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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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The rise of personal rapid prototyping machines, such as the Makerbot, RepRap, or Fab@Home, allows one to make a variety of geometric models. Polyhedral models, such as this 5 cm ABS dodecahedron, are fairly straightforward.

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Next is an 8cm model of a hyperboloid of one sheet, showing how it is made of straight lines. (A version made from bamboo skewers was shown in this Math Monday column a year ago.)

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And here is a tricky assembly puzzle made of twelve identical notched rods. They were dyed four different colors to help clarify the structure.

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If you have access to a 3D printer, you can build your own copies of these models from the STL files available here.

More:
See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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