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constant width based upon the right angled isosceles triangle. If a

cam of this shape is housed in a square hole then one point must

follow a square path as the shape is rotated.

Notice the floating chuck which applies a torsional force to the cam

yet allows it unrestricted movement in both the horizontal and

vertical directions.

Drilling Square Holes

If you like handy work and tools and sawdust and grease you might have already considered what the best

method for making square holes is.

this depends on many things like the material, the size of the hole and your budget.

With a good budget, a not too large hole and some appreciation for mathematics you will find the method

described in this entry to be the coolest.

Reuleaux Triangle

circles with origins at the vertices of an equilateral triangle is the Reuleaux Triangle. Interestingly it has

the same maximum width regardless of how it is rotated. this property was thought to be only possessed

by circles once and yet here's a simple and apt counter example.

Constant width shapes can make great manhole covers, as no orientation of the cover will let it fall

through the manhole. A few years ago Microsoft interviewers asked job applicants why manhole covers

were round and this was thought to be one of the best answers.

Another more important property of constant width shapes is that they can rotate inside parallel lines.

rotation of a Reuleaux Triangle is possible inside a square and it can encompase almost all the area of said

square with the proper parameters.

This shape created by the rotating reuleaux is about 99%

the size of the theoretical square it is trying to reproduce. Using a triangle like this a drill bit can be made

to drill nearly square holes. The difficulty lies in reproducing the path that the centroid of the R.triangle

travels in a real tool. It can be closely approximated by a superellipse |X|^r+|Y|^r= a^r and thanks to

Harry Watt you can go by the special drill.

you can also do cool things like this to get linear alternating motion from circular continuous.

one of the most interesting applications of Reuleaux triangles is the Wankel engine:

how awesome is that

engine. Pistons are kinda NSFW.

several claims in the literature claim the Reuleaux tetrahedron to be of constant width but this is not true.

a similar tetrahedronesque shape exists called Meissner Tetrahedron or body.

here's an animation

imagine a robot holding three transmitters that emit a wave in 60 degree angles ( and do not overlap)

from each other in 2d. the transmitter is spinning around hyperelliptically model a the propagation of this

wave.

"Hi my name is Franz Reuleaux. I discovered the triangle one day while shaving. I trimmed my beard like

the intersection of three circles and noticed how I could unfog a square in the bathroom mirror by rubbing

my beard circularly against the glass"

oh yea don't believe that. Even though it's a million times more amazing than Mendeleev dreaming up the

periodic table.

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