Math Craft Features

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!)

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: 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: 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.

News: A 3-in-1 Model

These drawings were made with Google SketchUp. There is a dodecahedral model, icosahedral model, and a third I don't know the name of, made of rhombic faces obtained by connecting vertices of the other two. The final image is all three models together. I'll use a ShopBot CNC router to cut out the pieces this week.

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: 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.

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.

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: Palm-Sized Pentakis Dodecahedron

I finally got around to making the pentakis dodecahedron from the instructions in Math Craft admin Cory Poole's blog post. It's not tightened/straightened up yet because I just noticed that I have two black and white and two blue and green compound modules next to each other (but no purple and pink modules next to each other—to the math experts, this is a parity thing, as you can only have even numbers of modules paired up next to each other).

News: 180 Unit Sonobe Buckyball

I wondered how silly you could get with sonobe, and had a bash at a buckyball, which is a fullerene (technically a truncated isocahedron; you can see a simple model here). It's twelve pentagons—each surrounded by 5 hexagons (20 in total)—making a football shape in England or a soccer ball shape in the USA.

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.

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: 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):

You Won't Believe They Roll: How to Build Half Circle and Elliptical Wobblers

If you thought the last post on Two Circle Wobblers was wild, then wait until you see what happens when you build wobblers out of two half circles or two ellipses. In both of these cases, the center of gravity still remains constant in the vertical direction, allowing them to roll down the slightest of inclines or even travel a significant distance on a level surface if given a push or even when blown on.

How To: Make Yin-Yang Modular Polyhedra

Last Thursday's post demonstrated how to Make Yin-Yang Pillow boxes, which were based on equilateral triangles and squares. The units for making these boxes were created by Phillip Chapman-Bell, who runs an amazing origami blog and has a spectacular flickr photostream. Using these units, you can make also make 4 of the 5 platonic solids. I made an additional template based on the regular pentagon so that the dodecahedron can be built completing the set.

News: Math Craft Inspiration of the Week: The Curve-Crease Sculptures of Erik Demaine

Erik Demaine is a Professor of Electronic Engineering and Comp Sci at MI, but he is also an origami folder who has had work displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. He makes some beautiful models and intricate puzzles, but in my opinion the really inspirational work is the curved creased models. In Erik's own words describing the above models: "Each piece in this series connects together multiple circular pieces of paper (between two and three full circles) to make a large circular ramp ...