I’ve been lucky enough to borrow a Replicator from the nice people at Makerbot Industries, and so I’ve spent the last week obsessively generating STL files and feeding the machine with G-code. Not always with success, I’ll admit, the Makerbot is a temperamental beast and I’m not an expert at handling the machine yet.

Yesterday I arrived at what I think is an interesting new direction, constructing lattice structures out of low-poly models. I’ve been putting Modelbuilder to the test, adding new functions to help in generating these pieces. Most excitingly I’ve added a UTransformer object that takes triangle or vertex data and transforms them to produce modified geometry.

Typical UTransformer applications include typical cases like face extrusion or windowing, as well as the technique shown here of outlining faces with boxes. But it also makes it possible to apply attractor forces to entire UGeometry instances, as seen in this example where faces were extruded followed by attractors applied to the vertex data to distort the whole form.

By the way, did I mention I’m actually pretty bad at math? Doing computational geometry for a week straight has made me feel a little smarter, but all that does is make me better equipped to understand how little I really know. I can’t help but feel that CAD professionals would snicker at my minor victories considering that every feature I laboriously implement has been standard issue in every CAD package for over a decade. Still, the satisfaction of doing it yourself and knowing exactly how the code will behave makes it worth the struggle.

However, I would welcome smarter minds than mine taking a look at the Github Modelbuilder repository and pointing out possible improvements. Just saying.

I’ll release the updated Modelbuilder code on Github when it’s stabilized a little, I’m still working out what the best structure would be for the library and I don’t want to annoy people by renaming or moving classes around. Meanwhile I’ll keep the Makerbot running 24/7.

To maximum build volume and beyond!

Lattice 0245

Lattice 0247