By Noah W. | 3DP4E
A group of Disney Researchers have just developed a way to determine the exact distribution of mass of an object in order to control its center of gravity, and from that, 3D print asymmetrical tops that can spin despite their irregular shapes.
Basically, tops work because they have symmetrical shapes with evenly distributed mass, and can be spun fast enough to allow the object's momentum to be temporarily more powerful than gravity.
By playing with these simple physics, Disney Researchers Moritz Baecher and Bernd Bickel, along with Emily Whiting and Olga Sorkine-Hornung at ETH University, have created an algorithm that can tweak the meshes of a 3D object to create hollow spaces that counteract the uneven weight distribution caused by an irregular shape. The tweaked 3D object can then be 3D printed will spin just as any traditional top.
The algorithm is also able to calculate how an object should be printed, determining if it needs different, heavier materials placed throughout, for example, casting a piece of the object out of metal in order to futz with the mass enough to make the object spin despite being asymmetrical.
Aside from making interesting tops, the algorithm can be used optimize mass distribution in stationary objects to construct seemingly gravity defying statues and structures. You can read more about Disney’s research on the Disney Research website, and the official paper on their experiments here.
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