Math Monday: How to Make a Pencil Star

Craft & Design Science
Math Monday: How to Make a Pencil Star

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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We’ve seen mathematical pencil constructions in past Math Mondays columns. (Why go to the hardware store to buy dowels with all those shiny pencils just sitting there in the office supply cabinet waiting for someone to make things with them?) Here’s a lovely new design by Cory Poole. It is a five-pointed star assembled from eighty pencils.

star

There are five identical 16-pencil units around a central axis. Two units are shown below, before assembling. Each has the form of a hyperbolic paraboloid based on a four-edge cycle from a regular tetrahedron.

star

If you’d like to make your own, Cory provides step-by-step construction instructions.

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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. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn

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