Math Monday: Personal rapid prototyping machines

3D Printing & Imaging Science
Math Monday: Personal rapid prototyping machines

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

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn

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