Watch this brief clip of Dan Garcia graphically demonstrating
recursion in BYOB (Build Your Own Blocks), a variant of Scratch:
Here is an example of a tree structure a student created in an earlier
instance of this course:
Click for larger version.
- This garcia.py file is Python code
inspired by Dan's "vee" program. Try running it. If you need to
install Python first, see the Software
Setup page for instructions.
- This treegen.py file is Python code that
generates the outline of a tree that can be laser cut. It also
generates a DXF file. But it uses only one terminal shape: a square.
- The treegen program requires the dxfwrite package. Just unzip it into the
directory containing your own code.
- View your generated DXF file in Inkscape to check it for
- Modify the treegen code by adding three new terminal shapes. One
of these must be a ring (donut). Note: the inner ring of the donut
must be a different color so that it can be cut before the tree
outline. You must use an arc primitive to draw your arc; do
not try to approximate it with a polygon. The other terminal shapes
can be a five-pointed star, a hexagon, an arrowhead, or whatever you
- Note: the Tkinter canvas and the DXF canvas use different
coordinate systems. Both the scaling and the positive angle direction
are different. To help you convert between the separate
coordinate systems, we've created a helper function named 'dxf_angle'
that accepts as input the angle you would have used to draw in Tkinter
and returns the angle you should use to draw in DXF.
- Now engage your creativity: you can change the size or number or
angles of the branches, set minimum and maximum depth values for the
tree, have branch thickness vary with depth, or do whatever else you
like to make this project your own. But you cannot use this freedom
to "dumb down" the assignment; you still must have at least four
different terminal shapes, at least one of them must involve an arc,
and at least one must involve a hollow shape. (The donut satisfies
- Make two trees on the laser cutter, one with stand type A and one
with stand type B. Each tree must have at least 5 terminal
nodes. Share plastic with your classmates so that the trees can be of
What to Hand In
- Hand in your Python code and your two DXF files via AutoLab.
- Post a picture of your assembled two-component tree to Piazza in
the thread provided for that purpose.
- Also bring your assembled tree to class on the due date to show off.
- 7 points for correct Python code
- 2 points for generating trees with at least 5 terminal nodes and complementary slots, correctly colored
- 1 point for cutting the plastic and posting a picture of the assembled tree to Piazza
Back to 15-294 course home page
Last modified: Mon Nov 7 21:28:33 EST 2016