No two snowflakes are alike, not even these computer-generated versions….
James Adam, the project’s creator, says the site grew out of a last-minute decorating frenzy for the team’s annual mulled wine party. “It only occurred to me the day before the party, as I was tidying up our table of soldering gear, that we really ought to do something with the printers to mark the occasion,” he says, “The idea of printing out ‘artisanal algorithmic snowflakes’ occurred to me late in the evening.”
The project is based on their Printer software, which is designed for a federated network of tiny printers. “It’s all based on creating small webpages which can be sent for printing on any connected printer,” says Adam.
The snowflakes are drawn using HTML5 canvas. Each of the six spokes of the snowflake have five bits that branch out and the properties of each of those are controlled by three random numbers. Once a spoke is generated, it’s repeated by rotating the canvas 60 degrees five times for a total of six spokes. Then, four pairs of hexagons, also controlled by random numbers are added on top. Altogether, you get a snowflake.