By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

Math_Monday_banner02_600px.jpg

Pipe cleaners are easily woven into flat lattice patterns, but spherical weaves are more challenging. Here is a good exercise in spherical thinking that is much harder than it looks. The thirty pipe cleaners each have the same shape and the same relationship to their neighbors.

pipe cleaners 1 Math Monday: Spherical Weaving with Pipe Cleaners

The pattern is indicated in the diagram below, where the black triangles correspond to the faces of an unfolded icosahedron and the red curves are the paths of the pipe cleaners. If you cut out twenty of these triangles and tape them together to make an icosahedron, you’ll have a template for the weave.

pipe cleaners template Math Monday: Spherical Weaving with Pipe Cleaners

Detailed instructions for making your own spherical patterns are online here.

More:
See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


Related
blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Supplies at Maker Shed

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28,480 other followers