Math Monday: 3D Hilbert curve from plumbing supplies

Math Monday: 3D Hilbert curve from plumbing supplies

Math Monday: 3D Hilbert Curve from plumbing supplies

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

The 3D Hilbert curve is an infinitely long path which wiggles around through all regions of a cube, making right angles in a systematic manner.


Physical models can be made with additive fabrication technology. The elegant metal version above was designed by Carlo Séquin. If you have access to a fabrication machine, you can try making your own using the .STL files that Carlo has provided here.


Chaim Goodman-Strauss had the idea of making a large version from plumbing supplies. The above construction uses sixty-four PVC elbows.


14 thoughts on “Math Monday: 3D Hilbert curve from plumbing supplies

  1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

    This is one of my favorite features we’ve ever run, and this post in particular is awesome. I cannot get enough geometric and/or topological curiosities.

  2. says:
  3. ruzter says:

    Hilbert Curves make great designs for decorative projects where you want to fill a space. I use them on my CNC trivets.

  4. craig says:

    So YOU’RE the guy who is putting the street 90s together in the bin at Home Depot! I need one street elbow and have to spend 5 minutes wrestling them apart! 8^)

  5. london plumber says:

    A good buyer always inquires, how much, but the wise buyer always asks, how less. Discount is such a sweet word for any consumer. The more we can haggle products, the better; and if we get to grab a discount plumbing supplies for keeps, then we’d almost feel our ears flapping with joy.

    1. says:

      Nicely put but honestly have you read the article?

  6. Humaun Kabir says:

    Hi nice Post written by you guys. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site. Thank a ton for such a nice post.
    spybubble Reviews

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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

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