Calculate the angle of a right triangle - Trigonometry for Gazebo
Right Angle Calculations
Is There Math Out Here?
One of the things I enjoy most (other than programming) is the periodic opportunities I get to spend some time at my family’s getaway up north in Minnesota. We have a 20 acre piece of woodland paradise with a small cabin. There are lots of trails to walk; creeks running through the property, hunting, and four wheeling, camping, and well… you get the point.
Trigonometry in the woods:
A few years ago, my brothers and our dad built a platform-deck with a raised square gazebo in its corner which is where my beautiful fiancé and I will be wed in August this year. So in preparation for the festivities, my brother Harvey and I were preparing some calculations for the construction of a wheelchair ramp leading up to the deck surface.
How Steep is That Thing Anyway?
Having taken trigonometry many years ago, Harvey asked me if I could figure out what the angle of the ramp would be with a 30” rise and a length along the slanted surface (hypotenuse) of 16 feet.
I did a little research – like I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve done trig – and found that the formula is basically…
Let A = 30” rise
Let HYP = 192” (the 16 feet along the inclined surface of the ramp divided by 12”).
For most calculators you would enter 30 / 192 then press [INV] [SIN] and presto! You have your angle. However, Harvey likes to use Microsoft Excel to do his calculations so I had to figure out how to get these results with Excel. So, I quickly threw together a cell with the following formula…
But wait! Why am I not getting 8.9893 deg. Like I did with my calculator? What the heck is this 0.1569 that I keep coming up with?
Well, it turns out that Excel (along with most programming languages) performs trigonometric calculations based on Radians, not degrees. Once I figured that out, I quickly searched for help on how to convert radians to degrees in Excel. You would be amazed at how easy it is.
LET cell A1 = 30
Let cell B1 = 192
In cell C1 put the following formula =DEGREES (ASIN (A1/B1))
It’s that simple! Really, it is. So now we know that the angle of our proposed wheelchair ramp will be roughly 9°.
If you like this article or if it was helpful please say so below and leave a comment in the comments section below. You can click the “follow” button below too for more articles as I write them.
More by this Author
In all of programming, there are three basic activities that take place. These programming activities are input, process, and output. One of the many useful tools that programmers use to organize and visualize these...
Some people are passing this tricky math question around on Facebook. The reason it’s “tricky” is more a matter of format than a matter of...
In this scenario we are asked to create a list of all the customers made inactive on a specific date. This should show enough details about the customer to allow contact with the customer, the reason he or she was made...