Levitating Side Table Made From Old Cardboard Boxes

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Introduction: Levitating Side Table Made From Old Cardboard Boxes

About: Maker guy with a lot of love for paper and cardboard. Recently also working with recycled plastics. other related interests are photography, youtube, recycling, etc :-)

When I was looking for something cool and fun to make during these indoor quarantine days, I stumbled upon tensegrity models. It's really interesting physics and saw mainly tiny models, so I wanted to try and build it larger with a bit more ability to lift some light objects :-). The optical illusion is my favorite part of the final result and maybe the best part is that it doesn't require a lot of time or difficult materials so anyone can start to make something like this!

Step 1: Draw Your Parts on the Cardboard and Cut Out

Step 1 is about cutting the parts you will need. We will begin with 4 squares of 19 x 19 cm. then make 4 legs as shown in the photo. 9,5cm wide and length 37cm. Next you will need 2 squares of 5 x 5 cm cut into triangles. Cut a few strips of thin cardboard that are going to be used to cover up the edges later. These strips will be as wide as 2 of the legs on top of each other so twice the cardboard thickness. The cardboard I used here was 5mm thick so I had to cut the strips to 10mm wide.

Step 2: Hot Glueing the First Parts

Glue 1 of the squares on top of another one and repeat that with the other 2 squares so you end up with 2 double stacked squares. Do the same with the table legs (2x2). Glue the table legs onto the squares in the middle and on the edge. Use a triangle ruler or anything else to make sure the angle is right. Later reinforce the leg with the cardboard triangles (5x5cm) you made earlier.

Step 3: Time for the Magic Rope and Detailing.

Use sufficient glue to mount the piece of rope onto the leg as in the picture. Next step is a bit of an esthetic one and that is to cover all the open cardboard edges (only the first leg/square). This also makes the leg stronger.

Step 4: Join the 2 Table Parts Together

Glue the other end of the rope onto the second leg. I kept a distance of 9 cm between the 2 parts. After connecting the 2 parts you can finish up table part 2 with the strips like you did in the previous step.

Step 5: Make a Temporary Frame.

This is an important step. Before you can apply the thread for balance, you need to position both parts as good as you can. I used 4 pieces of cardboard to hold the floating part horizontal. What is important is that the rope in the middle is a little bit on tension. In this way your floating table top will hang in a straight position rather than hanging to one side.

Step 6: Adding Thread for Balance

Use your needle and thread to pierce trough the top surface and make a knot. Fixate the knot with a little bit of hot glue. Mine are on the bottom of the table top so you won't see them right away. When dry, pierce trough the bottom part and fixate with hot glue. make sure you don't pull to hard because this might have negative effect on the other threads.

Step 7: Remove the Temporary Frame and Try It Out!

Remove the frame and if everything is correct, you got yourself a floating table! :-) When you put on little weight for a test you will notice that the placement of the 'cargo' is very influential to the position of the floating top. Watch out with heavy stuff like flower pots or anything similar because that would require a more sturdy build version :-) Enjoy and amaze some people with your magic side table! :-)

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Grand Prize in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge

10 People Made This Project!

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45 Comments

0
Mr Person
Mr Person

Question 1 year ago

Would fishing line work

0
woodchipwilbur
woodchipwilbur

Answer 5 months ago

Yes. It will work ...BUT fishing line is designed to be elastic to absorb the stresses of a captured fish. For this project, you want, thoughout, to reduce elasticity. So thin wire will work better - and wood (or polycarbonate or aluminium or ...) will be better than cardboard. Fair enough, this was an entry into the cardboard contest so that ticks the box but mine (if I get a Round Tuit), will be made of something more robust.

0
Enkidu999
Enkidu999

Reply 5 months ago

Fishing line, no. It's too elastic, so difficult to set up, and will sag under load. I prefer bowstring: immensely strong, so can be thin which enhances the 'magic'.
Alternatively use monofilament polyester: no stretch either and transparent.

0
woodchipwilbur
woodchipwilbur

Reply 5 months ago

I think that's what I was saying! Not fishing line as it is elastic. But I like the idea of bowstring material. I have a ropewalk and may get some polyester bowstring material and make it into thin rope. That way, I can make the fixings more "invisible". I've got a lot of work on at the moment, so this won't happen any time soon!

0
JoopB1
JoopB1

Answer 1 year ago

i think so yes!

0
Q_sheld0n
Q_sheld0n

Reply 1 year ago

If it is strong enough any string would work it just depends on how you want it to look

2
Enkidu999
Enkidu999

1 year ago

What about using metal tubes (T or Cross) for the supports and glass of perspex for the table top? I imagine that would greatly enhance the Magic.

1
woodchipwilbur
woodchipwilbur

Reply 5 months ago

... but surely, using solid metal tubes completely destroys the "floating" illusion! You'll end up with a nice solid table, sitting on thin metal legs.

1
DocDJ
DocDJ

Reply 9 months ago

I would like to see finished product please!!

0
JoopB1
JoopB1

Reply 1 year ago

sounds like worth a try! maybe first make a simple model to see if it works like you planned it. If you are going for it would love to see the result! :-)

3
ajcaviedes
ajcaviedes

1 year ago on Step 7

Can this table be done with wood?

Thank you

2
JoopB1
JoopB1

Best Answer 1 year ago

I think so! But considering the weight, i would use steel cable or chain instead of rope in the center. And steel cable for the balancing cords.

0
ajcaviedes
ajcaviedes

Answer 1 year ago

Thank you very much I will try it and let you know how it goes

0
DocDJ
DocDJ

Answer 9 months ago

Let me know if it works! I'd like to do a wooden one also!
Thanks

0
JoopB1
JoopB1

Answer 1 year ago

nice!

0
REDMAXCRAFT builds
REDMAXCRAFT builds

Question 11 months ago

How do you make it balance?
It won't stay put for me.

0
dtomann
dtomann

11 months ago on Step 7

Muchas gracias compañero 👍

5
ceced21
ceced21

Question 1 year ago

Could you add more descriptive measurements to the legs?

1
Augustny
Augustny

1 year ago

:) very cool and cleaver and neat - thank you!