All posts for the month October, 2011

I recently discovered an awesome 3D lantern product on youtube

I thought to myself, “hey, I could make these with my cutting machine (or even better, an Epilog Zing if I win that contest I mentioned last post)”… that is, if I had the designs for them.  But I don’t, and I’m not even sure I could reverse engineer them… besides, I’m not out to steal others ideas …. I think I must have already accumulated some terrible business karma in “past lives” and for me The Playful Geometer is a work to heal patterns of poverty which, according to Dharma, are perpetuated by theft.

So, I thought I’d see if I could work out a deal with the inventor, suggesting they put a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license on them.  If that was the case, I would gladly buy a license off of them once this ship gets flying just as I have agreed to do with the maker of SlideTabs who did license his work as such.  I thought I’d make it an open letter in the interests of transparency.  Here’s what I sent:


You have a very nice product, I really like your designs !  I see your swirl lantern borrows from the IQlite design but you have clearly put a lot of creativity into adapting the ideas and also have some very unique things as well.

I plan to open up a more professional online storefront soon for my geometric lanterns and I was thinking about the possibility of stocking your lanterns there as well.  I’ve never seen them around here in Canada.  I feel like you are unlikely to sell many lanterns in North America if your prices are only in zlotych.

I have a commitment to becoming an environmentally friendly business and shipping products from halfway around the world is not very good for the earth.  I would like to produce your lantern here using biodegradable plastic and I have the tools to do so.

I don’t want to undercut your business, but I think I can produce and sell them cheaper, and like I said, I don’t imagine you’re tapping the North American market much anyway.  Would you consider licensing your designs to my company The Playful Geometer ?   Your light fixtures seem very affordable, I might want to buy them in bulk. Do you manufacture them ?

Do you have a patent for your designs ?  Whether or not you do, with popularity, the plans for your models are likely to show up on the internet just like the IQlite.  Publishing them on the internet under a Non-Commercial Creative Commons License  might be a good thing for your company, as it would help to promote the product.  The people who would make one themselves are not likely the people who would buy the lantern from your website anyway because they are do-it-yourself kind of people, and they’d probably help other people who are not DIY people find out about your product.

The person who designed the SlideTab system I use ( for my product has licensed his designs under a NonCommercial license, and because of that, I’ve agreed to purchase a license from him once my business becomes profitable.  I don’t think I even legally have to because only the published media and not the ideas there within are protected by copyright, but I want to support his developments and benefit someone who has benefited me.  I would feel the same way towards you, especially if you share your designs freely as Chris K. Palmer has.  I have also licensed one of my designs under such a license by publishing it on instructables:  If you’re interested in using the design commericially, perhaps we can trade in ideas.  I know it can be a strange way to think about business, but I believe it is truly the future of commerce in the information age. 

Wishing well,

The Playful Geometer has just finished designing a cut pattern for our newest product in development: a cardstock-only lantern designed to be illuminated with candle light.  We’re toying with the name “EarthBound SpaceCrafts”, as the intention is to produce a product that can be recycled, composted, or even offered up to “The Grand Geometer” in a ceremonial fire.  Even better, we’ve uploaded plans on how anyone with a home cutting machine can make their very own on

Thanks to a friend who re-sparked my interest in irregular tilings after the recent Nobel Prize Awarded to Quasicrystal discoverer Dan Shechtman, I saw a tiling of a pentagon and diamond for the first time in his info sheet here

I proceeded to reproduce this pattern, first sketched on paper and then more accurately with Inkscape drawing program.  I decided to share the results on Wikimedia Commons, the following results are now in the public domain:

Pentagon tiling diagram

Playing with the stroke width of both the diamond and the pentagon, converting the strokes to paths, and then performing some more complex operations on those paths led to a pattern that fit nicely inside the face of a Small Stellated Dodecahedron.  I applied the pattern to create a prototype in Blender seen here

with white areas indicating where the holes will be.  I’m quite excited to build this model, and I’ve got everything ready to test it out but its particularly  important that I take my time through the procedure this time.

This particular innovation was inspired by the recent discovery of’s

Right now, The Playful Geometer is struggling to become a financially-sustainable business.  Our contour-cut Cosmic SpaceCrafts Lanterns are now a bit less time-consuming to construct but we’ve transferred most of the benefits of our mechanization to the customer by significantly decreasing the cost of models in hopes of increasing sales.

Despite handing out hundreds of promotional bookmarks at all the events we’ve decorated for this summer and putting up our new online web cart, we have not been getting the customer support we need to proceed with our ongoing developments. 

Demand suggests that The Playful Geometer needs to start mass-producing simpler paper models in the under $30 range that can be stocked in retail locations to compliment our online order digital designs.  Using the CraftRobo Pro to cut out every sheet individually is likely too time-consuming to achieve this.

With the Epilogue Zing laser cutter, The Playful Geometer could cut out many lantern panels at once, enabling us to affordably produce our EarthBound SpaceCrafts.  It would enable us to benefit more beings with the beauty of polyhedral geometry and the exhilaration or their construction.  We developed in hopes of serving environmentally-conscious consumers, and thus the needs of our planet earth.

It would also allow us to open up an entirely new range of productions.  Not only could we more safely produce our Crop Circle Mirrors as seen below without the use of caustic acid-etch chemicals, we could also engrave other materials like wood with these transformational images.

Radionic Bloom
We could produce wood veneer lamps with elegant woodburn patterns on them as is the dream of artist Fiat Mihi.

We could provide affordable yet durable Phi Calipers for curious young Sacred Geometers (as in the model to the right) with instructions on how to explore the golden mean ratio using them.

We might even be able to invent and create a fold-up Dreamachine Making Kit.

To win the Instructables Epilogue contest, The Playful Geometer needs your help !   We need you to vote for our upcoming entry on  Check out the following link and if you like what you see, click on the “Vote” button in the upper right hand corner

Please help us spread the word, and may the merits of star light emanation benefit all beings !