Woodpecker is a plug-in for Grasshopper that enables users to extend their parametric models seamlessly into fabrication. It offers a number of GH components that can turn input geometry into fabrication data in BTL(X) format (see "Background" below).
Woodpecker can be used for any kind of timber construction, but specifically targets free-form projects with its powerful Free Contour operation. Thanks to a new feature in BTLX 2, these contours can even be exported as NURBS without need to discretize them before.
Since version 2, Woodpecker is free for everyone thanks to a common effort of Lignocam and Design-to-Production!
For usage examples, please see Design-to-Production's youtube channel: www.youtube.com/user/designtoproduction
Background: The BTL Format
BTL is a description language for timber fabrication, containing parametric definitions of a wide variety of timber details, ranging from generic cuts and pockets to very specific details such as Tyrolean Dovetail Joints. It acts as a high-level interface between CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing): Designers can inform their models with fabrication features while leaving machine-specific settings such as milling strategy and generation of actual machine code to the fabricator. In other words: BTL avoids the usual loss of information between CAD and CAM while still ensuring a clear distinction between the responsibilities of designer and fabricator.
BTLX is the successor of BTL and improves interoperability even more by using the well-known XML file format to hold the BTL information. BTLX 2 adds the possibility to transport NURBS curve and surface definitions, making it an ideal choice for free-form projects.
BTL has been used in many cutting-edge timber projects like the Swatch Headquarters in Biel/Switzerland by Shigeru Ban (Timber Contractor: Blumer Lehmann), the “Paneum” in Asten/Austria by Coop Himmelb(l)au (Timber Contractor: Wiehag) or the D1 Tower Canopies in Dubai by Innovarchi (Timber Contractor: Hess Timber).