Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Seeking a method for attaining extreme cantilever using a coilable material

The Seeker needs to extend horizontally the loose end of a small coil of lightweight stored material without external support -- essentially, achieving a cantilever supported only at one beam end. Material, beam cross-section, and beam structure are on the table -- but your solution must meet strict criteria in terms of size, weight, cost, and coilability.

The seeker envisions that there may be a better engineering or materials solution to our problem than the one we now use. We store a small coil of lightweight material (the coil size can fit in the hand), the loose end of which must extend horizontally from the coil for well over 168 unsupported inches without deflection anywhere along the extended length or at the root of the beam. There is no additional load on the cantilever beam other than the weight of its own material.

All potential solutions must face tight cost constraints. Exotic materials or difficult-to-manufacture options may be non-starters (even if successful solutions) because of costs. Your solution to this cantilever problem will need to be manufactured hundreds of thousands of times, and must cost accordingly.

Some of the constraints applicable
  • Tight cost constraints.
  • Able to extend horizontally 168+ inches without deflection or support except at one beam end. A greater cantilever extension would be even better.
  • Able to store 168+ linear inches of material in a small coil (or in another compact storage form able to be held in one hand) no more than 3-to-5 inches in its largest dimension.
  • Gross weight under 1 pound.
Note: Please make sure that only non-confidential information is submitted as part of your solution. You can submit a summary of your solution, however the solution summary should be elaborate enough to convince seeker that you have a solution.

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