What Is the Way to Draw an Oval With a String?


Quick Answer

To draw an ellipse or oval with a string, a person needs to pinpoint the exact measurements with a compass and pins, and move a pencil in an arc after it has been attached to a string. Provided that the string is extremely taut, this is a pretty simple task to accomplish.

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Full Answer

Major and minor axes should be drawn to the desired length of the oval, with the major axis being the longer of the two. The semi-major axis must be set first.

  1. Set the semimajor axis by putting the width of the compass to half of the length of the major axis.
  2. Next, the compass should be moved two the end of the minor axis, and two small arcs should be drawn along the major axis line.
  3. These arcs are the foci of the oval, and should be labeled F1 and F2. A pin should be attached to both F1 and F2, with a string tied to each pin. The string must be very tight.
  4. Next, put a pencil next to the string and pull it back tightly, like a slingshot. The pencil should be moved in the shape of a large arc.

If the pencil is tight enough, it should draw a perfect oval. The halves of the oval may be drawn separately if the pencil gets caught inside of the string.

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