With the Live Parts™ for SOLIDWORKS Add-in, users can leverage gradients to define constraints for your Live Parts design. You can define two types gradients:
- Attractor gradients (blue in Live Parts) define volumes that are filled in by cells in the final Live Parts design
- Repeller gradients (red in Live Parts) define volumes that keep out cells in the final Live Parts design
Attractor and repeller gradients can be defined by referencing existing, complex solid body geometries within an assembly or by creating new complex or primitive shapes (e.g. rectangular prisms, cylinders with optional through-holes, and spheres with optional cavities).
- Select Gradient in the Live Parts for SOLIDWORKS Add-in toolbar.
- Click on the Volume box and select the geometry in your SOLIDWORKS assembly to define your gradient's volume.
- Use the Type drop-down list (under Parameters) to select your gradient type
- Attractor if you want to include the volume in the final design
- Repeller if you want to exclude the volume in the final design
- Container if you want the final design to be within the confines of the volume
- (Optional) Check Smoothable (under Parameters) to fully smooth the triangle vertices of the cells within the confines of the gradient. If this option is not checked, then triangle vertices are snapped to the geometry of the gradient.
- Click the Checkmark as the top of the gradient side menu.
Notes on gradients
- Repeller gradients can intersect attractor gradients, which causes the cells to fill out the attractor gradients as much as possible while still keeping out of the repeller gradients.
- When applying a force to a gradient with complex geometry, users should select the “outside” option for applying the force. Live Parts will then apply the force to all surfaces that can feel it depending on its direction - for example, if a force is directed downward, then the force will be applied to all cells within the gradient that are exposed to the downward force.
- If a gradient with complex geometry contains features smaller than the size of the cells, then these features will be lost during the Live Parts growth process.
- Live Parts uses the term gradients in reference to the use of chemical signals — morphogens — for plant cell communication. Morphogens diffuse throughout the cell medium luring cells to proliferation regions ("attractor gradients") and pushing them away from keep out regions ("repeller gradients"). In plants, these gradient fields can work together: if plant cells are growing towards an attractor gradient, the stem will simultaneously avoid repeller gradients obstructing the pathway to the stem's end location.