For the first part of lab 1, I found using most of the 2D sketching tools to be quite easy to get a grasp on, however, I did have quite a bit of trouble learning "Trim" and "Split." It took me several tries with Practice #9 and so for Practice #10 I made it my personal challenge to only use two curves, but to create a unique pattern by manipulating those curves with the tools I didn't quite understand. This reflects my general approach to learning, where when there's a concept I don't fully grasp, I will take on a harder project involving that concept until I feel like I have mastered the concept and in the process completed a difficult challenge for myself.
The second lesson in Rhino was quite the big step up from simply using two-dimensional tools. Surfaces were easy to learn, up until the "Network Surface" command. I had trouble because I was overly ambitious with trying to use the command for the first time, and my first attempt ended up crashing my Rhino file. However, now that I have learned how to use "NetworkSrf," I see a lot of potential in creating what I like to call "blanket" art pieces. One idea that I would love to revisit is to take a city model and create a blanket that drapes over all the buildings, creating valleys where there are smaller buildings, and high peaks covering the skyscrapers. I believe the intended result would look marvelous and might be a final project idea worth exploring further.
When I first opened up Rhino and was exploring creating shapes and extruding surfaces, I pretty quickly learned how to use the simple tools to create spheres, cylinders, and even cones. I found that this lesson broadened my knowledge, and gave me a definite idea of what I would be able to create with Rhino. Seeing the "Pipe" command inaction instantly sprouted my imagination, and I thought about being able to create a simple water dragon using "Pipe" for the body, and "Cage Edit" to manipulate the head. I believe that this was the week where I started thinking in a 3D modeling mindset, where every complex object can be broken down into simpler forms, and once all of those simpler forms have been molded, they can be "Boolean Union"ed together to create something that a bystander wouldn't even begin to grasp how it was made.
I might be overzealous here, but I think I would like my focus in this class to be on creating artistic pieces, that fit together in ways that almost seem impossible. My view as an artist is to create something simple in design, but that looks wild and unique when completed, and with Rhino making it much easier to work in three-dimensions, I am excited to explore the boundaries of what I can create, and how I can design my models like a puzzle.
When I first signed up for Form, I honestly thought that making a vase would be my greatest accomplishment, due to my lack of prior experience with 3D-modeling. So when we learned how to make a simple vase in the second week of class, I was at a loss because I hadn't thought of any more goals to accomplish after that.
It was then that I realized; all of the cool 3D printing videos I had seen on the internet no longer seemed as impossible to recreate, so I referenced this one video by a youtuber known as Maker'sMuse, in which he had created some mystifying objects known as "sphericons." These objects are shaped so that their surface is a continuous path, with no hard edges to stop them from rolling. Because of their complex shape though, sphericons travel on unusual paths, creating an intriguing motion as they roll. At a first glance, they seem almost impossible to recreate, but once you break it down into it's basic geometric shape, the sphericon becomes easy to recreate and the possibilities for designing them to look more aesthetically pleasing are endless.
In my mind, the process of creating a sphericon was a great blend between learning practical 3D modeling skills and my artistic focus, so I took on the challenge. I made many mistakes with my first sphericon, created from a half-cone repeated four different ways, however, by the time I was creating my third sphericon, I had developed a process. I started with a wire frame of the sphericon, before using that as a guide to model the basic 3D shapes that form the main body. From there, I split and rotated that basic shape until each of its surfaces connected with another, creating that "continuous rolling path." I ended up having to recreate all of my sphericons, because when I first started creating them, I was eyeballing the rotation and because of that, my edges weren't lined up properly, which caused issues later on in the design phase. I have since learned to rely on the toolbar more often, utilizing the "Gumball" and "Endpoint" features quite a fair bit.
The process of creating my nine final forms that I wanted to print was long, involving copies of my previous step so that I could reference each step in the process later if needed. That being said, I had a lot of fun combining the pipe command with the geometric sphericons to add an extra bit of detail that made the shapes more interesting, thus involving my artistic side in the project. By the time I printed these models out, I felt like I had exponentially grown my experience and skill with Rhino, and I'm excited to tackle other projects with tools that I haven't explored fully yet, such as "Cage Edit" or "Sweep."
The print quality of the first two sphericons I printed didn't turn out as intended. I believe that the filament got a little caught on the spool at some point during the printing process, which is why some layers have gaps that are a little unsightly, but negligible considering this was my first 3D print. I have yet to sand the models and glue the two halves together, which would create a smoother rolling motion, but with just a little tape sticking the two halves together, both sphericons roll amazingly well . I had originally intended to print the sphericon as a whole, but after seeing that others had printed it in halves I reconsidered, and I'm glad that I did. The layers are uniform and the print required almost no supports which wouldn't have been the case had I printed them whole.
That being said, there is room to improve on the design. For one, the plastic models are quite light, and because of that they lose momentum much faster. If they were made of metal, I'm sure that their rolling motion would be even more fluid. Since i can't 3D print metal though, I would like to design a spot inside the sphericon that would be able to hold a small weight. The weight would have to be perfectly centered too in order to maximize the center of gravity in the sphericon.
I am also keen on printing the other two sphericon forms that I had planned. They are both variations on the hexa-sphericon that i printed this time so it would be interesting to compare the paths that they roll on as well as the speed and "aesthetic" value of the rolling motion.
Overall, this mini project was quite the success in helping me learn Rhino and to allow me to use a form of art that I had never experienced before, and now I am more motivated to explore what I can successfully 3D model next.