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Generative Design on the Form 1+

Tools like the Form 1+ make it easier to physically express the design iterations you’re generating in CAD. When paired with parametric modeling software like Grasshopper, a plugin for modeling software Rhino, the Form 1+ is a powerful prototyping machine.

Inspired by Nature, Modeled by Math

The three early designs of a planter from Formlabs’ Will Walker, seen above, were created from a Grasshopper script that modeled various geometric facets through modifiable parameters like the lengths of the base hexagonal shape, and reinforcement splints for the edges.

Inspired by a visit to the Harvard Museum of Natural History which houses a collection of crystals and mineral rocks, Will became interested in modelling crystalline structures through algorithmic design.

Grasshopper Script used for geometric planter
An iteration of the Grasshopper Script used for the geometric planter.

Using the Grasshopper script in Rhino, Will modeled and 3D-printed a number of prototypes to optimize its shape, size, as well as functional considerations like the location and size of drainage holes.

The final, customizable results (seen printed in white, grey, and clear resin) make a unique, one-off addition to any home or office.

Optimized planter designs with drainage holes
Optimized planter designs with drainage holes, each with slightly varied form.

Cell Cycle is a great parametric modeling tool from the generative design firm Nervous System. This physics-based tool, inspired by microscopic shells of radiolarians, allows you to create complex forms through modifying a set of computational parameters. The principle of subdivision (cell splitting) along with the geometry of cellular patterns creates beautiful organic forms that are ready for 3D printing.

We teamed up with Nervous System to run a 3D printing jewelry workshop at SolidCon. Individuals generated a ring or bracelet in the Cell Cycle web app and then 3D printed their designs on the Form 1+ stereolithography printer.

Nervous System Cell Cycle
Manipulating a ring design in Nervous System’s Cell Cycle.

3D printed ring and bracelet from Nervous System Cell Cycle
3D-printed ring and bracelet designs from Nervous System’s Cell Cycle application.

Cell Cycle and Form 1 printed bracelet
The Cell Cycle web app and a freshly-printed bracelet on the Form 1.

Get started printing your own parametric products – visit our store to learn more about our new Form 1+.