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Dec 18, 2018

How to Easily Calculate Board Feet

The first time you go to the lumberyard can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Even if you think you know what you’re doing, all the different species of lumber, the different dimensions of the lumber, different locations within the lumberyard, etc. can seem daunting for finding the perfect piece for your project.  With just a little bit of simple math, one area where you can be totally confident is calculating the cost of your chosen board.

Most home centers sell lumber by the linear foot, which means that the price of the board is determined by the length of the board. You pay a little extra for the convenience of a home center and you likely aren’t getting the best piece of lumber.  The lumberyard, on the other hand, sells their lumber by the board foot.  A board foot takes into consideration the thickness, width and length of a board.  There are several apps board foot calculator apps to help you figure out how many board feet are in your chosen piece, but all you need to remember is one simple formula and you can calculate board feet anywhere.

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Oct 11, 2018

How to Divide Any Board into Equal Parts without Fractions or Complicated Math

If you do woodworking and DIYing in inches, a solid understanding of fractions is essential. Being able to calculate that half of 4 1/4" is 2 1/8", or that 1 1/2 + 1 3/16 = 2 11/16" is basic shop math that will keep your projects moving quickly.

But often, bringing fractions into the process is, well, completely unnecessary. Let's say you have a board that you'd like to divide into equal parts. You could measure it, then bust out a pencil, paper, and the calculator app, and eventually have to Google a decimal-to-fraction converter to figure out the size of each section. Then, you'd have to find that crazy number on your ruler, and carefully add the units together to mark out your parts. Or... you could just do this.    

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Sep 11, 2018

How to Find the Center of Any and Every Circle

 how to find the center of a circle

Often, when it comes to DIY projects, we create our own circles by starting from a center point. Whether a compass, string guide, or specialized cutting jig, a circle emerges from our pencils or saws precisely because we've created an established and consistent distance from a single origin. 

But, what happens when the shape already exists, and you need to know how to find the center of a circle? You can do it in less than a minute without any specialized math, memorizing a formula, or even knowing what pi is.    

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May 02, 2018

How To: Memorize Any Number Using Mnemonics

As if pens and Post-Its weren't enough, the smartphone era has provided a plethora of memory aids. Apps designed to store, sort, and spit out information whenever we want it seem to have rendered redundant the need for a good memory.

But I'm of the mind that tools work best when they augment our skills and strengths, and that when we start to allow machines to fully replace human work, we ourselves begin to atrophy. Since having begun the assembling my memorization toolkit and putting it to use in the last year, I've found that I think more clearly, remember things better, and rely on my physical and digital tools much less. (Not to mention, I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel awesome to perfectly recall a 12-digit number after less than 10 minutes' worth of work.)

We've covered one of those big tools, the memory palace, in a guide here at Man Made DIY. One of the main techniques incorporated in the article, specifically used to memorize numbers, is called the Major System; it's such a powerful in itself that it's worth its own guide. 

So, let's dig in to how you can custom-tailor your own major system to help you remember long strings of numbers!

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Nov 06, 2017

Try This Simple Trick Anytime You're Laying Out Cuts or Marks on Your Woodworking Projects

created at: 11/12/2015

Over the weekend, I was working in the garage when I found myself in a familiar position. I needed to transfer a pencil line from one face of a piece of stock to the one around its corner. Sounds simple enough to do with a square, but I've had this problem before. Sighting the line isn't accurate enough, and a traditional try or combination square isn't of much help here. Here's why:    

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Nov 14, 2016

How to: Build This Mesmerizing Lamp Out of Birch Strips

So I saw the movie ARRIVAL this weekend and loved it. Definitely check it out. A large part of the movie deals with language construction and trying to understand alien semantics, which got me diving down a Fibonacci sequence, which led me to looking and fractal imagery, which led me to geometrical design, which led me to these beautiful wood lamps...   

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Oct 03, 2016

DIY Tip: How to Quickly Add Fractions for Woodworking Projects... No Math Required

created at: 06/25/2015

You know that old question that some stereotypical student always asks their math teacher? The one that's some variation on "When are we actually gonna use this in real life?" The answer, at least for arithmetic, geometry, and even a bit of trigonometry

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Mar 14, 2016

It's Pi Day! The Tastiest, Math-iest Holiday of the Year!

Celebrate Pi day!
Pi is a mathematical constant that ... wait ... are you telling you don't know what π is? Oh, ok, good. I was worried for a second. 

Pi is awesome! It's a number that never ends, whose digits never show a pattern. The digits of π are random, but they're related to all kinds of distinctively non-random stuff, like the circumference of a perfect circle. And more! Like this:

Pi equals four times the sum 1 – 1/3 + 1/5 – 1/7 + 1/9 – 1/11 + ... The appearance of this formula alone is cause for celebration. It connects all odd numbers to pi, thereby also linking number theory to circles and geometry.
Why Pi Matters, The New Yorker

 

We spent a

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Mar 14, 2016

Happy Pi Day 2016! Here's Why You Should Love (and Celebrate) π

Happy Pi Day 2016

Say hi to π. It's world’s most well known, most controversial number, and it has been baffling and delighting mathematicians for literally thousands of years. As you probably learned in junior high, pi (or π)  is the mathematical constant used to show the relationship between the radius of a circle and the circle’s circumference, usually abbreviated to 3.14159. But, pi is both an irrational number (meaning it cannot be represented exactly as a fraction) and a transcendental number (meaning it is not the root of any non-zero polynomial having rational coefficients). The fraction 22/7 is used most often for representing pi as it is accurate to

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Feb 08, 2013

How to: Make a DIY Wooden Dodecahedron Pendant Light

created at: 02/08/2013

I'm a big fan of geometric shapes in DIY projects, but when it comes to woodworking, it can be difficult to anticipate all the math when working with angles other than 90-degrees.    

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Oct 01, 2012

How to: Make a Hexaflexagon - The Most Amazing Thing Math Has Ever Produced!

created at: 10/01/2012

Okay...I try not to get carried away with blog titles. And, yes, to all you engineers and mathnerds out there, I'm extremely right-brained, but this incredible thing is something about which everyone can agree. It's freaking amazing, and it'll definitely blow your mind, and probably even break it.  

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May 09, 2012

How Much Money You Need To Realistically Recreate The Scrooge McDuck ‘Gold Coin Swim’

created at: 05/09/2012

When I was a kid, I loved nearly everything about Ducktales - the myth and culture-based plotlines, that guy that could count everything really fast then turn into a robot, to the oh-so-evil and impossibly named Flintheart Glomgold. But, even as a five-year-old, I was a skeptic about the famous Moneybin. I even remember asking my dad how it was possible to land on a giant pile of coins and sinking in, instead of just going splat on the surface. I even got out a jar of pennies and jammed them with my fist to see if I could break through.

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Aug 03, 2011

Blow My Mindsday: August 3, 2011

created at: 04/17/2013

Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web.

George the Great Dane is the world's biggest dog. You definitely wanna see the rest

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Apr 05, 2011

How To: Make a Mathematical Bowl from Recycled Magazines

created at: 04/05/2011

Call it a fractal, TriForce-inspired, or just plain geometric, this triangular upcycled fruit bowl is straight up awesome. Made from only recycled magazines and isosceles triangles, this guy'll have you rocking your 9th-grade math class and your glue gun skills all at once.

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Mar 11, 2011

How To: Make This Amazing Geometric Mobile from an Old Phone Book

Yeah, buddy...Check out this super cool "himmeli" mobile my friend Elizabeth Abernathy [the brains behind Nuno mag] created using an upcycled, out-of-date phone book. (Right, it's out of date cause its a phone book. Got it.)

Elizabeth notes that hillemi are "

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Mar 10, 2011

The 3.14 Song: A Musical Interpretation of Pi

created at: 03/10/2011

My sister was born on March 14th. And she's a math teacher. Plus, she married a numbers guy, and they're both delightfully math geek-y. So you better believe they celebrate Pi day on 3.14. From hanging out with them, I actually have Pi memorized to twelve decimal points, which is more than I thought I could do: 141592653589, and no, I didn't cheat.

In honor of Pi Day, Musician Michael Blake transcribed the mathematical constant into music, with one standing for the root note of a scale etc. It takes a while to get going, but the results are amazing. Be sure to watch through to the end.

Click play to watch the video:  

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Jan 07, 2011

How To: Make a Moorish-Inspired Mathematical Lamp

created at: 01/07/2011

Traveling through Morocco and southern Spain, Stregoi fell in love with the Moorish patterns and mosaic that characterize the architecture and spaces

So, he created this amazing pendant lamp inspired by these patterns, and shares his templates so you can make one of your own.

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