Who uses trig in the workshop?

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Forum topic by Josh posted 06-25-2010 09:06 PM 2341 views 0 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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102 posts in 2446 days

06-25-2010 09:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question math

As I get into this hobby, I’m finding myself re-learning trigonometry. As an example, last week when I was putting together my planter box I wanted to cut each post at an angle on all for sides so that it would look cooler. I knew I wanted the top of the post to have a 1”X1” square and I knew that I wanted to start the cut 1.5” from the top but I didn’t know at what angle I should make the cut. So I spent a day relearning how to use sin and cosine and tangent to figure out the angle i needed to meet my final requirements.

How many of you have become pretty darn proficient in math since taking up the hobby?

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

51 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3073 days

#1 posted 06-25-2010 09:08 PM

:) finally all those classes paid off!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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1310 posts in 2410 days

#2 posted 06-25-2010 11:52 PM

I use trig all the time. Perhaps a little more than average, because I do a lot of CNC work which tends to be more dependent on the number, whereas when I’m making things ‘by hand’ sometimes one of the numbers is not as vital.

I can’t say I was not proficient in it before – my science degree has a strong math backing to it – but I sure use it more often than I anticipated!

-- Lis - Michigan - -

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13524 posts in 2765 days

#3 posted 06-25-2010 11:58 PM

not me at all ,

geometry all the way !

never get’s confusing for me .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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891 posts in 2434 days

#4 posted 06-26-2010 12:02 AM

I have an engineering degree so I have an extensive background in mathematics and use trigonometry on a regular basis, got to love SOHCAHTOA or as some people pronounce it (soak a toe a). Besides I grew up a long time ago next to this guy named Pythagoras and he had this theorem…

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

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1381 posts in 3552 days

#5 posted 06-26-2010 12:24 AM

I use trig often to solve design problems.
Worst yet, I like to use radians instead of degrees.

-- 温故知新

View ChuckV's profile


2872 posts in 2951 days

#6 posted 06-26-2010 12:40 AM

I often use it as well. There are always other ways to do the same thing, but we all use what we are comfortable with. I’ve taken some woodworking workshops, and there are always these “rules of thumb” that are taught. I like to use some mathematics to verify these rules.

I recently built a half-round (really half-ellipse) table. I traced it out with a string around two nails. I used this as a quick introduction to conic sections for my young boys.

-- “And the products of wealth push you along on the bow wave of their spiritless undying selves.” ― I. Anderson

View Chuck 's profile


88 posts in 2624 days

#7 posted 06-26-2010 03:07 AM

I use calculus to determine the rate of change of my screw-ups with respect to how long I’ve been in the shop.

-- Chuck, Washington D.C.

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 2706 days

#8 posted 06-26-2010 03:19 AM

we’ve been working with a sector


View Rick's profile


8287 posts in 2457 days

#9 posted 06-26-2010 03:48 AM

I was going to Post something else here but It would appear to be insulting the Intelligence of the Posters above. (I DON’T want it to appear that way).

Josh: I read your description of what you where trying to do with the Corners of the Posts. I would of done it with 3 Items…. A small square. A ruler. A Pencil. In Less than 30 minutes. NO! I’m NOT trying to be a Smart Ass. I’ve done that and a lot more with Basic Tools, Eye Sight, and …whatever.

-- Hope Everyone Is Doing Well! .... Best Regards: Rick

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4541 posts in 2499 days

#10 posted 06-26-2010 03:54 AM

In college I was a math major and in my professional career (I was an actuary) I used math extensively. Yes, I use trigonometry a lot.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Josh's profile


102 posts in 2446 days

#11 posted 06-26-2010 03:59 AM

well, good to see I’m not alone.

Rick: the good thing about my re-remembering day is that now I can figure out angles and distances a lot quicker and have it be accurate.

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

View Josh's profile


102 posts in 2446 days

#12 posted 06-26-2010 04:01 AM

I think I use the trig to also confirm what my ‘eye’ and ruler think. By having a concrete number I feel more confident in my work. I kind of feel like it goes along with the idea of measure twice cut once

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3239 days

#13 posted 06-26-2010 04:06 AM

If I want actual numbers I use the CAD. Otherwise, I tend to do it the engineering graphics way. Whether it’s bisecting an angle or whatever. I learned how many functions can be performed with a square, divider, tape measure, etc. and it really stuck in my mind how many times it’s just simpler and quicker (much like power tools and hand tools) to do it the imperical way.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2533 days

#14 posted 06-26-2010 04:09 AM

I use trig (and a lot of other math) all the time, in the shop as well as at work, both for designing parts and machines. I majored in physics, mathematical option in college (uni, to you people under the queen). I also work with theodolites and transits to do precision alignments of structures, so I also do three-dimensional trig.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2555 days

#15 posted 06-26-2010 04:55 AM

I can usually figure out anything I need with AutoCAD. But I did have to use a little trig for some AutoCAD macros I wrote.

-- Gerry,

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