I am this very minute designing the 'Mantra Rays' lamp on Rhino 5, running Grasshopper with a Weaverbird plug-in, specifically using the 'Cat'mul-Clark subD operation. What a mouthful. It's like a nerdy version of that book 'The Watering Hole'...
My design efforts consists mostly of protracted periods mulling things over and sketching for hours whislt making zero progress, and then totally by surprise, an idea lands on my lap and I jump up and head for the computer, I've given up trying to conceptualise anything other than with pencil and paper, no iPads, no CAD, my method works, it takes ages but it works.
Today I had one of those minor breakthroughs, I realised from my sketches that my ray simply wasn't right. It looked nothing like a real one, just the fantasy mash-up version I have carried in my head. So I looked up some reference pictures and managed to remodel make it much more accurate.
After having some success at this in Grasshopper I decided to try and model the whole lamp procedurally, i.e. with as much of Grasshopper's programming capabilty as I know how, and see where it would take me. The upside of doing it like this is that even if I screw it up, I would have learned a lot more node based programming anyway.
I generated a few tester ideas to see what Grasshopper could do for me, my watchwords were 'quick' and 'interesting'. Primarily I wanted to capture the energy and awesomeness of manta rays.
By day's end I settled on a pretty classic goldfish bowl shape and ran some 'twisted box paneling' operations to get the desired result, quite happy with it for now but it's still very much a work in progress. I even managed to run some simulations on Simplify3D slicer to check viability, guess what? It is just about viable and I haven't even done any optimisation yet. Can't wait to get to the test printing stages late next week hopefully.