I am a furniture designer and fabricator. I have been working in metal, for a very long time. I have been working on parametric modeling in Grasshopper and Rhino for a while, and am addicted to it as a form generator and parametric modeling in general fascinates me. I am having a very difficult time incorporating these skills into my work, as my work is fabricated by me in a shop, I do not send out to other shops for fabrication. The process itself is part of my work. I thought at first that I would get into 3d printing, with concrete, or clay looking at Wasp printers, but the size is not suitable, I would have to work in small parts and attach together. I just could not get it to work. I am an established designer/ fabricator and my work has to be of high quality. Also filament printing just takes so long. I still may get there but it is not happening now.
I have recently come up with an idea to incorporate parametric modeling into my processwhich might work, by generating a parametric design and applying a paneling grid to the surface with triangles etc. I worked a little with meshes in Grasshopper and that is interesting, but I feel that I have more control with the paneling tool. Mostly I have seen videos applying these grids for buildings, so it is a different application than my needs. There is a paneling tool in both Rhino and Grasshopper. I have several questions and perhaps you can guide me as to the best way to approach. I want to start out simple.
Ultimately my approach would be to apply a grid and brake out the parts for CNC using waterjet, which is how I cut most of my metal now. I have seen videos of this using Rhino/ Grasshopper with a vault shape generated in Kangaroo, and then triangulating the surface using Lunchbox. and laying out each triangle flat on a sheet for fabrication with numbers marking each piece. I will not be able to mark the pieces when cut with waterjet so that will be something I need to work out maybe with colors. I also realize that if you are fabricating a complex curve you are going to have a lot of triangles so it does not look flat, so I will need to build an inner structure to glue the metal to.
Which do you think is better to achieve this type of design and fabrication of many small parts glued to a structure to fabricate a complex curve Lunchbox or the Paneling tools? I am going to fabricate using one solid metal triangle not punched with an inner loft for a hole.
Is there a way to use Rhino to start without grasshopper, to layout the triangles flat on a sheet of metal like in Grasshopper? Or is that only available only in Grasshopper where I saw it demonstrated using a vault of triangles, where it lays out all of the parts from a form to a flat plane for cutting?
Here is a phot of something similar I am trying to achieve this is CNC out of wood. Thanks in advance for your help.