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Digital Design - Module 02 Semester 1, 2018 Isabel Solin

910959 Dan Parker - Studio 7

Week Three

Reading: Kolerevic B. 2003. Architecture in the Digital Age

Kolerevic described three fundamental type of fabrication techniques in the reading. Outline the three techniques and discuss the potential of Computer Numeric Controlled fabrication with parametric modelling. (150 words max)

The three key fabrication methods used in digital design and fabrication are: • Additive – eg. 3D printing whereby computers voxelise geometry (split into linear cross sections) and then systematically deposit material in layers to build a volume. • Subtractive – eg. Laser Cutting which involves a focused laser being directed by a computer to cut or etch into material in a single plane. • Transformative – eg. CNC Bending/folding which uses force or heat/steam to manipulate or warp materials into a desired shape. As CNC fabrication techniques become cheaper and more widespread, the ability to produce multiple iterations of geometry/volumes becomes more efficient and economical. Designs can be realised as the workflow between digital and physical becomes more direct. Mass customisation can become more prevalent as parametric software can mean the cost and time to produce identical components isn’t significantly less than if each component was unique or customised.


Week Three

Surface Creation

Using the parametric software Grasshopper, I iteratively developed pairs of surfaces to use as base surfaces for my panels. These surfaces were created by lofting multiple curves extracted from a 150mm bounding box edges. I played with surfaces that intersected, mirrored each others shape and considered how openings would impact thresholds (and the definitions thereof) between internal and external space.


Week Four Panels & Waffle

I have chosen to use these two panels and overall surface composition for the effects the highly geometric exterior panel components creates, and the controlled entry/lighting imposed on the space.

The waffle structure generated from my base surfaces involves a mix vertical pieces of different degrees of curvature and heights. Many of them ended up with cuts that severed the last piece above the top horizontal plane, which I chose to laser cut and simply glue on for uniformity of the top.


Week Four

Laser Cutting

To create my final model I used grasshopper to extract the edges of each surface and added tabs to the outside. The red lines indicate etched lines, and the black indicate cut lines. In both files I selected edges to be etched so that pieces would not fall out of the board and enabled no taping to keep the pieces together (which could damage the paper and pieces). For the panel pieces, as they are all unrolled nets of 3D geometry, the etched lines act as fold lines. I chose to flip/mirror the curves for my panel grid to remove burn marks being visible on the outside of my model. When nesting the lines I tried to overlap lines to reduce the overall amount of time (and cost), but this could only be done for the straight lines in the waffle structure pieces. I chose to not include numbers to be etched to also reduce time, but kept them on the file for reference when I started constructing my model.

Waffle structure to be cut out of 1mm mount board.

Panel components to be cut from 290gsm card

Panel with openings piece

For the panel with openings I was able to unroll the entire surface into 6 2d shapes with most components unrolling successfully in one long strip per row. However for the other panel I was only able to unroll successfully two joined components a few times, requiring most to be individually unrolled and folded.

Panel with out openings piece


Week Five

Boolean grasshopper script

Constructing a 150mm bounding box and extracting faces to use to divide into multiple point grids

Duplicating the point grids across the bounding box to create a 3d grid


Random attraction was used to generate abstract distribution and variation of points amongst the panelling grids

Extracting the cells/volumes and finding the centroid to use as the location of the geometry.

I set the axis of rotation at 20 degrees to begin - I did this by drawing a line between the centroid of each cell and a point 20 degrees in the x axis direction, and using that line as the axis. I then added additional complexity by moving the new point with the squared remap values in the y axis.

I used the square root of the remapped values in order to reduce the range (create more uniformity in scale, but still keep affects of the point attractor visible). Using the remapped distance values of to rotate each geometry at an angle proportionate to the distance to the point attractor. I chose to square the values twice (power of 4 or quartic) to increase difference between values for more obvious difference in angle (increasing the range).

Generating values of the distance between centroid of cells and attractor point, and then remapping in order of size.


Week Five

As I iteratively developed groups of quadrilateral forms I began using _booleandifference to produce additional iterations to be potentially 3D printed using rectangular prisms approximately one quarter of the group form. The command would remove the group form elements from the quarter block, resulting in forms that appear to have been carved. I found quickly the most successful booleans occurred when the individual geometries overlapped and/or stuck out of the quarter solid. This was because more significant cut outs would be generated. More space between the geometries and overall smaller geometry would not make enough of a indentation to produce anything interesting into the shape. I found when I used booleandifference on groups with large, randomly rotated pieces, the outcome would often be complex and messy. I tried to find a balance between what was interesting and intricate, but not so complex that the form was convoluted and inharmonious. At this point of the design process I had to begin considering which forms would be tangible for the 3D printer to produce.


Week Five


The boolean solid I chose to 3D print is a roughly quarter inverse section of the group geometry developed in grasshopper. The original solid brick was placed on one side of the geometry where some pieces were protruding, but most were contained. I adjusted the height and depth to get optimal cuts showing how the use of rotating rectangular prisms create triangular cuts instead of quadrilateral shapes. There is well defined thresholds of internal and exterior space due to the heavy solid presence of the original solid brick evident in most edges and vertices of this model. The overall form is rectilinear, and what adds interest in the openings and cuts. There are large openings at the top of the volume which allow light to wash through internal space, and smaller and more controlled points of entry/access towards the base and mid section of the model. The permeability on a human scale is therefore limited as the most access is from the top.


Week Six Task 01

{150, 125, 150} {150, 75, 150}

{150, 75, 150}

{150, 100, 150} {150, 50, 150}

{150, 150, 150} {150, 50, 150}

{150, 125, 150}

{0,150,150} {0, 100, 150} {0, 75, 150} {0, 0, 25}

{150, 100, 0} {150, 0, 0}

{50, 150, 0}

{0, 50, 150}


{150, 25, 0}

{0, 125, 0} {0, 25, 0}

{0, 100, 0}

{50, 0, 0} {25, 0, 0}

{0, 0, 0}

{Index Selection}

{Index Selection}

{Index Selection}

{25, 0, 0}

{Index Selection}

{23, 160, 90} {117, -5, 106}

{79, 73, 71} {117, 55, 3} {-47, 50, 78}

{-28, 46, -1}

{Attractor Point Location}

{Attractor Point Location}

{Attractor Point Location}

{Index Selection}

Key {0,0,0}

Attractor / Control Points (X,Y,Z) Attractor / Control Curves Grid Points

Task 01 Matrix I chose to use the 1.2 base surface pair for their interesting mirroring relationship. The surfaces almost meet at their top where they are parallel to each other across the length of the bounding box. From there they twist to define a almost pyramid line form where the base extends much further outwards than the top. I also was interested in how the space between the surfaces was controlled, narrow and almost linear. As a structure the surface would encourage thoroughfare like movement in and out of the interior space. I continued to develop point attractor grids and chose 2.4 as my panelling grid. It used two point attractors that directed movement of the panels towards the bottom corner of each surface, which when used to add breps, looked like arrows or lines that guided attention towards the entrances. It also could encourage circumambulation around the surface as it directs always directs attention in a anti-clockwise direction. Finally, I settled on the 3.3 pairing to develop. I chose these as both a challenge and also because I enjoyed the tactile external qualities they presented. I wanted to see how both a solid form and form with an opening would influence the design outcome.


Week Six Task 02

{75, 75, 75}

Key {0,0,0}

Attractor / Control Points (X,Y,Z) Attractor / Control Curves

Task 02 Matrix When developing a base grid, I found that the most authentic looking complexity (what I wanted to achieve) arose when I used a random attractor as opposed to a point or curve attractor. I therefore chose 1.4 for my grid manipulation. I next looked at different ways of controlling the individual geometries in each cell. I used a cube for these geometries in order to not add additional complexity to the random grid manipulation. As I trialled different forms I found the most desirable results were those using simple geometries where their interactions were clearer and well defined. I did however choose 2.4 where I added two different transformations: scale and rotation on top of a single attractor point and proceeded to control those parameters. I used the distance between the centroid and point for each cell and used those (and some other uniform numbers) to control the rotation axis and angle. I played with using different numerical operators to increase and decrease the ranges of these numbers. This helped me to keep a clear relationship between the individual forms and also still show the relationship to the attractor. I also was interested at how I was able to create a sense of randomness, even though the transformations of each form were highly prescriptive.


Week Six

Final Isometric Views



Task 1 Process

Lofting surface using deconstructed box/brep edges.

Developing surfaces in pairs and observing how they interacted.

Top view of lofted surfaces I used pinwheel effect seen here.

Developing multiple pairs of surfaces and baking them out in Rhino.

Using panelling grids (pink and yellow) and a point attractor (green) to manipulate those points.

With various different grids and point attractors, I used a basic pyramid to look at how these manifested in a 3D panel. This helped inform my decision making and design moving forward.


Baking out surfaces to use to reference into grasshopper for panelling.


Task 1 - Waffle structure Grasshopper script Constructing a 150mm bounding box and referencing in two base surfaces

Dividing up the surfaces with contour lines


Laying out each individual piece of the waffle structure

Extracting edges to isolate for laser cutting file

Adding text to the laid out pieces and corresponding to waffle structure (to use later for reference)


Appendix Task 1 - Model Making Process

After laser cutting all the pieces and cutting them out I began constructing the waffle structure which would act as a base for my panels. I at first tried adding a few vertical, then a few horizontal pieces - but found it was more effective to built all the horizontal pieces between two vertical ones first.

Once i had added all the pieces I used very small amounts of super glue to hold the structure together. Before adding glue the structure was quite sound but some parts of the vertical pieces had been torn and needed some support. I was interested with how shadows began to form off the waffle structure at different angles.

Each panel needed to be folded - both along the etched fold lines and the tabs. I did this with a ruler to ensure straight, sharp edges. I used a mixture of super glue and PVA glue as I began constructing the panels and by joining each component. I used bulldog clips to secure when drying. I found it was best to leave the panel after adding two or three components before adding more to ensure the glue had enough time to dry and was not under any strain.



Task 2 Digital model

After selecting my 3D model in Rhino I decided to refine it further for 3D printing to reduce the printing time and maker it easier to be produced with minimal supports. I used small solids to continually boolean off sections while still keeping the elements I found interesting about the cut. I trialled different planes and directions to cut in rhino to carefully remove sections.

Before sending the file to 3D print I made sure to check for no naked or non-manifold edges using the edge analysis tool in Rhino. Also I used the thickness analysis that created a ‘heat map’ showing me where the thickness was equal to or less than 1mm (red)

I imported my file into makerbot to see how long the model would take to print and to see the supports needed. At 5hrs and 52mins my model was an ideal size, density and volume. Makerbot generated support structures (seen in yellow) to hold the sections of the model not supported (cantilevered).


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