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.
Step 1: Gather materials and tools
I also assumed I would use 1/4" aluminum rivets to hold the pieces together. However, as you will read later in this instructable, I found through experimentation, that rivets did not provide the best mechanical joint and, possibly worse, looked horrible. For this device, that measures what is pleasing to the eye, it is a requirement that the device itself is pleasing to the eye. I decided using machine screws provided the best option to holding the tool together. But I'm getting ahead of myself...let's about the parts and tools you'll need.
- Band saw or some other saw to cut the plastic
- Printed PDF of parts template (http://www.scrollsaws.com/images/Lathe/RicksGuage.pdf)
- Phillips screwdriver
- Propane torch or lighter
- Straight edge
- Sharpie marker
- Safety glasses
- Wood or metal file
- Center punch
- Drill bits (1/8", 9/64", 1/4" and 7/8")
- Plastic for gauge pieces. I used a Betty Crocker cutting board I bought at the Dollar store for $1. I'd recommend material that is about 1/8" thick, although you could vary depending on the material you choose. For example, some people might use cardboard or wood rather than plastic. Bring your template (see step 2) with you to the Dollar store to find the appropriate dimensional material. The cutting board (without the handle) is about 5.5" x 8" and just barely fits the template pieces.
- 4 6/32 - 1/4" machine screws