Origami Polyhedra: The Stellated Dodecahedron Part 2

A little while ago I posted some pictures of Stellated Dodecahedra I made in origami. Here the crease patterns for them. You see, in addition to folding origami, I’ve taken an interest in diagramming, and someday I hope to publish a book of my models. But I find diagramming so laborious that I only do one model a year! (Although they do tend to be pretty complex models.) I’ve also been developing crease patterns, which is particularly useful for polyhedra and other complex subjects where there is a lot of prefolding.

I do my diagramming and CP’s in Flash, and I’m not aware of other people doing this. One reason is I use Flash a lot in my day job, so I know it and can work in it quickly. Another is that I can use to make animated diagrams and CP’s. You can see some of them on my main origami page. This is an experimental format which I am refining over time. It had its origin in the Foldinator Project. Foldinator was originally envisioned as a full-on authoring tool for modeling origami and creating printable diagrams. However, to get there is a rather major development effort. So instead I wound up with this little hacker-level tool that I use. I still hope to finish and release Foldinator someday, but I’d need to treat it like a professional software development project and devote something like 6 months to a year of full-time work to it. Ah well, maybe if I’m lucky I can do like Robert Lang and retire young to do origami full-time.

Meanwhile, you can see the various approaches for the Stellated Dodecahedron.

Here is the one made from two squares. As you can see it’s the simplest of the bunch.

Next up is the one folded from a 2:1 rectangle. This one is remarkably efficient in it’s use of paper, to the point where I had to set it into a larger area to have paper to do the joining. It’s also kind of cool because it has a sort of zigzag layout. I plan to publish an animated CP of this one shortly.

Lastly is the “classic” version, from a single square. This is foldable but very difficult. I like the CP a lot because of the way the layout maximizes the root pentagon and underlying square. Vertices of the finishes form touch 3 edges of the paper. This one would be a good for an animated CP as well.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Although Valentine’s Day was in the middle of last week, today was the much-coveted day off from work, which are rare nowadays since I just started a new job. Thank you George and Abe! I got caught up on my rest and had some good quality time with my kids and their legos. My daughter Lizzy (age 7) and I came up with this:

Happy Valentine’s day everyone! The squares represent chocolates, or candies of any conceivable variety. Lizzy also came up with this:

A house and yard with a swimming pool for her favorite Littlest Pet Shop pet, Chippy the Hamster. This kind of mirrors her online world these days. She’s really into WebKinz and just got a yard and swimming pool for her pet Buttercup, an alley cat.

Extreme Yes for Strings

If you’re anything like me, and I know I am, you’ll fondly remember Yes as one of the all-time great prog rock bands, known for their sweet harmonies and expansive, even epic compositions. Their radio-friendly sound served as a gateway prog band to turn kids on to other, weirder, edgier groups like King Crimson, and, well pretty much anything Bill Bruford has ever done.

Back in the 80’s I was in a prog rock band, Infinigon, that did our share of Yes covers. The bass player in the group was the inimitable John J. Neumann, who is also a recording artist and accomplished classical violin player. He recently completed an adaptation of Yes’s Tales From Topographic Oceans for string quartet. Unlike the original, which is a bit long and rambling, John’s version features only best parts. You can check it out here, along with a bunch of his other musical projects.


Origami Polyhedra: The Stellated Dodecahedron

As long as I can remember I’ve liked geometry.

I’ve been doing origami polyhedra for quite some time, and you can see some of the ones I’ve designed on my Origami Page. My approach is mainly from single sheet, in contrast the more common modular approach. When I first started, I thought that it was new, largely unexplored territory, and I could do something really interesting. Soon I could see it was a rich area of endeavor, but also very challenging. Around that time I met John Montroll, and he was way ahead of me down this path. In fact he was about to release a book on origami polyhedra, and was working on a second one. This was great for me, because he was eager to have people test his diagrams, and was very generous with his ideas, and I learned a lot from our discussions. On the other hand, he pretty much had the basics covered and then some, like several versions of the platonic solids, and some prisms and Archimedean solids and other shapes. So I had to go a good deal further to get into original territory.

One of my all-time favorite shapes has always been the Stellated Dodecahedron, which is the 3-D analog of the pentagram. (Which, BTW is the 4D analog of the Tetrahedron, but since no one folds 4-D origami, that’s a bit outside the scope of this discussion.) I’ve designed and attempted to fold various versions of this shape over time.

Here is a design from a single square. I actually succeeded in folding one, from a giant (24″) sheet of foil paper. It worked, but I would not call the result great in terms of the level of craft. I tried another from a smaller (14″ or so) piece of thickish (for origami) paper, but never completed it. The problem is that once you get towards the end, there are many flaps of extra paper to deal with, and the model wants to spring apart. This, combined with the limitation of having only two hands, makes it very tricky to close. I may give this design another try, but I’ve been exploring other avenues.

Last summer at the OUSA Annual Convention I was playing around with ideas for this shape again, and it occurred to me to try it from a 2:1 rectangle. It was still a single sheet, but provide more edge relative to the paper’s area, so it ought to reduce the problem of extra flaps of paper to hide. I have a design for a 2:1 icosahedron which is really efficient and easy to fold, and it didn’t take too long to come up with a regular dodecahedron, which is the base for the stellated version. When I went ahead and folded it, it realized it was so efficient that there was not enough paper to make a lock, so I’d need to go back and modify my design be setting it into a slightly larger rectangle. So I tried again. Still making the model close was a bit of a challenge. Doable, but requiring some effort.

Then over Christmas vacation, I finally had some origami time again, and this time I went for a version made from 2 squares, each of which comprise half the finished model. This is much easier to fold because you can reach inside each half as you’re making it, and the leftover flaps of paper become tabs that fit into the opposite half, nicely solving the problem of what to do with the leftover bits. At the end, the two halves lock together tightly and securely. The resulting model is quite attractive, because it’s much easier not to crush it as you’re putting it together. The examples below are made from (2 sheets each of) 6″ foil paper and 8.5″ photocopy paper.

Which brings up the question: Origami purists like to only work for a single square sheet. Which is more of a “cheat”: to use two squares or one rectangle?

Coming Soon: crease patterns for the 3 methods for Stellated Dodecahedra.

Mostly Styley

Well, I managed to get the header looking like I wanted to, but it was kind of tricky. Unlike the rest of the style stuff, which is under the control of css and various other config files, the header is under the control of some WYSIWYG tool, that has limited flexibility. If you drill down under that, looking the files on the server directly, you’ll find its a combination of an image file and a php script. So I replaced the file with one that looked like I wanted, and commented out the script, but that just made the tool auto-generate it’s idea of default header. You I had to un-bypass that and edit the script to render the header to match the header image I made. Whew, weird. It’d be better if they had an option upload a header image. Next time I get into the appearance of the blog, it’ll be to make a (fancier) custom header image. Still the site looks good for now.

Semi Styley

Well, I got about halfway thru putting together a new style. The main thing now is to get a new header graphic. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to anything in the various style and config files available that lets me affect the header in any way! Ah well I guess that’ll have to wait for another night; it’s getting late.

New Recordings

So, skipping the style issue for the time being (I mean, it’s not too bad is it? At least its pretty minimal, mainly white and grey with a bit of red. The irony wanting to get rid of rounded corners and gradients…) Anyway, I thought I’d jump in to some actual *content*. I have some new songs I’ve recorded, in period of November – December 2006. I put up a page about it, but it’s a deep link, so you’d never know unless you had something like, well, this blog to point you there.

By way of background, I play saxophone, piano, synthesizers and other instruments, and have been in many bands and musical projects over the years, doing live performances and studio recordings. Over the last few years I’ve been mainly focused on writing and recording in my home studio. This effort culminated in the release of the CD Buzzy Tonic by the Brothers Zing in summer 2006. You can get it on iTunes, CDBaby, or directly from us via PayPal. Check it out.

Since then, I’ve begun work on a new set of tracks. It’s early in the process and the nature of the follow-up is still taking shape. Maybe it will be a solo project, or another collaboration with my brother, or it might involve other musicians. I’m developing new material but that takes a while. I’ve begun recording a new original called Heat Wave, so watch this space. Meanwhile I am working on a series of covers to investigate specific issues with the recording process. Maybe they’ll end up as bonus tracks or an EP someday.

The first of these is Martha My Dear, a Beatles song off the White Album. It’s a quirky Paul song, very studio-ish in style, with a brass and string orchestra accompanying basically a piano arrangement. I wanted to see if I could map the orchestra to sounds in my own sonic palette, and I re-interpreted it as a bit more electric and synth-y. I was also interested in capturing that “natural chorus” multitrack vocal sound that the Beatles used to such great effect.

As a companion, a B-side if you will, I did a version of Letter From Home by Pat Metheny. I picked this song for a few reasons. Like Martha it’s pretty short, about 2 and a half minutes, but that’s about there the similarity ends. It’s an jazz ballad, ethereal, yearning, and melancholy. I used to play a few Metheny tunes back in the day with Event Horizon, my jazz group, so this is also a bit of a nod to that. On a technical level, I wanted to see how proTools handled a tune that was completely rubato, and with meter changes, with it’s automatic beat tracking tools. It turned out to work OK, but a fair amount of manual assist was required. Now that I have the gist of it, the next one will go quicker.



Hello everyone and welcome to my site. Now that zingman.com is ten years old, I thought it was time to do something a bit more “Web 2.0” while it’s still trendy. So I stared a blog.

By way of introduction, let me just mention that I am a software developer and designer, and also a musician and origami artist. The idea behind this blog is all about the creative process, and resulting works. I want to provide an entry point to pages that change elsewhere on my site, for example when I post something new, such as songs I’ve made or origami models, or interactive software, art work or whatever. Also I want to comment on the creative process of my work as it evolves, and hopefully get some interesting discussions going on. On top of that I will probably be some of the usual bloggish commentary on random things that I see on the street, or in the media, or that are a part of my life and times.

But first things first. As you might have noticed, the look of this page has nothing to do with the design of anything else on my site. So now that the blog engine is up and running, the next order of business is to make it look like it belongs on my site. I hope to do this in fairly short order, but then again…

Attentive readers might observer that I started this blog last November around Thanksgiving, and this really blog 2.0 for me. So here is what happened. I started the first blog using Blogger, and set it up to uploaded the blog into my website. I got as far as Hello World with that, and then had to confront the style question. Blogger provided a bunch of preset styles to choose from, none of which was satisfactory, and all of them overdetermined, like a room covered in ornate wallpaper when all you want is white and blank. My own aesthetic in these things generally runs toward minimalistic, which often has additional virtue of being simpler to implement. So I went ahead and started hand-editing my own style sheet. This is something I can do, but it’s a bit of a drag, so it took a few weeks to get there, and around Christmastime I was ready to debut my new blog. But then Blogger upgraded their software and I got locked out of my account; they seem to have lost my username and password. Oy!

So here I am starting over which WordPress, which has the great advantage of being completely self-contained on my server, without relying on some 3rd party. So that’s cool, and it’s off to a good start. Now back to the style question. Looks like there are some style editing tools available , so we’ll see how that goes…