Duct Tape Wave Machine

What do you do when you have a lot of spare time, a lot of duct tape, some shish kabob skewers, and rubber stoppers for Erlenmeyer flasks?1 Well, if you’re YouTube user RDSQC, you will make your own wave machine, take a video of it in action, and upload it for the entire world to see!

As you can see, this is not the wave machine that you use to make waves in pool to simulate the ocean’s movement. (Duh.) If I am right, this is actually a DIY version of a Shive wave machine, which was named after Dr. John Shive. He developed the machine back in the 1950s when he was working at Bell Labs.

So what’s the point in having a machine like this? (Aside from the fact that the guys look like they were having fun making the machine move.)

The purpose of a Shive wave machine is supposed to demonstrate how slow transverse waves move. In order to make this machine, the rods (shish kabob sticks in this case) have to be placed at regular intervals. In conventional wave machines, the rods are attached to a wire spine. In a MacGyver-worthy move, this DIY-er decided to use duct tape.

I don’t know what practical use the average person will ever have for one of these machines, but RDSQC, MacGyver would be so proud of you!2

Now if you happen to adore physics, you can see videos of “real” wave machines here.

  1. Refresh your memory: an Erlenmeyer flask is a piece of equipment used in the lab. It is characterized by a flat bottom, a conical body, and a cylindrical neck. []
  2. Source: RDSQC []

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