Rhino to IDEA StatiCa workflow

Model geometry in Rhino or Grasshopper
Define FEA model results in Grasshopper
Export IOM and import into IDEA StatiCa
Code-check your connection

About the Rhino/Grasshopper plugin

IDEA StatiCa works with your Rhino and Grasshopper. Rhino and Grasshopper is a powerful CAD modeling platform with a large array of plugins available for the architectural and engineering industry. Combining Grasshopper with IDEA StatiCa's Open Model creates an extremely powerful platform for the parametric definition of complex connection geometry. Members, cross-sections, and operations (bolts, holes, welds, and cuts) can all be defined in the IDEA StatiCa Grasshopper plugin.

IDEA StatiCa also provides the ability to link 3D-modelled geometry with imported FEA model results in a powerful way to create BIM Links with any CAD or FEA package that interacts with Grasshopper.

Note: This extension/link is currently in preview mode and in ongoing development. We cannot currently guarantee compatibility between each version of the plugin.

Linked applications: IDEA Open ModelIDEA StatiCa Connection, IDEA StatiCa Checkbot (Standalone)

IDEA StatiCa version 21.1 and newer (October 2021 onwards)

  • Generate geometrically complex connections with all bolts, cuts, and welds.
  • Model and export multiple connections using IDEA Open Model.
  • Link geometry and results by creating linked Open Model Result files.
  • Import and export connection geometry to and from third-party applications that interact with Rhino and Grasshopper.
  • Import created IOM files into Checkbot for connection and member management and design.

Read more about How Checkbot works.

How to get started

To get started, download the plugin through the Rhino Package Manager. Just search for IDEAStatiCa.

You can use the IDEA Open Model components for free to design complex connections. A license is required to send directly to IDEA StatiCa Connection for calculation.

Known limitations

  • Currently, for the plugin to work properly, the Rhino Units must be set to meters.
  • All input units should also be specified in basic SI units, which follow the IDEA Open Model designation.

Articles and tutorials

Grasshopper API link - bulk calculation of steel joints

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use a parametric template for a bulk calculation of steel joints with the same geometry.

Grasshopper - Plugin Installation

You can get a trial version of Rhino3d and Grasshopper from the Rhino3d website. Run Rhinoceros and select the template with Meters:

In the Command line, please enter "Package Manager":

A new window appears; select IDEAStatiCa and click Install. The plugin will be downloaded and installed. To become active, a restart of Rhinoceros is necessary.

 To start Grasshopper with the IDEA StatiCa plugin, select Tools / Grasshopper in the Rhihoceros tab.

As you can see, the plugin is already incorporated.

Learn about the components and commands in the IDEA StatiCa plugin for Grasshopper in the article Description of Grasshopper plugin components.

HUMAN plugin

In this example, we need to select part of the structure, and for this purpose, you have to install another plugin - HUMAN, which you will use in this tutorial.

IDEA StatiCa Checkbot – import of a structure, design of a joint

Open the attached folder with a structure imported from 3rd party software. Internal forces are included.

Please select one of the middle joints in the upper belt (e.g., C11) and open it in the IDEA StatiCa Connection.

You can design it correctly according to your needs or use our fully prepared joint here.

Go to the Developer tab, set the parameters, and link them to the appropriate operation according to the following pictures:

Finaly, store the whole joint as a template *.contemp, used later in Grasshopper.

Grasshopper - import XML file, apply the template

Create a new document, select the tab Params in the upper ribbon, and place the component File Path on the Canvas. 

Right-click on the component and select the file import.xml, found in the Checkbot folder. This file contains all the data from the imported structure.

Now, you add the following components to the canvas and connect them as shown in the picture.

Import File and Display structure, including a description of joints in Rhino:

IDEA StatiCa / Open Model / Import IOM File
IDEA StatiCa / Open Model / Deconstruct Open Model
IDEA StatiCa / Open Model / Deconstruct Open Model Object

Params / Geometry / Curve
Params / Geometry / Point
Display / Dimensions / Text Tag

Now you can see the structure in Rhino:

Import the template and apply it to the selected joints: 

IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Create Connection from IOM
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Import Template file
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Full template Assign
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Apply Template

Human / Misc / Item Selector
Sets / Sets / Member Index
Sets / Lists / List item

Params / Primitive / File path (import the template)
Params / Primitive / File path (folder, where to store the joints)

Params / Input / Boolean Toggle (2x)
Params / Input / Panel (for creating updated versions of the joint) 

Now you can see the structure with selected joints where the template was applied:

Grasshopper - modify parameters and run the calculation

Modify parameters:

IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Deconstruct Connection
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Deconstruct Parameters
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Modify Code Setup (to simplify output table)
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Modify Parameters

Params / Input / Panel (2x Name of the Parameters) 
Params / Input / Panel
Params / Input / Boolean Toggle (2x)
Params / Input / Number Slider

Calculate joints:

IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Calculate Connection
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Connection Results
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Connection Geometry (passing data to components for the visualization)
IDEA StatiCa / Connection / Deconstruct Results (passing data to components for the visualization)

Params / Input / Panel (Analysis - to simplify output table)
Params / Input / Panel (Results)
Params / Input / Boolean Toggle

Visualization of results:

Grasshopper allows you to enhance your results with graphic visualization. The components shown in the next picture allow you to see computed joints in green; the ones that do not pass the checks are then in red.

Here is the whole picture of the Grasshopper file to see the links between the components:

More complex examples can be found in the folder



Examples are shipped with each version of the plugin. You can access an example by navigating to the plugin installation folder on your computer, typically this is stored at “%appdata%\McNeel\Rhinoceros\packages\7.0\IDEAStatiCa\0.1.1\Examples.zip”

Help and Feedback

These tools are enhanced with close collaboration with advanced users and their required workflows. 

We are keen to hear any feedback or suggestions to improve the functionality. The best way to provide feedback is through the forum on the IDEA StatiCa GitHub.

Provided you want to learn more about Grasshopper in general, we encourage you to reach out to Kris from Learn Grasshopper and look for educational materials or ask for training.

Read more about workflows with Rhino/Grasshopper

Parametric design options for IDEA StatiCa Connection

Connection Wednesdays – IDEA StatiCa Automated

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Automated IDEA StatiCa workflows with VIKTOR