Design of the Week: Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures

By on January 18th, 2015 in Design


This week’s selection is John Edmark’s amazing Fibonacci Zoetrope sculptures. 

Artist Edmark, who also happens to teach design at Stanford, used a kind of high-speed stop-motion technique to produce 3D printed sculptures that seemingly come alive. 

They are in fact static 3D prints, but they’ve been very carefully designed such that when rotated and imaged at particular frequencies, the resulting video shows the sculpture moving in eerie ways. 

The print simply rotates on a 550rpm turntable for video capture. Edmark explains how it works: 

These are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. The placement of the appendages is determined by the same method nature uses in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotation speed is synchronized to the strobe so that one flash occurs every time the sculpture turns 137.5º—the golden angle. If you count the number of spirals on any of these sculptures you will find that they are always Fibonacci numbers.

However, in this must-watch video, Edmark set up the camera to use a shutter speed of a mere 1/4000 of second to achieve a similar result, since video capture of the strobe light approach would likely not work too well. 

Edmark also explains a bit more about how he went about producing the sculptures on an Instructables page

The process used by Edmark is remarkable in that it is able to make a solid object become alive. This effect is heightened as Edmark’s unique motion-design moves tentacle-like appendages in a rather life-like fashion. 

Via John Edmark

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!