Introduction: Floating Table Top

About: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby

This looks impossible, sort of a table top held in the air by string. Actually, the weight of the upper structure places tension on the center string (attached to the pencil). The other three strings prevent the top from twisting or flipping--it's really not that hard to set up.

Research "tensegrity" for more information regarding this type of structure.






Fishing line (or string or thread)

Step 1:

These are the patterns for the cardboard pieces.

Step 2:

Cut six legs.

Step 3:

Glue three leg pieces together--twice.

Step 4:

Cut four body pieces.

Step 5:

Glue the four body pieces together.

Step 6:

Glue the legs to the body.

Step 7:

Cut six arms and poke holes in the top (to support a pencil).

Step 8:

Glue three arm pieces together, twice.

Step 9:

Glue the arms to the body assembly.

Step 10:

Cut two neck pieces.

Step 11:

Glue the center of the neck pieces (1/2 inch of neck) together as shown in the photo.

Step 12:

Cut the head piece.

Step 13:

Make the head as round as possible and tape the head ends together to form a cylinder.

Step 14:

Cut a head top.

Step 15:

Glue the head top to the head.

Step 16:

Glue the neck piece to the bottom of the head.

Step 17:

Glue the "wings" of the neck piece to the body.

Step 18:

Cut two top support pieces.

Step 19:

Glue the top support pieces together as shown.

Step 20:

Cut a top piece.

Step 21:

Glue the "wings" of the top support piece to the top.

Step 22:

Cut two base pieces.

Step 23:

Glue the base pieces together.

Step 24:

Cut twelve brace pieces. Glue six brace pieces together twice.

Glue the brace assemblies to the top support to make it more sturdy as shown in the photo.

Step 25:

Glue the robot character to the base.

Step 26:

Put a face on the character.

Step 27:

First, I poked a hole in the end of the top support. Then, I used six pound fishing line (to reduce visibility) and created a loop that is about two and one half inches long. String or thread will work here--whatever you have.

Step 28:

Cut twelve inches of fishing line (three times) and tape it to the top in the positions shown in the photo.

Step 29:

Push the pencil through the 2 1/2" loop you made in the earlier step.

Step 30:

Place tape (I used duct tape) on the base--at similar spots as the tape on the top.

Step 31:

With one hand, hold the top in "floating" position while securing each of the three pieces of fishing line, one at a time. The three "strings" will have slight tension--they will not be loose.

Step 32:

Cut off the surplus fishing line (string).

Step 33:

This is quite stable and will even support a small load.

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Runner Up in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge