Presentations

Current Availability

I offer variants and combinations of the presentations, workshops, and consulting sessions listed below, tailored to different audiences. For more information please email request@mathgrrl.com.

  • Math in the Third Dimension: A tour of mathematics, design, and failure

    Designing and printing 3D models allows students to experience mathematics in new dimensions, but even more importantly offers an opportunity to encourage iterative design and the ability to “learn by failing.” The design process trains people to have the confidence to try, fail, and get up and try again. But how do you even get started? We’ll also discuss how you can start learning about 3D printing and design, even if you’ve never done anything like that before.

    Format:  Presentation, 40-60 minutes; suitable for auditorium, colloquium, school presentations.

    Target Audience:  Students, educators, and general public interested in 3D printing who would also like to learn about interesting mathematical objects and the importance of productive failure and design iteration in STEM education.

    Content Overview:  A tour of how 3D printing works and how to make a basic 3D print with Tinkercad, plus an interactive Menger sponge activity, an overview of OpenSCAD code, and a discussion of failure.

    3D Models:  I will bring a nice collection of 3D-printed models to pass around and show. Depending on audience size I can sometimes bring a small 3D print for all participants, or a relevant handout.

    AV Requirements:  Computer projector and screen, internet connection. Pencils or pens for participants to use during a brief interactive activity. Large table for 3D printed models. If there happens to be a 3D printer on site and a person who can operate it, then it is sometimes nice to have the 3D printer set up at a side table as a demonstration.

  • Design x Code: 3D Printing for Computer Geeks

    Code is a powerful secret weapon for creating 3D-printable designs, and mathematics gives you a universe of beautiful abstract forms to build from. In this talk we’ll discuss how software like Grasshopper, OpenSCAD, Structure Synth, and TopMod can be used to turn mathematical knots, curves, polyhedral wireframes, and procedurally generated forms into physical 3D printed objects. If you’re new to 3D design then this talk will show you ways that you can get started; if you’re an expert then you’ll learn some new tools to add to your design library. We’ll also have lots of cool 3D prints to pass around.

    Format:  Presentation, 45-60 minutes; suitable for colloquium, auditorium.

    Target Audience:  Computer scientists, college level computer science professors, and computer science students at the undergraduate or graduate level. No 3D printing knowledge is required.

    Content Overview:  An overview of how 3D printing works and how 3D designs can be constructed using a variety of code-based software packages. Participants should be comfortable with coding in general, so that this talk relates 3D design to something they already know.

    3D Models:  I will bring a nice collection of 3D-printed models to pass around and show. Depending on audience size I can sometimes bring a small 3D print for all participants, or a relevant handout.

    AV Requirements:  Computer projector and screen, internet connection. Large table for 3D printed models.

  • Math by Design:  3D Printing for Math Geeks

    Mathematicians often spend their days thinking about ideas that exist only in their minds. In this talk we’ll discuss how to use 3D printing to bring models of those ideas into reality, from start to finish. We’ll show how to leverage design software to convert mathematical objects into triangular meshes or voxel representations, and then how those digital representations become code that a 3D printer can understand and implement to create real-world objects. Learn how to get started creating your own mathematical 3D design files, level up your existing design skills, or just enjoy watching the process of turning abstract mathematics into physical plastic.

    Format:  Presentation, 45-60 minutes; suitable for colloquium, auditorium.

    Target Audience: Mathematicians, college level mathematics professors, and mathematics students at the undergraduate or graduate level. No 3D printing knowledge is required.

    Content Overview: A whirlwind tour of 3D design tools and techniques that are of use to mathematicians, math educators, and students, with a menagerie of mathematical 3D printed examples. We’ll start from very basic tools and end with an broad overview of sophisticated visual programming and coding software.

    3D Models:  I will bring a nice collection of 3D-printed models to pass around and show. Depending on audience size I can sometimes bring a small 3D print for all participants, or a relevant handout.

    AV Requirements:  Computer projector and screen, internet connection. Large table for 3D printed models.

  • FAIL: A Mathematician’s Apology

    The job of being a mathematician primarily consists of long periods of failure punctuated by short bursts of success which later seem to be somewhat obvious…but that’s what we love about it! And, as it turns out, 3D printing kind of works the same way. In this talk we’ll take a journey through many mathematical and 3D printing failures and try to laugh about it the best we can.

    Format:  Presentation, 30-45 minutes; suitable for auditorium, colloquium, banquet talk.

    Target Audience: People in the mathematical community who are experiencing the ups and downs of mathematical study and research and are interested in an examination of failure from both mathematics and design perspectives.

    Content Overview: A light and humorous exploration of failure and its importance in learning and success, including inspirational video snippets of well-known mathematicians describing their own struggles, discussion of the importance of failure in the mathematical profession, and a tour of amusing but instructive failures from 3D printing and design.

    3D Models:  I will bring a nice collection of 3D-printed models to pass around and show. Depending on audience size I can sometimes bring a small 3D print for all participants, or a relevant handout.

    AV Requirements:  Computer projector and screen with sound, internet connection good enough to stream video. Small table for 3D printed models.

  • Workshop: Introduction to 3D Printing and Design with Tinkercad and OpenSCAD

    Participants will learn the basics of 3D printing, including basic hardware, the printing process, and how to get started with design software such as Tinkercad and OpenSCAD. This session will include lots of time for you to try things out yourself and to ask lots of questions. Even if you’ve never designed or printed a 3D model before, you’ll leave this workshop with a digital 3D-printable file that you designed yourself! Time permitting, we’ll also 3D print a few of the objects that participants design.

    Format: Workshop, 2 hours

    Target Audience: College or upper-level high school students, adults, educators, and the general public.

    Content Overview: A quick introduction to 3D printing and Tinkercad, followed by lots of time for participants to experiment with their own designs in the software. At the end we will give a quick overview of OpenSCAD for those who want to take things further.

    3D Models:  I will bring a nice collection of 3D-printed models to pass around and show. Depending on audience size I can sometimes bring a small 3D print for all participants, or a relevant handout.

    Participant requirements: No 3D printing experience is required, but participants must be familiar with basic computer/mouse operation including using the internet and finding files on the computer. Because of the hands-on nature of this workshop, size should be limited to a maximum of 8 groups at computer stations.

    Computer station requirements: This workshop is a hands-on experience in which participants use computers or laptops to experiment with 3D printing software, like a live tutorial. Participants must have access to a computer to be able to get much out of the workshop, although 2-3 people can share computers if necessary. 3D design software is easiest to use with a three-button scroll mouse; participants using simpler mice or trackpads may have some difficulty navigating. It is important to have another person on site who is familiar with local internet/hardware and can assist with basic computer issues during the workshop.

    3D Printer Requirements: Optimally, at least one 3D printer would be available on site for 3D printing models created during the workshop, or for participants to access later for printing their models.

    AV Requirements: Computer projector and screen, internet connection. Large table for 3D printed models.

  • Workshop: Introduction to 3D Printing and Design with Shapeways

    If you don’t have a 3D printer, you can still learn 3D design and get prints of your creations! Participants will learn how to use Tinkercad to produce original 3D designs from geometric shapes and extruded images, and then upload those designs for 3D printing with the by-mail Shapeways service. This session will include lots of time for you to try things out yourself and to ask lots of questions. Even if you’ve never designed or printed a 3D model before, by the end of the workshop you’ll be able to order a 3D print of your own unique design, if you like.

    Format:  Workshop, 2 hours

    Target Audience:  College or upper-level high school students, adults, educators, and the general public.

    Content Overview:  An introduction to Tinkercad, including some advanced topics like 2D extrusion and interlocking models. Then, an introduction to Shapeways, including how Strong & Flexible Nylon 3D prints are made, and how to optimize 3D designs for printing with that process. This workshop is based on lessons from the Shapeways New York Public Library curriculum.

    3D Models:  I will bring a nice collection of 3D-printed models to pass around and show. Depending on audience size I can sometimes bring a small 3D print for all participants, or a relevant handout.

    Participant requirements: No 3D printing experience is required, but participants must be familiar with basic computer/mouse operation including using the internet and finding files on the computer. Because of the hands-on nature of this workshop, size should be limited to a maximum of 8 groups at computer stations.

    Computer station requirements: This workshop is a hands-on experience in which participants use computers or laptops to experiment with 3D printing software, like a live tutorial. Participants must have access to a computer to be able to get much out of the workshop, although 2-3 people can share computers if necessary. 3D design software is easiest to use with a three-button scroll mouse; participants using simpler mice or trackpads may have some difficulty navigating. It is important to have another person on site who is familiar with local internet/hardware and can assist with basic computer issues during the workshop.

    3D Printer Requirements: No 3D printer is required on site, because participants will upload designs to Shapeways for ordering. Participants can expect to pay about $10 including shipping to order prints of their 3D models.

    AV Requirements:  Computer projector and screen with sound, internet connection. Large table for 3D printed models.

  • Consulting: 3D Printing Classrooms, Makerspaces, and Programs

    • As the founder of JMU 3SPACE, the first general education 3D printing classroom in the United States, I can share my experiences with equipment acquisition and management, maintenance issues, equipment policies, and curriculum programming.
    • Before 3SPACE, I put together a small departmental Math MakerLab, about which I could discuss 3D printer repair, student lab assistants and their duties and expectations, and managing multi-faculty open use of the equipment.
    • I’ve created and implemented a large number of 3D printing workshops, outreach events, online resources, and full-semester courses, and can share thoughts about dealing with students of different experience levels, time and equipment management, and curriculum standards.
  • Consulting:  3D Design, Printing, and Troubleshooting

    • As a self-taught amateur 3D designer, I have a broad but unconventional toolbox of design skills that spans a large variety of free and professional 3D software. This experience translates well to helping 3D beginners get started with design and find software solutions to their unique problems.
    • In particular, I can share experience with creating basic 3D models, modifying or repairing downloaded models to be suitable for 3D printing, and moving from one software package to another to quickly leverage appropriate design tools at each stage of design.
    • I also have experience solving 3D printing problems that arise in the 3D printing stage itself, including repairing and calibrating 3D printers, finding optimal slicing software settings, and finding ways to optimize 3D designs for different types of 3D printing technologies.
  • Consulting:  Digital Entrepreneurship and the 3D Printing Community

    • I’m a prolific and well-known member of the 3D printing community, with nearly 10,000 followers on Thingiverse and a growing store in the Shapeways marketplace. I can discuss the difference and utilities of these free and paid communities, and how to leverage each to help the other.
    • Sharing 3D designs and selling 3D models requires attention to licensing, which in this community is often via Creative Commons; I can help navigate the difference between different types of licensing and how best to protect creative work while still sharing as broadly as possible.
    • I have blogs at Hacktastic, and formerly at MakerHome, both of which have helped me get hired for consulting opportunities, authoring agreements, and even actual full-time jobs. I would be very happy to talk about how to effectively share your passions online to the communities in which you want to become a leader.

2019 Presentations

  • Hands-on Discovery Math with 3D Design
    Contributed Session, Fall MAA MD/DC/VA Section Meeting
    Hood College, Frederick, Maryland, April 2019

    Abstract:  How can you use 3D printing and design to support a college mathematics course? In this talk we’ll discuss one example of a hands-on inquiry-based mathematics course in JMU 3SPACE, a 3D printing classroom at James Madison University. In this course students directed their own explorations of fractals, mathematical cake cutting, knots, polyhedral graphs, infinite geometric series, and other mathematical topics while at the same time using 3D design programs like Tinkercad, OpenSCAD, Meshmixer, and Fusion 360 to construct and 3D print models to support those explorations.

  • Math by Design
    James H. Fogelson Memorial Symposium
    Trinity Upper School, New York, New York, April 2019

    Abstract:  The new technology of 3D printing allows us to create and experience complex objects in new dimensions. In this talk we’ll take a 3D-printed tour of mathematical knots, tessellations, fractals, and polyhedra. We’ll also talk about the importance of iterative design and the ability to “learn by failing,” since the 3D design process is a perfect playground for developing the confidence to try, fail, and get up and try again. We’ll also discuss how you can start learning about 3D design and printing, even if you’ve never done anything like that before.

  • Generative random-parameter mathematical designs with OpenSCAD
    Open Lunch-and-Learn session
    Trinity Upper School, New York, New York, April 2019

    Abstract: Using OpenSCAD we can create complex mathematical designs whose structure is determined by a single random seed. See how to make generative art, snowflakes, sunburst clocks, and other mathematical designs using nothing but code and random numbers.

  • Identifying the Thirteen Catalan Polyhedra
    Interactive presentations with 3D models
    Trinity Upper School, New York, New York, April 2019

    Abstract: You may know the Platonic solids, or even the Archimedean solids, but what about the beautiful Catalan solids like the Pentagonal Hexecontahedron and the Rhombic Dodecahedron? Learn how these polyhedra are constructed and named, and interact with physical 3D models of all thirteen Catalan solids.

  • Coding and Generative Design for 3D Printing [slides]
    Advanced Design for 3D Printing, online course session
    3DPrint.com livestream, March 2019

    Abstract: Using coding language to create 3D models for printing means that you can generate a multitude of options. See what tools are out there and how they are impacting the future of design in this insightful session, followed by live Q+A with the speaker.

  • 3D Printed Mathematics:  Student design and creation of mathematical objects to discover fractals, polyhedra, and knots [slides]
    Themed Contributed Paper Session Touch It, Feel It, Learn It, AMS/MAA Joint Mathematics Meetings
    Baltimore, Maryland, January 2019

    Abstract:  How can you use 3D printing and design to support a college mathematics course? In this talk we’ll discuss one example of a hands-on inquiry-based mathematics course in JMU 3SPACE, a 3D printing classroom at James Madison University. In this course students directed their own explorations of fractals, mathematical cake cutting, knots, polyhedral graphs, infinite geometric series, and other mathematical topics while at the same time using 3D design programs like Tinkercad, OpenSCAD, Meshmixer, and Fusion 360 to construct and 3D print models to support those explorations.

  • Name That Polyhedron:  3D Printed Catalan Solids
    Gathering for Gardner and Recreational Mathematics SIGMAA Event, MAA Pavillion, AMS/MAA Joint Mathematics Meetings
    Baltimore, Maryland

    Download 3D-printable Catalan solids at Thingiverse
    Order 3D printed Catalan solids at Shapeways

2018 Presentations

  • FAIL:  A Mathematician’s Apology [slides]
    MAA Invited Address, Chan Staneck Lecture for Students, MAA MathFest
    Denver, Colorado, August 2018

    Abstract:  The job of being a mathematician primarily consists of long periods of failure punctuated by short bursts of success which later seem to be somewhat obvious…but that’s what we love about it!  And, as it turns out, 3D printing kind of works the same way. In this talk we’ll take a journey through many mathematical and 3D printing failures and try to laugh about it the best we can.

  • Mathematical 3D Printing [slides]
    دری بعدی پرینټر ته ښه راغلاست : د ډیزای، ریاضی او شکست سفر
    Multi-city teleconferenced talk translated into Pashto, U.S. State Department Speaker Program
    Kandaar, Asabadad, Gardez, and Kabul, Afghanistan, August 2018

    Abstract:  The new technology of 3D printing allows us to create and experience complex objects in new dimensions. In this talk we’ll take a friendly 3D-printed tour of mathematical knots, tessellations, fractals, and polyhedra, understanding these objects in new hands-on ways. We’ll also talk about the importance of iterative design and the ability to “learn by failing,” since the 3D design process is a perfect playground for developing the confidence to try, fail, and get up and try again. But how do you even get started? We’ll also discuss how you can start learning about 3D design and printing, even if you’ve never done anything like that before.

  • Mathematical 3D Printing [slides]
    به چاپ سه بعدی خوش آمدید : سفر به طراحی، ریاضی و شکست
    Multi-city teleconferenced talk translated into Dari, U.S. State Department Speaker Program
    Maimana, Qala-I-Naw, Kunduz, and Kabul, Afghanistan, August 2018

    Abstract:  The new technology of 3D printing allows us to create and experience complex objects in new dimensions. In this talk we’ll take a friendly 3D-printed tour of mathematical knots, tessellations, fractals, and polyhedra, understanding these objects in new hands-on ways. We’ll also talk about the importance of iterative design and the ability to “learn by failing,” since the 3D design process is a perfect playground for developing the confidence to try, fail, and get up and try again. But how do you even get started? We’ll also discuss how you can start learning about 3D design and printing, even if you’ve never done anything like that before.

  • 3D Printing: A tour of design, math, and failure [slides]
    AP Calculus Professional Night Speaker, College Board AP Reading
    Missouri Convention Center, Kansas City, Missouri, June 2018

    Abstract: 

    The new technology of 3D printing allows us to create and experience complex objects in new dimensions. In this talk we’ll take a friendly 3D-printed tour of mathematical knots, tessellations, fractals, and polyhedra, understanding these objects in new hands-on ways. We’ll also talk about the importance of iterative design and the ability to “learn by failing,” since the 3D design process is a perfect playground for developing the confidence to try, fail, and get up and try again. But how do you even get started? We’ll also discuss how you can start learning about 3D design and printing, even if you’ve never done anything like that before.

  • FAIL: A Mathematician’s Apology [slides]
    Invited address, Northwestern Undergraduate Mathematics Awards
    Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, May 2018

    Abstract:  The job of being a mathematician primarily consists of long periods of failure punctuated by short bursts of success which later seem to be somewhat obvious…but that’s what we love about it! And, as it turns out, 3D printing kind of works the same way. In this talk we’ll take a journey through many mathematical and 3D printing failures and try to laugh about it the best we can.

  • Welcome to 3D Printing: A tour of design, math, and failure
    Maths Olympiad, MSLA Math & Science Leadership Academy, US Embassy Speakers Program
    Northern Cape High School, Kimberley, South Africa, May 2018

    Abstract:  The new technology of 3D printing allows us to create and experience complex objects in new dimensions. In this talk we’ll take a friendly 3D-printed tour of mathematical knots, tessellations, fractals, and polyhedra, understanding these objects in new hands-on ways. We’ll also talk about the importance of iterative design and the ability to “learn by failing,” since the 3D design process is a perfect playground for developing the confidence to try, fail, and get up and try again. But how do you even get started? We’ll also discuss how you can start learning about 3D design and printing, even if you’ve never done anything like that before.

  • 3D Printing for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics [slides]
    Invited address, School of Natural and Applied Sciences, US Embassy Speakers Program
    Sol Plaatje University, Kimberley, South Africa, May 2018

    Abstract:  Code is a powerful secret weapon for creating 3D-printable designs, and mathematics gives you a universe of beautiful abstract forms to build from. In this talk we’ll discuss how software like Grasshopper, OpenSCAD, Structure Synth, and TopMod can be used to turn mathematical knots, curves, polyhedral wireframes, and procedurally generated forms into physical 3D printed objects. If you’re new to 3D design then this talk will show you ways that you can get started; if you’re an expert then you’ll learn some new tools to add to your design library. We’ll also have lots of cool 3D prints to pass around.

  • 3D Printing for Entrepreneurs and Startups
    Invited talk, Future Females and South Africa Makes, Graduate School of Business, US Embassy Speakers Program
    University of Cape Town, South Africa, May 2018

    Abstract: The new technology of 3D printing allows us to create and experience complex objects in new dimensions. In this talk we’ll take a friendly 3D-printed tour of mathematical knots, tessellations, fractals, and polyhedra, understanding these objects in new hands-on ways. We’ll also talk about the importance of iterative design and the ability to “learn by failing,” since the 3D design process is a perfect playground for developing the confidence to try, fail, and get up and try again. But how do you even get started? We’ll also discuss how you can start learning about 3D design and printing, even if you’ve never done anything like that before.

  • 3D Printing for Students and Educators
    Invited talk, Western Cape Department of Education and Siyavula Education, US Embassy Speakers Program
    Wynberg Boys’ High School, Cape Town, South Africa, May 2018

    Abstract: The new technology of 3D printing allows us to create and experience complex objects in new dimensions. In this talk we’ll take a friendly 3D-printed tour of mathematical knots, tessellations, fractals, and polyhedra, understanding these objects in new hands-on ways. We’ll also talk about the importance of iterative design and the ability to “learn by failing,” since the 3D design process is a perfect playground for developing the confidence to try, fail, and get up and try again. But how do you even get started? We’ll also discuss how you can start learning about 3D design and printing, even if you’ve never done anything like that before.

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2017 Presentations

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2016 Presentations

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2015 Presentations

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2014 Presentations

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2013 Presentations

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2012 Presentations

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