Buckminster-Fuller Mashup - Lasercut and 3D Printed Jitterbug Globe




About: Retired scientist messing around with making things to keep myself entertained

Buckminster-Fuller was a 20th Century polymath mainly working in Architecture and Design - a previous instructable has shared how to make Buckminster-Fuller's Dymaxion world projection as a globe https://www.instructables.com/id/Dymaxion-Earth/ which uses the 20 flat faces of an icosahedron

I decided for the Remix competition to build from this and do a mash up incorporating another idea from Buckminster-Fuller of the Jitterbug Transformation (there is a really good explanation of what this is and some images/video here https://beachpackagingdesign.com/boxvox/the-jitterbug-atom-a-polyhedral-pack)

Step 1: The Basic Dymaxion Model

My Dymaxion model differs a bit from the original in that it is all laser cut so I've worked with a slightly simplified outline of the coasts so as to not get charring when you have lots of little island chains and I made small angled supports to hold the vertices together neatly. I did a small series of these showing different aspects of geology, history or science so you can just make out in the finished model some pathways showing likely human migrations as we spread over the world from our African origins

Step 2: Making Other Platonic Solid Map Projections

I was really lucky to find a paper and work by a Netherlands based group who looked at a whole host of ways to project the world onto flat surfaces https://www.win.tue.nl/~vanwijk/myriahedral/

The professor was super nice but unfortunately didn't have the original graphics from the paper so I spent a bit (a lot) of time recreating the projections for different platonic solids. shown here is one on a tetrahedron

Step 3: Making the Octahedral Map Projection

Using GIMP image software and a bit of maths I managed to produce a globe that works on an octahedron and then laser cut this rounding the points and adding holes for hinges

*edit* The file I've provide has both the map projection and the faces as vectors so I sent the file to the laser cutter twice. Once to etch the outlines of the map at high speed/low power (I used 100% speed, 10% power) and the second time to cut the faces at lower speed/High power (20% speed, 100% power). Depending on your set-up you might want to break it into two files, layers or just adjust the line widths accordingly

Step 4: 3D Printing Maraldi Angle - Dreher Constant Dihedral Hinges

I made some hinges in tinkercad with a constant 109.5 degree angle, 3D printed and bolted these through the appropriate corners (everything is sized to work with M5 bolts as per https://www.screwfix.com/p/easyfix-button-head-socket-screws-stainless-steel-m5-x-12mm-50-pack/8341t) and retained with an additional nut on the inside

Step 5: The Final Model

Collapsed down the octahedron shows the world with landmasses etc. but if you rotate the faces it expands and collapses symmetrically as per the video - I'm not on Vimeo or Youtube but you can see it in action on my instagram at https://www.instagram.com/p/BuWQbzAHfTJ/

Files are as attached and sized for 3mm plywood

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7 Discussions


4 weeks ago

Great project! I am using it as an example to talk about parametric design, modular design, patterns, hopefully talk about emergency disaster relief shelter in a design technology class. Thank you.

1 reply

Reply 4 weeks ago

Thanks Jacob - love that you've built it and finding it a useful resource. I'm busy writing a follow up which gives more references and idea that build on this geometry which might be useful if you're thinking about things like shelters. Hopefully have it written up and finalised today or next week.


Question 5 weeks ago

I’d love to build this it’s just great I’ve got an adventurer3 I’ve pretty much got it all figured out? See I’ve had a stroke and get confused, if I can print it out will the map be proud of the backing cause that’s wat I’d like maybe even in two colours say white for the backing and green for the actual map. I use polarcloud mostly anyway thanks for your time best regards good luck hope you win! Regards
Chris Bell.

1 answer

Answer 5 weeks ago

Hi there, when I did it the map was all just an etched line on the surface so didn’t stand proud. I had a go at adding it as a raised surface but lost too many small islands which either burned up or dropped through the cutter bed.

If you want to do two layers I’d suggest simplifying the world map by deleting all but the biggest areas of land, etching the surface so you get a clear indication of where they all need to be stuck down and then cutting the land out separately.

If you want colour I can recommend just painting before you screw it altogether - image attached is a geological map of North East England which combines laser cutting, etching and painting with slightly thinned waterborne acrylic model paint.

This’d probably make for a nice version of the model & thanks for your best wishes


7 weeks ago

This is fantastic. If you wanted, you could add your instagram gif as a photo to one of your steps. That will increase the number of people who will see how cool this really is! : )

2 replies

Reply 7 weeks ago

Hopefully that works with a couple of gifs now - thanks again