Hi Rick.
That's an interesting geometry problem you have there. I'll draw it as best I can first:
So since we know the side of each room is 60 inches, we can try try to solve for the gap between the corner of the cabinet and the corner of a room (this gap on each side of the cabinet plus the cabinet size totals 60 inches).
So let's zoom in on a corner and make a geometric sketch, labelling some angles and points of interest:
So in this diagram, we want to find the length of the side AB.
Each angle in an octagon is 135 degrees, so angle s is half of that: 67.5 degrees.
Since triangle ABC is a right triangle, angle t is 90  67.5 = 22.5 degrees. That's all we need for angles.
We want the distance from D to F to be 3 inches, so DE is 1.5 inches.
Due to symmetry, triangle DEC is a right triangle. We know the length of DE, so we can use sine to calculate the length CD:
DC = DE / sin t = 1.5 / sin (22.5) = 3.92 inches.
Now we can add that to the depth of the cabinet (24 inches) to get the total length AC: 27.92 inches.
The next step is to calculate the length AB. Remember that ABC is a right triangle, we know t and we know AC, so we can now calculate AB using tangent:
AB = AC tan t = 27.92 tan 22.5 = 11.56 inches.
The last step, of course is simply to subtract AB from the wall width twice (once for each side of the cabinet):
Width of cabinet = 60  2 (11.56) = 36.87 inches.
Of course, all this is based on perfect walls in a perfect octagon, so you'll have to be very careful to judge the room you are working on accurately!
Hope this helps, Stephen La Rocque.
