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:

Hello,

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 (http://www.slidetab.com) 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: http://www.instructables.com/id/Quasicrystal-Star-Lantern/.  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,
~Cosmo

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 instructables.com.

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 Instructables.com’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 instructables.com.  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 !

Just heading off to do the printing for the next deco gig coming up next weekend, Harvest Festival.  Building the biggest lantern to date to hang inside the new pyramid at just under 4 feet tall, thinking this is going to be the coolest space to date to share the starlight !   It will also be the first time I’ve featured this form of Cumulated Cubeoctahedron, similar to the Cube-Octahedron Compound from last year

World walker @ Harvest 2010

but with the points extended.  Here’s the digital prototype I built in Blender:

I also decided that it would be nice to have some smaller matching Great Rhombihexacrons to distribute the energy of the central piece to all four sides of the pyramid as such:

I was feeling a bit nervous about how I planned to hold the larger piece together … wasn’t feeling so trusting of the tab systems I’ve developed for something of that scale, so I invented another method of holding the pyramids together:

One of the faces of the shape cut with the new “WeaveTab” system.

 Two faces back to back held together by weaving a bamboo skewer through the tabs in a warp-woof fashion.

Excitement abound !  More photos to come ;)

As well as receiving a free upgrade to x10hosting‘s Premium Service as a result of them losing our website in their upgrades, we’ve been working on content improvements recently.

Most notably, we’ve added an online shopping cart interactivity to the Models section of the site so you can more easily order them with your Paypal account or major credit card.

We’ve also taken care of some minor bugs in the sidebar menu and added a list of gigs performed in the Sightings section.

Sidenote: Does anyone else find the custom in business of referring to a 1-person operation in the plural ?  I suppose I am on a team if you consider all of my wonderful muses at play :)  

“We” are becoming open to the possibility of collaboration with other visual artists.  If you’re a graphic designer who would like to decorate a SpaceCraft Lantern, send an email to cosmo.guffa@gmail.com with your choice of model to decorate and he’ll send you a template image.

For reasons unbeknownst to us, our web page has become unreachable.  We apologize for this inconvenience and are working on a solution.  In the meanwhile, please feel free to check out:

3D renderings of all available models on Picasa
Photos of Cosmic SpaceCrafts in action on Flickr
New Facebook fanpage

A blog entry will be forthcoming to announce the reestablishment of our web page.  As a result of a more streamlined production process, The Playful Geometer is currently reassessing the pricing of our products.  Please stay tuned for our re-launch to discover the new price tags on our most affordable products to date.

EDIT: It appears our web host lost our account after some upgrades, but we should have it back up in no time with and upgraded service offered freely as a result of this failure.

A quick post to confirm that the Earth Grid and Great Rhombihexacron models have been upgraded as described in the last blog post.  Here are some pictures of the newly constructed models:

Earth Grid Model: Fiesty Firecracker Etheriality

I am really happy with how this shape has “tightened up”.  Closing the cracks that were caused by the use of velcro has really enhanced the kaleidoscopic effect which is more prominent in this less spikey shape.

Great Rhombihexacron Model: Imagend Splendaria
The deeply-saturated, vibrant colours of this flavour really give a wonderful glow when lit up.

My camera failed to capture the beautiful glow of these lanterns when lit up (especially without a tripod which I used in earlier shots). The colours are all out of skew, but you can get the idea …

Great Rhombihexacron Model: Imagend Splendaria
Earth Grid Model: Fiesty Firecracker Etheriality

Now there is only the smaller and larger versions of the Cumulated Icosahedron as well as the Rhombicosacron (which still needs some better flavours) to test out.  This may have to wait until after the exhibitions at Open Mind Eco-Festival and Lumiere Festival this month.

However, pending the arrival of my new 13″ laminator (which was supposed to arrive yesterday), I should have my first SpaceCraft Zonohedra ArchBishop cap as seen here and day now… but of course mine will be decorated with fractals as per the usual

BING !  That is, the light of B-ING, the AHA moment, wherein a light bulb flashes atop the head O= :-D   ! As the moon approached its fullest this lunation,  some discoveries came through that have greatly improved the design of the Cosmic SpaceCraft Lanterns.  Now the lantern “shades” are nothing but laminated paper, held together by pure ingenuity !


As I described in a previous blog post, I had recently discovered SlideTabs, a paper model-building system that enables the construction of a variety of polyhedra, most of them simpler and smaller than the shapes featured by The Playful Geometer’s Cosmic SpaceCraft Lanterns.  I experimented with the system and modified it for making mini-lanterns for chirstmas lights.   I thinned the tabs so that the shadows they form would only cast on the black border printed on the shapes.  I cut a bunch of these smaller shapes out by hand and it was somewhat pain-staking.  My medium, laminated prints, proved ammenable to the SlideTab system, but the tabs with their roughly cut edges did not slide so smoothly, so I was hesitant to have anyone else try and put the shapes together.
 


In hopes of getting a friend’s US Cutter LaserPoint cutting machine to cut out my more complicated star lamps, I redesigned the panel images and incorporated the SlideTabs V2 tabs for the edges that fold together to make a single pyramid from one page. 


Satisfied with the hand-cut prototype, I brought laminated prints to my friend’s shop for a test cut.  Well, I spent all evening trying to get that thing to work with no avail.  It was a terrible hassle because I had to move the laser a precise location 4 times before it would cut, and I not once was able to get an acceptable result after about 6 hours of trial and error.  That was rather frustrating…


Luckily I hadn’t done my taxes in 3 years, so when I got my return this year, I had enough money to purchase something even better, the Craft Robo Pro CE5000-40.  It’s probably the most expensive thing I’ve ever purchased, but I truly feel it was a wise investment.  It’s definitely the key to producing affordable digitally decorated polyhedral lanterns.  I like it a lot because I don’t have to manually move the laser eye around much at all, it just finds all the registration marks on its own…well, not perfectly…it does fail to read them sometimes or it will cut out the image unevenly sometimes.  I think that’s mostly because of the ever-so-slight wrinkle of the laminated paper.  At first I was only getting an accurate cut about half the time, but now I’m batting more like +90%.  I found holding the page to the machine — especially when it’s reading — has improved this average greatly.


I used the machine for the first time to cut out some lanterns as featured at the OM Reunion Project’s re:generate 2011 Summer Solstice gathering. The lanterns at this stage still contained velcro tabs to hold them together.  You can see the perforation the cutter makes for a clean fold illustrated here (more photos of OM posted on Flickr).

OM 2011: Pink CloseupOM 2011: Dome CloseupOM 2011: Blue Closeup





Although they looked pretty crisp, the velcro glue back was sticking to things and the staples that held the velcro firmly in place was catching on underlying velcro tabs when the panels were stacked.  However, at the time I was just happy to rid myself of the many troubles I had with double-sided tape, packing tape, hot glue, pipe cleaners … all sketchy to say the least.


While I did not have too much trouble putting together the lanterns made with SlideTabs V2 and velcro, I had yet to subject the general public to their construction.   Someone requested to buy one of my lanterns after seeing them at OM and I offered to put it up for them while visiting Ottawa last week.  They offered to help me put it together, and in proceeding, seemed to find it rather frustrating.  The lantern they got had already been constructed and deconstructed for a feature at another festival.  Another construction revealed lamination peeling up at the edges of the tabs.  It turns out that the lamination does not stick very strongly to black toner, as it melts at high temperatures (while it goes through the hot laminator).  I had very little trouble with this while I was hand-cutting my lanterns (without SlideTabs) even though I often cut along a black edge .  It was an unpleasant surprise to find my product was no longer very user-friendly nor stable while installing it for a friend :(


Though I got the lantern up fine in the end, I felt kind of bad about our exchange after returning home … and so it was back to the drawing board.  I quickly realized I could solve the peeling problem by making the edges of the tabs white so the laminate would stick to the paper and not peel away.  However, I was still feeling uncomfortable about the difficulty of using the SlideTabs V2 design, even without the peeling.  The pyramids of the lanterns were occasionally popping open at their tabbed edges as well.  Thus, I modified the cut lines to use SlideTabs V1, and now the pyramids were both easier to assemble and more robust.


Before this improvement, I was having to add a support pyramid to the wire as seen here : 

Support Pyramid
Support Pyramid


They are not really necessary anymore with the implementation of the SlideTabs V1, which is a relief.  I did manage to cut the support pyramids out with my cutting machine, but I had to push down the cutting head with my hand, which was tricky and perhaps dangerous (for my SpaceRobo, that is).  



The greatest breakthrough in SpaceCraft Engineering came while I was returning home from Ottawa on a bus.  I was pondering the question: “how could I make a tab that could replace the velcro ?”  The first doodle seemed like a stab in the dark, but I had to know if it would work, so I just kept tracing the shape with a pen until I could peel it out of the page and made a second one to see if they would connect.  Seen here is the artifact of my discovery:





I had some satisfactory results with my fidgeting, so when I got home, I drafted something for my cutter.  After one trial and error, a slight tweak on the original design proved to work wonders.  Now the base of each pyramid connects to the others with what I will now call WedgeTabs instead of velcro.  I set about using some old laminated designs that I couldn’t run through my machine to build the first paper-only Cosmic SpaceCraft Lantern.  This is it !



Its very strong, crisp, and its so much more fun to put together.  There’s less cracks for the light to leak out, and the little holes at the corners cast little star shapes on the wall like a disco ball.   I can barely imagine them being any more perfect !  But the evolution of Cosmic SpaceCrafts is far from over….


Here are some before and after shots :

with SlideTabs V2 tabs and velcro stapled to edges



with SlideTabs v1 and WedgeTabs



A closer look at WedgeTabs:








I’m excited about the possibility of making eco-friendly, burnable, compost-able lanterns with soy inks screen-printed on some nice natural cardstock paper, now that I don’t have to use velcro or other adhesives to hold my lanterns together.  I have yet to determine whether there would be a demand for them as compared to the colourful but plasticized digital designs.  Your input would be greatly appreciated.  Now that my R & D phase is nearly complete, it will be time to start doing some market research soon.


But for now I am busily converting all my models designs to this new tab system to be subjected to the ultimate test, star-fishing  !  There’s nothing like a pack of wild kids reaching for the stars to wreak havoc on any weak links in the SpaceCraft Engineering design.


You see, I sometimes take the lanterns for walks (mostly out to their exhibits), dangling them from a tree branch raised high in the sky.  It’s like a new form of street art :-P  “Catch the Star” proved to be a rather entertaining game for the young ones at a special event once so perhaps I’m due for another ‘test drive’ with my latest prototypes.


Admittedly… perhaps I “jumped the gun” a bit on advertising my Cosmic SpaceCraft Lanterns.  I recall putting the earliest “catalogue” out with $ signs this May on my blog and recently launched a new website with price tag on it too.  I have not been soliciting sales of my lanterns much due to a (waning) lack of confidence in their construction.  Since last year’s festival season, many people have expressed a general desire to get my lanterns, but only a handful have followed through with their expressed intention.  I haven’t had any crash landing reports from my customers, but I’m glad that many folks’ plans to support my business have been delayed until now because I want the best for my customers. 


UPDATE:  Great and Small Stellated Dodecahedrons, and Star Tetrahedrons have now been upgraded/tested and are available for order.  Very soon all models should be tested and ready for purchase (or trade if you will).  With this being the culmination of years of tireless tinkering, it sure feels good to have persisted in my craft.  I love being a maker … may I be one with the greatest of such ! 

BING !  That is, the light of B-ING, the AHA moment, wherein a light bulb flashes atop the head O= :-D   ! As the moon approached its fullest this lunation,  a discovery came through that has greatly improved the design of the Cosmic SpaceCraft Lanterns.  Now the lantern “shades” are nothing but laminated paper, held together by pure ingenuity ! 

As I described in a previous blog post, I had recently discovered the SlideTabs, a paper model-building system that enables the construction of a variety of polyhedra, most of them simpler and smaller than the shapes featured by The Playful Geometer’s Cosmic SpaceCraft line.  I experimented with the system and modified for making mini-lanterns for chirstmas lights.   I thinned the tabs it so that the shadows they form would only cast on the black border printed on the shapes.  I cut a bunch of these smaller shapes out by hand and it was somewhat pain-staking.  The tabs with their rough edges did not slide so smoothly either, so I was hesitant to have anyone else try and put the shapes together. 

In hopes of getting a friend’s US Cutter LaserPoint machine to cut out my more complicated star lamps, I defined some cut lines for them, incorporating the SlideTabs V2 tabs for the edges that fold together to make a single pyramid from one page. 

Satisfied with the hand-cut prototype, I brought laminated prints to my friend’s shop for a test cut.  Well, I spent all evening trying to get that thing to work with no avail.  It was a terrible hassle because I had to move the laser a precise location 4 times before it would cut, and I not once was able to get an acceptable result after about 6 hours of trial and error.  That was rather frustrating…

Luckily I hadn’t done my taxes in 3 years, so when I got my return this year, I had enough money to purchase the Craft Robo Pro CE5000-40.  It’s probably the most expensive thing I’ve ever purchased, but I truly feel it was a wise investment.  It’s definitely the key to producing affordable digitally decorated polyhedral lanterns.  I like it a lot because I don’t have to manually move the laser eye around much at all, it just finds all the registration marks on its own…well, not perfectly…it does fail to read them sometimes or it will cut out the image unevenly sometimes.  I think that’s mostly because of the ever-so-slight wrinkle of the laminated paper.  At first I was only getting an accurate cut about half the time, but now I’m batting more like +90%.  I found holding the page to the machine — especially when it’s reading — has improved this average greatly.   

I used the machine for the first time to cut out some lanterns as featured at the OM festival. The lanterns at this stage still contained velcro tabs to hold them together.  You can see the perforation the cutter makes for a clean fold illustrated well here (thanks to Scott Sutherland of http://livingincolor.net), more photos of OM posted on Flickr

Although they looked pretty crisp, the velcro glue back was sticking to things and the staples that held the velcro firmly in place was catching on underlying velcro tabs when the panels were stacked.  However, at the time I was just happy to rid myself of the many troubles I had with double-sided tape, packing tape, hot glue, pipe cleaners, all sketchy to say the least.

While I did not have too much trouble putting together the lanterns made with SlideTabs, I had yet to subject the general public to their construction.   Someone requested to buy one of my lanterns after seeing them at OM and I offered to put it up for them while visiting Ottawa last week.  They offered to help me put it together, and in proceeding, seemed to find it rather frustrating.  The lantern they got had already been constructed and deconstructed for a feature at another festival.  Another construction revealed lamination peeling up at the edges of the tabs.  It turns out that the lamination does not stick very strongly to black toner, as it melts at high temperatures (while it goes through the hot laminator).  I had very little trouble with this while I was hand-cutting my lanterns (without SlideTabs) even though I often cut along a black edge .  It was an unpleasant surprise to find my product was no longer very user-friendly nor stable while installing it for a friend :(

Though I got the lantern up fine in the end, I felt kind of bad about our exchange after returning home … and so it was back to the drawing board.  I quickly realized I could solve the peeling problem by making the edges of the tabs white so the laminate would stick to the paper and not peel away.  However, I was still feeling uncomfortable about the difficulty of using the SlideTabs V2 design, even without the peeling.  The pyramids of the lanterns were occasionally popping open at their tabbed edges as well.  Thus, I modified the cut lines to use SlideTabs V1, and now the pyramids were both easier to assemble and more robust.

Before this improvement, I was having to add a support pyramid to the wire as seen here :

They are not really necessary anymore with the implementation of the SlideTabs V1, which is a relief.  I did manage to cut the support pyramids out with my cutting machine, but I had to push down the cutting head with my hand, which was tricky and perhaps dangerous (for my SpaceRobo, that is).  

The greatest breakthrough in SpaceCraft Engineering came while I was returning home from Ottawa on a bus.  I was pondering the question: “how could I make a tab that could replace the velcro ?”  The first doodle seemed like a stab in the dark, but I had to know if it would work, so I just kept tracing the shape with a pen until I could peel it out of the page and made a second one to see if they would connect.  Seen here is the artifact of my discovery:

I had some satisfactory results, so when I got home, I drafted something for my cutter.  After one trial and error, a slight tweak on the original design proved to work wonders.  I set about using some old laminated designs that I couldn’t run through my machine to build the first paper-only Cosmic SpaceCraft Lantern.  This is it !

Its very strong, very crisp, and its so much more fun to put together.  I can barely imagine them being any more perfect !

This also means that there is a possibility of making eco-friendly lanterns with soy inks screen-printed on some nice natural cardstock paper.  I have yet to determine whether there would be a market for them as compared to the colourful but plasticized digital designs.  Your input would be greatly appreciated.  Now that my R & D phase is nearly complete, it will be time to start doing some market research soon.

But for now I am busily converting all my models designs to this new tab system to be subjected to the ultimate test, star-fishing  !  There’s nothing like a pack of wild kids reaching for the stars to wreak havoc on any weak links in the SpaceCraft Engineering design.  You see, I sometimes take the lanterns for walks (mostly out to their exhibits), dangling them from a tree branch raised high in the sky.  It’s like a new form of street art :-P  “Catch the Star” proved to be a rather entertaining game for the young ones at a special event once so perhaps I’m due for another ‘test drive’ with my latest prototypes.

Admittedly… perhaps I “jumped the gun” a bit on advertising my Cosmic SpaceCraft Lanterns.  I recall putting the earliest “catalogue” out with $ signs this May on my blog and recently launched a new website with price tag on it too.  For over a year now, I have not been soliciting sales of my lanterns much due to a (waning) lack of confidence in their construction.  Since last year’s festival season, many people have expressed a general desire to purchase my lanterns, but only a handful have followed through to seal the deal.  I haven’t had any crash landing reports from my customers, but I’m glad that many folks’ plans to support my business have been delayed until now because I want the best for my customers.  Within a couple of weeks, all models should be tested and ready for purchase (or trade if you will).  This is the culmination of years of tireless tinkering…. it sure feels good to be a maker !  May I be one with the greatest of such.

3 weeks without home internet put my web development efforts (on a desktop computer) to a crawl, however, I will soon have a real web page rather than just a bunch of scattered web accounts…. things are coming together !

Being internet-free gave me some time to work on some new designs for some of my models.  By rendering several different colours of the same fractal all at once, I am able to offer more variety in a fraction of the time by leaving the fractals to render while I’m away (each one can take 45-60 minutes).  Then like magic, my computer scripts pump out all the new models with each image applied, poof !

Here they are:

From Star Tetrahedron Models

From Star Tetrahedron Models

From Star Tetrahedron Models

From Star Tetrahedron Models

We can also put the same image, on a different form:

From Cumulated Icosahedron (Spikey) Models

From Cumulated Icosahedron (Spikey) Models

From Cumulated Icosahedron (Spikey) Models

From Cumulated Icosahedron (Spikey) Models

From Great Rhombihexacron Models

From Great Rhombihexacron Models

From Great Rhombihexacron Models

From Great Rhombihexacron Models

And finally, my favourite effects of 3D kaleidoscoping thus far, which has gotten me thinking about making other more “rounded” shapes:

From Earth Grid Dome Models

From Earth Grid Dome Models

From Earth Grid Dome Models

From Earth Grid Dome Models

All these images are just on my Picasaweb account, however, there’s no simple way to view the images in a list by their recency so this is the best way to keep folks up to date on the product line.   You can browse ALL the models by shape on my catalogue page.    

With only 3 flavours to choose from, the Rhombicosacron is just screaming to be decorated in myriad ways, so stay tuned for further updates in model selections ;)

Sidenote to groupies: please proceed to Sundari festival this weekend where The Playful Geometer’s Cosmic SpaceCrafts will be featured in their most suitable element… the chill stage … which is both stages

I’m pleased to announce the development of a new SpaceCraft Lantern Catalogue featuring all of the models available for purchase.  I was able to integrate a simple Paypal store gadget onto the Google Page where the catalogue now resides so you can buy them directly from the catalogue. 

If you’re a computer geek, you might appreciated that I did this with the help of some computer programming that will make it very easy to maintain a constantly updated list of models and their flavours (if not, enjoy the pretty stuff :-P ).

With the help of a GIMP python plugin script, now I can, with the click of a button, replace the white background of all rendered models in a folder with a starry background. This is the batch plugin:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import math
from gimpfu import *
import glob

def batch_spacecraft_backing( file_pattern):
file_list=glob.glob(file_pattern)
file_list.sort()
for file_name in file_list:
image = pdb.gimp_file_load(file_name, file_name)
craftLayer = pdb.gimp_image_get_active_layer(image)
pdb.gimp_layer_add_alpha(craftLayer)
pdb.gimp_fuzzy_select(craftLayer, 1, 1, 0, 2, True, True, 5, False)
pdb.gimp_edit_clear(craftLayer)
starsLayer = pdb.gimp_file_load_layer(image, “/home/cosmo/Pictures/Flames/Renders/stars01-01.png”)
image.add_layer(starsLayer, 1)
if starsLayer.width != image.width or starsLayer.height != image.height:
pdb.gimp_layer_scale(starsLayer, image.width, image.height, False)
mergedLayer = pdb.gimp_image_merge_visible_layers( image, 0)
pdb.file_png_save_defaults(image, image.active_layer , file_name, file_name)

register(
“batch_spacecraft_backing”, “”, “”, “”, “”, “”,
/Xtns/Languages/Python-Fu/SpaceCrafting/_Batch Spacecraft Backing”, “”,
[(PF_STRING, "file_pattern", "file_pattern", "*.png"), ],
[],
batch_spacecraft_backing
)

main()

As a user of Ubuntu Linux, I added a simple shell script file to the ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts folder containing

#!/bin/sh
gimp -d -f –no-interface –batch ‘(python-fu-batch-spacecraft-backing RUN-NONINTERACTIVE “*.png”)’

Now all I have to do is right-click inside the folder with the models, and go scripts->spacecraft-backing and it converts all images in that folder for me (I could just run the second line in the terminal inside the proper folder though).

I then run a python script which scans my hard drive for any new models and/or their associated flavours and uploads them to Picassa using the Google Data API.  In the spirit of Open Source, it goes:

import gdata.photos.service
import os

def convertFilenameToTitle(afilename):
    return afilename.replace(“.png”,  “”).replace(“_”, ” “).title()
   
username = ‘cosmo.guffa@gmail.com’
gd_client = gdata.photos.service.PhotosService()
gd_client.email = username
gd_client.password = ‘****’
gd_client.source = ‘exampleCo-exampleApp-1′
gd_client.ProgrammaticLogin()

albumIDs = {}
albums = gd_client.GetUserFeed(user=username)
for album in albums.entry:
    if album.rights.text != ‘private’:
        print ‘title: %s, number of photos: %s, id: %s’ % (album.title.text,
        album.numphotos.text, album.gphoto_id.text)
        albumIDs[album.title.text] = album.gphoto_id.text
       
spacecraftModelsDir = “/home/cosmo/Pictures/0~Spacecrafts~0/0~SpaceCraftEngine~0/CGImodels/”

folderList = os.listdir(spacecraftModelsDir)
folderList = [i for i in folderList if os.path.isdir(spacecraftModelsDir+ i)  ]

#access each model folder
for folder in folderList:
    targetFolder = spacecraftModelsDir + folder + “/BackedRender/”
    fileList = os.listdir(targetFolder)
    folderList = [i for i in folderList if not os.path.isdir(targetFolder+i)  ]
    albumTitle = folder + ” Models”
   
    #add album for folder if it doesn’t exist
    if not albumTitle in albumIDs :
            thisAlbum = gd_client.InsertAlbum(title=albumTitle,  summary=’3D renderings of the ‘ + folder +” and its associated flavours available for purchase from The Playful Geometer’s Cosmic SpaceCraft Lantern Collection, see http://cosmic-spacecrafts.blogspot.com for more info on SpaceCraft Engineering.”)
            albumIDs[albumTitle]=thisAlbum.gphoto_id.text
   
    #generate a list of image filenames already in album
    photos = gd_client.GetFeed(‘/data/feed/api/user/%s/albumid/%s?kind=photo’ % ( username, albumIDs[albumTitle]) )
    photoFilelist = []
    for photo in photos.entry:
        photoFilelist.append(photo.title.text)
   
   
    for file in fileList:
        #if photo in folder doesn’t exist in album, upload it
        fileTitle = convertFilenameToTitle(file)
        if not file in photoFilelist:
            album_url = ‘/data/feed/api/user/%s/albumid/%s’ % (username, albumIDs[albumTitle])
            gd_client.InsertPhotoSimple(album_url, file, fileTitle,    targetFolder+file, content_type=’image/png’)

I also wrote a script to take every fractal for a given model, add a border around it, and generate the ‘net’ for the shape (the flat image which folds into a component pyramid).  Lastly, I’ve figured out how to automatically generate the CGI polyhedral models given a folder full of bordered tiles using Blender’s python scripting.  Intense geekery !  Programming has never been more useful !