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Why are triangles stable, and squares unstable?

Building Strong Designs

While Roger's Connection can be used to create an endless number of designs, you will probably find it helpful to start with a few basic ones, and then build on that experience. The simplest stable two-dimensional shape that you can build is a triangle. You will need three magnetic tubes, and three connector balls. Just put the parts together until you have the triangle shown here.

While the triangle is very simple, it is very important in building with Roger's Connection, or for that matter, designing anything that you want to be strong, whether it's a bridge, a skyscraper, or a space station. The triangle is perfectly stable, because each side braces the two opposite sides, preventing them from moving in relation to each other. And that is true even if the connections between the sides are flexible, as they are with Roger's Connection. This principle is used in nature in making molecules like proteins and DNA strong, even though the connections between the atoms are somewhat flexible. As you can see below, there is only one angle that each side can assume to complete, and lock-in the triangular form.


On the other hand, if you build a Roger's Connection square, you will see that a square is not a stable shape, as it can bend and flex in many different ways. Try it! Build a square, pick it up, and you'll see how many different ways it can be distorted.

Using triangles as much as possible while building with Roger's Connection will ensure the strongest and most stable designs. Squares can be used, if they are strengthened with triangles, as you will see further on in this manual. Almost everyone has been "indoctrinated" into the mindset of the square and the cube by having played with cubic blocks as a child, using square graph paper in school, and in dealing with product boxes that are essentially cubic each day of our lives. Most of us have had little experience working with triangles, and their three dimensional cousin, the tetrahedron, even though ironically, it is usually these very shapes and their relatives that are found in the natural world holding atoms, plants, people, and planets together! For this reason, designing with triangles when building with Roger's Connection might prove to be a very new and unique experience for you. But for most people, it will also be a very natural and satisfying experience too!

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