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How to Use a Magnetic Level - and Why You'd Want To



Kevin shows one of a set of sculptures he is working on, Shade and Shadow. It has a 3/8" rod running through the center of it with triangles slid onto it, all of which is bent into an oval.

The form itself is called an umbilic torus, which is three-dimensional but one-sided. It rotates 120 degrees, which makes it three dimensional even though it has just one side. Go around three times and you end up in the same place!

"It's really easy," Kevin says, "except for that math."

Then he found a little level made by Flange Wizard that has magnets in the bottom, a degree wheel and a bubble level. Kevin takes the level and places it on one of the triangles and levels the bubble.

Each line on the magnetic level represents 2-1/2 degrees, and Kevin knows he needs each triangle to rotate 4 degrees to get the twist he wants. So he just advances the level 4 degrees, sticking it on the next triangle, tack welding it into place, and then doing it over and over.

Figuring out the number of degrees he needed to advance was easy - there are 30 triangles and 120 degrees of twist, because it is three-sided, to get to 360 degrees.

Kevin then thanks Mr. Inman, his high school math teacher. "You were right!" he says.

He also thanks the folks at Flange Wizard, who makes this tool, which he found at one of his favorite sites, http://www.pipefitters.com

Before you go, you might want to stick around for another moment to see Caron tell how he really feels about math ....


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