Make an Elevator Science Fair Project

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    Make An Elevator

    Purpose

    To demonstrate how elevators work through a series of pulleys by constructing

    our own elevator system.

    Additional information

    Elevators are vertical lift transportation systems that effectively move people

    between floors of buildings. Most are powered by eclectic motors that pull steel

    cables along pulleys.

    The first known reference to an elevator comes from the Roman architect

    Vitruvius. He reported that mathematician and inventor Archimedes built the

    first elevator in 236 B.C. Elevators in this time period were mentioned to have been constructed

    from hemp rope and powered by hand or animals. Prototypes of elevators were later found in

    palaces of both England and France.

    By the middle of the 1800's, there were dozens of crude elevators that were designed to carry

    both freight and human. These ancient elevators worked through hydraulic systems, the first

    every using a plunger below the elevator car to raise or lower it. To assist in lifting the enormous

    weight of the elevator, a counter-balancing system was implemented.

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    Required materials

    Piece of plywood (or other suitable hard surface wood)

    Six empty spindles

    A cardboard box (we'll use this to create our small elevator)

    String or thread

    Six nailsA small weight, such as a heavy screw

    Tape

    Scissors

    Ruler

    Pen or Pencil

    Hammer

    Estimated Experiment Time

    Between 1 and 2 hours

    Step-By-Step Procedure

    1.First we'll need to construct our tiny elevator car from the cardboard box. Using your rulerand pen, draw five six-inch by six-inch squares on your cardboard box. Cut the squares from

    the box with your scissors. Tape the squares in a manner that will make an open box. Do this

    by aligning the squares at their edges and joining them together with some tape. Once

    complete your elevator should look like the example in Figure A.

    2.Attach the spindles to the wooden frame using the nails. The spindles should be aligned sothat four are spread evenly at the top of the wood, about four inches apart for each spindle.

    Two additional spindles should be placed at the bottom of the box, also four inches apart. See

    Figure B as a placement guideline.

    3.Tie a piece of string to the bottom of your cardboard elevator car. Tie two additional stringsto the top of your elevator car. See Figure A for an example.

    4.Pass the string attached to the bottom of the elevator car over the spindles 4, 3, 2, and 1.When you get to spindle 2, loop the string over the spindle twice. Tie the end of string to the

    string on the top of the box once it loops over spindle 1 (see Figure B).

    5.Attach the other string on the top of the elevator car around spindles 5 and 6. Make surethe string lays over the spindles tightly and attach your counterweight (a large nut, screw,

    heavy key, or any other weight that's appropriate).

    6.Make sure all strings are tight and all spindles are firmly in place.

    7.Turn the second spindle with your fingers (labeled 2 in the Figure B). What happens to theelevator car? If constructed correctly, the elevator car should move up or down, depending on

    the direction you rotate the spindle.

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