Modelling Sea Shells
Modelling seashells is a problem that has interested biologists, mathematicians and computer scientists for over two centuries. Biologists can compare different shells and find what they all have in common. mathematicians can formalize these common characteristics, and computer scientists can use all this previous work to simulate existing shells.
Until now, programmers could only represent seashell (with their patterns) in two dimensions. But now, with the help of 3D-printing, the computing power of standard computers, and the availability of open-source software, every one can explore the universe of virtual seashells.
I wrote programs in Python (to be used as scripts in Blender) to create synthetic seashells. The programs are still ‘noisy’, and need to be cleaned before to be published, and the seashells are still a little bit too big and heavy, I am working on simplifying the whole creation process. Nevertheless, I join the vrml files, so you can either visualize the shell in 3D viewers like nettfab, meshviewer or other programs, and even 3D-print them if you have access to a Zcorp Project 460 or equivalent.
A paper presented at Bridges 2017 gives some explanation and historic background of this project :
Imitation of Conus Marmoreus
For the moment, there is no correlation between the shell shape and its decoration. I am just in an exploratory phase of the work.
The zip file contains the vrml description, which can be printed in ‘full color sandstone’ material (Zcorp Project 450 3D printer)
If you put this model at to your ear, you can hear the see !
To my knowledge, this pattern does not belong to any existing seashell. Nevertheless, it was generated by exactly the same algorithm used for the other models.
Waiting to be printed
This set of nine models are waiting until I can access the 3D printer: they are all scaled, verified, and should print without problem.
On my shelf
This shelf contains quite all the models printed so far. Some are misses: the redish ones have the good shape, but there was a problem with the ink cartridge.