3D Printed ABS Plastic, Poplar Dowel, custom C# Grasshopper Components – 2021
The Tiger is built from 639 connectors 3D printed on a Stratasys Continuous Build Printer in ABS and Poplar dowel beams. Each connector is unique to this particular 3D model and generated using a combination of algorithmic tools. It’s overall dimensions are approximately 10 feet long x 5 feet wide x 6 feet tall and will fit through a standard set of double doors (whew!)
The Connectors are built using a custom component for Rhino-Grasshopper written in C#. The component parses the vertices of a mesh and creates a custom connector based on the connection data per vertex. The length and thickness of each of the connector is driven by some user input parameters. Currently, it requires hand “faring” of the mesh input to eliminate conflicts between vertex location in relation to nearby vertices.
The connectors are exported and printed on a CB3D high output printer. This printer handles automatic unloading of parts and can theoretically print 24 hours per day. The total turnaround from conception to completion for the this project was about 2 months. A new addition to this project is the automatic numbering of the parts. The prototype Bunny that I originally used this algorithm on clocks in about 111 connectors, the tiger has 6 times that many, so this made my life much more simple.
The software produces a cut list for each beam and currently I am keeping track of each length (the are mostly unique to each beam) by hand writing them on the connectors themselves. I have plans of automating the cutting for the next iteration as well as automating the beam numbering.
Assembly was done by a team of people who generously donated their time to me to help me meet the deadline for installing the piece. I would not have been able to get this completed without their help and generosity and am in their perpetual debt.
The Tiger was tensioned with some hitches to stabilize it for transport over to the gallery. Here it is in the machine shop of the Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center, which I commandeered as a staging area. Huge thanks to Dan Freedman, Dean of Science and Engineering and Director of the Center for the use of the space.