Throughout the New Making course, I explored multiple techniques that can be used together to create elements of design that would not otherwise have been possible 50 years ago. The exploration of parametric design was something that I found particularly interesting within the course. Parametric design is ‘a process based on algorithmic thinking that enables the expression of parameters and rules that, together, define, encode and clarify the relationship between design intent and design response’. By defining different parameters, you are able to digitally create intricate shapes, sculptures and structures within a matter of minutes that without the use of technology would take hours and hours of man power, if not, being impossible.
The ability to create these shapes was something that I found very interesting. I started my exploration within the software ‘Processing’. This was something that I had never tried before but saw a similar resemblance to Arduino coding which I have done in the past. Through iteration and exploration, I was able to create an immediate visual, on screen 3D shape that was adaptable and theoretically printable. I struggled to figure out how to actually export the code from Processing as an STL file for printing which led me to try new software.
The second software I tried was ‘Open sCAD’, I found this relatively easy to get to grips with and immediately started experimenting with different shapes whilst watching different tutorials online for help. I felt slightly limited with this software in terms of what I would have liked to make versus what the software would allow me to do, however that may have just been down to my lack of knowledge. One thing that I did appreciate about the Open sCAD software was the easy of exporting an STL for print. This is where I made my first two prints, both iterations of the same parametric shape, made from multiple different sized triangles pieced together. I had to print both structures with scaffolding to support them which unfortunately detracted from the defined, geometric finish I intended.
The most enjoyable part of my parametric exploration was when I started using Grasshopper, a plugin for Rhino. This took a lot of tutorial watching to get the fundamentals and I still feel as if I only know a small portion of the software but it allowed me to create organic shapes with a fluidity and satisfying aesthetic. I found these objects to replicate that of some architecture pieces where there is a juxtaposition between the brutalist nature of the external façade with the fluidity of the shape and structure. I went on to use parametric design within my final artefact where I also put to use the brim created by the 3d print as part of my final shape. Often the adhesion plate is discarded and only used for printing, however I thought it would be interesting to incorporate this into my design itself.
I think that the exploration of parametric design is something that will take a huge amount more practice to learn how to incorporate it into my real-world designs, however as an exploration point of view, I have learnt enough to get me started.