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Bits to Atoms: Logo and Fabrication - Construct3D

Page history last edited by Josh Burker 7 years ago





Logo is a programming language developed to teach people to think about thinking. Perhaps you remember programming Logo yourself as a student, drawing geometric designs with the turtle. Logo remains a viable, low-floor/high ceiling learning environment for people to explore programming. Logo also provides an interesting basis for personal fabrication projects. 3D printing provides a way to move from digital designs to physical artifacts or tools, a metamorphosis from bits to atoms. Participants will explore Logo programming using Turtle Blocks and learn how to fabricate their designs using Tinkercad. The designs will be 3D printed to create a collaborative sculpture. Participants will learn two different bits to atoms Logo programming workflows.



Programming TurtleBlocks for 3D Printed Fabrication


TurtleBlocks is a browser-based implementation of Logo turtle geometry programming. You can also use Turtle Blocks to create designs that you can 3D print. 


Like Scratch, you program using blocks that snap together to create procedures.


It is helpful to have a partner help you create a design if you are unfamiliar with turtle geometry programming. Get out of your seat and work with a partner to walk in a square. Have the partner keep track of the moves you make in order to walk in a square. Of course, there are many ways to make a square. How do you and your partner make a square? Share your answer!



Once you have decided how your turtle draws a square, use the Action procedure bracket block to name your procedure "box." This creates a new block called "box" that is the procedure that draws a square. The procedure can now be called from other procedures you create.


You need to use a couple of special blocks when creating designs for 3D printing.





Place these special blocks in the Start procedure bracket block as shown below. Notice the box block from the procedure you created tucked in the stack.



Click the Save project button.



Select .SVG. Your design will be saved as a SVG file for use with fabrication.




Extruding and Sizing Your Turtle Geometry Design for 3D Printing


You import the SVG file created in Turtle Blocks into Tinkercad to extrude and size it.


Seemingly there is a bug in the beta version when I tested it using Ubuntu on April 23, 2017, so we will use the Legacy version when we create our design in this workshop since I know it works.



Browse to the SVG file you programmed in Turtle Blocks and downloaded.



You need to scale the design to 10% of its original size to start. Of course you can resize the design once imported depending upon how you will use the 3D printed design.



Once uploaded, your design will be ready to extrude and size. As imported, the design is 10mm tall. 




Workflow 1: 3D Printed Tool to Create More Complex Work




3D printed designs programmed in Logo serve as tools that help you create work you otherwise would be incapable of making. The precision and repetition made possible by the 3D printed artifact enables complex work. The emphasis is the art created using the 3D printed model, not the model itself.


When 3D printing a tool to use with clay stamping, 1.75mm tall models are ideal, with or without a backing. The designs 3D print much faster without a backing but the models can be difficult to remove if too much force is used applying the design to clay.




Rolling the design into the clay makes the pattern even in the clay.




Firing, glazing, and firing creates beautiful art from the math you programmed in Turtle Blocks.




The 3D printed model can be used to create an infinite amount of clay tiles. Alternately, use the 3D printed stamp on Play-Doh for fleeting experiences with the design.



Workflow 2: 3D Printed Sculpture



3D printed designs programmed in Logo are treated as slices that when combined create 3D printed sculptures that could not be produced with a standard FDM 3D printer.


Most of these layers are printed at 2mm, while some are printed at 3mm thick models. The models are held together with an M3 bolt. Each model is designed with a 3mm hole in the center. The tolerance on the models is tight enough that a nut is not required to hold the models together to form a new model with overhangs and color combinations not typical of 3D printed art produced with FDM printers..



The combination of different color filaments, overhangs, and different planes make compelling 3D printed sculptures.


Further Examples


The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun: 3D Printed TurtleArt Tiles

The School at Columbia TurtleArt Tiles

Christopher Sweeney (@CSweeneyArtist): 3D Printed TurtleArt with high school students in Philadelpha, PA, USA

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