This fall's liberal arts math course at James Madison University used 3D printing and design as the basis for exploring fractals, infinity, and other mathematical curiosities. The students learned Tinkercad, OpenSCAD, and other 3D design tools to construct mathematical objects from scratch, investigated the mathematics of those objects, and presented their work in blog posts and showcases... // Ultimaker Education

Today we put our XYZ da Vinci Color printer to the test! For the last six months I've worn a 3D-printed Triple Wrap Bracelet all day and all night, and it's great. Mine was printed on a super-fancy HP Jet Fusion printer at Shapeways, and a slightly thicker model would be a pretty nasty torture test for any desktop 3D printer. Plus, we're going to use Meshmixer add some color... // Hacktastic

Settlers of Catan + Cities and Knights + Expansion Pack + House Rules = Complicated. To help mitigate the chaos we keep our settlements, cities, roads, and knights in tidy 3D printed hex-boxes. The boxes have snap-fit lids with a slot to help with opening. We 3D printed boxes to hold our standard Catan pieces, extra Catan pieces, 3D Catan numbers, and some extra bits and pieces for our House Rules... // Hacktastic

Just before the new year we bought a punchcard knitting machine from the 1980's from eBay. It's a Brother KH-881, one of the last Brother models before electronics were added to the machine. Step 1 of our plan: Figure out how to use a punchcard knitting machine! This is the first in a series of posts to catalog this journey and maybe make it slightly easier for anyone else that wants to walk the same road... // Hacktastic

I'm totally in love with dissolvable supports for complex models, but... the dissolvable PVA material is (a) expensive, (b) increases my print times, and (c) takes a long time to dissolve. In this post we'll discuss a tip about how to make all three of those things better! In a nutshell, we'll be setting Cura so that only the interface between the model and the supports uses the dissolvable PLA... // Hacktastic

Today we’ll do a step-by-step walkthrough tutorial on designing 3D Celtic knots from scratch with Fusion 360. Our technique will be to make a grid of dots, then connect the dots with splines, then shift those splines up or down at the crossing points. This gives us a thin curve that traces out the desired knot, and we’ll be able to sweep a circle around that curve to make a round 3D tube... // Shapeways Magazine

On this episode of My Favorite Theorem, cohosts Evelyn J. Lamb and Kevin Knudson talk with Laura Taalman, a math professor at James Madison University, to raise a glass to a lavishly impractical theorem about knots: a 1998 theorem of Haas and Lagarias that gives unreasonably huge bounds on the length of trivializing sequences of Reidemeister moves... // My Favorite Theorem podcast

Why would you want to thicken just part of a model? One reason is that sometimes a 3D model might get rejected from Shapeways during the pre-production process due to weak geometry or thin connections; this happened to us recently with a polyhedral Snub Cube design. In this post we’ll walk you through one way to thicken targeted areas of a 3D model using Meshmixer. // Column at Shapeways

Today's post is about something that is flat-out easy and in addition somehow actually works. Specifically, we have some good news: You can create color 3D designs in Tinkercad and import them directly into the XYZ da Vinci Color 3D printer for printing! I know, that sounds obvious, but in general color printing is hard and even getting the right kinds of files exported can be a tricky business... // Hacktastic

Today we 3D printed some cylinder coins for students and classrooms to experiment with after watching Matt Parker's video "How thick is a three-sided coin?". These fat coins can land on their edges as well as their faces. Try out different thickness-to-diameter ratios and search for the fairest three-sided cylinder coin! Download free 3D-printable files or order cost-optimized prints from Shapeways... // Hacktastic

Okay, it’s 2018 and time to start all over again. But sometimes the process of getting started is… hard to get started. How do you even start planning out a project? Today on Tutorial Tuesday we’ll talk about new beginnings and some projects we’re starting this year, including the sometimes messy process of figuring out what to make and what it means to be meaningful... // Column at Shapeways

This Tutorial Tuesday we’ll highlight some of this year’s 3D design tutorials that even the youngest (or oldest!) of your loved ones can use to make custom and personalized 3D prints in just a few minutes. Choose one of the tutorial introductions below and get started creating in no time with Tinkercad, Hero Forge, Cura Lithopanes, the Snowflake Machine, Morphi, BlocksCAD, or 3D Slash... // Column at Shapeways

Today we'll take a break from digital 3D design and do some good old-fashioned analog knitting. Here's a pattern we've been working on recently. What is this crazy stitch, and where did it come from? We call it the Triple Check, and it's a stitch we made up for multicolor reversible scarves that we could knit during math talks and committee meetings. Maybe it's new, maybe it isn't; we aren't sure yet... // Hacktastic

Today’s 3D printing advice: Figure out what your design software is good at doing and THEN design something, not the other way around. If you start the design process with a rigid idea of what you want to make, then you’ll have to bang your head against the wall to try to get your software to do what you need it to. But if you have the luxury of being flexible about what you’re designing, then you can... // Column at Shapeways

Today we’ll review two simple but powerful ways to make a custom vase in Fusion 360, and also give you some tips on how to keep your printing costs down. It’s easier than you might think to make a unique custom vase design, even if you’re new to 3D modeling. One good place to start is with excellent video walkthrough Crazy Vases using the Loft Feature in Fusion 360... // Column at Shapeways

This year we created six beautiful organic snowflake designs, procedurally generated with code in a way that mimics the way that actual snowflakes form as they fall to earth through changing temperature and atmospheric conditions, including random "wiggles" that introduce imperfections into the structure of the flake. The six flakes were created to represent Estonia, Finland, Canada, Russia, Iceland, and Switzerland... // Hacktastic

In this Tutorial Tuesday we’ll make personalized 3D printed snowflakes using the Snowflake Machine, a Customizer built on OpenSCAD code that can procedurally generate over one billion unique snowflakes based on random seeds and user-set design parameters. Don’t worry, it’s easier than that just sounded! Here's a step-by-step how-to guide so you can get your holiday snowflakes... // Column at Shapeways

Sometimes the easiest things can be so difficult. Wrapping text around a cylinder, which is exactly what you’d want to do when making a text-engraved ring, is one of those things! Depending on what design program you use, this simple task can seem impossible. Today we’ll focus on one surprisingly elegant text-wrapping technique for Fusion 360 devised by Vladimir at DesktopMakes... // Column at Shapeways

Today, we’ll learn how to turn one simple snowflake design into multiple products in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. We’ll start with simple low-res 3D prints and prototypes on desktop FDM machines, and eventually level up to printing in Nylon and Plated Rhodium at Shapeways. The snowflake design we’ll be working with was created with parametric code in OpenSCAD... // Guest Post at Shapeways

Bangle bracelets are great, but they’re so darn bangly. A circular bangle bracelet has to be pretty big to fit over your hand, which makes it very loose around your wrist once you get it on. If you think about it, when you use a bangle bracelets you’re wearing it 99% of the time, but pulling it over your hand only 1% of the time. How do you make a design that’s optimized for the 99% instead of the 1%?... // Column at Shapeways