I have modelled a grid shell dome structure with triangular mesh. I want to orientate all members to be perpendicular to the ‘curved’ surface of the dome. I tried changing the element’s orientation with the normal of the surface but it didn’t really work. Could anyone please advise?
If this has even a remote relation with reality I would strongly suggest to build your LBS (Load Bearing Structure) via some some sort of tubes (Google: MERO KK System) using the Mesh Topology Edges as axis … and then create/fix the envelope via pivotal spacers like these shown (Pink: MERO KK sleeves/cones/tubes, Magenta: MERO ball, the rest: classic planar glazing mounts that rotate in relation to the common mount mini tube [axis at the mesh Vertex Normal] + structural silicone along the gaps):
If spans are big (and/or there’s seismic activity around) consider a W truss (i.e. a second layer of tubes “below” the ones out of the mesh edges).
Alternatively you can create self supporting tri-frames (per mesh face) and join then via bolts and spaces thus creating the so called void node layout (because there’s nothing in the node). But this system is way more expensive and looks heavy VS an airy MERO solution.