Thicken a Mesh using Weaverbird and Grasshopper

Thickening a mesh is an important step in producing printable objects.

0.0 Weaverbird

Weaverbird is a topological mesh editing tool for Grasshopper. It is developed by Giulio Piacentino.

Weaverbird is an essential tool for working with Meshes in Rhino and Grasshopper.

Learn more about Weaverbird components on Grasshopper Learn.

Weaverbird is available for download on the author's website.

0.1 Mesh Thicken

‚ÄčMesh Thicken or wbThicken is a Weaverbird component which offsets a mesh to give it a 'thickness'. Mesh Thicken uses an algorithm to offset the individual vertices of a mesh and construct new faces.

This component can be used to convert an open mesh to a closed mesh in certain circumstances.

Figure 0.1 - wbThicken Component

1.0 Use Case

This definition can be used to give a thickness to an open mesh. This definition can also be used to add thickness to a closed mesh. This definition does not work well when a contains non-manifold edges or intersecting faces. The [Check] command can be used to verify that this is the case.

Figure 1.0 - Shell with all backfaces visible.

2.0 Definition

  • This definition first references the mesh using the Mesh component.

  • The wbThicken component is used to offset the mesh normals to a distance, [D].

    • A panel is used to specify the distance as -2. A Positive offset distance will result in a larger mesh that has been offset outward. A negative offset distance offsets inward.

    • 2 mm is chosen as the offset distance as this is the minimum thickness recommended for 3D Printing.

    • Offset Type is specified here as a local value. Learn more about offset types.

  • The wbLoop is a subdivision component which refines or smooths a mesh.

  • The other components in this definition are used to bake the output mesh with custom colours and names.

Figure 2.0 - Basic wbThicken Definition

3.0 Output Geometry

The geometry should be output as a "Closed Mesh" in order for the object to be printable.

Figure 3.0 - Output Geometry

4.0 Definition

The above grasshopper definition can be downloaded here: