Unrolling Surfaces in Grasshopper

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 posted by Chris Chalmers, Fabripod 

This Grasshopper definition is proof of concept for a VB component that unrolls developable surfaces to the XY plane. To make the component, I’ve adapted a rhinoscript by Andrew Kudless (of Matsys) to run in VB, enlisting the help of CCA student Ripon DeLeon to write the code.This example uses the VB component to create unrolled surfaces from 4 curves that I have distorted using the cage edit command in rhino. To use the definition on your own projects, simply choose any 4 curves to loft between in sequential order.

The blocks of components are grouped somewhat clearly (I hope) so you can add more curves by copy-pasting more blocks and making the few required re-connections to make it work.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

download the definition here:unroll3.ghx
and the rhino base file here: unroll test.3dm

For the above definition, I’ve added tabs along the edges of the unrolled surfaces for ease of attachment. The benefit of using a WYSIWYG tool like Grasshopper for fabrication planning is that you can make quick decisions about parameters like tab spacing or sheet layout visually, as you design. If you use this definition for your own projects, send me a short description. I’d love to see what you make out of it!

The unrolled shape is about 96% accurate (judged by difference in surface area between unrolled and original surfaces). This seems to be fine for simple paper models, but would cause serious problems in more complex structures. I would appreciate feedback from any of you who care to take a look at the VB component and offer suggestions on how to make it more accurate.

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7 thoughts on “Unrolling Surfaces in Grasshopper

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