Visualising ideas — 3D Printing

In this post I want to review my last project in Mathematics and talk about my recent experience.

This entry does not directly contain content about China, but I refer to 3D printing as Art, therefor it fits quite well into this blog.

During the last year – my first Master’s year in Mathematics, I started attending courses of Mathematical Visualization at Technical University Berlin.  One of the main issues in Mathematics is to find a way to use the defitions and statements that are made – to find the connection between theory and reality. One way of solving this problem are JReality and Jtem, Java based packages implemented to visualize Mathematical content developed at Technical University Berlin.

Taking part in the “Mathematical Visualization course” will teach students how to work with and extend JReality and Jtem. Its covered area in mathematics is large, one course will mainly give you the oportunity to get to know only a small piece of the project.

More information about the “Mathematical Visualization” course in winter semester 2012 can be found here. It was held by Professor Dr. Sullivan and assisted by Dr. Gunn.

During the courses, students are encouraged to start their own projects and further develeop or work with JReality. Basic Java skills are required. Well-done mentoring throughout the whole course made it possible to learn a lot and adapt to certain working schemes.

My project was concentrating on regular convex Polyhedra. They have been visualized using triangle groups. In fact, all work that is done is creating a triangle and its reflections and rotations such that the resulting solid is closed and convex.

My majour work was to create a programme which can display the regular and semiregular polyhedra, i.e. polyhedra with faces that each have got the same angles and/or edge lengths.

In further studies and with help from Dr. Gunn and the team working at the 3D Laboratory at Technical University, I have been able to print out such polyhedron created in my programme.

3D Print of a Polyhedron  with diameter of about 8cm

3D Print of a Polyhedron with diameter of about 8cm

3D Printing is a complex process which will produce a 3D object for a given 3D graphics file. However, the notion of “printing” should be used with care for it requires several steps and a good preparation in order to sucessfully create an object.

The 3D file needs to be carefully checked to guarantee that the produced object will be stable. Further more a certain post processing needs to be done by hand. Both issues have been handled with great care by the 3D Lab staff.

The interesting part about my simple 3D print is the structure. Looking at the object carefully, one is able to see the start and ending point of the printing process as well as the pattern of the protection layer. Maybe further research can be made in order to optimise.

It is possible to print in colour and objects of bigger size.

I hope that in the future more people will have the chance to experience 3D printing. For more informations on 3D Printing at Technical University, check their website. They offer various guided tours concerning 3D printing and 3D scanning –  for school classes as well as other interested persons.

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