A saddle surface is one of the few things I think is really worth 3D printing for Calculus students. There’s something important able to feel the two competing curvatures with your actual hands, instead of just looking at a picture. It’s also a good example of an object that you can easily export from Mathematica. Since I always like to use the simplest design tools possible, this is a model that I export from Mathematica and then process in the much easier to use design software Tinkercad.
I walk through creating this model as a “first design” in some of my talks, if the audience is mathematically inclined. Step through the slides below to see the surface thickened, scaled, and exported from Mathematica, then brought into Tinkercad for restricting to a circular domain and cutting in half to optimize for desktop 3D printing:
You can tinker with this design yourself in Tinkercad, or download a free 3D-printable model at Thingiverse. It will be in two pieces for printing without supports, and you’ll have to glue the pieces together after printing:
Or, if you’ve been dying to own a fancy Red Plastic Pringle or maybe a shiny Steel Pringle, head over to our geekhaus shop at Shapeways and order one!
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