Grasshopper Contour Tool by scrawford

This definition was written to speed up the process of creating a contour model while limiting the amount of waste generated during the fabrication of the physical model.  An interface was developed within Grasshopper where all of the important settings can be controlled, allowing those who know little about grasshopper to still use the definition.  A base surface is supplied to grasshopper, which then scales the surface, cuts the cross sections according to the contour step size, then orients the cross sections to the XY plane.

There are two options for layout of the contours: full sheet or optimized sheets.  Full sheet is exactly what it sounds like, the contour at each level is placed on its own sheet.  The optimized sheet option staggers which contours to combine onto a single sheet so that instead of a contour using a full sheet its form is a combination of two contours which allows for a lot less material to be consumed in the modeling process.  The fewer number of sheets the more material that is saved, but also the less overlap that remains for attaching the upper contour.  The below image shows 3 variations of the same model compressed onto 2, 3, or 4 sheets of material.

Numbers are added to each contour and the above contour line is dashed in for alignment.  The gray area in the below image represents a single contour layer.

We are currently working on an addition to this definition which would allow for large contour sheets to be subdivided according to a sheet size that would fit within a laser cutter.

This definition was written in Grasshopper 0.6.0059.  The definition can be downloaded here.

Obligatory disclaimer: the author does not guarantee that these parametric models are bug-free or that they will solve all of your problems.  If you find bugs or have suggestions for improvements, please let us know.

source: scott crawford