9/27/16

I've been working over the past couple years on 3d printing projects. I realized over a cup of coffee with the Bertini team outside of Clark building at CSU in Fort Collins at AG13 that I could readily print the surfaces I was to decompose using Bertini_real, which was still in infancy. At first, I started by decomposing curves. A circle, in fact, was the first thing I decomposed. Wow, that took some hard work! Then I moved to parabolas, elliptic curves, curves in three variables as the intersections of surfaces.

As I moved forward into surfaces, I once again started simple. A sphere was the first surface I decomposed with Bertini_real, and the second was a paraboloid. Fun fact, the sphere decomposes as a regular octahedron regardless of projection used. And as I moved into the realm of surfaces with curve singularities, my imagination for 3d printing was once again rekindled.

At NCSU with Jon in 2014, I used their library's printer, operated by students, to print my first objects. I printed Solitude, a Klein-like 4D surface, and a few others. Mostly they were very fragile, and I had no idea how challenging it actually would be to run a printer myself.

In October 2014, Jon bought a TAZ4 for me to use. I made garbage for the first long while, as I came to understand the machine, and the software which drives it. We bought Simplify3D, and the slicing got better. I made Whitney Umbrellas. And realized how fragile singularities are.

To overcome the fragility problem, I bought a FlexyDually head, which could print one material with flexible, and another rigid material. I used PVA as the support material, and printed soooooo slllloooooowwwwwlllyy to get the Ninjaflex-PVA objects to come out correctly. I was able to print several Barth Sextics in Ninjaflex.

I got more ambitious in later 2015, using the printer to help me make my talks better. I started using the surfaces to explain things like cycle numbers and singularities. Other people started asking me to print specific things for them. I made three bi-color Clebsch Cubics, requested by Bernd Strumfels.

Over summer 2016, I decided to reproduce all the surfaces from the Algebraic Surface Gallery, by Herwig Hauser. The images there are raytraced, using POVRay, and are excellent. Several times when discussing a particular surface from that gallery, Jon has absent-mindedly clicked and dragged, hoping to get another view. But they are static images, not models at all! Cemented in my mind became the decision to print the gallery.

So, today I finally completed the skeleton of the gallery. I have entered all equations, and pictures of those which I have completed. At this point, many of the pictures are of objects with support still attached. I sometimes forget to photograph them after I remove support! And many of them still have support on them, because I always hurt myself removing it. PLA is sharp, and I have no calluses, ha.