Chaotic Attractors

Dr. Steve Lucas and Dr. Laura Taalman recently developed a computationally reasonable method for creating 3D-printable designs for chaotic attractors. Our goal was to provide three-dimensional physical, tangible models based on the beautiful two-dimensional renders of these objects created by artist and photographer Phillipe Put.

Our method takes as input a set of differential equations and initial values, produces a sequence of datapoints in MATLAB spaced by curvature constraints, and “sweeps” that data into a curve-surrounding polyhedron in OpenSCAD. The image to the left shows our 3D printed model of theĀ Aizawa Attractor.

Students participating in this project would take our design files and print prototypes of the models on the Lab’s Form2 SLA resin printer, after helping to decide which subsets of datapoints produce the most visually desirable models. Post-processing will involve washing and curing the prints, cleaning up supports, sanding, and polishing.

We have a partial draft of a paper on our process that we intend to send out to a journal. Students interested in advanced involvement can request to become co-authors and help ready this paper for publication.