K'NEX Crane

Early Engineers

K'NEX Crane

This week, Early Engineers put on our thinking caps (and building helmets!) to make these K'nex cranes and learn about mechanical engineering.

Tower Cranes like the ones pictured in the diagram above are used at construction sites to lift heavy building materials like tools, steel and concrete. Tower cranes can rise hundreds of feet into the air, though the desktop sized cranes made by our innovative builders this week were very impressive themselves!

While a crane is a complex machine, we learned that it is composed of many simple machines. A simple machine is any machine or device that can change the direction of force. All mechanical machines are made from combining simple machines. A crane uses three simple machines: a lever, a pulley and a wheel and axle.

Most notable of these simple machines in this week's build is the pulley. Engineers use pulleys in many machine designs such as elevators, ziplines, window shades and even bicycle chains. Pulley system may have been used to build ancient structures like Pyramids. In our builds, the grooved wheel pulley system was used to lift K'nex pieces using yarn and working motors! Our engineers had great fun designing and assembling their tall tower cranes, and wearing their new yellow construction hats! Our crew of innovative engineers has never looked more ready to build. Hats off to you all for another week: join us again next time, where we'll explore an ancient building technique and architectural design!