Thursday, December 20, 2012

Working With Paper

My latest craft, which I'm trying to use as a reward for writing, is designing paper objects. It's an outgrowth of designing virtual 3D objects.

It turns out that designs made in Inkscape can be exported to dfx files, which in turn can be "printed" out on a Silhouette printer. The printer uses a rotating blade to incise the paper, and can make intricate cuts.

One thought is to try to make some variations on the icosahedrons made out of paper squares -- I want to see what circles look like, and there are some dodecahedron designs I've seen on the web. I've read a book about paper clock escapements, and I think it could be interesting to design paper geared machines. Probably I'll have to cut out four or so copies of the gear to make them strong and thick enough to use.

Then I'll have to learn how to construct gear and pinion ratios.

In the Winter, arranging geometric shapes into patterns brings me a steadying sense of solace. Part of the comfort of design is creating order, if only on a computer screen or piece of paper. The other part is the wonder underlying how six circles are connected to a cube.
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