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Theresa Christina Student No: 568825

Semester 1/2012

Group 8

Reflection So Far…

Module 1

Module 2

In this module I explored the movement of butterfly wings during flight. After examining several properties of the wings, I decided that the most interesting one would be based on its flapping patterns, which opens and closes gradually. I also explored the theme of ‘restrictedness’ of the wings of a Swallowtail butterfly and managed to apply it to my model.

In the last module I worked to digitize my physical clay model using the contour methods. I also tried to use rectangular panels initially, to reconvey the concept of restrictedness, but rectangular panels simply don’t work for my model. So I switched to using triangular panels instead to convey the same concept. Regarding the panels, in this module I will work to fix the problematic areas as my model has sharp twists and turns.


From module two, I carried a problem to module three. Some of the fins I created as part of my panel designs overlap/intersect each other, making them impossible to be fabricated. So begins my struggle to fix this problem.

Custom 3D Panel

I tried to fix the problem using the alternative of creating custom 3D Panels that resembles the result that I got from using FinEdge to the edges of the triangular panels, but it created more problematic parts as more panels intersect each other. Moreover, the panel design looked ‘blocky’ and turned to have a more rectangular characteristic which I am not happy with.

Rebuilding and Refining Surface

I realized the problem actually perhaps lies on the form of the model instead, because no matter what kind of paneling I did, they almost always turn out to be problematic. So I went to the technical assistance to seek help..and I was told to rebuild it. However, the rebuilt surface turns to have sharp edges around the corner which will create even more panelling problems, so I needed to adjust the shape more.

Rebuilding and Refining Surface Starting with PointsOn, now that I know how to use Shift and Ctrl to select and deselect desired points when using this command, it is now easier for me to adjust the model’s geometry to what I want. I also had to ‘pull out’ the model’s edges to make its turns less sharp and I ended up with a much smoother looking version of what I want, and I’m happy with it as it seemed fairly easy to work with. Moreover, I realized that I had not been utilizing layers well, and so I end up with millions and millions of unwanted and unknown layers, so I began to work on the model on a fresh new space and classify surface, points and grids in exclusive layers and colors as disorderliness might create future problems during unrolling.

Rebuilding and Refining Panels

However, some panels still crash unto each other, mostly on the turns, creating problematic areas. From technical assistance sessions, I figured that I should use variable grids so that there would be less triangles panelled on the corners and more towards the centre, where there is smooth open space.

Rebuilding and Refining Panels

I first tried to locate curve attractors along the problematic areas, and use the option to attract points away, and in order to save time, I used offset points with the option Connect = Yes rather than tried panelling it and see whether the fins would turn out well. When I ‘tested’ it , the curve attractors – away located at problematic areas, it does not distribute the grid points variably enough for it to not colide with each other.

Rebuilding and Refining Panels Since using curve attractors located on the problematic areas did not work successfully, I thought that I should have curve attractors attracting the grids TOWARD the middle instead It worked wonderfully, the grid are less concentrated in the problematic areas and more to the centre. To prevent overlapping fins, I also used the curve attractors to make variable FinEdge distances, making the distance differs in different areas.

>> It can be seen that panels in problematic areas are no longer problematic and does not collide with each other anymore

Final Model

This is my final form. I believe that it best conveys my theme of butterfly wing movement as well as the restrictedness concept attached to it, through the separation of each triangular panels by the fins and the flow of the model itself. Using OffsetBorder, I also added holes alternately on the faces to emphasize the continuous movement of opening and closing during a butterfly’s flight process.

Pre-Fabrication : Risk Although the panels are no longer problematic,

some panels have fins that are extremely closing into itself and some are really twisty. In order to solve the problem of twistiness, I triangulate the fins’ faces so it will be possible to build. This is one reason why a prototype would be necessary. Moreover, I was also worried that the digitalized model might not be to the right scale. Since my design is intended to be worn around the neck, I took ortographic photographs of myself, and drew a line between my shoulders so it can act as reference distance for the model’s dimensions. However, I am still unsure of my scaling technique, hence a prototype is needed.

Pre-Fabrication : Unrolling

I wanted to unroll my surface horizontally, but I was adviced to unroll each individual triangular ‘cells’ one by one. It took a lot of time, but I reckoned the structure would be more stable this way compared to having the fins connected to the triangular faces. I also used color code for each layer to avoid confusion in differentiating the strips.

Pre-Fabrication : Unrolling As prototype, I only unrolled the problematic area, which is the start of the model towards the ‘turn’ where there are a lot of twisty fins. Also, in order to stick them together later on, I created tabs using the create tabs script provided on grasshopper. However, there are some tabs that overlap each other and some tabs that sprout out due to some un-aligned unrolled surfaces. Thus, in such cases, I had to delete them one by one.


I decided to send my file to the FabLab because it would save so much time to cut the holes on the faces and also because paper cutter would be much more accurate than manual hand-cutting. After assigning each lines to its appropriate layers (Cut/Etch), I nested each of the pieces onto a box with the dimension 900x600mm, which is required for the fablab. I also decided to use white ivory card because white cards transmit lights through and out much better than black ones and to number the pieces to make finding the required pieces easier when building the prototype later on.

Building the Prototype Part of the problem I had during the prototyping included determining the direction of the folds (inwards or outwards) and where I should place the tabs, because it would be visible when light is shun upon it. I eventually discovered the right direction to fold, but the outcome turned to be not as neat as I expected (since I took out some already-sticked pieces due to wrong direction of folding). However, due to time restrictions, I wouldn’t be able to reconstruct another prototype.

I chose to use UHU craft glue because it’s really strong and does not make too much mess like the normal UHU

Several cells put together. The right neighboring cells will have fins that complement each other just like puzzle pieces

Using clips to make drying process faster, as well as strengthening the sticking between each cells.

Reflecting back to Module 2, I found that the tiny prototype I made were really accurate prediction of how I would be attaching the triangular faces.

Building the Prototype

As the model started to take shape, I realized how each fins complement each other accurately just like puzzle pieces. This makes it easier when I was about to make mistakes and put pieces that were not supposed to be together, because their dimensions would not fit each other. This design property was extremely useful as I approach the ‘turning’ area where there are a lot of really introverted fins. Hence, the twisty faces of the fins and some extremely introverted fins proved to be unproblematic.


I cut the cables partially to reveal the copper wire inside it, making it easier to be connected to the other components.

Materials: Masking tape, scissors, LED Lights (Diffused), thin cables, batteries

I also added a switch to control the light’s onoff state. I first tried to connect it in a simple series circuit, and ensuring the negatives and positives are connected correctly.

Lighting I first tried installing the circuit with 1 LED Lights. into the model using masking tape, which provides secure fastening of the cables to the model. However, it is aesthetically unpleasing because it creates a messy look. I located the bulb right in the centre of the model so light would be distributed evenly. However, I found that using only 1 light for this section might be too dim, hence not maximizing the possible shadow effect that it could have.

I also tested the relation of the lantern to the body – to see whether it’s scaled correctly. It was a bit unstable on the shoulder, but since it’s only part of the model, I think it would be fine when the whole model is already constructed.

Lighting In this second attempt, I used 2 LED lights instead of one, to enhance the shadow effect of the lantern. Moreover, instead of using masking tape to secure the cables onto the inner side of the model, I used double-sided tape to not disrupt the light transmition as well as to prevent the model from having messy un-elegant look. I was happy with the outcome from using 2 lights instead of 1. So, for the rest of my model, I reckon that I’ll use 2 LED lights for each 1/3 sections.

Precedents This light is design is called TetraBox, designed by Ed Chew. The triangular components that make up this light is actually made of recycled drink packets which have been folded to triangles combined to form pentagons or hexagons. I find the lighting effect formed by this light extremely attractive and interesting, because it’s simple yet elegant. It also does not use extravagant materials, just recycled drink packets; hence, I find this very inspirational due to the similarity between this lamp design and my lantern design in terms of using triangles as channels to let lights out and simple card paper to construct it.

Precedents Made in Los Angeles, this triangular bookshelf is extremely unique because it does not have a fixed shape. Instead, its size grows with the environment and available space. It was also constructed using 3D CNC technique, which means that it was fabricated from a digital model in a software, much like the project that we are currently working on. It was interesting how seemingly precise each faces fit unto each other’s folds , indicating that it was designed and fabricated properly.

REFLECTION In my opinion, this module is the most interesting yet challenging of all, since each person’s models started to venture out into individual directions and identity. For me, the biggest challenge was unrolling all the strips, since I had to unroll each triangular cells, I have enormous number of strips to unroll and fabricate again later on. However, I find it quite enjoyable since I started to feel that I know what I’m doing compared to Module One and Module Two where I felt so lost since I was new to the software. All the modules had definitely given me a unique experience with digital modeling as well as fabrication process, which I had no experience whatsoever with previously. In the subsequent module, I hope to finish up my entire model, as it was delayed due to technical difficulties experienced in this module.

Module 3 - Theresa Christina 568825  

Virtual Environment Melbourne University

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