3D Printing and Maxima

In response to several nearly simultaneous queries, I’ve been working this week on generating a 3D  plot  and creating a mesh file from within Maxima  that is suitable for exporting to a 3D printer.

As a guide, I used this 2012 article from the Mathematical Intelligencer by Henry Segerman.  The idea is to draw a surface using traces made from parametric tubes, then export that to a .PLY format file.

Here’s my prototype for the process of generating the surface, reading in the resulting gnuplot data file, identifying faces appropriately, and writing into a .PLY file.

That isn’t yet ready for the 3D printer, but I could load it into the free program MeshLab, and from there convert to .STL

Here’s my figure from Maxima:

pringle

And the resulting .PLY file loaded into MeshLab

 

 

saddle_meshdraw

Here’s a few seconds of video from the printing process

And 2.5 hours later, the low resolution first-try 3D printed object:

3dprintverision01

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