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Measuring and Marking

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A simple way to divide circles

A simple way to divide circles

It's easy to divide a circle into four equal parts. Just draw two perpendicular lines through the middle. But when you want to put five, six, or seven spokes in a wheel, how do you divide the circle into equal segments without making a lot of complicated measurements? Call your high school geometry teacher or follow along with this four-part procedure: 1. Draw line AB through the center of your circle, and divide it equally into the number of parts you want. (In the example shown, it's six.) 2. Set a compass at points A and B, scribe the two arcs as shown, and label their intersection as point C. 3. Draw a line from point C through the second mark AB and on through the outer edge of the circle, creating point D. 4. Set your compass to the distance AD and mark off equally spaced segments.

-- Vernon Raaen, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Attainable Accuracy

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Comments (3)
retatem wrote:

The easiest way to divde a circle into s1x, is to leave the compass set at the radius used and just mark around the circuference using each end point for the next starting point.

3/26/2010 03:51:17 PM Report Abuse
will.rose wrote:

The results from this method are not always correct. This can be shown both mathematically and/or by drawing them out using a cad program. The error seems to get bigger as the number of sides increases

3/9/2010 05:12:19 PM Report Abuse
r.line1 wrote:

This is a good idea. To clarify a bit, in step 2 the compass is set to the diameter of the circle (i.e. equal to the A-B distance) before drawing the arcs to locate point C.

3/4/2010 12:55:03 PM Report Abuse

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