By Ian Kiming

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Then pull apart the top of the flexagon which will lie flat again in the shape of a square as shown in the last figure. To repeat this straight flex, as we call it, you must turn the flexagon over. Practice this a few times and draw patterns on all the faces you can find. You are now ready for the more complicated pass-through flex. 13) and make mountain folds along the diagonal lines so that you obtain a 4-petaled arrangement. Then pull 2 opposite petals apart and down. You will then have a square platform above the 2 petals you pulled down.

It is now natural to ask: (1) Can we use the same general approach used for folding a convex 7-gon to fold a convex N -gon with N odd, at least for certain specified values of N ? If so, can we always prove that the actual angles on the tape really converge to the putative angle we originally sought? (2) What happens if we consider general folding procedures perhaps with other periods, such as those represented by D3U 3, D4U 2, or D3U 1D1U 3D1U 1? ) The answer to (1) is yes and we will show, in Chapter 7, an algorithm for determining a folding procedure that produces tape from which you can construct any regular ab -gon, if a and b are odd with a < b2 .

Always feel free to use your ingenuity to avoid an algorithm that is not working for you, or seems to you to be unduly complex. A word to the wise We’ve done a lot of field-testing of the “hands-on” material in this book. Our instructions seem to be, on the whole, quite comprehensible to most readers. However, there are two basic types of error that people seem prone to make in carrying out our instructions. Material error In doing mathematics, it is absurd to specify the quality of paper on which the mathematics should be done.

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