Block and Tackle - Pulleys

by SteveWall, published

Block and Tackle - Pulleys by SteveWall Aug 5, 2011

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This project began when my son chose to investigate block and tackle for his 1st grade science fair project. I was going to zip down to the local Home Depot and buy the supplies, but then thought, “I should just print em!”. I iterated the design a couple of times before I printed the first full assembly. Then printed 3 more full assemblies. Works great! You will see that there are two types of sheaves, a single and double. The double actually should have been two separate thin sheaves next to each other within the pulley plates. The rope had very little friction, so I don't think much advantage was lost. Wooden dowels (1/4”) were used to hold the hooks, eyes and sheaves between the side plates. You can decide whether to use a hook or eye on each end.


Print the parts and assemble according to the drawing. Light filing/sanding will be required to optimize the fit of the dowels. Initially, I didn't use the #2 wood screws, the assembly snapped together. Later, I added the wood screws. Pre-drill the ends of the wooden dowels and don't stab the sh*t out of your finger (like I did) when you screw in the fasteners. Refer to the pictures, route rope, lift something! I used 1/8” diameter nylon rope.

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How small can these be made? I would like to make some for my model boat building. one half inch would be good. thanks

thanks for taking a look at these... I made these almost 6 years ago on my makerbot cupcake (Serial #902). These could be made smaller, if I still had the original cad files... Unfortunately I don't. Can you rebuild them? what Cad tool do you use? I use Creo.

thanks for the response.

I printed all stl files but have a remark:

Please have the sheave-1 made single but half thick.

You will never (cannot) use the pulleys in this way. In use they will turn indepent with different speeds.


Can you give us the snapped together version too? Was there any disadvantage to doing it that way?

I'm curious if you've tested out the strength of the system, how much weight can it bear? Great project!

I'm making this thing now, so i'll let you guys know. But im thinking that the hooks will be the weakest point. I may print it in 100% infill.

yep, the hook will certainly try to "open up" with too much load.... During my son's science fair, we left his demonstrator out during "open viewing" and many kids were "stress testing" the rig by pulling too hard on the block and tackle. That rig didn't have the screws holding it together, so the forces pushed the side plates apart (dowels were pulled out of their holes). This self-limiting feature allowed me to simply put it all back together for the next kid who felt that rig was there to test his strength.