Saturday, July 5, 2014

tetrahelix

   I haven't posted in  while, but I've been playing with a spiraling structure of tetrahedrons that I mentioned a few months ago. In the interim, the beaded molecule folks talked about the same structure in their blog, so now I know it's called a tetrahelix, i.e. a helix made of tetrahedra.  I borrowed their idea of accenting the spiral-ness by using different color beads for the 3 outside edges of the helix. 
   I've been thinking for a while about using different tubes to contrast with the oxidized copper.  To do that I have to cut my own tube beads, but that opens up lots of possibilities too, because I can vary the length to alter the structures.  I suspect that soon I'm going to wish I knew some trigonometry.  My only memory of trig is looking up 4 digit decimal numbers in tables in the back of the math book.  This was, of course, in the bygone days before calculators.  But now I find myself wanting to know things like what angle I'm creating between 2 faces, or  2 beads, and I think that's the realm of trig.  One of the nice things about doing this stuff with beads is that if the angle is close to what you need, you can make it work.
   In this piece I didn't play with angles and lengths.  Learning to saw the tubing was a first step and that was enough for starters. I bought gold filled tubing and cut tubes the same length as the long copper ones I've been using.  I like the effect.  Another possibility is stainless steel tubes ( which are actually hypodermic syringe tubes), or anodized and colored aluminum.  The stainless would, of course, be much harder to cut, and I like the idea of colored aluminum, but the tubes I've found so far are much fatter than the copper ones, so I'm not sure they'll look right if used in the same piece.  So much to learn (and such fun doing it!).

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