Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crane Path Optimization (without using Calculus.....yay!)

I know you've often wondered to yourself, "what's the best crane placement where I can make the most picks, while not having to move the cranes at all?"

OK, so maybe it is just me, but since we're there, we may as well take a look.  

We could do several optimization equations (ick) with minimum and maximum crane pick radii to minimize the overlap and maximize the total area covered.  That sounds really hard, and quite frankly, about as much fun as driving the Reliant Robin on the Circuit de Monaco.

Or, we could use Rhino and Grasshopper to (mostly) automate it. 

Open up Rhino, and set three points on the x-y plane.  Let one point act as an intersection between the two crane paths, and the other two act as base-points for the crane placement.  Open up grasshopper, and place three separate point parameters.  Assign each parameter to a point.  Then, use grasshopper to assign a vertical line at each point that extends to the height of your cranes.  

Now, all you have to do is apply a surface free-form revolution  battery to the lines, using the middle intersection point as the "profile curve" for each revolution.  

With shaders and some nifty algebra, you can determine the radii of each crane, and match them to your crane cutsheets that your superintendent gave you.  

There are a couple ways to do this, including using multiple intersection points and testing whether certain points fall within the paths, but we do have to keep some some secret sauce items to ourselves.  

Good luck and happy holidays   


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