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Trammel of Archimedes, Snap, Ellipsograph, Ellipse, Math, Model

3D model description

All children should have one of these for pondering over mathematics, I think.

The trammel of Archimedes is an interesting geometric structure for constructing ellipses or exploring simple and appealing mathematical relations. It is fairly easy to design in Fusion 360 or any other 3D design environment. It requires a bit of the Pythagorean Theorem if one wants to be accurate; it further allows students to play with elliptical curves. How do we know the curve so drawn is an ellipse?

In this design, I made the sliders (or shuttles) fairly loose for easy installation. There are two types of sliders here for smooth assembly. The sliders can be either snapped into the arm or fastened using caps (with a drop of glue if necessary).

I also designed the handle to accommodate a school pencil (up to a diameter 8.5mm) so that one can either turn the handle around for fun or insert a pencil and do some real drawing!

Of course, one can just use a handle-less bar and make a fidget toy--soothing and mind-entertaining.


Trammel of Archimedes.
Ellipsographs: Do-nothing machines that do so much!

3D printing settings


.15 to .2mm



A raft might be useful for printing the handle ring.

Slide the sliders into the rails and snap the arm on and PLAY. Please note that once snapped into place, it can be hard to take them apart. Be patient and go slow.

  • 3D model format: STL


STEAM educator, learning from and working with K-12 STEAM teachers to explore new ideas of teaching and engagement. I firmly believe ART is at the core of STEM learning or all human learning! I owe my ideas and designs to the hundreds of K-12 children and teachers and university professors I have had the pleasure of working with, in multiple disciplines-- math, science,engineering language arts, social studies, early childhood education and more! All mistakes, of course, are mine! There is no warranty or liability whatsoever implied or explicit behind the designs or ideas. They are all posted for their potential educational values.

When working with children, please strictly observe all safety and health procedures! Please refer to the NSTA safety guides:




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