When Rose Thun ’90 comes home from her day job managing software development in Maryland, she fires up one of the 3-D printers in her home studio. She spends evenings creating sculptures, bowls, rings, and other small objects—many of them with intricate mathematical designs that would be nearly impossible to carry off with traditional manufacturing techniques.
“Three-dimensional printing, or additive manufacturing, allows you to develop hardware in an agile way,” says Thun, a materials scientist and admitted 3-D printing fanatic. “You can move from an idea to a prototype, and often to a final object, in hours instead of months. You can adjust the design of your object quickly and iterate as many times as necessary.”
Thun’s most popular designs are related to complex geometries, often featuring interlocking pieces and nesting designs. They include an allotrope bowl— whose design incorporates five forms of carbon microstructures—and amplituhedron jewelry, based on a recent geometric structure discovery in particle physics that simplifies Fermi equations into a “quantum jewel.”
Thun has developed 3-D printed objects since 2003. Her designs have been featured on Shapeways and other high-profile additive manufacturing websites. She also has taught an open source design tools course at 3D Maryland, a project of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, and has begun exhibiting her work