Geodesics

One day I woke up and wondered if you could distrubute a random number of points, evenly on a sphere. That should not be too hard to figure out. Well it seems I was wrong. There's quite a lot of math involved. Luckily a few other people figured it all out already. Like Plato and Archimedes with their solids. And more recently Buckminster Fuller contributed greatly to the science of Geodesics.

At first I was planning on writing some kind of cool animation in Processing but after browsing the web I figured it would nice to have something more tangible. So I started experimenting with some card board. While doing research I came across someone who also likes to make spherical structures: Magnus J. Wenninger. He has written a book, Speherical Models (ISBN: 9780486143651), on the subject which helped me get started.

Card board is nice, but it takes a lot of time to cut and glue all the pieces together. In this day and age you can have all sorts of machines do the hard work for you. So I decided to make a model with parts that could be laser cut:

Well the result was pretty... expensive. Laser cutting is a relatively cheap production method if you have relatively large parts. But my model has many small parts and since the cost of laser cutting is mostly based on the distance the laser has to travel, my model turned out to be a little expensive.

Which made me wonder if it would'nt be more economic to own my own (laser) cutting machine. After some research I found that a laser cutter would be too expensive and unwieldy to be used in a home environment. But the next best thing would be a CNC Router. These machines are cheaper (especially if you build them yourselft) and can achieve almost the same kind of precission as a laser cutter, without the hazordous fumes. I'll be honest though. They do produce a lot of dust.

Geodesic sphere made out of cardboard
Geodesic sphere made out of laser cut woodboard
Sphere shaped icosahedron made out CNC cut plywood and blue marbles
Geodesic sphere made out of CNC cut plywood and marbles