Er, why couldn't it make a curve?
Originally Posted by Shoddy
If I remember correctly, mathematically and computationally a true
curve has an infinite number of data points. A computer simply cannot calculate a true curve as it MUST subdivide the curve into a set number of data points. Otherwise the algorithm trying to describe the curve would just calculate off into infinity.
So the computer chops the curve up into pieces (data points, pixels, etc) and calculates where each point is in space. If you have a low number of data points, to the human eye you end up with a sad looking curve made up of a small number of facets. But this curve can be calculated very quickly.
If you have a large number of data points, to the human eye the curve appears to be smoother, something closer to a true curve. But calculating all those data points costs you in time and processing. So you have to come up with a comfortable medium.
In 3D space you calculate the position of polygons. The more polygons you use to describe an object, say, a sphere, the smoother and more "round" the sphere appears. The fewer number of polygons you calculate to describe that sphere the more "rough" or faceted that sphere appears.
Zoom in on a high-polygon count sphere and it gets more "rough" or faceted again.
This is why graphics cards put so much attention on how many polys they can calculate per second. If it cannot calculate many polys per second, you get a Minecraft character walking across the screen. If it can calculate billions of polys per second you get a much more complex, detailed and realistic looking character walking across the screen.
So in the case of this 3D printer... what is its maximum resolution? What is the smallest dot of materiel it can deposit on your model? This will define how well it can print out a "curve". Can it print out individual atoms? Awesome, you'll get great "curves". But it will take forever to print and, zoom in enough, you'll still see a rough surface.