Ellipses Conics Inquiry
A carpenter wishes to construct an elliptical table top from a sheet 4ft by 8ft plywood to make a poker table for him and his budies. He will trace out the ellipse using the "thumbtack and string" method. What length of string should be used and how far apart should the tacks be located, if the ellipse is to be the largest possible that can be cut out of the plywood sheet?
I encountered this problem at my school and I'm having some trouble with it. Alright, so what I know already. The largest possible ellipse will have a minor axis of 4 feet and a major axis of 8 feet, so the a and b values of the ellipse equation will be 2 and 4, respectively.
The equation then will be:
The vertices will be: (4,0), (-4,0), (0,2), (0,-2)
The combined distance from the foci to any point on the ellipse is the same, so the foci's coordinates can be (-f,0) and (f,0).