By: Crissy Willis
I’m at my GROWit desk hanging paper snowflakes and contemplating technology and nature. We think big and small (big ideas at 16 microns) here, and that just translates into every area of our day-to-day.
The “traditional” CNC method for cutting away at a mass until the desired shape is achieved is how I think of a snow flake.
I fold a square of paper into 6ths or 8ths and cut away at the paper meticulously. Then I unfold the square to reveal a lovely paper snow flake.
But, as it turns out, NATURE’S way in the snowflake realm is much closer to our methods here at GROWit. An ADDITIVE, not subtractive, method is employed in nature to create a snowflake:
Snowflakes form from water vapor as it condenses into ice right inside a cloud. They begin to take their shape (or GROW if you are willing to sub in our additive term) as water vapor molecules freeze on the surface of a seed crystal. Pattern & design begins to appear as the crystal GROWs (molecule after molecule).
The molecules connect to one another into a hexagonal lattice (can anyone say FDM tool path?). In snowflake world- this is how the crystals get their symmetry. In GROWit world symmetry is optional- our methods extrude/build/GROW material into whatever shape is desired.
It’s funny how I sometimes equate natural and traditional. I guess it just depends on our continued understanding of nature and science.