A technique discovered in 1939 can be used to build a device that is driven by standard circular motion (as in a drill press) and drills exact square holes. This device is quite different from the classic design by Watts, which uses a Reuleaux triangle and drills a hole that is almost, but not exactly, square. We describe the device in detail, deriving the equations needed to make a computer simulation. Then we investigate the extension to other polygons and show how the basic idea can be combined with some knowledge of envelopes to produce a device that traces out an exact hexagon.
The College Mathematics Journal is designed to enhance classroom learning and stimulate thinking regarding undergraduate mathematics. CMJ publishes articles, short Classroom Capsules, problems, solutions, media reviews and other pieces. All are aimed at the college mathematics curriculum with emphasis on topics taught in the first two years.