Industrial Designers, Jewelers  Artist, and Architects, are some of the professions utilizing Grasshopper and Rhino in their projects.

My interest in Ceramics has expanded and opened new venues for me to explore. I wanted to overlap some of the knowledge I have in Architectural Ceramics and merge it with creating a 3D print. I can produce a unique object which I can make a mould from to create multiple copies.

As an Industrial Designer, I can produce my proposed structure to small markers and businesses. I can produce a unique tile and have the object printed with a Makerbot. If the client likes the initial prototype, I would have it manufactured at local 3D printing industries such as 3DPhacktory. Then I can produce and install them into the domestic space, the office space or the exterior space.Thus building personal relationships and connections with the consumers.

This business model is already apparent with businesses such as Hot Pop, Nervous System, Sculpteo, and Stratasys, Shapeways . Hot Pop has created a website that allows the clients to purchase 3-D printable and wearable goods. Nervous System has made an interface which allows the client to generate and create a unique piece of jewelry with their website. The general idea with these businesses is that they are targeting a niche market of clients who know how to use modeling programs such as Rhino and Grasshopper to create objects that are printable. However, that being said, it is up to us to judge the quality, the craft, and the function of the printed object.

The launch of the Makerbot was in 2009. It became available to the consumer marker. Designers and people alike can use this technology to create beautiful things or otherwise make ‘crapjects’ simply put by Greg Smith.

Without further a do, I present Currents, a business model that can offer clients the ability to be a part of the design process. This project was originally inspired by the growth of coral and how tiny polyp grow in a random fashion and structure effected by the currents of the water. I manipulated a structure in Rhino and used it as a basic shape to tile in Grasshopper. The configuration of the tiles can change based on what the client desires. Below is an experience of what the client would go through on the website:

Below are some of the options that can be created:








The Process Work of Currents

I created sets of tiles and forms in Rhino. I chose to develop set two and use the set of 20 tiles in the grasshopper definition.

The tiles are linked to this definition in Grasshopper:

1. In Grasshopper link the srf to Rhino by right-click and set one surface. The srf is divide into rows (u) and columns (v).

2. Now the surface is divided up into a grid. For each square on the grid like surface you will create an array of boxes that will fit in that space using sbox.

3. The surface is parametricized. The individual units are controlled by Bbox and morph. The chosen tile is manipulated to fit into the constrains of the divided surface.

Dispatchsrf creates a logical pattern for the tiles on the surface based on the number sliders for row and column.

The tiles can be updated live. Once a desired look is achieved, bake the objects by right-click on morph (tile 1) and morph (tile 2).

There are some of the programs that the exported Rhino .stl file goes through before becoming a .thing file, a printable file that is readable on Makerbot.

1.              2.   

  1. Netfabb Studio Basic 4.9 – removes naked edges and corrects any complications with the object post printing
  2. Makerware – the Makerbot program that converts the .obj file to a .thing file. Plug the computer directly to the Makerbot printer or use a memory card to move the file to make a print.

Once the file is cleaned up, it is ready for print.


The Makerbot takes time to warm up the plastic which roughly takes between 2-5 minutes.  Then it slowly brings up the bed and starts to print. Within the first 10 minutes of the print Greg and I watched to see if the plastic did not extrude well from the nozzle, or if there were defects in the print.

3 variations printed on the Makerbot



A special thanks goes out to Greg and Jesse! Greg, thank you for your support and expertise in Grasshopper. You demonstrated the complexity of just some of the challenges that Grasshopper can accomplish through your tutorials. I will continue to definitely explore Grasshopper after Graduation. Jesse, thank you for offering the Grasshopper course. This was an eye opener for me that made me re-think of the potential of what I can do with this tool. Have fun in sunny California!


Best of Luck to all of us because

we have knowledge to plug in new definitions, one day at a time!






Hair V.S. Gravity

This project explores our relationship with hair.
As a feature of our identity and appearance- hair has been widely fetishised as a flattering feature. The aesthetics differ between cultures and throughout time. Hair “placement”/growth on different parts of the body, can be considered flattering, while “placement”/growth  on other areas of the body unflattering. This dictates the acceptable and unacceptable management of growth(grooming) of hair.

One example of our attachment and appreciation of hair is the European Victorian era- “memento mori” pieces. The hair in this case was used as a weaving material, like wool. The hair would have been taken from a recently deceased body- (a cherished family member). It then was made into a piece of jewelry- that one would wear as a memory of that person.

Another example is the non human hair. And this is a better example to possibly explaining this project. Throughout human history- fur was a great choice as a material for accessories (bags for example) and clothing. Although praised mainly for its thermal insulation properties, fur has been used widely for its decorative properties. A big factor could be that- it is applied from a non human source- which makes it “unnatural”. The basic idea is the human can not grow fur- therefore this fur is not part of the human’s sexual appearance and physiological makeup, but instead is an embellishment.

In this project the material of choice- had to be flexible, but also should have retained some shape memory. The nature of 3d printed materials- is that they are created in layers. The build up of these layers does not correspond to the tensioning caused by programming shape into the threads in this model. This creates an interesting effect: the printed piece has a set shape, yet still (to some degree) behaves like hair by staying flexible. However instead of being tensioned from initially straight sections (as one would sculpt a piece like this from metal wire for example)- the sections are “frozen in time” by a set of rules. These sets of rules are virtual and were applied when the piece was still in the computer- so it does not reflect the reaction of this artificial hair to the wearer’s real environment/location.

The model is made using parametric software. The set of rules are basic and easy to understand. The idea is that the hair is represented by vectors. These vectors have a general direction of force- center of earth (gravity). They protrude at a ninety degree angle to the surface of origin (skin). They can be affected at a selected point- to modify when they start to curve towards the gravitational force (modify their tensile strength). The code further allows to modify the number of these vectors, and is able to skip a number of vectors- to imitate natural growth and avoid a grid pattern.
This allows innumerable variation and custom design. Ideally the design will be a reflection of the choice of placement of this jewelry on the body.
(More info in this can be found at the previous post)

This piece:
Initially it was not intended to be as a practical every-day piece. However, by modifying scale and placement it could be made into a more user-friendly commercial product.
The choice of placement (as illustrated at the top of the post for example-chest) is a visual discourse and comment on the aesthetic of hair on that area of the body, as perceived by different cultures. Because this is not real hair, but mere decoration, although it represents hair on that area of the body- it is successful at being visually compelling and appropriate. If one chooses to produce it as a head piece- it would communicate a completely other statement than v.s. placement on chest. Then factors like- wearer’s sex and age come into play- and start to speak of deeper understanding of aesthetic or beauty.

Greg J. Smith-Lecture Guest

Greg J. Smith is an Editor-in-Chief at Holo Magazine.
“Greg is a Toronto-based designer and educator who has written for a variety of respected art, technology and design publications including Rhizome, Vectors, ICON, 3:AM Magazine. Greg was also co-founder and Managing Editor of Vague Terrain, an online journal about digital art and culture from 2005 to 2011.” (

Greg was kind enough to come to one of our classes, as a lecture guest. He shared his resent research into the fields of emerging technologies. His interest was mainly- how these new technologies are being appropriated by artists and designers.
Afterwards we had a chance to ask Greg a few questions. Here is the result:

  • What is it you actually do at Holo-Mag?

Well, we aren’t looking at technologies so much as the people using them. Essentially, we want to provide a platform to showcase the practices of artists who have a clear narrative arc – visible across their entire body of work – and who have worked in less defined areas. The terms anti-disciplinary and transdisciplinary have been thrown around a lot in recent years and while a bit clumsy, I think their popularity speaks to a widespread desire for practices that transcend specific fields. What happens when art and synthetic biology intersect? How can a speculative fiction author use CGI to provoke conversations about culture? These are the types of questions we are interested in. With HOLO we want to get access to the stories behind important projects and understand the motives and intent of the people producing it. So we’re not a periodical dedicated to technology, but people and practices.

  • Do you/ Did you- apply these findings in architecture?

I didn’t use the findings directly that much as I was not particularly enamoured with commercial practice. I’d say the training irreparably damaged my way of thinking and vocabulary though and I’m kind of obsessed with using space as a mechanism for framing things – I couldn’t have really imagined myself studying anything else.

  • What gave you interest in this?

I’ve always been interested in the social and cultural implications of emerging technology. I find new tools prompt new discussions and are also magnets for (some) innovative thinkers. In terms of publishing, which is where I am primarily active, I did some magazine writing after I finished my undergrad in the late 90s and I gradually became more dialed into the ‘new media’ milieu. Mostly I’m researching things to satisfy my own curiosity and that has seen me undertake a range of organizational and journalistic roles over the last decade.

  • Do you think you are a futurist, by nature?

Futurist is a troublesome word as it is generally interchangeable with ‘snake oil salesman’ or ‘thought leader’. People have paid me to do strategic foresight work but I wouldn’t let that lull me into thinking I have any idea what is around the corner. I think I’m content to actually try to figure out what is going on in the present and art and design is the place I look for clues.

  • What is happening in town? Why not more?

I was just talking with some prominent festival organizers in Montreal and they asked me the same question. The subtext of their provocation was “why isn’t more happening in Toronto?”. Despite a sleepy local ‘scene’ we do have some bright spots: Subtle TechnologiesInterAccess is consistently on point with programming and workshops and TIFF has done a pretty amazing job of engaging multimedia in recent years. Beyond this I just keep my eyes peeled on the speaker series at local design schools.

  • Any advice?

My suggestions would be learn a tool inside out but don’t lose your agency.

  • Any notable local Canadian work?

I don’t know if Canada is a technological powerhouse like say Silicon Valley or Seoul but we – historically – have been pretty good at producing designers, scholars and intellectuals that are good at critically engaging technology.

  • What is the most impressive emerging technology?

I’m totally captivated by self-assembling/reconfiguring modular robotics the idea of programmable matter is quite compelling. I’m also amazed by creative interrogations of ‘old’ or ‘obsolete’ technologies – my peer Darsha Hewitt does some great work with old CRT televisions.

  • Most future potential?

In terms of directly affecting the quality of life for the 7 billion of us on the planet, I’d say the most important developments are in the energy generation, agriculture, sustainability and biomedical fields.


Project Four: Mermaid and Wave Interference Hybrid Phenomenon

Based on the proposal, I elaborated on the idea of wave interference from Project Two. Since I have a background in Fine Arts, I took the idea conceptually and created 3-D printed sculptures, which called “Mermaid and Wave Interference Hybrid Phenomenon”,

Wave interference is the phenomenon that occurs when two waves meet with the same traveling medium, and forms a shape from the net effect. Mermaid is a mythical phenomenal creature that I work a lot with for the theme of underwater. Since both phenomena are very rare, and hiding from being witnessed, the concept behind this project is to merge the phenomena and generate a hybrid mermaid phenomenon that interferes with wave interference.

Why 3-D printed sculptures?

Most people are using 3-D printing machines to create something functional that fits with the idea of mass-production. I would like to share an interesting fact with you that artists are usually the first one that put their hands on new technology. We really want to take advantage of new technology for producing art to get different results.

My sculptures are small, it is very labor intensive and time consuming to create something small with fine details by hands. For Rhino, I can zoom in and out, and model the piece with fine details without thinking of the small size issue.

Moreover, making the piece 3-D printable allows accessibility in reproduction  I can make several prints in the choice of different printing materials, and take advantage of different materials to portray different aesthetic effects from the same piece. It also provides accessibility in private and public collections.


Although this course is about using Grasshopper, I mostly modeled the piece in Rhino and chose to apply the concept that I learned in Grasshopper to help me model.

The commands that I used in Rhino for modelling:
-Sweep 1 Rail
-Blend Surface

The wave interference pattern was created by Grasshopper. Since I got criticized for the definition that I used in Project Two, I made a new definition based on last year blog and my research.

1. Created a square grid with points.
2. Created positions of two seed points.
3. Merged them all together to two equations (Sin(((x-a)^2+(y-b)^2)^.5))
4. Added them together
5. Created points from the addition
6: Created a flatten curve from the points
7. Lofted the curve

I played with different equations and positions of two seed points. However, I picked the most intriguing result for my piece when two equations are Sin(((x-a)^2+(y-b)^2)^.5), 1st seed point is at (12,12), and 2nd seed point is at (27,27).

Here’s a video that shows the process:

I also used Grasshopper to help me create hair for the mermaid.

1. Created three curves in Rhino
2. Lofted the curves
3. Divided the surface in different Us and Vs
4. Used the “Interpolate” component to make curves in the direction that I wanted in the lofted surface that looks like this:

5. Baked the curves into Rhino
6. Rebuilt to my ideal form and piped the curves in Rhino


My first print in white plastic (5cm x 5cm x 2cm).


The first print was too fragile and did not turn out that well, so I decided to refined the piece (the arm, fins, and hair) and enlarged it to 6cm x 6cm x 2.5cm.


Jesse suggested me to take advantage of different printing materials, and print the wave part in rubber that is flexible and fits the concept of wave more. Nonetheless, I think that printing in two colors will destroy the piece because the piece is already so detailed and colors will distract the aesthetic form. Here’s the proof:

Jesse also suggested me to print the entire piece in two materials and display them as a diptych to compare and contrast two artifacts. Thus, I decided to print the entire piece in white plastic and black rubber; the detail is finer in white plastic, and the flexibility of rubber reinforces the idea of wave.

White Plastic Rendering

White Plastic Sculpture

Black Rubber Rendering

Black Rubber Sculpture


I Sent the Following to Greg Sims, Spencer Rand, Greg Smith and Kate Hartman

Hi Greg, Spencer, Greg, and Kate,

I’d like to invite you all to attend the conclusion of my very small class Small Object Design II on April 17.

We’re going to organize things quite casually. The students will be showing you their submissions to Greg Sims and I’s Making It Real exhibition. We’ll conclude with a roundtable discussion about “the future of the future.”

This will be my very last class at OCAD U, as I’m relocating to California in the fall to take a position at UC Irvine, from where I hope to continue to collaborate with you all.

Wednesday, April 17, 5:30PM ’till we’re done, starting in Room 305 at 230 Richmond Street.

Hope to see you all soon,


ps. Friends and collaborators welcome!

Andrea Ling

Andrea Ling is an architect. She graduated from Waterloo  with a background in Physiology with 2 degrees in architecture. During her thesis year, she consulted with Phillip Beelsey. Ling is currently working at his company managing material sourcing, component design, and project management.

At the beginning of her career, she worked as an architect at Kongats Architecture and worked on various projects such as public buildings, district energy, student center, health center, and galleries. At Kontias, she used Autocad and Adobe Suite Software.

On the side, she formed a group with a few friends from Kontias called GUILD. This group’s primary focus was public installations. GUILD participated at Nuit Blanche in 2011 and was the installation with lights on top of Nathan Philip Square.


She moved on from working with architecture to experimental sculptures at Phillip Beesley Architect Inc. There are 10 members at the company that includes architects, industrial designers, and engineer.They mostly use Rhino for the modelling and some members incorporate Grasshopper.  Phillip Beesley is known for their biochemical, kinetic structural sculptures, and photocell architecture in public installations, galleries, festivals, and temporary exhibits across the world. For instance, Spain, Australia, Holland, and England.  The units of the sculptural piece are 3D printed/ laser cut. The prototyping and the final product models are done by facilities in Philip Beesley’s studio. The sculptures are designed at Phillip Beesley maximize the use of material by making the pieces durable and interlocked, which reduces the use of extra hardware and expenses. The main materials used in the construction of the work is plastic, metal, and glass. Since their sculptures are very specific and unique, they are mostly individually requested by their clients.

A permanent public installation can be found close to home in Edmonton, Alberta at the Simons Department Store, which is their first retail store collaboration. Instead of applying their traditional line of work, which is bio-mechanical structures, they had to adapt the same organic and fluid movement in a retail environment. Thus, the company played with lights to create a dynamic environment. The architecture found in the store acts as a changing room device at a push of a button, the organic shapes come down. Architecture is not only seen as a facade, or only on the outside of a building, it also has an impact on how different structures change the mood, space, and environment on the inside.

Currently, they are collaborating with a fashion designer, Iris Van Herpin. Before Herpin produced her clothing designs on the computer, she manually created the pieces by hand. Now we can’t wait to see what these designers will produce together!

Multidisciplinary fields coming together to create awesome works of art and design.

Some of Phillip Beesley’s work can be seen below:

Gallery at Wellington


Digital Centre at Taipei


Inside Phillip Beesley’s Studio is a vast array of various projects that hang along the wall.





These structures are made of many different units that join together with a built in interlocking system.




I wish my room was full of this stuff!






My dream studio 🙂





These are test samples of different biochemical reactions for sculptures. They want to depict the concept of growth in a non-living object.





By: Jessica Ing & Sophy Lee

Project 2 Hair and Gravity


Our appreciation of beauty or what is beautiful is often a result of a surface- based, face value assessment. But we often see beauty in the underlying natural principles such as physical forces, that are normally hidden from our eyes.
  Hair can be a very desirable and attractive feature and is often idealized-in our present popular culture. However hair can be “undesirable”and “unattractive”, according to the same ideals. I believe as a starting point, our fascination with patterns, continuous flow and what we think of as notion of “attractive” as well as “interactive”-  could translate into interesting interpretations in form of hairy objects. The idea was initially developed- with wearable jewelry as those objects, but i think it would be interesting to see how application of this hair/fur would effect other types of objects as well.

The hair was chosen for its properties:
The initial aim was to incorporate elements of bio-mimicry design into our parametric definitions. Hair represents a number of naturally- inspired properties. It has some tensile strength. Therefore it resists gravity-the shorter it is, and it conforms to gravity- the longer it is. It is also affected by wind, color, texture and its orientation on the surface/ sub surface of the skin. It grows in certain designated areas complying to a natural grid.
Parametric Connection:
As a tool parametric design- is a time saver. Modeling hair would be challenging, time consuming and inaccurate at representing realistic behavior of natural phenomena.Therefore by building an artificial environment that accounts for forces such as- tension and gravity, one could represent complicated structures such as hair more accurately by imitating the real thing.
The resulting definition will be used as a texture, that could be applied to any surface.

The goal is to end up with the simplest copy of the code- that still achieves its purpose. In my initial version I represented the constant force of gravity as vectors. They originate from a given surface- perpendicular to that surface, imitating one possible version of hair growth. The vectors converge to a single point-  that point being the center of earth. The degree of curvature of the vectors, could be controlled by- moving that point away and towards the surface or by changing the curvature at midpoint of the vector (showing increased tensile strength v.s. increased force).