Fragility of Nature

Inspired by Pine Cones

Sophia Cabral
MDes Mediums 2025
Una Liu
MDes Mediums 2025
Yvonne He
MUP 2024
1 A structure resembling a pine cone.

The morphology of pine cones served as the initial inspiration for our project.

We started off a C# component from an earlier assignment, which created a coil defined parametrically, with z increasing in height incrementally. We then introduced an angle of divergence parameter and additional code that introduced a leaf arrangement, or phyllotaxis, effect. By adjusting the angle and overall scale of the structure, geometries were generated that resembled plant structures, through criss-crossing directions of the polyline. By trial and error we experimented with different feed rates, printers, and filament types.

Several structures were generated, of varying typologies. Sometimes, we needed to adjust the feed rate. Scaling the structure also introduced issues, as it impacted the stability of the structure. At times the printer and the type of filament used made all the difference.

We also experimented with simplifying the geometry starting with a polygon base, and then introducing porosity by increasing a twist parameter, but ran into issues when printing further iterations of the structure.

Our experience working on this assignment reminded us of the fragility and the care needed when modeling and printing porous shapes inspired by nature.

Project video
2 Gallery of all our 3D prints.
3 A structure resembling a shell.