Category Archives: News

Pythagorean Cup

The cup with the funny bit in the middle is a Pythagorean Cup – 3D printed – 13 hours and 160 gramme of filament.

A Pythagorean Cup is a weird beasty – it prevents piggy drinkers.  If you fill up the cup to below the line on the rim (below the top of the domed piece in the middle) then you can drink from the cup, no problem.  If you fill the cup to above the line, then a siphon (which is within the domed piece in the middle) will empty the cup through a hole in the base all over your lap.

Sierpinski & Menger Sponges

The 3D printer has been working overtime recently turning out fractals.  Here we have Sierpinski (triangles) and Menger (square) sponges.

These objects are 4″ on a side, the Menger Sponge is 4th order and the Sierpinski Sponge is 6th order!!  Both are 0.2mm resolution printed using white Rigid.Ink PLA and a 0.4mm nozzle.

The Sierpinski Sponge was a modest 30-hour print and the Menger Sponge was a humungous 65 and a half hour print.

I am thinking about printing a 5th order Menger Sponge, again around 4″ on a side – but this will take around 90-hours in total.

May also print a larger Sierpinski Sponge at higher resolution (0.1mm).

Time to end the University “business”

I have just been disgusted to see that Dame Glynis Breakwell, the VC of Bath University, is taking home £451,000 a year!!

As someone who spent a little less than half their career in Industry, and a little more than half their career in a University (Professor of Photonics at the University of Southampton for 23 years) I think I am fully qualified to comment on this vulgar Dame Glynis Breakwell revelation.

 In “business” I have seen the CEO and the company chairman raking in huge salaries for doing 2/3rds of bugger-all, whilst the people that do actually make the company work, slog on with mediocre pay. And as our Universities have slowly morphed into “businesses” we are of course seeing exactly the same thing happening there. It is the Academics that do the teaching AND bring in the grant money – not the Administrators. The Academics themselves could very easily handle the University administration (they do most of it anyway), and if not a full teaching academic, then an academic nearing the end of their career who would like to remain within the Ivory Towers for their last few working years. Similarly it would make sense if the Vice-Chancellor was an academic of the University who has been there man and boy (OK woman and girl if you really must) – then they might actually be able to make more sensible, more well-informed decisions regarding THEIR University than some plonker pulled out from a totally unrelated “business” on the other side of the planet.

A 31-hour 3D printer print – the Roman Surface

Another marathon mathematical object run for the 3D printer – this time the Roman Surface (seen here in front of a Klein Bottle).

I had generated this surface years ago using Mathematica and had spun the object around in 3D, but still couldn’t quite assemble the thing in my head.  Now I can hold it in my hand I can see it clearly.

The 3D printer has been taking such a hammering with these extremely long prints that the X Y bearings are now sounding a bit klunky.  New bearings are on order.

Magical Mobius Strips

I have been into Mobius (Strips) Loops since about 15. Not only is it single surface but it is also single edge. Now soap films have an amazing property. Dip a 3D structure (wire mesh type) into a soap bubble solution and the soap film covers the MINIMAL SURFACE AREA of the object!!! This is amazing. And it got a 15 year old to thinking – what happens if I dip a Mobius Loop into soap film?? As it only has one edge and one surface the soap film is going to run into trouble. Do I generate a time-warp? Do I break through into another dimension?? These were the thoughts going through a 15 year old’s mind. So I did the experiment. No time warps – but a result I really wasn’t expecting at all. And yes it does form a soap film over the Mobius Loop – but how is that possible with only a single edge? I won’t actually be giving away the answer. If you want to know the answer – do the experiment for yourself 

The Anet A6 Does the Klein Bottle

After printing out the Sierpinski Triangle I thought I would go for a LOOOONG print.

So I went for a Klein Bottle (see Cliff Stoll’s You Tube presentations on the Klein Bottle – they are excellent) and a BIG one.  The Klein Bottle I printed out ended up 8″ tall and 4″ across the base.  This was printed at 0.2mm resolution and the print time was 18 hours!

Clearly it was a mistake not to use transparent filament for this object (or indeed for ANY 3D mathematical object) but that has been rectified by me ordering “natural” and trans-blue filament from Rigid.Ink.

In the meantime I thought it might be interesting to illuminate the Klein Bottle to see if it revealed the internal structure.  It didn’t – BUT – it did show up very nicely the printer’s print pattern in the wall of the bottle.  This is in fact the strengthening framework that lies between the inner and outer walls of the bottle (the walls are not solid).

The clear filament arrives on Monday – I will then need to give this one another shot.

Sierpinski sponge on the Anet A6 3D printer

I bought and recently assembled an Anet A6 3D printer.  Highly impressed by what you get for the money.  Been running calibration prints and test runs for a couple of days before doing my first serious 3D print.

I bought this printer with one aim only – to print out 3D mathematical objects.  I have printed out a couple of very small Menger sponges, and then I printed out this larger (3″ on a side) Sierpinski sponge.  Took around 9 hours to print this out at 0.1mm resolution.  It looks way better to the eye than it does to the camera.  I took the picture with it still attached to the Anet A6 bed as I might well destroy the thing in trying to get it off (it sticks rather well to the BuildTak).

Next print will either be a Klein bottle or a large (4″ on a side) Menger sponge.

What is going on with Theresa May?

OK – so things are now getting very interesting indeed here in the UK. Just a few weeks before a rather important General Election, Theresa May announces that she wants to bring back Fox hunting. No, this is not fake news, this is the real deal!! And here’s a prediction for you – she will drop a few more of these bombshells in the next few weeks. Why?
Well, I’ve had my suspicions about this election from day one. This business about a mandate just doesn’t hold water. She will still get untold flack from her opposition even if voted in, and if she does get voted in, it won’t give her any more leverage in the Brexit negotiations, she still has a very hard and very difficult job to do – a job that I think is well beyond her capabilities, as it was well beyond Cameron’s capabilities, which is why he quit (after clearly stating that he wouldn’t).
Theresa May was a staunch remainer and now, finding herself in the impossible position of heading the Brexit negotiations – she is doing a Cameron – she desperately wants to lose this next election. The trouble is, the so-called opposition is so flaky she might win even though she doesn’t want to. You just couldn’t make it up.

This country is currently in the shittiest state I have seen in 63 years on this planet – and it looks like it is going to get a helluva lot worse before it gets any better.