Our new Snowflake Machine uses random numbers, mathematical algorithms, computer code, and SCIENCE to create well over a billion unique and beautiful snowflakes. It generates snowflakes with an algorithm that approximates the way that some kinds of snowflakes grow in real life, with branches and plates determined by a random seed. Use the Thingiverse Customizer to choose that seed, and then set style parameters that determine the fullness and fuzziness of your flake.

You're good enough, smart enough, and you deserve a damn trophy. Even if it's only a trophy that you give yourself for making it through the day, or a meta-award for designing and 3D printing a trophy. (Or maybe a trophy for picking yourself up off the floor after getting the boot in a massive layoff at Makerbot...) In this post we'll show you how to take something from Thingiverse and use a python Blender add-on to export it into an OpenSCAD module that can be included in a Customizer trophy design.

Move over low-poly, it's time to go low-voxel! The Stanford bunny is a classic test model, and here we use phooky's Stanford bunny model to test out a fun, easy method of producing low-voxel designs: use Thingiverse to find a starter .stl file, then use Tinkercad to convert that file to a "blockified" .schematic file, then use Minecraft to play around and repair if necessary, and finally use Printcraft to export the new "blockified" file as an .stl that is suitable for 3D printing.

If you love pentagons then 2015 was a pretty good year for you, because a new pentagon was discovered! To be more precise, mathematicians Mann, McLoud, Von Derau found a previously unknown convex pentagon that can tessellate the plane. So... what can you make out of it? With our new Pentomizer model on Thingiverse you can make a picture, a pattern, a puzzle, a texture, some wallpaper, a desk ornament, and some cookie cutters, based on any of the known tessellating pentagon families.

This collection of bowls and pen holders were all generated from the same simple OpenSCAD code by changing a few numerical parameters. This is a really simple 3D design whose main purpose is to serve as an accessible introduction to designing with OpenSCAD. Designing with code is easier than you think; if you have six minutes to spare then you can learn this! Okay, maybe seven minutes. But it's not hard. Follow along and learn how to design something parametric from scratch.

It's Week 2 of the mathgrrl vs atartanian Thingiverse battle and it is already starting to sink in how difficult it is going to be to come up with something new and awesome every week. My entry is a Five-Cent Hammer that gets its heft from five embedded US pennies. It's small, so you can fit it into your pocket or print it quickly in an emergency. You can print the hammer so that the coin becomes the striking surface or so that the coins are fully enclosed. Try it both ways yourself, it will only cost you 10 cents.

Absurdly, now that I'm actually working at MakerBot I seem to have stopped posting models to Thingiverse... until now. Thanks to 3D-printing hero atartanian, I'm now in a knock-down, drag-out, winner-take-all, print-a-thing-every-week battle. My entry for Week 1 is a remix of my Fidget Cube model called the Fidget Star. The Fidget Star is one-half of a Yoshimoto Cube, which means that its star formation is a Stellated Rhombic Dodecahedron with exactly half of the volume of its cube formation.

We have two things to celebrate today: First, yesterday the new version of OpenSCAD was released! Second, Saturday will be Super Pi Day: March 14, 2015. To celebrate both of these things simultaneously, today's model is a pi-flavored illusion cup that was made using some of the new features in OpenSCAD. For bonus pi-ness, the ridges are made using general trigonometric functions. Most people will think that the cup is taller than it is around, but the cup is in fact shorter than its circumference. And we can prove it!

Today's new collector is a repository for information about the topology and geometry of triangulated meshes. It's a work in progress that I hope to add to over time, as I learn more about these things. One of the things we'll talk about in the Mesh Wisdom Collector is the Schönhardt polyhedron, which is the simplest example of a non-tetrahedralizable polyhedron, meaning that it cannot be subdivided into tetrahedra that share its vertices.

Another "Wisdom Collector" is up and running, this time about the 3D modeling and animation software Maya. I had a hard time figuring out how to get started with Maya until I got permission to sit in on a couple of classes on the subject and actually watch the instructor use the software. Even just figuring out where all the menus and buttons are is a monumental task! If you have a friend that can show you how to get started, it's definitely worth buying them dinner in trade for their time and knowledge.

I want to learn to use the JavaScript library three.js to get WebGL to render 3D animations. The trouble is, I don't know anything about JavaScript, three.js, or WebGL. Are you in the same boat? If so, then we might as well paddle together, so I'm archiving everything I learn into a Wisdom Collector. I managed to make a spinny graphic after many days of scrutinizing code that I actually old-school printed out and read on the subway every day trying to figure out what it meant.

This is the second in a series of posts that walk through the 3D design construction of some Polyhedral Light String Ornaments. In this step we'll scale that Snub Cube to "ornament size." Along the way we'll have a chance to learn about Tinkercad's importing, scaling, and the Ruler and Align tools. Tinkercad is one of the simplest ways to make or modify 3D models, so no matter how much of a beginner you are, this step is a good place to start. Let's go!

It's time for another design walkthrough. This time we'll be making polyhedral covers for LED string-lights. Since I'm just a hack at 3D design, for me the answer always involves using a chain of software programs, each of which I know how just enough about to get by, in this case Mathematica, TopMod, and Tinkercad. Each ornament is a hollowed-out instellated Archimedean solid or dual. And yes I did just make up the word "instellated." More on that later.

Do you ever get 3D prints that look stringy or lumpy? This week we were seeing a lot of weird-looking prints from one of our Replicator 2's, so we decided it was time for some holiday hardware maintenance. And wow, did it ever make a difference. After tightening a saggy X-axis belt we're back as good as new. Tightening the belt isn't difficult but it isn't much fun either, unless you like awkwardly leaning over things while trying to tighten and loosen things in a dark space.

Last winter we made 3D-printed snowflakes by converting images to bitmap with Inkscape, and then extruding in Tinkercad. You can read about how to do that on the old MakerHome blog, Day 70 and Day 71, or download the models from Thingiverse. The reason we made 3D snowflake models that way last year is because that was all we knew how to do. I'm somewhat wiser now, and one whole year older, and this time I'm ready to break out the OpenSCAD and go for an infinite collection of snowflakes.

Last summer we designed a series of customizable bracelets whose shapes were determined by trigonometry. With this more general code we make even crazier bracelets, including ones with oval shapes, gaps to make wrap-style instead of bangle-style, flares, low-poly sampling, and crazier trigonometric combinations. The crazy thing is that every one of the bracelets shown above was created with the same code, and each only differs by a handful of function, sizing, and extrusion parameters!

I swear that this blog is not going to be only about Menger sponges. However this One Last Post About Menger Sponges is about Menger sponges. Lots of them, in fact. And we're going to put our 3D-printing boots back on! Today's models are collection of Menger sponges with different Levels and slices, designed to print effectively on various types of printers: Menger sponges with and without stands, sliced and unsliced, and versions for both filament and resin printers.

The NYC Level 3 MegaMenger sponge at MoMath is done! That makes us one of 11 locations so far that have finished a Level 3 Menger sponge as part of the worldwide MegaMenger project. At the moment at least 10 additional Level 3 sites are still in progress, as well as numerous completed Level 1 and 2 sites. The MegaMenger site has a Mengometer to track progress towards the final distributed Level 4, and currently we're at 77.4 percent complete!

Tape. It is not allowed. Origami models are traditionally made with one piece of paper (see Robert Lang's site for some amazing examples) that is only folded - never glued, taped, or cut. Modular origami follows the same rules - no glue, tape, or cutting - but allows multiple pieces of paper (for example, Tokomo Fuse's beautiful modular designs). Part of what makes origami models so compelling is precisely this lack of tapes. But guess what, I'm not Tokomo Fuse or Robert Lang, and neither are you.

Earlier this week we walked through how to build Level 0 and Level 1 Menger cubes out of business cards. Time to level up! There are many ways to assemble a Level 2 from Level 1's. One way is to use more general forms of tripods; this is what Jeannine Mosely's Level 3 sponge project did. We need something quicker, more accessible, easier for everyone working on the project, and that really shows off fractalness. The idea we have may or may not work, but either way this has "hacktastic" written all over it.