Instructables

Mini Earthquake Simulator

After re-reading the guidelines for the Build My Lab and the Workshop Contest, I'm not sure how this project fits into those criteria... but here it is anyways.

This project is the result a fourth-grade science project, a broken food processor, and a couple nights worth of work. My younger sister was in a group of students, and as their project, they chose to examine the strength of bridges in earthquakes.

Originally, my sister asked me to do this. Now, of course, when my mom started talking about duct-taping a motor to a desk to shake the desk back and forth, I had to get involved before something bad happened. And I wanted to totally make this one of the best, cleanest-designed things I've ever made.

So without further ado, I present the Miniature Earthquake Simulator.

Safety Precautions:
- Insulated Gloves
- Safety Glasses
- Common Sense

If you undertake this project, you will be working with 120V AC mains power. I assume you know not to do stuff like connect the two ends of the wires when they are plugged into the wall socket - with your body or just by themselves.
The motor also goes really fast and spins stuff around even faster. That's what makes the thing work. It can also destroy your hand, or the wires, or the container, etc. etc.
ALWAYS wear GOGGLES and GLOVES when working with the electrics. Make sure stuff isn't plugged in when you're wiring stuff up. PLEASE be careful! I am not responsible for any and all injuries, damages, or accidents caused by this project.

Materials:
- Plywood Sheet
- Heavy-Duty Plastic Tub
- Bike Tubes
- Screws (Various Sizes)
- Washers
- Insulated Wire Nuts
- Food Processor (or other electric motor)
- Insulated Plastic Electrical Staple (Optional)
- Mains power cord
- Nuts + Bolts (Alternative)
- Counterweight (I used a block of wood with a screw into a PVC pipe.)
- Switches (mainly covered by the food processor - however, the safety switch is an important piece to consider making pretty.)

Tools:
- Drill
- Drill Bits (Various Sizes)
- Scissors
- Vise Grips or Pliers
- Screwdriver(s)
- Saw (I used a plastic pipe saw)
- File
- Jigsaw (or other power saw - suggested)
- Square and Measuring Tape
- Workbench (Vise suggested)

I'm sure I've forgotten something. With reusing projects like this one, the more tools and materials at your disposal, the better. You'll know what tools you need to use as you go, or how to improvise with another tool. But at all times, please be careful, and have fun!

Update: The earthquake simulator will be used in a few weeks to test structures at our middle school! Good luck, Earth Science classes!

 
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