Crystallon is an open source project for creating lattice structures using Rhino and Grasshopper3D. It was developed at FATHOM ( by Aaron Porterfield (f=f). The goal was to generate lattice structures within Rhino’s design environment without exporting to 3rd party software, but the extended advantages include the modularity and ability to combine other powerful tools available for Grasshopper3D. Each tool is left as a cluster which can be opened and modified at will, in the spirit of open source. We hope the community will continue to develop and contribute through the use of the Grasshopper forums and Github.


Lattice structures in additive manufacturing are a fairly new phenomenon. There was no previous means of manufacturing these structures at such a small scale. Recently there has been a lot of development in this field and a lot of hype surrounding it. While there is a lot of research happening and a lot of tools available, but the reality is there are no experts on it. This is all new development and new discoveries are happening all the time. The purpose of Crystallon is to make this development open source, so that these discoveries can happen at a much faster rate. For more information on the inspiration behind Crystallon, check out this Q&A with FATHOM

The current methods and mindset for creating lattice structures are typical among most software available. The idea is you usually design a mechanical part in your native design software, then export that part into your lattice software to "optimize" it by reducing weight and material. This works as a means of weight reduction but the disadvantage to this method is: you are working between two different programs, so your lattice design is not parametric along with your mechanical design. The disadvantage to the mindset is: the lattice design is an afterthought to your mechanical design. Why not think of lattice structures as an initial component of your design if you know it will be made using additive manufacturing?

Lattice structures can have many applications beyond structural light-weighting. From energy absorption to heat transfer to filtration to medical applications. Most software available is focused on light-weighting applications because that is the most economical and desirable to high value markets such as aerospace. There has been much less research and development into other, less valuable applications. The question is, how do you design and optimize for these applications such as energy absorption or heat transfer? It takes a completely different kind of design approach, mindset, and software tools.

That's what is special about the Grasshopper community. People use Rhino and Grasshopper for such a wide variety of industries and applications, that there is a massive library of free tools available developed by the community. From simulation tools like Kangaroo ( to FEA tools such as Millipede ( Karamba ( to genetic algorithms like Octopus ( and meshing tools like Cocoon ( By combining these tools in one environment, the possibilities are endless.

The hope is that Crystallon can become a part of this growing number of tools, and be modular enough that it can integrate into any workflow for any application. We will continue to develop Crystallon as we discover new possibilities but we invite the community to get involved and develop their own workflows, and hopefully share their discoveries with the community on the Grasshopper forums.

We will post updates on our blog and the Grasshopper forum as they are made. Thank you for your involvement in the Crystallon project.