How to hold up a table with strings

Thanks to tensegrity, you can rest a dumbbell on a table help up by strings. No, I’ve not been drinking any eggnog or wine, why?

a tensegrity structure holding up a dumbbell

You’ve probably heard of string theory but this is quite different. Using strings and a 3D-printed table, The Action Lab have made what’s called a tensegrity structure:

Tensegrity allows strain to be distributed across a structure. While buildings built from continuous compression may not show this property, more elastic structures like our bodies do. These structures can be built on top of smaller units that continuously distribute strain.

Definition via Hackaday

In a nutshell: a tensegrity structure uses isolated parts and tension to retain its shape without touching each other. The strings hold the tension and connect the components in a network.

The video below shows how those strings can hold weight so well and how vital they are in tensegrity structures. They start with demonstrating a string holding the weight of a pair of scissors, and some cardboard before showing the 3D-printed table. It looks like an illusion but I assure you it’s real. Isn’t science cool?

Stream it below.

Author: lukealexdavis

Luke Davis is a music producer and writer. In his spare time, he enjoys watching tennis, playing Pokémon, reading and admiring architecture.

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