An Engineering Challenge

The trouble with one hour breaks during the school day is that you can’t accomplish anything significant. By the time you’ve finished walking back from class, checking your e-mail, eating lunch, and so on, you have twenty minutes to do something before you have to leave again. And the past two quarters, I’ve had 13 and 11 one hour breaks per week.

Rubber Band on DVD

Naturally, I started finding things to do. My latest diversion is a DVD I found in one of my classrooms. In an effort to improve its rolling ability, I decided to wrap a rubber band around its edge. In theory, this would increase traction and angular momentum, as well as just add weight in general.

However, this turns out to be harder than it sounds. After several days, I finally accomplished my task, but the result, unfortunately, was not particularly stable. Even that was with a fairly wide rubber band. Nevertheless, it was a nontrivial exercise in engineering, and I encourage anybody who leans that way to give it a try.

So, here’s the challenge. Without the aid of another person, adhesives, fasteners, etc., wrap a rubber band around the edge of a CD or DVD, so that it stays without being held in place. There is a reliable way to do it, and it’s certainly not brute force. Just keep in mind that, although the problem is difficult, it’s not impossible, and I have pictures to prove it.

P.S. If you’re wondering why the DVD looks that way, it’s because I put it in the microwave.


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