Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Find file Copy path
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
32 lines (17 sloc) 1.73 KB


Crystallography Open Database meets Axidraw (, drawing the structure of the latest addition to the COD on a sheet of paper.

Crystallography Open Database is an open access collection of crystal structures of organic, inorganic, metal-organic compounds and minerals, created and maintained by scientists who wanted to make this data accessible for all. As of 2018-02-12, there were 391176 entries at the COD. It is an example of vast scientific databases whose entries are rarely, if ever, seen by human eyes. I wanted to demonstrate the expansion of human knowledge in an immediate, physical way, rendering the quiet and hidden labour of science visible.

Huge thanks to Saulius Gražulis, @KaMykolas and ffwd for their help with crystallographic software, Axidraw and sed respectively.

The script is pretty self-explanatory. You will need Jmol, ImageMagick, axibot and potrace to run it.

Created during Science Hack Day Vilnius 2018. alt text

An example of a random structure: alt text

Same picture, inverted and converted to black and white using ImageMagick:

alt text

Vectorised output (using potrace): alt text

The structure, drawn on paper: alt text