Introduction to Granules

The ultimate usage of Bezier curves will be the ability to easily specify interesting surfaces by just using a couple of curves.  While I am busy implementing bezierSurface(), I thought about a little experiment.  What if I had a system whereby I could place individual molecules of a substance.  I use the term “molecule” loosely here.  A single Lego brick could be considered a ‘molecule’ of the element “Lego”.

If I had such a system, and I had the ability to layout nice curves, surfaces, and all the other modeling goodness I do in OpenScad right now, I’d be able to construct interesting objects with precise placement of molecules.  In the graphics world, there is a representation of this.  It’s called voxels.  Voxels are elements of a volume rendering system.  They are nice because they allow you to specify things like the internal patter of a tree, so that when you slice the tree, you see the growth lines, and not just a flat shade because the texture was only on the skin.

If that doesn’t make sense…

Let’s say I want to build a piece of artificial meat.  I need a couple of things.  First I need a machine that can make very precise placements of stuff.  It’s more on the lines of what an ink jet printer does when placing droplets of ink.  If I have this, then I need molecules of meat.  Then I can place them one by one, layer upon layer.  I need some sort of binder, and there you have it.

At any rate, I created a granular based rendering sytem in OpenScad.  The models are built up out of blocks, therefore, rather than looking really smooth like you typically see, they look kind of blocky:

A picture from this thing:

I know this is rambling.  It’s a bit hard to explain why this is interesting or makes any sense, or solves any problems.  For the moment, it’s good enough to say that it’s becoming easier to make ‘organic’ shapes in OpenScad, utilizing Bezier curves.  Along the way, I might be creating the ideal system for a future molecular pick and place machine.


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