Mechanics from Waste

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The debate between an idea and it’s execution is an endless one. However, the execution of ideas is what brings us closer to comprehending the mechanics of an increasingly complex modern world. Taking it one step further in an attempt to acquaint our children with these inventions, we bring you simple experiments that illustrate and help understand the execution of such innovative ideas.



APPARATUS: 2 Straws, a jumbo size paper clip, a standard size paper clip, a 5×8 inch index card, scissors, plastic plate, masking tape.

1) Cut an arrowhead and an arrow tail from the index card. Tape the head and tail on opposite ends of a drinking straw.

2) Unbend a standard size paper clip.

3) Stick the opened-up (pointy) end of the paper clip through the middle of the straw. For safety, cover the point with a piece of masking tape.

4) Stick the other end of the standard paper clip into a second straw.

5) Open up a jumbo paper clip and bend one loop at a right angle to the other loop. Tape one end of the jumbo paper clip to the bottom of an inverted plastic plate.

6) Push the other end of the jumbo paper clip into the empty end of the second straw.

7) Take the weathervane outside on a breezy day. The weathervane will point in the direction from where the wind is blowing.



APPARATUS: Measuring ruler, an empty one-liter bottle, knife.

1) Take a 1-litre plastic water bottle. With a sharp knife, cut its neck on the cylindrical part. The top end will act like a funnel.

2) Invert the top to make a funnel. This funnel will prevent evaporation.

3) An empty plastic bottle, being light, can be blown down in the slightest breeze. Therefore, anchor the foundation of the bottle by placing it between four bricks as shown. This will prevent the bottle from toppling.

4) Voila! This Simple Rain Gauge will help you periodically measure the rainfall with a help of a ruler.



APPARATUS: 1.5-volt torch battery, a 3-cm long nail, one strong (rare earth) magnet, and a piece of electrical wire.

1) Stick the magnet to the flat end of the nail (after cleaning the nail head with fine sandpaper) and hang the pointed end of the battery button (+ve end).

2) Connect one end of the wire to the flat end of the battery and touch the cylindrical surface of the magnet with the other end.

3) This assembly of the magnet and the nail will now spin a great speed.



APPARATUS: Measuring tape, pencil, a stiff paper plate, ruler with a role on one end, and a split-pin type of paper fastener.

1) Use the tape to mark the centimeters around the paper plate.

2) Attach the middle of the paper plate to the ruler with a paper fastener. Measuring tape, pencil, a stiff paper plate, ruler with a role on one end, and a split-pin type of paper fastener.

3) Run your measuring wheel along any surface to see how long the surface is in centimeters.

4) Count how many times the wheel goes from one end of the surface to the other, and multiply it by the number of centimeters you have marked on the wheel.



APPARATUS: 10ml plastic syringes, plastic drip tubes, pieces of wood, screws, aluminium foil and square section and ordinary hand tools.

1) Fill two plastic syringes with water and attach them using a plastic drip tube.

2) On pushing the plunger of the first syringe, the plunger of the second syringe will move out. Thus the motion is transmitted through water pressure from the first to the second syringe.

3) The motion of the second plunger is transformed into the swivel or up-down movement of the truck.

4) Make holes in a piece of wood and fix the syringes as shown.

5) Make the boom and jib of the truck using aluminium square sections. For relative movement of the long arms, they should be hinged using a screw and nut. Ensure that all joints move freely.

6) Attach the wheels of plastic lids to give the hydraulic truck a more realistic look.

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