Introduction: How to Make a Working Balance Scale and Graduated Cylinder

Hello! Today, I will be showing you how to make a working graduated cylinder and a working balance scale. I completed this project because I wanted to learn more about density. The basic summary of how I built this is I took some wooden planks and got some wood glue. I then glued the pieces of wood together to make a basic form of the scale. I got the dowel and made 1 hole in it, the center hole so that I could put the screw into it. I then got 2 2 liter bottles and cut them to make 2 buckets that I could use to weigh objects with. I got 1 piece of string and cut it into 8 pieces, all of the pieces are 14 inches. After you've got all the materials you need, put them together.

I will be using this object now that it has been built for density and school projects at most. I had fun building it, and I hope you'll have fun building it as well.

Step 1: Supplies Needed for the Balance Scale

The reason I drew the Balance Scale like this, is because I wanted it to be different from my friends' builds, and to be unique. My inspiration came from a balance scale that had a wooden base and form but plastic buckets, and a metal one with metal buckets.

The supplies that you will need to build the balance scale are:

3 small planks

1 large piece of wood (this will be used as the base)

1 dowel

3 screws

2 eyelet screws

8 pieces of string

2 2 liter plastic bottles

Wood glue

Stapler (If you don't have this, you can use a hole puncher)


Phillip screwdriver


These specific materials were used because I wanted my homemade balance scale to stand out.

Step 2: Building the Balance Scale

The first thing you'd want to do is to grab the 2 2 liter plastic bottles and cut them into small cups, like tiny buckets that you can fit things in. Make sure you save these for later because these will be important.

Now, grab the 3 planks that you gathered for this project. The first two planks should be glued to the middle one (which should be shorter than the first two) to make a vertical line formation that you can work with.

Then, grab the dowel that you also gathered for this project and make a hole in the middle of it. (This will be where the screw should go), and cut off a quarter of an inch. Then, place a screw in the middle. Make sure that the two planks in front and behind the middle plank have a hole in it as well, so you can fit the screw through all three. Then, screw it in.

After, make 3 holes under the large plank to put in three regular screws, to make a solid, strong base that the planks can stand on.

Grab the piece of string that you gathered and cut it into 8 pieces. (All pieces MUST be 14 inches EXACT).

Remember how I said to save the plastic bottles that'll be used for cups? Grab those and grab the stapler or hole puncher that you gathered, and make 4 holes in each one. One in the center, one across from that hole, one east of the center hole, and one across from that hole. If you're doing the stapler, then grab the strings and staple them in those exact spots. Repeat for the second cup. (Also, make sure that the cups are 7 inches above the ground).

After you've done all of that, tie the strings to the balance scale. Make sure that the strings are tied tight, we don't want the cups falling off now, do we?

Step 3: Testing the Balance Scale

Grab 4 objects, these objects can be anything you want, but make sure they're all light, and can fit within the cups. For example, I grabbed 4 hair bands, all fabric, blue duct tape, 1 calculator, 1 dental mirror, and deodorant. (You need to have at least 2 objects that have a similar mass).

A basic summary of the data gathered, was it as accurate as it should've been? Not exactly, however, I had fun doing it, and all I needed to know was if it worked or not. If it didn't I would've needed to fix it.

Now, what you want to do, is to place one of the object's that you have chosen on one side, and another object on the other side. Repeat this for the other cup.

I tested this object first with the 4 hair bands and duct tape. The hair bands were heavier. I then grabbed a pink hairband and a dental mirror. Both objects were around the same in mass. Lastly, I grabbed the deodorant and a calculator. The deodorant was heavier.

Step 4: Supplies Needed for the Graduated Cylinder

I designed the graduated cylinder to look like this because I wanted it to look homemade.

The supplies that you will need to build the graduated cylinder are:

1 piece of paper

1 sharpie

1 plastic bottle

1 pair of scissors

These specific materials were used because I wanted my homemade graduated cylinder to be unique, and stand out.

Step 5: Building the Graduated Cylinder

First, what you need to do is to take a piece of paper and the sharpie and write the measurements and the measure that you're using onto it. I advise placing the paper onto the bottle to see here the measurements should go first before you cut any of it off. The measurements I used are 140 to 4 and the measure I used is cm.

Then, tape it onto the water bottle. If you need to cut some pieces off of it to make it fit, then do so.

Lastly, take the water bottle and cut off the top of it. (I'd say a few centimeters above the paper).

Step 6: Testing the Graduated Cylinder

First, Grab the cylinder and fill it up to 120 cm EXACT.

Second, take two items and make sure they are light enough to float. These have to be able to fit into the container.

Next, take an object that you can fit into the graduated cylinder and make sure that it's the heaviest object you have, but not so heavy that it overflows the container.

After, insert your first item, which is one of the lighter ones.

Then, Insert your second item, which is the last light item that you have.

After you insert the two light objects, insert the heavier object.

After you’re finished, can you conclude that the two light items were lighter in weight and were able to float? Can you conclude that the heavier object was heavier in weight and was able to sink?

Based upon the evidence I have gathered, I can say that the evidence wasn't all that accurate, but at least I had fun doing it!

Step 7: Using the Tools to Compare the Density of Objects

First, I knew that density is the total amount of matter any object takes up. I determined density by using my homemade balance scale and homemade graduated cylinder. Since I know that density is mass divided by volume, I concluded this data.

Taco: More density than the ketchup bottle because it has more mass.

Ketchup: Less density than the taco because it has less mass.

Orange highlighter: More density than the fake flower petal because it has more mass.

Fake flower petal: Less density than the orange highlighter because it has less mass.

Pen: More density than the pencil because it has more mass.

Pencil: Less density than the pen because it has less mass.

Foam circle and plastic formation: The same amount of density because both objects have a similar mass.

Step 8: The Conclusion

Overall, I would use these objects to determine, mass, density, and volume in my science class. I think I could possibly improve these designs by being a little bit more unique, as in not making the balance scale out of wood and maybe making the graduated cylinder an actual graduated cylinder using a thicker plastic material. After all this adventure of making the balance scale and graduated cylinder I think all of you will enjoy making these tools as much as I did.

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