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Mechanical Circle-Squaring

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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2009

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