This professor turns mathematics into 3D printed artwork

When your day job involves using mathematics to solve everyday problems, you’re bound to create the impossible once you get your hands on a 3D printer. Or at least try. Professor Craig Kaplan doesn’t disappoint. He turned his fascination with Islamic geometric patterns and background in computer science into a collection of 3D printed artwork that’s as mathematically fascinating as it is functional.

Almost all the items in his collection can be purchased through his Shapeways store and include rings, ceramic coffee mugs and other mathematical artwork. All 3D printed, of course. But it’s the things you’d never think to 3D print that really stood out to me. This includes a 3D printed Kippah, a skullcap worn by Orthodox Jewish men, and Little Dipper, a cup designed specifically for biscuit dipping.

I asked Kaplan about his collection and how he is using 3D printing to go beyond what is already possible with the technology. Unlike most makers, he started experimenting with 3D printing while at graduate school. The technology was an easy way for him to turn his ideas and research on mathematical art into real-world objects. He still uses the technology and most of his work as a professor deals with developing algorithms and software to automatically generate 3D objects. He is preoccupied with finding ways to make 3D printing more accessible. … (Read more)