3D Printed Gravitational Wave Simulator

Introduction: 3D Printed Gravitational Wave Simulator

This is a fun spin on the classic gravity field demo, spandex on a ring! Ordinarily, the demonstrator would stretch a spandex fabric over a ring, so that anything resting on top of the spandex would make a well in the fabric; heavy objects make deep wells, and light objects make shallow ones. Light mass marbles can be scattered around a heavy ball bearing for example. With this, you can do something a little bit different!


To make this build you will need a power drill, spandex fabric on a ring, and a 3D printed drill bit.

Step 1: Printing the Drill Bit

The most important part of this project is the drill bit. It acts like a bar with two smooth surfaces that can slide over the surface of the fabric without catching on it or bunching up. Start by 3D printing the bit from the STL file provided. It will require supports, but is easiest to print on its side.

Step 2: Preparing the Bit

Now that you have a drill bit from the printer, you need to smooth out the edges of it. I had good luck with sandpaper, however depending on your filament you may have better luck with coatings. This is up to you and what you have available at the time.

Step 3: Using the Drill!

Now with your completed custom bit, place the bit in the drill chuck and tighten it down. Set the drill to it's lowest speed setting and ease into the trigger. If you go too fast, the spandex may bind the drill and get pulled from the frame, so only go at a comfortable speed. Hold the drill over the center of the fabric and allow the weight of the drill to press a centimeter or two into the fabric, so that the drill creates a spiral pattern of waves over the fabric! For an example, watch this video of a similar device on YouTube here.

Congratulations, you just made gravitational waves!

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