There may be no more revered elementary school engineering project than the egg drop contest—the challenge that asks students to build a structure that will protect a delicate egg from breaking if dropped from a given height. But turn of the century egg drop contests require turn of the century methods.

In this tutorial, we’ll look at a couple ways to design an egg drop container to cushion an eggs fall without the paper towel rolls and the egg crates of yore. If you’re a teacher, this is a tried and true activity for engaging students creativity, and for pushing their understanding of basic design concepts.

You can find a complete lesson plan devoted to this project, as well as instructional materials like learning objectives, test materials, and evaluation rubrics attached below. Additionally, here are a couple introductory videos to get you started on the right foot.

Step 1: Download 123D Design

Before you start, download and install Autodesk 123D Design (it’s totally free). 123D Design makes it easy to manipulate all kinds of shapes and create viable designs using numerous materials. For a general tour of the interface and commands, see these short tutorials:

Step 2: Model the Egg Drop Container

Measure the egg you’ll be using. Use the Polyline tool to draw a line the height of the egg. Use the Polyline tool again to draw a line the radius of the egg. Using the Spline tool, draw the rest of the egg profile, adjusting as necessary by moving your anchors.

Use the 3 point arc tool to create the profile of the inner egg-carrying container. Close off the profile by using the polyline tool. Select the outside sphere cross-section. Use the Revolve tool to revolve the outside sphere cross-section. If you want to be able to see through the sphere, change the material to something clear.

Use the 3 point arc tool to create the profile of the outer egg-carrying container. You will essentially make two larger arcs, then close off the profile with the Polyline tool. Use the revolve tool to revolve the profile of the outer container.

Lastly, save your work, and export as an .STL file.

For a step-by-step video tutorial on this stage, see:
(NOTE: If you mastered that first container, and want to try something more advanced, you can always design your own. Be creative, try different variations, and improve on earlier designs. Another step-by-step example of a more advanced egg drop container is below)

Step 3: Print!

In order to print parts from 123D on your MakerBot you will need to install the Autodesk 3D Print Utility which will prepare your parts for printing. For more information on the Autodesk 3D Print Utility click here.

You will also need to download and install the latest version of the Makerware™ software from MakerBot. The software is free of charge and can be downloaded here.

Once a part has been created and is ready for printing you can select 3D Print option from the 123D Menu. This will bring up the 3D printer dialog where you can select your printer and options for printing.

After setting up your printer options, you will be given the choice to save as a .stl file or send directly to the Makerware software for printing. If your printer is not listed in the Autodesk 3D Print Utility, you can still export to a .stl file directly. This will allow you to use any software your printer requires. This can be done by selecting the Export STL option from the 123D Design menu.

If you don’t have a 3D printer, places like TechShop have the tools to turn your design files into physical objects, and staff the people who can show you how. Places like Shapeways can even print them for you.

Alternately, you can use 123D Make to turn your 3D model into an easy-to-assemble physical model. For a step-by-step tutorial, see:

About This Instructable




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