Math Craft Features

How To: Make Knot Sculptures from Soft Metals

In mathematics, a knot is a closed circle in a three-dimensional space that crosses itself multiple times. Since it is closed, it has no ends to tie, meaning you can't actually create such a knot. However, if you tie the ends together after you create a knot in the standard way, you will have something that is close to the mathematical description. In this post, we will explore the creation of mathematical knot sculputures using copper tubing and solid solder wire.

How To: Make Torus Knots from Soft Metals

Torus knots are beautiful knots formed by wrapping a line around a torus and tying the ends together to form a loop. The resulting knot has a star-like appearance when viewed from above. The 36 examples with the least number of crossings can be seen at the Knot Atlas's page on torus knots.

How To: Make a Sonobe Jasmine Dodecahedron

Math Craft admin Cory Poole posted instructions on How to Make a Cube, Octahedron & Icosahedron from Sonobe Units, plus some great complex models in his article, How to Make a Truncated Icosahedron, Pentakis Dodecahedron & More. These models use the standard sonobe unit and a coloured variant.

How To: Make a Two Circle Wobbler from CDs

One of my favorite simple projects is building two circle wobblers. I love how such a simple object amazes with its motion. The two circle wobbler is an object made out of two circles connected to each other in such a way that the center of mass of the object doesn't move up or down as it rolls. This means that it will roll very easily down a slight incline. It will also roll for a significant distance on a level surface if you start it by giving it a small push or even by blowing on it!

News: Math Craft Inspiration of the Week: The Curved Geometric Paper Sculptures of Richard Sweeney

Richard Sweeney is an incredible artist whose body of work consists mainly of sculptures made from paper. His art is often related to origami, and much of his work is related to geometrical forms. I personally really love his modular forms in paper. Many of them are based off of the platonic solids, which have been discussed in previous posts this week. Below are a small number of his sculptures, which are very geometric in nature.

News: Escher Tessellated Polyhedra

After Cory Poole posted some great Escher snowflakes, and Cerek Tunca had the great idea of using it as a base for a tetrahedron, well, I just had to give it a go. I will post a few more pictures and variants later (I think this was what Cerek was envisaging—if not let me know!)

Mathematical Holiday Ornaments: Escher "Snow Flakes"

This week's post on creating 6-sided Kirigami Snowflakes got me interested in seeing whether I could use the process to create tessellation snowflakes using the method. I still haven't succeeded, but I did decide to make some ornaments based off a few of the tessellations by M.C. Escher that have a 6 sided symmetry.

News: Nice Range of Modular Models

A source of inspiration... Models folded and photographed by Michal Kosmulski. There are only two sets of instructions on the site, but they are very well done. I wish he had covered more of the models. Here are a few I would like to tackle (I'll admit my eyes are bigger than my plate):

Silver & Gold: DIY Modular Origami Christmas Ornaments

After becoming addicted to basic sonobe modular origami, I decided to make ornaments for relatives as Christmas gifts. I tried using fancy paper from stores like Paper Source, and cutting it to proper origami size, but I could never get the tight folds I wanted with non-traditional, non-origami paper. I ended up using this metallic origami paper that folds beautifully, and I'm pretty happy with the tiny models I ended up with. Forgive these pictures (iPhone/Instagram), I don't have my regular...

News: Tom Friedman's Twisted Math Art

Tom Friedman is one of my favorite artists. He's got a great sense of humor, and his work is meticulous and beautiful. He forays into Math Art, and from a partisan perspective, he seems to be inspired by mathematics, but the end results are more of a whimsical twist than a mathematically "correct" execution. But I could be totally wrong. Comment below and fill me in.

How To: Make Sierpinski Carpet Cookies

Since it is now the holiday season, I thought we could spend this weekend making some baked goods that have mathematical patterns on them. In this post, we'll look at making cookies that have a fractal pattern based off of a modification of the pixel cookie technique.

News: M.C. Escher Square Tessellation Ornaments

Imatfaal's awesome post on Escher's tessellations on Polyhedra reminded me of some ornaments I made this summer. I made some of Escher's square tessellations onto cubes and then reprojected them onto spheres. I actually used a 60 sided Deltoidal hexecontahedron since that net is fairly easy to fold and looks pretty round.

News: DIY Origami Christmas Tree

This is how my version of an origami Christmas tree turned out based on the instructions I posted awhile back. Cory also made a version from white glossy paper, which looks great. I opted for the green and brown look, but it wasn't easy.

How To: Make Fractal Cupcakes

Last post, we looked at fractal cookies based off of the recipe by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. In this post, we'll follow their recipe for fractal cupcakes based off of the Koch Snowflake, which we used previously to decorate pumpkins for Halloween.

News: Rotating Mirror Stellated Octahedron

The initial idea for this project was to use magnets in the tips of the stellated octahedron and the intersections of the metal rings for either suspension or even a sort of weightless rotation. This turned out to be a bit too ambitious considering I'm working with found mirror and hot glue. So instead, I scrapped the magnets and went with simply mounting it on a skateboard bearing so it can freely rotate and not be bound to the base.

News: Twisted Small Stellated Dodecahedron Tensegrity

This is a zigzag tensegrity based on a small stellated dodecahedron. There are string pentagons on the outside of the model where the vertices have opened. It is made of thirty units, consisting of a barbecue stick pair with a loop of elastic. The stick pairs are all "floating", and weave through the model without contacting any other stick pairs. It is quite tricky to assemble, but can be done entirely by hand.

News: Modular Origami

Cory has posted some great picture of Father Magnus' intersecting cubes (the great man is holding one in his right hand) - well the above is what happens when five tetrahedra intersect. It is modular origami and made from just ten sheets of origami paper. technically in a folding sense it is easy - but putting it together is mind-warping

News: Mathematical Knitting

Looking into mathematical quilting, I came across a community of mathematical knitters. Check out Dr. Sarah-Marie Belcastro's (research associate at Smith college and lecturer at U Mass Amherst) mathematical knitting resource page.

How To: Carve Polyhedral Pumpkins

Halloween is coming up, so many of you may have a need or desire to carve a pumpkin and turn it into a Jack O' Lantern. This week we are going to explore carving our pumpkins into interesting geometric shapes. In this post, we will carve the pumpkins into spherical versions of polyhedra, and in Thursday's post we will carve 2 dimensional stars and some simple fractal designs into the pumpkins.

How To: Carve Fractals and Stars on Pumpkins

Fractals and stars are two of the most beautiful and complicated-looking classes of geometric objects out there. We're going to explore these objects and how to carve them on a pumpkin. Unlike the last one on carving polyhedral pumpkins, where we used the entire pumpkin to carve a 3 dimensional shape, the pumkin carving in this post will involve two-dimensional images on a small part of the pumpkin's surface.

News: Math Craft Inspiration of the Week: Electrically Generated Fractal Branching Patterns

Natural processes often create objects that have a fractal quality. Fractal branching patterns occur in plants, blood vessel networks, rivers, fault lines, and in several electrical phenomena. Many of these processes take lifetimes, or even occur on geological timescales. But this is not the case for electrical phenomena. They often occur near instantaneously. One example would be the branching patterns that sometimes occur in lightning.