Spinning tops and yo-yos have long fascinated cultures around the world with their unexpected, graceful motions that seemingly elude gravity. We present an algorithm to generate designs for spinning objects by optimizing rotational dynamics properties. As input, the user provides a solid 3D model and a desired axis of rotation. Our approach then modifies the mass distribution such that the principal directions of the moment of inertia align with the target rotation frame. We augment the model by creating voids inside its volume, with interior fill represented by an adaptive multi-resolution voxelization. The discrete voxel fill values are optimized using a continuous, nonlinear formulation. Further, we optimize for rotational stability by maximizing the dominant principal moment. We extend our technique to incorporate deformation and multiple materials for cases where internal voids alone are insufficient. Our method is well-suited for a variety of 3D printed models, ranging from characters to abstract shapes. We demonstrate tops and yo-yos that spin surprisingly stably despite their asymmetric appearance.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!