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Parametric lamp design using circle packings (stuffmatic.com)
206 points by stuffmatic 7 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments

If you're into this kind of design check out https://n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com/

They have some really cool (and very complicated) jigsaw puzzles [1] that I bought as gifts for my family. The Inifinity Puzzle is topologically a torus so you can infinitely tile it by taking a piece of off the left and placing it onto the right side.

I have a set of their coral coffee mugs [2] which I absolutely love, especially after toying around with my own reaction-diffusion based designs/art.

[1] - https://n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com/blog/?p=7821 [2] - https://n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com/blog/?p=8222

Those mugs look gorgeous! I am worried that they're really tough to clean, though.

Thanks for sharing. My SO loves puzzles & now I have an i teresting gift option for her.

I have one of their Mobius puzzles[0] that has no edges. Very fun to put together!


Pedantic note: footnote 1 (supporting the statement that there's nontrivial mathematics behind circle packings) links to two Wikipedia pages, for "Circle packing" and "Circle packing theorem"; the first of those is actually completely irrelevant because it's about how densely you can pack fixed-size circles into a given space, a topic that turns out to have basically nothing to do with the sort of circle packing that's actually relevant to the article.

(Thurston should really have used a different term. "Circle tiling", perhaps.)

I love pendantic notes! Steiner chains, Thurston's notion of circle packing and circle packing as an optimization problem are quite different from a theoretical point of view. However, they all have one thing in common, and that is that the end result is an arrangement of circles that you may or may not be able to turn into a lamp :)

Pendantic lamp. Pedantic note. :-)

Very satisfying design. The code for generating the laser cutting files would be cool to see. It looks very well though out, by even engraving numbers, all the correct holes etc.

Seconded, the design and execution look really good. Would love to try this out with my laser.

What kind of laser do you have?

I have an above average laser from china. https://www.thunderlaser.com/ got my recommendation.

Thank you.

For an interesting application of sphere packing see Waterman Polyhedra: http://paulbourke.net/geometry/waterman/

This site saved me on multiple occasions, great stuff

I really love the math and the design of this!

I'm not entirely sure I would want a lampshade that blocks most of the light from the bulb, but I'm sure there are applications that make sense, right?

It doesn’t block - it reflects, using white surfaces

Good point! So some light escapes through the gaps between the circles, but most of it is directed downward.

I guess that would be good for an overhead lamp.

I think it would work well e.g. over a kitchen table.

I would guess it’s possible to do a similar design with translucent plastic.

By popular demand, I've added Atom feeds for blog posts and projects:

https://stuffmatic.com/feed.xml https://stuffmatic.com/feed/projects.xml

Do you have plans to open source the tool that generates the vector file for cutting?

bump. very interesting indeed, what tools did you use, can you share some details please?

He mentions what he uses in a different post of his: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21194300

Sadly it seems he's not interested in sharing the code. That's legit, but would be nice to get a confirmation.

Yeah, I don't currently have any plans to release the code unfortunately. But in short it's a scenegraph library written in typescript plus a sprawling collection of algorithms in various states of completion. The scenegraph can be rendered to an SVG string and since the library does not depend on any browser specific APIs it can be run both in node.js and in a browser. For interactive browser based experimentation I use Vue.js for GUI stuff.

Lovely done! I wonder what their software stack is. My bets go to Grasshopper.

Too bad the blog has no RSS btw.

Thanks for the kind words! I'm using a custom built javascript framework that runs in a web browser. Should probably have mentioned this in the post :)

Others have requested RSS too, by the way. I'll look into it.

You're welcome! Big fan of fSpy as well!

Thanks for the update; would never guessed that it runs in the browser. Will you make that framework public at one point in the future? It would be exciting af to look into that.

And thanks for considering to add RSS (or atom or whatever)! I think this makes the web great – and certainly I want to read more of the stuff you build.

I'll second this request. This was a nice quick read, combining several of my hobby interests: elegant geometric design backed by thoughtful mathematics, and small-scale manufacturing. I would definitely subscribe via RSS.

That was neat. But this is great: https://stuffmatic.com/projects/slussen-plan-c/

Very nice, lovely animations too to show how parameters changing would affect the final result.

Oh great, there goes another evening of fiddling with Fusion 360. :-)

It would be so neat if it was easy to have script elements and inputs (sliders, knobs) as part of a design in Fusion 360 so that one could make interesting parametric geometries easy to play with.

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