3. Computer Aided design

This week I worked on defining my final project idea and started to getting used to the documentation process.

Parametric Design

To translate an idea through parameters into explicit action(s).

Parameters are the meaningful properties (constraints) of a design project. * budget * program * site * environment * manufacturing

Results are explicit.

Parametric Principles

  1. concept
  2. definition (of the parameters)
  3. development
  4. output
  5. iteration(s)


Parametric Model

From the definition of our parameters we derive a mode.

An infrastructure capable of defining parameters, performing actions and maintaining the relationships established between the various elements of the design, over time.

A parametric model is a flexible design tool capable of coordinating the meaningful properties of a design through a framework of constants.

Parametric Design Tools


Grasshopper is a node-based algorithm editor integrated with Rhino's 3-D modeling tools. It allows users to define logical relationships between multiple design parameters that define a Parametric Model.

2-D Design

Knowing very little about this software and visual programming, I followed this tutorial to generate some meshes to achieve space optimization. Grasshopper01

With some basic math equations we can model phyllotaxis, a property of the phenotypical expression of plants.


This geometry is used to grow leaves and other elements that need to be exposed to radiation from the sun.


Starting to tweak some of the parameters here, I found a sunflower.


A little more exploration, strong of my sense for trigonometry, led to the discovery of new subsets, more resembling of aerodynamic flows.

The freestyle exploration of the software environment, combined to some other basic tutorials, didn't really get me closer to my final project model, so here is where I stopped fumbling with operators and tweaking knobs.


3-D Modeling and Animation

Getting closer to the week's end, I moved to a safer space: Blender In blender I moved fast to achieve a general depiction of my final project, to have a way to discuss about how to map its production process onto the weeks assignments. Blender01

At this stage of the design, a lot of constraints aren't properly expressed or researched. One thing that is known is the CNC's dimensions. The CNC in question is the one built here, in FabLab Barcelona, available for us to play with during these months.

Instead of an animation I recorded the screen to show the main movements involved with my machine.

fabacademy final project concept from Marco Cataffo on Vimeo.

I tried to embed the video directly into this webpage but, due to encoding issues, it was faster to upload it to my Vimeo profile and embed it in the page with this code:

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/390969378" width="640" height="336" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href="https://vimeo.com/390969378">fabacademy final project concept</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user14073014">Marco Cataffo</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>