Simple machines

I was trying to pull together some ideas for teaching some basic physics a while ago. My plans sort of fell apart for the want of a spring scale that could measure small weights. My local hardware store only has a fish scale. And I hadn’t got around to checking out any local head shops (a friend who is into rock polishing recommended that type of store as a good bet for scales for small weights). I have an electronic kitchen scale but I need something I can hook to a small weight and measure the difference between pulling it up an incline plane versus straight up.

Then Becky pipes up with Canadian science suppliers and I found this at Efston Science and a few cheaper options at Boreal Northwest. The smallest is 250g in those cheaper ones, whereas Efston has a 30g one. I will need to use the old kitchen scale to measure likely candidates for these experiments. Though I could get a set of weights, too, either from Boreal or from Efston. I think the weights at Boreal are more suited to our needs. I like the look of the ones with hooks.

Boreal also seems to have a nice selection of pullies. And I quite like the look of this inclined plane with a pulley. I could clearly go a bit mad buying stuff we could make ourselves… If I was feeling flush, I could go for a kit with a video.

So now I’ve written all that stuff down where I can find it, I should step away from those websites before I actually buy something. Glad I know where to find it when we decide we want to do that stuff though.

2 thoughts on “Simple machines

  1. You can make a spring scale and calibrate it yourself. A rubber band serves as the spring. We made one out of a wooden ruler, cup hook, rubber band and string.


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