Build a Fibonacci golden section gauge for $1

Throughout the years I've read a lot about the golden ratio from a design perspective. The Greeks noticed there was a common ratio in nature that was pleasing to the eye. This ratio is 1:1.618 (i.e. 1 to 1.618) and is referred to as the golden section. Today, you will find this golden section reflected in design of buildings, logos, products, artwork, etc.

I wanted to create a durable measuring gauge that would allow me to refer to this ratio when designing things that I build with wood, metal, software and other materials. The gauge in this instructable allows you to measure drawings or on screen items and keep the scale and proportion of elements in a design. And, because the golden section is about things that are visually appealing, I wanted the gauge to be visual appealing as well.

The gauge has 3  points, which always retains the ratio of 1 to 1.618, even as you expand and collapse the gauge. In the picture, the distance from the center and right point is always 1.618 times the distance of the left to center points.

WOOD magazine has great video regarding the golden section with examples of the golden section in nature (your body),  greek architecture and an example of how to use it to design furniture.

And you can read about it in Wikipedia as well.

I was able to build this instructable for $1 and your results should be similar. 

SIMPLIFICATION OPTION: If you don't want to hassle with cutting plastic on a bandsaw and torching it to get a nicer edge, there is an alternate approach (that I do not currently explain) that will reduce the effort and tools required for this instructable. I will create a followup instructable showing a simplified approach using wood.
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jreidy11 year ago
Great Instructable. I make my guages out of wood scraps and don't put in the scissor handles (it's easier for a klutz like me) and use rivets to connect the pieces.

I get the wood when I rip a larger piece of wood. For example, when you remove the round-over on a piece of lumber, keep the thin section. It's perfect.

Great gifts for my math and wood working friends.

charles5431 year ago
I'm having trouble understanding what kind of screws you used. You said machine screws. You also said they thread directly into the plastic. Machine screws normally thread into a nut.
matthewtmead (author)  charles5431 year ago
Charles, I must not have been clear, I will review the instructable and try to clarify.

I'm suggesting something a bit unconventional. Through my experimentation on this instructable I discovered that machine screws will thread into the right size (unthreaded) plastic hole. If you simply screw the recommended machine screw into the unthreaded 1/8" hole slowly with a screwdriver by hand, it will start threading the plastic as you tighten the screw. The metal screw is able to carve the threads into the hole. Obviously, do not over tighten as you could fairly easily strip these threads that are cut...but you don't want the screw so tight anyway so it allows the pieces to move as the gauge is opened and close.

If this is confusing or if you have any trouble, you can definitely buy a tap and tap the threads in the plastic, but I found that to be an unnecessary step.
Drweb42 years ago
Can't wait to make this. Thanks a bunch
agis682 years ago
excellent job, greate idea,,,,
paganwonder2 years ago
Great idea! Automates the design process. Very handy, I could use this for design "on the fly".
nice 'ible and very helpful tool
matthewtmead (author)  meremoonphile2 years ago
Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you find it helpful!