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William Gurstelle
65,444 followers -
Author of Backyard Ballistics and seven other books
Author of Backyard Ballistics and seven other books

65,444 followers
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Hello campers, and welcome to #TheoreticalThursday. Today we’re going to be learning about tension, by building a “tensegrity tower” sculpture from dowels and stretch cord that seems to defy the laws of physics. When we’re done, we’ll have a system of wooden dowels that float in the air.

Materials:
-5-meter spool of 0.8mm to 1.0mm diameter clear plastic stretch cord (Stretch Magic cord works, and is available at most craft and beading stores)
-36” 5/16th” diameter wooden dowels (get 3 of them)
-#214 eye screws (24 of them)
-Box of assorted medium-size rubber bands
-Masking or electrical tape (optional)
-Spray paint (optional)
-Wooden or tile base (optional)

Tools:
-Handsaw
-Pliers
-Small screwdriver
-Electric drill
-5/64” drill bit
-Scissors

Ready to build? We’ve got a PDF with photos and instructions to help. Dig in and good luck: http://goo.gl/9EAo7

I’m doing a Hangout today at noon Pacific so we can talk more about tension, and any questions you might have about this project.

As you complete your works of art, don’t forget to post pictures of them with the #MakerCamp hashtag! Happy making!
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New version of Backyard Ballistics out soon - Here's the new cover
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Tomorrow (Thursday) is my Maker camp counselor day. We'll be making a Tensegrity Tower, a project I wrote for Make Magazine a while back. It's a type of building structure invented by Buckminster Fuller and others.  In the words of Johnny Carson: It's "weird, wild stuff!"

To build your own Tensegrity Tower, find some wooden dowels - you'll need 3 to 12 depending on the size of your build- some stretchy cord, and some small screw eyes. Nick Raymond will post more detailed info later.
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Recent backyard ballistics projects
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July 30, 2012
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