Author Archives: Zach Downey

Python Tutorials

Before Class on Tuesday May 20th. Please watch and review all 10 of these Intro to Python Scripting Videos. Most are under 20 minutes. Don’t just copy and paste the code, instead try and follow along with the video and type the code as you go. We will start Tuesday off with a short quiz and then dive deeper into python.


Assignment 07 CNC Milling Study + Presentation Boards for Exhibition

1.   Milling Techniques Study

Besides the milling due Friday, May 16th, you should also complete this short exercise on milling techniques that will lead you to be a knowledgeable CNC-based designer. Click here.

2. Presentation Boards (Responsive Components and the Height Mapping projects)

Our class will also be participating in the Intersections Exhibition so having professional looking boards will be very important because there will be many visitors from out of the school (perhaps even including a future employer….). You should begin filling in the attached presentation layout:

  • As a class we will be using a special font you will find in the Zip folder in the Assignment Resources folder. Click here.
  • This will be due before the beginning of class Tuesday.

An example of the Milling techniques study and the presentation boards is referenced here for you to study as you begin work. (

Mill time calculations: Right click on a milling path in the Machine Operations Browser, next select Information.

–Profile path (see video 4: if you would like to trim the edge of your project

–Saving images of draft angle and min. radius analyses  (see video 1: Alternatively, use the Snipping tool in the Program > Accessories folder .

The Assignment Resources folder with all of the above mentioned resources is at this link:




solar decathlon floor plan

Assignment 04 Responsive Component Fabrication (See full Assignment in Assignment Menu)


Fabricate your responsive component.  You should now have a responsive component in Grasshopper that responds to an input parameter control with a range of 0.0 to 1.0.  Using the laser cutter as your fabrication technique create 3 versions of your component that represent 3 unique states of your component.  You can choose any 3 values from 0.0 to 1.0 or you could use the end and middle conditions, for example 0.0, 0.5, 1.0.



Fabricate the 3 states of your component.  You will have 1 week to complete this assignment.  It will be due on March 18th.

  1. The 3 laser cut states of your component need to be fabricated at an appropriate scale to convey a moderate level of detail to illustrate the assembly.  Because of wide variation in the scale of everyone’s components, it is difficult to provide a scale that would apply to everyone’s unique components.  That being said, your scaled down components should roughly fit in an 8″ to 10″ cube.  To be clear, each component would fit into it’s own 8″ to 10″ cube and you will provide 3 of these at 3 different states of responsiveness.  These are to be fabricated using laser cut bristol board.
  2. You will also need to provide an image/rendering/screenshot of your component applied to a surface to illustrate the overall scale of your component.



  • Design : 20%
  • Demonstrates Proficiency with Tool and Lasercutter: 20%
  • Labeling /Organization of Dropbox and definition/ Correct File Naming: 5%
  • Followed Assignment Directions: 5%
  • Rendering/Image of component applied to surface: 10%
  • Laser cut Fabricated Components: 40%



Check out these resources for more info on the responsive components and the laser cutter assignment.

Spring 2014: Responsive Component 2

Spring 2014: Responsive Component

Fall 2013: Responsive Component


Assignment 3

Assignment 03 (Spring 2014)


Define a Surface in a 12″ x 12″ x 12″ volume. Create a revolved surface. Use the Panel component to describe and comment/label your definition.


Create at least 3 versions of a revolved surface geometry. Please save your grasshopper (.gh) files to your dropbox folder. Please create a separate grasshopper file for each version. Refer to the syllabus for the file naming conventions for dropbox submissions.  These are due before the next class on Tuesday 02/18/14.  Late assignments will receive a grade penalty.


  • 3 versions : 45%
  • Fits within the bounds of the volume (12″x 12″x 2″): 20%
  • Demonstrates Proficiency with Tool : 25%
  • Labeling /Organization of Dropbox / Correct File Naming: 10%



Class Video:

Spring 2014: Revolve and Panelize
Fall Videos:

Fall 2013: Week 5 Panelization Part 1

Fall 2013: Week 4 Revolve Surface

Assignment 02 (Spring 2014)

Assignment 02 (Spring 2014)


Define a pattern in a 12″ x 12″ x 2″ volume. You may use attractor geometry or combinations of geometric transformations. Use the Panel component to describe and comment/label your definition.

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Spring 2014 Assignment 01 Math Components

Assignment 01 (Spring 2014)


Using the example files create the number patterns in Grasshopper.  Using the refer to the class video below for a review of the Math components in Grasshopper.

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