How do you make a spring scale?


Quick Answer

Making your own spring scale can be a fun and engaging way to investigate the weights of different objects. You need only a spring and some basic household materials, such as paper and string.

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Full Answer

  1. Find a good spring

    Your spring should be strong enough that it goes back together when it isn't stretched by a weight but not so strong that your payloads don't move it. The spring should have a hook on each end or an easy way to install hooks. If you can't find a spring, you can use a rubber band or something else light-weight and elastic.

  2. Secure one end of the spring

    Find some kind of stiff paper or board that you can write on. Secure one end of the spring to the top of this board using a pin or nail. The other end of the spring must be free to move. If the other end of the spring does not have a hook, attach a paperclip on the end to use as a hook.

  3. Mark the weights

    Mark a point on the spring. Tie a twist-tie around a moving part of the spring, or find a way to color it. Always measure from this point. Mark on the board the spot indicated by the part of the spring you marked when there are no weights on the spring. This mark means there is no weight. Choose an item that has a known weight, or measure its weight with a kitchen scale. Attach it to the spring. Look for your mark on the spring. Mark that location on the board and record the weight next to it.

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