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It's a toy! It's a tool! It's Mathematical!

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Project by Dave Rutan posted 12-19-2016 06:18 PM 1496 views 7 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

[Legebla en Esperanto]

This is an Trammel of Archimedes [Wikipedia link] that I made as a toy for my nephew. The kid seems to be mechanically oriented, so I thought this could serve two purposes. I made it from a scrap of my ever-decreasing walnut supply and some scraps of white oak that I found at the curb one day. The brass fittings complete the picture. I put a cleat on the back to make it easy to hold in a small hand. I finished it with boiled linseed oil.

Knowing my curious and inventive nephew, I made the toy so that it could be disassembled. I’m considering including a few replacement washers, screws, and knurled nuts. That would be a favor to his father. ;-)

I’m also considering making a larger one for myself. Actually one this size might be a nifty conversation piece for guests.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!





20 comments so far

View SirGareth's profile

SirGareth

98 posts in 1867 days


#1 posted 12-19-2016 06:30 PM

What a beautiful and thoughtful gift… you are one cool uncle, Dave!

-- Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward. - Tim, Southern California

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

10397 posts in 2534 days


#2 posted 12-19-2016 07:22 PM

It’s very good idea to teach him this way woodworking , geometric, mechanic etc.. Awesome toy.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5488 posts in 2814 days


#3 posted 12-19-2016 10:11 PM

Dave, it never ceases to amaze me how much wood you find on your curb…..! I’m going to swing by from time to time to pick up a load myself!

This a great little wonder for an inquisitive young mind. Could be that you’ve got a budding little engineer there!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1594 posts in 1855 days


#4 posted 12-19-2016 10:33 PM



What a beautiful and thoughtful gift… you are one cool uncle, Dave!

- SirGareth

When my niece was very young, I was so awesome that she wouldn’t speak to me! She turned out well too.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1594 posts in 1855 days


#5 posted 12-19-2016 10:41 PM



Dave, it never ceases to amaze me how much wood you find on your curb…..! I m going to swing by from time to time to pick up a load myself!

This a great little wonder for an inquisitive young mind. Could be that you ve got a budding little engineer there!

- Mean_Dean

There are advantages to living in a throwaway world.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5019 posts in 3020 days


#6 posted 12-19-2016 11:35 PM

Nice project Dave! That will keep him busy for a while. I made one a while back and use it to cut ovals with my router.
But your look much better than mine! :)

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View BobWemm's profile

BobWemm

2169 posts in 1593 days


#7 posted 12-20-2016 12:04 AM

Cool gift Dave.
Thanks for sharing.

Bob

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View wiser1934's profile

wiser1934

513 posts in 2814 days


#8 posted 12-20-2016 04:44 AM

i used to call this a smoke grinder. i just added a knob to the arm. nice job

-- wiser1934, new york

View TexasToddT's profile

TexasToddT

38 posts in 588 days


#9 posted 12-20-2016 08:38 AM

Beautiful craftsmanship and a great idea on so many levels.

-- TT

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1594 posts in 1855 days


#10 posted 12-20-2016 11:28 AM



i used to call this a smoke grinder. i just added a knob to the arm. nice job

- wiser1934

I’ve seen several names for these as toys, Kentucky Grinder, Do Nothing Machine… I considered adding a little knob, but I felt one less thing for wee hands to grab onto might best prevent the arm from being bent out of shape.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1594 posts in 1855 days


#11 posted 12-20-2016 11:30 AM



Beautiful craftsmanship and a great idea on so many levels.

- TexasToddT

And really, it’s fairly simple to make. I made the dovetail slots on the router as well as the matching bevels on the shuttles with a dovetail bit.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7674 posts in 1674 days


#12 posted 12-20-2016 02:10 PM

These things are pretty fascinating to play with. I thought about building one last year, Except for …
.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View BigAl98's profile

BigAl98

154 posts in 2706 days


#13 posted 12-20-2016 03:30 PM

When I was 12 or so, my father, a machinist, made me one of these similar to yours. He called it a “do nothing machine” as others have pointed out. It was many years later and after I’d been working on wood working before I found out the principal use for the machine (ie: describing ellipses). Thanks for bringing back some fond memories of my father…hope the same to you.

-- Al,New Jersey -To thine own self be true

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1594 posts in 1855 days


#14 posted 12-20-2016 03:42 PM



These things are pretty fascinating to play with. I thought about building one last year, Except for …
.

- JoeinGa

Technically, I guess we could call this an elipse jig which avoids math altogether!

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the two nails and a string meathod for drawing elipses.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1594 posts in 1855 days


#15 posted 12-20-2016 03:43 PM



When I was 12 or so, my father, a machinist, made me one of these similar to yours. He called it a “do nothing machine” as others have pointed out. It was many years later and after I d been working on wood working before I found out the principal use for the machine (ie: describing ellipses). Thanks for bringing back some fond memories of my father…hope the same to you.

- BigAl98

I’m glad this brought back some good memories for you. Nothing like a gift that gives to many!

And a thanks to all who pushed this into the Daily Top 3!

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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