3D Frit Patterned Sculpture

By Gerardo, Peter, and Olivia


Our project aim was to transform Genevieve’s artwork into rasterized graphics to etch acrylic sheets and combine them into layered sculptural images. Instead of trying to incorporate the robotic arm in order to increase scale it was more important to Genevieve that we capture her method of layering paint in a new way. By combining our knowledge of the laser cutter and Genevieve’s knowledge of layering and blending we were able to create a unique workflow that she could use for other projects. The implementation of this method would be to 1) take various frames of her artwork, 2) run them through our frit pattern algorithm on Grasshopper, and 3) extract them as DXF files to later etch and paint for visibility.


We aimed to transform Genevieve’s 2D art into something more 3-dimensional and immersive by transforming her images through an algorithm and translating them onto paneled sheets of acrylic. The spaced out sheets of acrylic added depth to the piece and our algorithm added a perspective shift which added more interactivity and immersive qualities to the piece.


As a team we wanted to implement Genevieve’s drawing routine into 3D art form that she wasn’t accustomed to. As a result, our primary design choice was to reproduce drawing process as etched frames on acrylic.

The first design metric we had to overcome was finding the best method of translating her drawings onto acrylic sheets. Of course it is possible to just etch her drawing directly using a laser cutter; thus, we felt we had to take it a step further by implementing a frit pattern on Grasshopper. The frit pattern algorithm we used allowed us to keep the intricate details in Genevieve’s drawings while also offering interesting new effects.

Some of the effects we discovered were depth and perspective. Stacking the images enhanced the visibility of major drawing features and allowed us to introduce perspective by incorporating more than one angle of the same image. Our goal was no longer just to reproduce Genevieve’s images as just 3D frames on acrylic sheets, but to also offer an interesting perspective effect.


After producing prototypes of our design deliverable to prove that this was feasible we discovered a few things. Our first finding was that image visibility was improved if we etched the frames rather than cut them. Another finding was that we needed a systematic method of creating the different frames of an image. Instead of having frames of an image in the order they were created it would be best to obtain frames of specific components of a drawing. For example, one frame would be allocated to the person’s nose and another could be for the person’s jawline. Lastly, we decided that filling in the etched frames rather than just outlining the circle pattern would allow us to paint over them and unveil the visual effect more effectively.

These prototypes ultimately revealed that our project was feasible and only needed modifications for the final deliverable. Our final design was two images of a priest at different angles. We adjusted for the focal point and scaling of the frit pattern in order to get the desired perspective effect. We decided to create ~11.5” x 11.5” frames since this would allow for the best viewing distance and visibility of the overall image once the frames were stacked. The frames had to be evenly spaced and properly aligned or else the perspective effect would not work. Using CAD software we designed a simple base that had evenly spaced slots for the frames, small enough to not impact visibility, and strong enough to provide upright stability.


Throughout the course of the project, each team member found their niche role that allowed each other to operate most effectively as a group. Peter worked mainly in Rhinoceros and Grasshopper, developing our algorithm and preparing the image files to be outsourced to Olivia and Gerardo for laser cutting.

Our work required many hours at the laser cutter, which was headed up by both Olivia and Gerardo. Olivia also helped in preparing the original images for Rhinoceros and Grasshopper by separating them into layers on Photoshop. Gerardo was also key in designing the hardware stands that help each panel together. Altogether, we painted our prototypes and added any final touches.

Workflow Diagram


Photo Documentation

Final Show

Lighting Tests

Test Sliding Acrylic

Initial Acetate Tests

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