Fritty Wap

Fritted glass is all the rage. It can be used for shading, for articulation, for bird safety, and much more. Printing the little ceramic patterns on glass is a fairly easy and adaptable manufacturing technique, so the options of patterns and designs to implement can stretch as far as the imagination will go. If you're a designer, this means studying options until the end of time. 

It took me a just one tower frit study to realize how much of a pain this can be. First, you have to consider what the frit pattern should be. It takes a bit of dusty middle-school math to calculate the proper coverage to get the size and density right. The pattern then must be drafted by hand in CAD, given a proper hatch, and then scaled and applied as a texture map to your 3D geometry. 

Middle-school math is my least favorite step in this arduous process so I cut it out by using a script.  The two variables I want to be able to control is the percentage of area covered by the frit, and the size of the ceramic dot. The script creates a hexagonal grid of any X / Y dimension you delegate. At the center of each cell, a circle is drawn whose radius is defined by some reverse-engineering based on the percentage of coverage desired. 

Since Grasshopper does all of the calculations for me, I can jump straight into texture mapping and visualization. Here's a comparison of 25% coverage on spandrel panels with varying scales of frit:

1/2 INCH DIAMETER FRIT

1/2 INCH DIAMETER FRIT

1/8 INCH DIAMETER FRIT

1/8 INCH DIAMETER FRIT

This is only two of a series of 10 comparisons, but you can start to see how dramatic the same % of coverage can appear by just adjusting the size of the frit. We went with the subtler 1/8 inch diameter frit for this design.  Adding a gradient to the pattern a new trend I've been seeing on glass louvers. This one is achieved by setting a domain and range of coverage percentages. 

I'll be updating this post soon with the script available for download. Stay tuned!