trades > knots
document updated 13 years ago, on Jan 15, 2011
One of the hats I wear is as an educator. I'm also passionate about how friggin' useful knots are, for basic daily tasks. Utilitarian knots are WAYYYYY more useful than 99.5% of the population realizes.

So, often I want to figure out how to depict knots, so that I can teach them more effectively.

3D models

Sure, there are lots of existing depictions out there. But sometimes being able to render your own (with someone else's models) seems like the highest quality way to do it. You get consistency that you can't get from anywhere else.

Physical models

I think that some of the most educational diagrams are physical ones, because you can swivel the knot and see its 3D structure better.

But what rope is best for this? There are a few options:

The latter one is unusual, but since I work at FreeGeek, I have access to HUGE amounts of it.

My current opinion is that, generally, it's better that the rope actually have LESS texture (an opposite example is the three-stranded texture, as seen in the Blender videos above). This is because the more texture there is, the harder it is to see the precise shape/outline of the rope, and the precise shape of the rope is very important. However, some texture is okay, as long as it's small-scale relative to the size of the rope. Thus, the need for larger/expensive rope, if you DO go with texture, or otherwise, if you go with cheap rope, that it have a smooth plastic surface. (so both PVC-coated clothesline, AND plastic-coated wire, are both good)