algorithmic modeling for Rhino

i m looking for a script or a definition that allows to design minimal surfaces (actually tensile membranes made of spandex/elastam/lycra) that connect (or are shaped by) threedimensional splines (aluminum frames). they should work like tensile membranes with custom values of tension and/or elasticity. the images attached don't concern our specific case (a chair) but could help u to understand what i mean!
probably i m asking too much! thank u in advance anyway!
p.s. if there is no script/definition in GH, could u suggest a plugin/software (besides rhinomembranes) that allows that?

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Some time ago David Rutten wrote several scripts for mininum surface finding for mesh surfaces.
His website that contained them is closed now, but if you google hard enough, you can still find a few ploating around ( I haven't tried it to see if it works without alteration.

As part of the plug-ins I am writing for Rhino and structure (, I have just got a soap film form finding routine running, including surface minimisation. But I need to develop the user interface further before I release this new devolpment to the public versions of the plug-in.

If you don't have any luck with David's script, feel free to contact me by email and I'll run your shape through the plug-in for you.


thank u so much Jon,
i m trying David's script and it seems working pretty well for my simple case... i had a look on the stuff u r developing and it looks really amazing, congratulations, i m looking forward to try your plug-in when it will be ready. i also subscribed to your blog's feeds (geometry gym), it looks very interesting.
i will share with u soon the results of my experiments, and thanks for the offer to run my shape through your plugin... if i need it i won't esitate contacting you.
Great, glad it helped.

The images you posted are nice examples, and I'll probably try and duplicate them as a test of my plug-in anyway. I think the script I linked to just found a minimal surface, you mentioned you wanted to control the stiffness by the stress or elastic modulus. I don't know if you found further scripts (David did script something on force density), but the plug-in I'm working up can definitely respond to pressure, force etc for form finding, rather than just minimal surface. It should also be faster, given I've written it in dotNet with I believe an advanced search routine. Will keep you updated with the progress.



I remember using David's script. Currently there is another software available: RhinoMembrane ( .. even though it is not freeware you can use the trial. The embedded FEA is currently being developed at the TU München and very powerful. The option to define ridgecables and simulate pressurized inflated panels is another benefit. Another alternative would be to use a program such a processing ( with a physics engine (for example ) and the simulation to Rhino via UDP ( - thanks to Giulio Piacentino from McNeel.
From Sean's request for his research project, the minimal surface mesh calculator is now available in the Structural Drawing plug-in. At the moment the constrained mesh vertices are defined as the vertices on naked edges. It will accept any mesh in Rhino, but is sensitive to the quality (uniform face sizes) as to the result you will achieve. I'll do a blog entry on it soon, but if anyone wishes to try it for themselves,

Hi, Vittorio

If you are still looking for the tool for minimal surfaces form finding you may wish to have

a look at the K3-Tent system. It has free trial version with full functionality and allows one

to model any both minimal and non-minimal surfaces like these for instance

The new version of K3-Tent system has been laid-open on the page so previous installation should be substituted for the newer one.






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