Math Monday: Elliptical One-Sheet Furniture

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4021 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4021 Articles

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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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An interesting design exercise is to cut and fold furniture from one sheet of plywood. Peter Meijer has explored families of elliptical tables that are folded from exactly one rectangular sheet, with no unused remainder.

In one family of experiments, he systematically varies the possible leg parameters, to search for optimal arrangements.

Here are renderings of some of the elliptical table designs he found to be most promising. I’ll be curious to see someone actually make these.

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See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns