It's parametric! (cont'd)

A project log for Metabolizer - A recycling center powered by trash!

A deployable power plant that eats trash and turns it into energy, electricity, fuel, and eventually very nearly anything else.

Sam SmithSam Smith 10/03/2018 at 18:110 Comments

Dallas and I hacked on this parametric wind turbine design again last night, and made some real progress! The model now auto-generates flattened array of individual layers, and adds number tags, so they can be turned into individual cut-files required for CNC fabrication. I really want to make a turbine that is as tall as the patio heater is (I'm a sucker for symmetry, I'll admit). That's about 7 feet, or 84 inches. At 5 layers per inch, that's 420 layers of 4mm (3/16") coroplast. By my estimates, that would require around 20 sheets of coroplast, which go for about $11/sheet. So a couple hundred dollars, if using virgin material. But coroplast is also easy to find in the waste stream in the form of lawn signs (and there will be lots available come November 6th...) So if I can "recover" a few of those, that should bring down the cost significantly.

This is my most-current design on Shape diver. You can play around with it too! Check out the live parametric model here! Unfortunately, shapediver doesn't let you download the file, or the cut-files, which would be really epic, but it does at least give you a taste of the power of parametric design, without all the expensive hardware and difficult to learn software. And I'm uploading the Grasshopper definition file to the Files section, so even if you don't have Rhino/Grasshopper yourself, you can find the parameters you like on shape diver, and then send the values and the open .gh file to someone who does, and they can compile the cut-files for you. And of course I will also post the cut files for the version I end up building either way.

But I really like the idea of letting people play around with the parameters of this design. This will not be an efficient wind turbine, and efficiency is not my top priority at this point. But I think it's cool that people could tweak the design to suit their preferences and then test their results against mine, and together we could find more-and-more efficient versions moving forward. It's sort of a microcosm of how I hope this whole project could be improved systematically over time by a community of folks, like the Precious Plastic machines have been. 

But if that's gonna happen, I've got a lot to do in the next 3 weeks!