Balancing Nail Puzzle




Introduction: Balancing Nail Puzzle

This is one of my favorite puzzles and it's so simple to build that I decided to share with you all.

If you are a physics teacher you can use this to explain your students how to balance forces.

Step 1: Materials

This is the list of materials that you need to build this puzzle:

  • 1 Rasp (you can buy at your local hardware store)
  • 1 Glue gun (you can buy at your local hardware store)
  • 1 Hammer (you can buy at your local hardware store)
  • 1 Rectangular piece of wood (you can buy at your local hardware store)
  • 1 Nail 5x125mm (you can buy at your local hardware store)
  • 14 Nails 4x90mm (you can buy at your local hardware store)

Step 2: Prepare the Piece of Wood

With the rasp round the corners and remove any wood chips.

Step 3: Hammer the Big Nail

Use the 5x125mm nail and hammer it in the center of the wood piece

Step 4: Glue the Nail to the Wood Piece

To insure that the nail stay there glue it to the wood piece using the glue gun.

And now the puzzle is built, time to use your brain!

Step 5: The Challenge

The object of the challenge is to balance all of the nails on the head of a single nail. All of the nails have to be balanced at the same time and cannot touch anything but the top of the nail that is stuck in the base.

Step 6: How to Achive Glory

Start to build your structure in a table.

  1. Put one nail like in the first picture.
  2. Then add nails like in the above pictures.
  3. Finally add the last nail in the top of the others
  4. Carefully grab this structure and place it on the top of the big nail

Step 7: Scientific Content

Center of gravity: The point were gravity pulls an object down.


For symmetrical objects like a ball, the center of gravity is exactly in the middle of the object. For objects that are not symmetrical, like a nail, the center of gravity is closer to the heavier end.

The stability of the nails depends on their center of gravity being right at or directly below the point where they rest on the bottom nail.

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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Nice....It reminded me of this one which I like to use and amuse kids. The center of gravity is not apparent with the forks. The glass edge balance point makes it really interesting.

    Miguel Augusto
    Miguel Augusto

    Reply 4 years ago

    That's a classic one! I love that to :D


    4 years ago

    Neat. :)