Alternating Knots

I can’t help myself starting this post with a shameless plug. Over the last few months I’ve been doing work for various people around the world, mostly helping them model things to be printed by Shapeways. I’ve been excited by the variety of interesting projects this has led to, giving me opportunities to hone my skills with Rhino, Grasshopper, T-splines,

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Illustrating Mathematics with Grasshopper

I’m currently attending a week-long conference on “Illustrating Mathematics” at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM) at Brown University, in Providence, RI. I was asked to give a workshop here on using the Grasshopper plug-in for Rhino, and thought my talk would make a good blog post. This is the first time I’ve written

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Making Big Art with 3D Printing

As I’ve learned more about what people recognize as “fine art,” I’ve come to realize that there are inherent problems in using 3D printing for the direct production of art. I’m not talking about philosophical questions, like whether “real art” should have hand-built elements to it. In this post I’ll discuss more a more technical question: scale vs economics. In Mathematics,

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3D Printing Projects

Two weeks ago I finished teaching a semester course on the “Mathematics of 3D printing” with Tim Berg, Professor of Ceramics here at Pitzer College. Unfortunately, once the semester ended I went straight into teaching a 3 week intensive summer class in Multivariable Calculus. That didn’t leave much time for blogging! This was the third time I taught (or

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Knot Theory with Rhino, Grasshopper and Kangaroo

Knots have always fascinated me. When I was young I used to get books about knot-tying from the public library and carry around some rope to practice. I enjoyed the challenge and beauty of tying a complicated decorative knot. Once when I was out in public a stranger saw me and said “If you like tying knots, you

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Modelling Seashells, Part 2: An Exercise in Abstraction.

This week I describe an artistic exploration I went on after modeling as realistic looking of a seashell as I could using Rhino and Grasshopper (described here). That model was a surface defined by two different curves that were replicated, at increasingly smaller scales, around a logarithmic spiral. Once I had done this, I decided to experiment. I wanted

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