Make a simple conveyor belt for a school project. This project is done with things that are either cheap or that you probably already have around the house (assuming you own a skateboard). This project is one that you can use to illustrate the principle of a conveyor belt as a simple machine and impress others with the creativity of the project.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 9-volt motor
- 9-volt battery
- 4 rubber bands
- Popsicle sticks
- Duct tape
Get a skateboard. Attach a 9-volt motor just in front of the wheel to the underside of the board so that the axle of the motor is parallel to the axle of the wheel. The motor axle should be about 2 inches away from the edge of the wheel. Duct tape the motor in place.
Make the driver belt for the conveyor belt. Loop a rubber band around the wheel and all the way to the axle of the motor, so that it fits tightly enough that when one turns, the other one does, too. You can always cut and tie rubber bands together to make the belt fit. Do not tighten the rubber band so much that the truck (the part that the wheels balance on) tilts towards the motor.
Cut a strip of duct tape. Make a single loop that goes around two wheels on the same side of the skateboard with the sticky side out. Do not get it tight enough to tilt the trucks, but make it tight enough so that moving the tape makes the wheels turn.
Cut sections of Popsicle stick that are as wide as the duct tape. Lay the sticks on the duct tape on the flat parts, side by side. This will form a type of boardwalk-style conveyor belt. Turn the conveyor belt by hand as you place the Popsicle sticks on all the way around. Make sure that the sticks lie crosswise to the tape. If desired, a second layer of tape may be placed on top of the first all the way around while the conveyor belt is expanded as it goes around the outer circumference of one of the wheels.
Plug the two leads from the motor onto opposite terminals of a 9-volt battery. You may find that the conveyor belt turns too fast or too slow. To speed up the conveyor belt, put layers of duct tape on the motor axle where the rubber band goes to make it thicker. To slow down the conveyor belt, wrap layers of duct tape on the wheel where the rubber band goes. This may require you to change the size of the rubber band belt so that it fits, as described earlier.
Tips and warnings
- Duct tape may remove paint.
- Moving parts can pinch. Keep loose items that are attached to your body away from the moving parts of the machine (hair, sleeves, jewellery, drawstrings and other objects or body parts).
- Parts that heat up with use due to electricity or friction can cause burns.
- Do not get the device wet.
- Always be careful with electricity and things that conduct electricity.
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