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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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Speaking of office supplies, a box of mailing tubes showed up in our Museum of Mathematics office and I couldn’t resist making a geometric construction. All you need to make your own copy are thirty tubes and sixty rubber bands. All the tubes are surrounded similarly. Each touches four others, approximately outlining an icosidodecahedron.

mailing tubes Math Monday: Mailing Tubes

I showed this to Keith Hoffman and he made the same structure from 510 Lego studs and 60 tiny clear rubber bands.

legotubes hoffman Math Monday: Mailing Tubes

What can you use to make this structure?

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.


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