The Maker Movement has led to the production of open-source 3-D printers and other manufacturing machines that allow hobbyists to design, create and produce real-world objects affordably. Now R user Ian Walker, in a post at the Psychological Statistics blog, shows how to use the R language to transform 3-D surfaces into real-world physical objects with a 3-D printer. Ever had trouble visualizing exactly what a 3-D surface looks like when constrained by a boring old 2-D monitor screen? Now you can print it, and rotate and inspect it in realspace:

Walker's open-source R code works much like the standard R persp function, but instead of translating a grid of (x,y,z) points to a mesh surface on the screen, it creates a stereolithography file for use with 3-D printers, which in turn can be used to create an object like that shown above. Now, if only I had a 3-D printer to play with…

Psychological Statistics: Visualizing data using a 3D printer (via Dirk Eddelbuettel)

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