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    cantilever project - structures

    l8rpeace Oct 17 '06 1

    So in structures we had a project that turned into a competition. Using ten (10) 1/8” x 1/8” x 36” basswood sticks, we had to make a cantilever that held an empty soda can as far from the table as possible. The only other rule was, “The cantilever must rest on a table edge in the classroom without any mechanical (screw, nail, etc) or adhesive fastener.” So I guess everyone wanted to see how far they could go, and I ended up winning (although it has been said I cheated). The desks in this classroom have cutouts for the computer wiring, so I used it for a “roller” type connection, but there was a tight enough fit that the friction essentially created a fixed connection. Also, I take the subway to school, so I didn't want to carry around ten feet of “truss”, so I built the cantilever in segments and connected them together as essentially pin connections.

    I ended up winning (in distance). 76 inches, 16 inches further than the next person, from the edge of the table. But, as I feared, my thin trusses (built to resist deflection, but not torsion) began to twist. Fortunately there was enough diagonal bracing to keep the members from failing (this probably didn't help my score in stability, regardless of the fact that at 66 inches, there was no torsion). I got an asterisk next to my score because I used the table cutout, even though it became a popular method for the cantilever projects going forward. So I don't mind being a “cheater”, considering that I followed the rules.

    image
    table section (where I was bearing the cantilever against the table cutout) and free body diagram

     

     
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