Drawing a Buckyball in Excel

Since, according to Google, it is the 25th anniversary of the Buckyball, I thought I would draw one in Excel.

A quick search found a list of coordinates here: Chemistry resources

The problem then was, how to connect them.  The information was probably somewhere at the same site as the coordinates, but not in a form I could understand, so I pasted the coordinates into Strand7, and connected the nodes by trial and error, until I got what I wanted.  The list of node connections could then easily be copy and pasted into Excel:

Buckyball coordinates and connections

It was then a simple matter to paste the coordinates and connection details onto my Plotxyz spreadsheet, press the Draw button, and hey presto – one Buckyball:


The plotxyz spreadsheet, including Buckyball details, can be downloaded from PlotBuckyBall.zip

Edit Sunday 9:00 PM Sydney time:

Since it is still just Buckyball day somewhere on the globe I thought I’d share a few more images.

The buckyball consists of 90 edges, 60 long ones (1.453 angstroms) and 30 short ones (1.367 angstroms). These form 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons.  The pentagons have all long edges, and the hexagons have alternating short and long edges.  To make this difference clearer I have coloured the long edges green and the shorter ones red.  In addition, to enhance the 3D effect, I have used a heavier line for the edges facing the viewer.  Here are the results:

Buckyball viewed from a distance

Close up view

This entry was posted in Drawing, Excel, Maths and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Drawing a Buckyball in Excel

  1. Jon says:

    Pretty awesome.


  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Drawing a Buckyball in Excel | Newton Excel Bach, not (just) an Excel Blog -- Topsy.com

  3. worddreams says:

    Reminds me of trying to create a dodecahedron for my daughter’s classroom play. OMG, that was a mess. It’s amazing what can be found online.


  4. Rob van Gelder says:

    I did something similar a while back. Back in my Amiga 500 days it was a common demo effect to draw 3d shapes. Of course I had to try in Excel!


  5. dougaj4 says:

    Rob – very nice. I thought about animating mine but didn’t get round to it. It’s good to have the example.

    Looking at your code reminds me that I really must tidy up mine in my plotting program as well, as its suffering from a bad case of bloat.


  6. govizworld says:

    this is just brilliant!

    helps me a lot .. in Group Theory for Chemistry


  7. Pingback: Daily Download 11: Perspective Projection | Newton Excel Bach, not (just) an Excel Blog

  8. mindOnion says:

    Hi dougaj4,

    I really enjoyed your other post using plotxy to draw the bat skull in excel. Just wanted to play around with this one, too. It seems as if “PlotBuckyBall.xlsb” for the buckyball is not available anymore. Could you please reupload it?

    Thanks a lot!


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