<< We remain committed to make ShapeDiver a very open and flexible platform, even for our Free users. For this reason, we’ve given a higher priority to the process of adding support for useful third-party plugins.>>
Heteroptera is a toolbox plugin for Grasshopper with a variety of utility components, written and maintained by Amin Bahrami. With over 43,000 downloads on Food4Rhino, Heteroptera features components for almost every purpose, but mostly focuses on Uncertainty and Generation related tools.
Some components in this plugin are based on real-time data manipulation and streaming, and hence are not supported on the ShapeDiver platform. The exact list of forbidden components are:
Mass Additive Numbers Buffer
Android UDP listener
Mass Additive Vectors Buffer
Though this might seem like a long list, they only represent less than 20% of the total list of 112 components!
With utility components for geometry, maths, network topology, data streaming and randomization, Heteroptera is a massive swiss army knife for Grasshopper. Some of the most frequently useful components include:
Random: Even though Grasshopper has its own vanilla Random component, it simply reflects a generic Random function, which may not work as expected for many users. Repetition of seed values can cause replication of results. The Heteroptera Random component solves these problems with a better random number generation function and no manual seed input required. This advantage is a bit less useful on ShapeDiver because of our caching system explained in this post. For the same parameter set you’ll always get the same result. Nonetheless, it's a very powerful component to use outside of ShapeDiver.
Seed Generator: If you are using a component that requires a seed input, use this component to ensure every seed is unique and there is no repetition in the results.
Center: Once again, Grasshopper includes vanilla components like Bounding Box, Area and Volume that allow the user to calculate the center of input geometry. However, these components can only be used with specific types of geometry. The Heteroptera Center component solves this issue, accepting any type of input geometry and making the calculation of its center a breeze.
Stream Freeze/Gate: In order to create a toggle for a part of your script, the Stream Gate or Stream Filter components often need to be used, so that they output a null stream of data when the toggle is off. Stream Freeze/Gate is a component purpose-built for this; allowing you to simply create a gate on your data stream. Very useful in creating high-performance interfaces out of Grasshopper scripts!
Min/Max: This component is fairly straightforward - it returns the minimum and maximum values from a list of numbers.
Heteroptera is one of the plugins that becomes an essential part of Grasshopper instantly. Once you start using it, you can’t go back to using Grasshopper without it!
Caterpillar is an open-source Grasshopper plugin that simplifies measurement unit conversions written by David Mans. With conversion components for angles, area, energy, force, pressure, speed, temperature, time and volume, you finally don’t need to worry about using SI or Imperial units to present your parametric models.
The components appear in the ‘Units’ sub-category under the ‘Maths’ tab. Each component allows you to set the units standard as well as the source and target units by right-clicking on the component and it’s input parameters.
Fattener is another small-scope plugin developed by Daniel Piker and released in a forum post as an early version. It features a ‘Skeleton fattener’ tool that generates clean meshes from a line structure.
Most output meshes from Fattener are 3D-printable. Weaverbird’s Catmull-clark component or simple subdivision can help smooth out the mesh for better results as well. The plugin is highly optimized as well - It may take longer for the mesh to be displayed rather than mesh generation!
Here’s a simple example using both Fattener and Caterpillar (along with LunchBox and Weaverbird) to create a 3D Printable object: