FabTools: From Design To Production

July 26, 2017 by ShapeDiver

FabTools is a Grasshopper plugin proposing a set of tools for fabrication purposes. FabTools is meant to improve your fabrication workflow, from design to production.

FabTools is packed with features that make it easier to prepare complex Rhino and Grasshopper models for production. Processing and organizing big amounts of geometry, unrolling and arranging production data, creating technical annotations… Those are a few of the possibilities that are already unlocked for ShapeDiver users, or will be in the near future.

The Highlight: Unrolling Production Data

Our primary motivation for supporting FabTools was to allow designers to use its unrolling components. A combination of three tools makes up for a nice workflow: “Unroll” individual panels, flat or cylindrical parts of your model, “Arrange” them in a nice grid and use the “Engrave Text” or “Text Contour” components to give each individual part a name. Creating a production drawing is that simple. The following example is given by Florian Frank along with the plugin download:

We adapted it a little for ShapeDiver: the export button lets you download a .dxf file with the numbered panels of the design on a grid:

Of course, one can define a fitting frame, a scale and alignment rules in order to fit the individual elements on the grid.


ShapeDiver doesn't support all of the FabTools components, because some of them don't make sense in the context of a 3D online viewer. In particular the "Bake" group of components is not usable: no need to bake anything with ShapeDiver, all the previewed components will be automatically displayed! 

The "Layout" section and the CSV export components are other examples of unsupported components. ShapeDiver is developing its own workflow for importing and exporting geometry and data in an optimal way for the online experience. Let us know in the forum if you have special needs in this area.

ShapeDiver does not yet support the Annotation components of FabTools... but we soon will! They allow to create easily various linear and angular dimension objects, leaders and hatches. Perfect to use ShapeDiver for detailed technical models. Stay tuned!

The ShapeDiver Tip

Combine the "Unroll" and "Arrange Geometries" components with ShapeDiver's export feature and allow users to get the production data for the objects they designed themselves! 

Download Fabtools here! Let us know if you use ShapeDiver and FabTools for one of your projects. We'd love to hear your experience and write in our blog about it!

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