Take and Make: Conic Sections Model update

Lauren SiegelMaking Math, Mathematical Artifacts, Sharing Ideas, Take and Make, Ways to like math, We think math is fun!4 Comments

Turns out you can use CorelDraw to  reverse engineer the parts to a conic section model.  Read all about it in the November 2021 MAA Math Horizons page called Do The Math (p. 29).
Editor Tom Edgar was fun to work with, and made the graphic images.

The files are here, please help yourself.  We cut ours out of 1/8″ wood so the slots are that size – you may  need to adjust.

If you want a model we may be able to send you one for free.  Please fill out this form and we will get back to you.

8.5×11 Printable PDF (glue to cardstock instead of wood and cut out)


Adobe Illustrator

Corel Draw


Files for 3d Printing Here
(Boardmember Alex’s friend Colin made these files and we printed them on Craftcloud-picture coming)


To make from “scratch”:

Start with an isosceles triangle and then draw lines – across for circle, parallel to a side for the midline of the parabola, across at angle for ellipse and vertical (or not parallel to a side) for the hyperbola.
Next use those lines to find the dimensions of the conic section pieces – diameter of the circle, the long and short axis for ellipse (use the chord at the base located a distance equal to the distance of the center of the ellipse to the midline of the triangle, parabola height (length of line) and width which is the chord where it intersects the base circle, and similarly for the hyperbola.)

Using this sequence we made  a pointier version as well in PDF 8.5 x 11

You can also slice Playdoh or clay to get a great conic section model.  Sometimes those get squishy, but you can repeat and experiment with different cones.

See a video made by Paola Garcia explaining further here:


I made a few extras!


Here’s a Cricut and a foam version posted to twitter by  Mark Kaerscher

And a 3d Printed model by  MathHappens board member Alex Siegel:

4 Comments on “Take and Make: Conic Sections Model update”

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