Introduction: Projet2_nested_object

About: First-year PhD student at University of California, Santa Barbara.

This second project aimed to create a series of nestable/stackable objects. My final design ended up being a series of attachable objects. This final image (above) illustrates the last step I took during this creative inquiry: the extrusion of a digital flower.

Step 1: Play-dough Tinkering

I began this assignment with play-dough. Trying to visualize physically what would be my nestable/stackable design. I took some objects that I have at home: nails, rope and metal wire. And tried to see what kind of composition I could come up with. I identified two ideas that were worth investigating. First: tiny vases for tiny flowers that would assemble like pieces of a puzzle. Second: simple 2.5D shapes - e.g. circle, square and triangle - that could be attached together in order to create sculptural shapes.

Step 2: Textured Vase

I started by implementing the vase idea. I used Python in Grasshopper to create the vase surface using the revolution component. I baked my shape and, in Rhino, I used the command CreateUVCurve, which created a flat rectangle of the UV of my shape. I used the same technique presented in project 1 to generate a pattern that would fit the dimensions of the UV plane. I used the SurfaceMorph component in Grasshopper to morph the pattern around the vase and a Difference boolean operation in Rhino to engraved the vase with the pattern.

Once printed, I was not convinced. First, I should have accentuated the pattern. Next time, I will make it larger and thicker so the details on the surface are more visible. I also noticed undesirable bumps on the circular surface. I think that they come from the nozzle being too close to the bed at the start of the print. I releveled the bed after making this print.

This print took a lot of material so I decided to investigate my second idea.

Step 3: Making Attachable Pieces

I started by making a 2.5D circle, using the Revolution component in Grasshopper to make a mesh and subtracting a box of 5mm-width to it in Rhino (with the Difference boolean operation). I had in mind to produce a series of shapes that would have a width of 5mm and an opening of 5mm as well, so they could attach to one another.

I screwed up some of them by forgetting the scale ratio to use in Cura. So some of the shapes have a 1cm opening or a 2.5mm thickness.

Inspired by my first attempt with play-dough, I decided to make small holes in some of the shapes in order to insert nails and small bits of things. It allowed me to make a little composition on an old piece of wood and with an up-side-down flower from my garden.

These experiments with flowers inspired my final documentation.

Step 4: Documentation or Extruding a Digital Flower?

The attachable pieces when stacked on top of each other could resemble a flower. So using a photo I took of a calla lily from my garden as a ground, I placed the attachable pieces on an iPad. I wanted to play with the dimensionality: the flower, here, existing only as a digital image but originating from a real tridimensional object in contrast with physical pieces of an abstract puzzle generated digitally. Also calla lilies, in addition to being beautiful and strange-looking, have deep roots (pun?) in the history of art with Georgia O'Keefe and Diego Rivera depicting them abundantly.

I took a few pictures of the setup. In my opinion, the best shots are the ones where the flower looks like it is extruding from the screen, morphing into simple geometrical shapes.

Be the First to Share


    • Space Contest

      Space Contest
    • Halloween Contest

      Halloween Contest
    • Fashion Challenge

      Fashion Challenge



    1 year ago

    I like your approach too! Very cool. Nice work.


    1 year ago on Step 4

    Sam, this work (and documentation, as always), is phenomenal. Love your approach to prototyping/tinkering before starting in the software. Will definitely try this myself!


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks Stejara <3 ! Like Philip was saying, going back and forth between modes of representation has definitely helped me. Usually I alternate between code and drawing but since this work is fabricated, I thought that play-dough could enter the workflow ;)