tangled slinky

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by geeky teacher, May 4, 2010.

  1. geeky teacher

    geeky teacher New Member

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    I need to untangle several coiled steel springs. My colleague who could twist her arms into pretzel shapes to untangle these toys in 30 seconds has retired. Can any of you who have ever played with a slinky give me some practical advice for untangling the darn things? We use them to study seismic waves in my classes and 13 year-olds always manage to kink and tangle up the coils.
     
  2. Darwood

    Darwood Senior Member

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    Buy new ones and save yourself the time and aggravation?
     
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  3. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Somebody always beats me to it! Yep. A repaired slinky is never the same. Buy new ones.
     
  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    They will be fine as long as they don't get kinked. After that, it's time for the scrap yard.

    Untangling involves a twisting motion. Grab the entire slinky each side of the tangle and twist slightly. One direction will make it worse, the other will open it up. Once it opens up a bit, lift the tangled part up and around, and let it fall back into the proper position.

    Tom
     
  5. geeky teacher

    geeky teacher New Member

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    They are extra long and cost $10 each. More than one kid manages to "accidentally" let one fly and get tangled. Our school district is facing a 55 million dollar budget shortfall and I've spent hundreds of my own money on materials already, so I'll try Tom's suggestion.
     
  6. geeky teacher

    geeky teacher New Member

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  7. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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  8. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    I've untangled many slinkys in my lifetime.

    The tricky part is to not stretch it or kink it as you untangle it.

    Tom's correct about gently twisting/rotating it to try to work things free.
    I tend to work on a section of it at a time, though.

    No matter what you do, though it will never be exactly the same as a new one and there will be some areas that seem "stretched" out compared to others. The coils will not lie as flat as they did originally.

    Once you get it untangled, I wonder if it there were some way to do the experiment differently so that the slinkys didn't get tangled up in the first place?

    For example, can the ends of the slinky be mounted on something fixed so that you don't have to rely on only the kids to hang on to the ends. I would l think the kids would still be able to gather up the coils and then release them to see the results?

    Or would having a wire running down the center of the slinky from one end to the other help out. I would think if the ends of the wire were fixed to something then even if the kids let go of the slinky, the slinky would not get tangled up.

    I'm just hypothesizing, here. I've never tried these ideas out myself.
     
  9. SlowTurd

    SlowTurd I LIKE PRIUS'S

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    buy the plastic ones
     
  10. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Plastic slinky? No way. They just don't have the correct "slink-ity sound".
     
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