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Creating flexagons using flexagon language

In this article, we learn the very basics of how to create a flexagon using Scott Sherman’s flexagon language
Screen shot of flexagonator program
© Davidson Institute of Science Education, Weizmann Institute of Science

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Creating flexagons flex by flex

We’ve already briefly met Scott Sherman’s flex notation and pat notation. These are crucial elements in flexagon language, designed so that anyone, even a computer program, can build flexagons, given the correct instructions. Sherman wrote an online computer program, called flexagonator, that we’ll meet in the next few steps. Before we do that, we’ll need to revisit flex notation, and show how you can use them to generate flexagons.

Flex notation

The following letters denote the different flexes in flexagon notation:
  • P : Pinch flex – also: P333, P334, P66 etc.. when denoting specific pinching vertices
  • Tw : Twist flex
  • T : Tuck flex – also: T1, T2, T3 etc… when denoting different openings through which to perform the flex on hepta- and larger flexagons
  • Tf : Forced tuck flex
  • Ttf : Tuck top front flex
  • Sh : Pyramid shuffle flex
  • V : V-flex
  • F : Flip flex
  • St : Silver tetra flex
  • Tk : Ticket flex
  • Ltf : Slot tuck top front flex
  • Ltb : Slot tuck top back flex
  • Lbf : Slot tuck bottom front flex
  • Lbb : Slot tuck bottom back flex
  • Lh : Slot half flex
  • Lk : Slot pocket flex
  • L3 : Slot triple pocket flex
Here are some more operations needed to describe flexagons:
  • > : Move clockwise to the next hinge
  • < : Move counter-clockwise to the next hinge
  • ^ : Turn flexagon over, keeping the current hinge
  • : Apply the inverse flex
… and that’s it! That’s all you need for the moment to get started with flexagonator on the next step!

Discussion

Any questions? If so, please post below so that we can answer!
© Davidson Institute of Science Education, Weizmann Institute of Science
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Flexagons Galore: Advanced Flexagon Fun

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