What is Grasshopper?

Grasshopper is a Rhino Plug-in, famous 3D modeling software used in Design and Architecture. It is a powerful tool for algorithmic modeling and It is used to generate complex shapes through parameters.

Coding experience is not required and It can be visualized through a nodes diagram that describes mathematical and geometrical relationships in a model. You can also 3d print with Grasshopper, in the next chapter we see how to create a model and his gcode.

Grasshopper nodes diagram example
Example of a nodes diagram done to better control parameters of a model

The main advantages of Grasshopper modeling are:

  • shapes generated from data
  • parametric patterns
  • variable series

In Grasshopper you can generate shapes starting from data: the benefit of this process is the possibility to change almost endlessly the geometry, simply changing parameters values.

In fact, parameters are associated to different sizes of the model and varying them you can obtain real-time changing of the geometry. This function is especially useful when you work with complex shapes, because it permits to make changes without canceling and restarting your design.

Why Grasshopper for 3d printing?

Because a LDM (liquid slicing software) dedicated slicing software doesn’t exist and Grasshoper offers a lot of advantages to custom the 3d print of a model:

  • custom infill
  • using open objects
  • work with intersections
  • creation of patterns
  • choose the route of the extruder

3D Printing directly by Grasshopper

It is possible to print the model directly by Grasshopper, bypassing other Slicing Software. To get the gcode, It is necessary a process where the model is deconstructed in polylines and then in point with X Y Z coordinates: they will be the commands of the printer extruder. This process permits to customize the print and create for example not-planar slicing, where layers have different heights.

Difference from other slicing softwares

Unlike common slicing software that slice the stl model in equal horizontal layers, with Grasshopper we have the possibility to better control extruder movements. Generate the gcode inside grasshopper gives the opportunity to change a lot of parameters that are usually not available.

3d printed vase with grasshopper, the main feature is the not planar slicing
Not planar slicing

We have the complete control of the object that we want to create, from the modeling part to the final print. We can print following the isocurves of the model, operation not possible with common softwares like Cura or Simplify: here the slicing doesn’t depend on the shape or the geometry of the model. 

Grasshopper offers a lot of possibilities, you only need to learn!

Learn how to 3d print with Grasshopper: the first guide

To better learn how to 3d print directly with grasshopper, there is the first guide entirely dedicated to the topic: Advanced 3D Printing with Grasshopper, Clay and FDM. authors of the book are diego garcìa cuevas, CEO of Controlmad, Architect expert in digital manufacturing and gianluca pugliese, founder of lowpoly and manager of wasp iberia.

Cover of the book for 3d printing with Grasshopper
Pages of the book for 3d printing with grasshopper

Advanced 3d printing with grasshopper

All the models inside the book are printed with Delta WASP Clay 2040 for clay’s objects and Delta WASP 2040 Pro for plastic’s objects.

You can use all WASP printers models (like Delta WASP 4070 or Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0), achieving the same optimal results. It is really recommended to use the book with these printers to get the most similar results to the objects in the book.

Inside the book there are step by step instructions to learn how to generate optimized gcode for the model created on Grasshopper. Inside it there are specific and detailed infos that you can’t find on YouTube tutorials, like the vase mode print.

Philip Stankard post on 3d printed objects generated with Grasshopper

In this LinkedIn post, Philip Stankard, Lead Industrial Designer in 3M Design at Minneapolis, shares the unicity of the bok written by Diego ad Gianluca. This underlines the value of the book’s content, a collection of experiences that you can’t find anywhere else.

Learning from experts thanks to WASP Academy

If you are interested in 3d printing with Grasshopper, you can attend our courses at WASP Academy. Our experts will follow you with specific lessons in the learning and experimental process. Inside Grasshopper Workshop you will learn how to design for 3D printing, how to use parametric design features to create unique surfaces. You will learn how to transform your project in gcode and you will be shown examples to better comprehend the process.

Grasshopper Workshop is addressed to people that know the software and are skilled with clay 3d printing. If you want to learn how to 3d print before the Grasshopper Workshop, these are propaedeutic courses:

The courses, due to Covid Emergency, take place entirely online and they are available in english and italian. Check the site to keep informed about the all the courses and the dates!