Grasshopper. There are two available exporting options:
- line elements, for which the element type (truss, beam, rib), material property, and cross-section have to be defined.
- AxisVM X4
- Rhinoceros version 6
- Grasshopper 1.0.0005 (included in Rhinoceros 6)
Install Rhinoceros 6 and AxisVM X4. AxisVM COM server has to be registered within the operating system. Registration makes AxisVM COM objects available for other programs. COM server is registered after installation of AxisVM. Older versions of AxisVM must be unregistered first. See details in the AxisVM COM Server Reference Guide.
Download the GHtoAxisVM.gha file from the latest release. Drag-and-drop this file into the Grasshopper canvas. Alternatively, place the gha file in the Grasshopper components folder. You can find this folder through the Grasshopper menu by clicking on File, Special Folders, Components Folder.
Restart Rhino and open Grasshopper. There should be a new tab in Grasshopper named AxisVM.
In case you don't see the tab, go to Grasshopper components folder, right click on GHtoAxisVM.gha, select properties and click on Unblock.
Defining a line element
The group name, element type (truss, beam, rib), material property, and cross-section should all be defined as strings. The group name helps to distinguish elements in Grasshopper. Any group name can be given (e.g. beams, columns) and this will not influence the AxisVM model. The material property and the cross-section have to be chosen from the AxisVM type libraries (see restrictions below). It is essential that the exact names are given in the strings.
Currently, the following types can be used from the AxisvM libraries:
- material property: according to the Eurocodes (from AxisVM material library);
- cross-section: I, hollow (pipe, box), solid round and rectangular cross-sections (from AxisVM cross-section library).
All the models are exported in meters, irrelevant of the Rhino settings.
Examples and templates
The Overview.gh demonstrates the use of all the components. It shows how to create and export a simple beam and a more complex parametric 3D gridshell structure.
One of the main advantages of linking AxisVM with Grasshopper is that in Grasshopper, it is possible to create parametric models (templates) easily. For example, the geometry of a truss can be defined by its span, height, and structural layout parameters. Example GH template files are FrameTemplate.gh and TrussTemplate.gh.