Math Craft Features

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: 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 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!

How To: Make a 'Flex Mex'—A Mathematically Delicious Hexaflexagon Burrito

Here's a great excuse to play with your food—and learn some math while you're at it. We've all seen a hexaflexagon folded out of paper, but how about a burrito? Vi Hart, a "mathmusician" over at the Khan Academy, came up with the Flex Mex, a burrito folded into a hexaflexagon with all the toppings inside. The spreadable ingredients (guacamole, sour cream and salsa) go inside the folds, then it's topped with beans and cheese.

News: Origami Sierpinski Tetrahedron Constructed with 250+ Modules

I've already posted a brief roundup of interesting models folded by Michal Kosmulski, expert orgami-ist and IT director at NetSprint. However, I didn't include my favorite model, because I felt it deserved its own post. Kosmulski folded an elaborate and large Sierpinski tetrahedron, which he deems "level 3" in difficulty. (Translation: hard). It is constructed with 128 modules and 126 links, based on Nick Robinson's trimodule.

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.

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.

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: 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!)

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 ...

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.

News: More Kirigami Snowflakes

I spent a little bit more time making 6 sided Kirigami Snowflakes using the method of this post. I'm really happy with how all of these turned out. I'd love to see other people post up some snowflakes. They're easy and a lot of fun. And I could use some more inspiration!

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: Parabolic Art in EL-Wire by Ben Yates

This is a new line of work I've started - inspired by string art of Archimedean Lines, these are 3-dimensional sculptures made using Electro-Luminescent Wire weaved around a clear acrylic frame. They hang on the wall, but each has a sense of depth so their look alters from different angles. The EL-Wire is a copper wire coated with a phosphor so it glows its entire length, and then coated with a plastic sleeve so that it can be handled and bend around any shape.

News: Folding Everlasting Gobstoppers

I came across this Dutch site called "Wat Maakt Suzette Nu?", which featured a project created with Math Craft instructions for modular origami. Suzette, the creator, did an incredible job in terms of craftsmanship and color...

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.

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: 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.

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.