3D-printed Networks

3D-printed Networks

I am working on creating 3D models of social network graphs of co-authorship, citation and Twitter diffusion networks to 3D print them. I will be using the 3D printers at the University of Ottawa Department of Visual Arts’ Atelier coFab. 

To my knowledge, this would be the first time that scholarly networks will be printed in 3D. I think it will provide a unique way to analyze and perceive complex relationships between entities such as authors in a collaboration network or publications citing each other. The 3D-printed networks are expected to represent a tangible and fun way to approach complex information.

I found code to create 3D social network graphs for the igraph package here:

3D Social Networks

Speaking of 3D data visualization, I came across this amazing 3D chart from the 1950s showing electricity use in Manchester between 1951 and 1954. The chart was made out of 675 card cut-outs “showing demand by the hour, day, month and year” in Manchester (Cliff & Rinkinen, 2018, p. 1).

3D load model of electricity use (side view). http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/180905/007

3D load model of electricity use (front view). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/180905/017


Cliff, A. & Rinkinen, J. (2018). Visualising electricity demand: use and users of a 3D chart from the 1950s. Science Museum Group Journal, Spring 2018(9),180905. doi: 10.15180/180905

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