This tutorial will walk you through the basic workflow from setting up your Rhino model to export to cove.tool for Daylight and Energy analysis using the Rhino/Grasshopper plugin v3.0.0.

Video Tutorial

Version 3.0.0 Updates!

  • Auto-detect Single-Use and Mixed-Use projects (NEW).

  • Auto-create cove.tool layers (NEW).

  • Reference geometry from cove.tool layers (NEW).

  • Simplified user controls to three interactive buttons/toggle switches (NEW).

  • Auto-assign and reference geometry per building types for mixed-use projects (NEW).

  • Auto-find cove.tool projects through text search using the project URL.

  • Added an area threshold to remove surfaces under 1 SF (improves performance).

  • Bug fixes for more accurate and faster solution time.

  • Auto-calculate the building height.

  • Simplified user instructions and feedback panels.

Written Guide

Exporting your Rhino project to cove.tool with the Grasshopper v3.0.0 plugin has been simplified with enhanced computational operations and a layer dependent infrastructure. This updated workflow allows for more efficient updating of your project data and processing of geometry throughout the design phases streamlining the exporting process. These changes also drastically improve the ease at which users can model and export large, complex, or mixed-use projects.

Get Started

Before you begin make sure to have the plugin downloaded, a cove.tool project already created in the app, and a Rhino model ready for export.

  1. To retrieve a copy of the latest plugin, go to the Plugin App Store at cove.tool resource site, or visit Food4Rhino.

  2. Next, make sure to have a cove.tool project created before you begin the export process (watch walkthrough here). A pre-created project is necessary as the new plugin requires a URL to reference the project for geometry export.

  3. Last, the export process requires single surfaces (no curved geometry, groups, or meshes) for export and analysis. For curved or NURBS surfaces it will need to be simplified to export quickly as shown in this article about exporting parametric models. Other steps to prepare your model for export are discussed in this article. Once these steps are complete your project is ready to be processed using the Grasshopper plugin.

Grasshopper Workflow

Get started by using the command “Grasshopper” to launch the Rhino plugin, and open the file you previously downloaded. The definition will open, and you should see the overview as the image below.

The workflow only requires a user to interact with two steps of the plugin, Step 1 for Login and Step 3 for Setup & Export. The remaining steps are operations for the analysis and exporting process requiring a quick check from the user that the information is correct, and the components are functioning properly. Follow the instructions as outlined below and in the Grasshopper plugin to set up your Rhino project and export it to cove.tool.

Step 1 – Provide your login, password, and paste the URL from your cove.tool project page in the text panels.

Step 2 – Verify the correct project is selected in group 2 "Find Project." If not, double-check that your login and password are correct and recalculate by pressing F5.

Step 3 – The three buttons in for group 3 "Setup & Export" are ordered A, B, C to follow a sequence from model layer creation, geometry referencing, and then the export. First, create the appropriate cove.tool layers by clicking on the "Create cove.tool Layers" button. New layer(s) will appear in the Rhino Layers

Window. Move the building geometry onto the associated cove.tool layers.

Step 4 – Once all of your model geometry is on the cove.tool layers toggle the "Reference Geometry" boolean button from "False" to "True" by double-clicking. Toggle off then on again If new geometry is added afterward. Verify the geometry is being referenced correctly by clicking the "cove.tool layers and geo" component once for each section in group four. The geometry referenced by this use will turn green as below.

Step 5 – After verifying the geometry is being referenced correctly, the components in group 5 Sort and Upload will process your geometry. Verify the building height box is correct, the units system value is "feet," and that there are no red components. You can hover the "area threshold filter" and "cove.tool sort & analyze" components to view a pop-up of the operations within each cluster. If there are any red components double-click on the components and you will need to troubleshoot the issue before moving to export.

Step 6 – The project is now ready to be exported to cove.tool. To export go to group three and toggle the "Export All" boolean button from "False" to "True" by double-clicking. Grasshopper processing may take up to 120 seconds to complete if exporting a larger amount of surfaces or a mixed-use project. If the export process was successful you will see the Energy breakdown data in group 6 and the word SUCCESS in group 7 verifying the geometry has been successfully exported.

Step 7 – Return to the Building Geometry page for your cove.tool project and refresh the page. The appropriate area fields will now be populated, and you can now select 3D Mode to continue with the next steps.

Note: Once you have completed the export make sure to toggle the Export All button to FALSE before you save the Grasshopper file and exit. This will ensure the geometry and energy data are not accidentally exported to a different project. If you were not able to successfully export your model to cove.tool, please check out the Troubleshooting Grasshopper article here.

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