Feedback loops: 3d printing + 3d tomography

One of the great experiments I got to do working at a physics lab was do a little art project involving our home built CT scanner and our 3D printer. We usually use our CT scanner to investigate the packing properties of geometric shapes. Here is one of our reconstructions, together with 3D Voronoi tessellation to investigate local packing fraction. 

But I decided to use our 3D reconstructions for a different purpose: I wanted to investigate the 'bias' of our reconstruction system. That is, our packings are made of discrete particles, but segmenting those particles is hard, especially for things more complicated than spheres. So I took this bias towards morphing all the particles together, and used it to print out a model of the packing as a single block. Below is a thin slice of the model, printed out through our big Objet printer. These aren't renderings, they are photographs!

Here is another way to see these models. Instead of slicing them vertically, I took a 'digital apple coring' mask to the stack of images to create a hollowed out outer shell. I think it would make a rather beautiful lamp. You can see the small bridges between the particles which is a result of the reconstruction. Oh and these particles individually are the shape of a Dolos, it looks like an 'H' with the two verticals twisted 90 degrees off each other.