Hands-On-Physics MECHANICS

- Skill Building -

Nested Boxes

The task for the team is to construct a set of boxes which fit together, one inside another. The largest box must have the outside dimensions of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. The tops of the boxes may be open. Each team member must build one of the boxes, and sign it. Start by laying out (drawing) the first box on a piece of cardboard. While the first box is being cut and assembled, design the smaller boxes. The boxes should fit snugly but not stick. Successive boxes should be smaller by 4 times the thickness of your cardboard, about a centimeter. A well-built product is expected here, so you should practice and throw away some cardboard until you can make good boxes.

Plan for a 10 cm box (holds one liter)

Figure S1
box plan

To lay out the design, use a pencil and a ruler to transfer plans to the real size on cardboard. Be careful to make the corners square (90°). Use something like the edge of a square piece of paper, or a book, or a protractor. Notice that one edge of each side must be moved in a little (the width of the cardboard) so the glue tabs will fit inside the box properly.

To cut the piece, use a ruler for a straight edge to guide the knife. DO NOT cut directly on a table top. Use a work-board or cut on top of a scrap piece of cardboard. Make the first cut carefully and not very deep. This first cut will work as a guide for another pass or two to finish cutting all the way through.

To score the piece where it folds, draw the fold line on the back. The piece will fold in, away from the score. Line up the straight edge along the fold line you drew and carefully cut through only one layer of the corrugated cardboard. The cardboard will now fold neatly along this half cut.

To glue pieces together, use hot glue. You must work quickly because the glue cools and hardens right away. Apply the glue and press the pieces together. They stick almost instantly.

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