How to Make an Elevator for a Science Fair Project

Make an elevator model for your science fair project to show how elevators work.
••• the elevator image by Pix by Marti from

Elevators are lifts that carry people or things from one floor in a building to another. They work on a system of spindles and spools that run on an electric motor. The spindle is attached to the elevator by a steel cable, and tracks along the side of the elevator make sure that it goes up and down in a straight line. A counter weight balances the elevator to make it easier to pull up. As the elevator goes up, the cable wraps around the spool, and as it lowers, the cable gets unwound from the spool.

    Attach the spindles to the board using the nails. Place four of the spindles along the top of the board face, equally spaced so they fit across the top. Place the remaining two spindles at the bottom left side of the board directly in straight line to the first two spindles on the top.

    Poke two holes in the top of the cardboard box and two holes in the bottom. Thread one piece of string through the bottom two holes and tie off. Take a second piece of string and thread through the hole on the right side at the top of the box.

    Pass the bottom string under the two spindles at the bottom of the board and bring up to the top. Loop the string twice around the first spindle on the top and then directly over the second spindle on the top and down to the box. Tie off the string in the first hole you made on the top of the box.

    Take the end of the other string on the top of the box and pass over the third and fourth spindle at the top of the board.

    Tie the end of the second string around a counter weight of about 100 grams or the size of a two inch bolt.

    Move the elevator car (cardboard box) up and down by turning the first spindle on the top left of the board with your fingers.

    Things You'll Need

    • Plywood or strong cardboard
    • Six nails
    • String
    • Six wooden spindles
    • Small cardboard box
    • Six nails
    • Counter balance (bolt or screw)

About the Author

Patti Richards has been a writer since 1990. She writes children’s books and articles on parenting, women's health and education. Her credits include San Diego Family Magazine, Metro Parent Magazine, Boys' Quest Magazine and many others. Richards has a Bachelor of Science in English/secondary education from Welch College.

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