Egg Drop Strategies

Update: I’ll be testing firing contraptions this week, wait to build your egg drop safety container until after Friday so that you can see the firing contraption in the podcast. Rules may change at that time to accomadate something like a giant crossbow!

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On February 13th, Brady and I will be hosting Ignite Seattle, a Maker/Geek event here in Seattle. We’re going to be having an egg drop. You make an egg-safety device that is smaller than an 18″ x 18″ x 18″ cube and less than 3 pounds. You bring it to the event at 6:30 PM at the CHAC upper level on February 13th and we’ll put it in a giant slingshot and smash it against the wall. If you’ve done an egg drop event and have any advice for me, drop me a note in the comments!

You can make your own egg safety container on your own time or you can come and work on your design as early as 4:30 if you want. I’ll have popsicle sticks, hot glue, and newspaper there for you to make your own. If you have any other ideas for supplies to have there, drop me a note in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. No matter what, all building stops at 7:30 so that we can put the eggs into a giant sling shot made of a lot of surgical tubing and fire them at a (plastic protected) brick wall. No metal or glass allowed since we don’t want to break the place.

Did you do an egg drop in school or have a brilliant idea for an egg cushioning device? If so, you can help out by uploading a picture of your cushioning strategy or drawing a diagram and upload it to the MAKE: flickr pool. I’ll be putting some of these pictures in the Weekend Project podcast this weekend which will be all about egg drops and I may even try and use one of the uploaded strategies.

As if that wasn’t enough, there will be 5 minute presentations through the rest of the night to spellbind and amuse you!

What is an Egg Drop? – Link
What is Ignite Seattle and where do I go on February 13th at 6:30? – Link

45 thoughts on “Egg Drop Strategies

  1. bkberry – wow! innovative idea!

    cranberry – I’d love to see a drawing of your design, can you upload it to the flickr pool please?

  2. I won with an improbable-looking missile years ago. At our contest, the fire dep’t dropped them from the top of the snorkel truck – about 100 feet high or so, I think it was.

    Take the cardboard center from a roll of paper towels and unwind about a third of it. Wind it back up again so it’s ever so slightly cone-shaped and will catch the egg about 2 inches from the pointy end. Secure with tape.

    Put an egg in it, pointed side towards the tapered end, and pack the nose tightly with tissue. Tap the egg back out the tail end if you need to remove it. Add fins at the other end to help it fly nose-forward.

    The geometry of the egg is very strong against pressure applied uniformly around the circumference … and that’s what this does. When it hits the ground, the deceleration force is applied evenly around the circumference.

    The best thing is that it appears to be a suicide machine, but it protects the egg quite well.

  3. Small stiff container packed with vaseline… similar to the peanut butter, but vaseline is cooler because you can examine the egg in situ before and after. It’s surprising how little you need.

  4. I used a panty hose egg stuffed with styrofoam packing peanuts, and a set of fins to keep it pointed long-end downwards. That was good for about a 30 or 40 foot drop. The contest I was in rewarded fast drops rather than parachute or airfoil-based solutions.

  5. I did this in college with my group of Software Engineers, and we only had 10 straws, a garbage bag, and 3 meters of tape. If you can make a parachute, by all means, go for a square parachute. make a small crate like contraption with any kind of padding for the egg, and attach it to the parachute. The smaller the cage around the crate, and the more padding in the crate, means a softer fall. The ultimate for the soft fall, though is the parachute. Check to see if it is allowed, it’s the best way to go!

  6. In high school, I was in MESA. There were “MESA day” competitions every year, and for 3 years I was undefeated in the eggdrop competition. My strategy was to make a solid container that encased each egg with individual fit. I used spray foam to encapsulate the egg with a two-piece container, and then taped/shrink-wrapped the container shut. In my last year, I got 32 out of 32 eggs to survive a 60′ fall.

    The rules for my competition were: 18″ diameter, no spillable liquids, must be able to open the container and extract all the eggs within 2 minutes.

    Here is a picture of one of my eggdrops, this particular eggdrop had 26 eggs, and 100% survival rate from 60′.


    I’m the one in the middle, my girlfriend(and now fiance :-) is on the right.

  7. The way to go is a pumpkin, or cantelope( some king of large round vegetable or fruit). Wrap the egg in paper towels fill the cavity of the fruit/vegetable with peanut butter around the egg. Duct tape shut with as much as you want. It may be wasteful but its a surefire win

  8. What if you use pipe cleaners? Wrap the egg in pipe cleaners, then using triangular awsomeness–you add a crumple zone all around the entire egg. like in a cube shape with little triangle shapes inside it all, for support.
    The plus side, is the egg doesn’t get messy (Peanut butter). You can also just reform the pipe cleaners, and use it again!

  9. I designed a device with paper, tape, and straws that could be made to handle virtually any impact velocity. It used a cone of paper to cushion the impact, much the same way a crumple zone in a car protects the occupants. Create your cone of paper. Put the egg in and press it into place so it will stay put. Make sure it rests nearer the pointed end to insure it will fall with the pointed end down. Then use straws to make legs for the cone to rest on once it lands. The cone will absorb the impact energy and then fall onto the straw legs to protect the side of the egg. The cone absorbs energy very evenly. It worked 100% of the time from 60ft with one piece of paper, a few pieces of tape, and four straws. If you are in a situation where you can insure the point of the cone will be facing forward at impact (like a drop) this design will serve you well.

    Good luck!

  10. Apparently many of you are not paying attention to the posting, Bre has stated that the egg protection devices are going to be shot out of a large MAKEshift slingshot at a wall, not being dropped, the velocity will more than likely be higher than a normal “egg drop”.

  11. When my sister was in art school, they had an egg drop- one participant used a whole chicken, put the egg inside, closed it with safety pins, and spray-painted it pink. (this was the mid 80s!) The egg broke.

  12. I won a vertical drop competition in middle school with Ziploc bags full of shaving cream. Our device was a tension cube (straws around copper wire, duct tape at each corner) and each face had a bag inside. One side was colored differently to designate the hatch, and that was the side you load the egg from. The key is for the egg to be tightly squeezed into the foam.

  13. I got an awesome email that I’m copying here for another idea for the egg smash. I want everyone to have access to as many ideas as possible! Thanks Jonathon!

    nice work on all the make stuff. i like it.
    anyway, i had something for you for the egg drop. i am in colorado and don’t really have time to make and upload this, so here it is.
    when i was in high school physics, we had an egg drop contest. my design won (not to brag, but to preface). i think this is the best design still to this day that i know of:

    simple. take a block of styrofoam the size of the restrictions; cut it in half; carefully hollow out the shape of a singe egg (half in each block; install the egg; tape the styrofoam blocks togather (make sure the holes are big enough that putting the blocks togather wont break the egg).

    it works by transmitting most of the kinetic energy through the egg because of the tight fit. if you build it, you will be amazed. We threw our block (6″x6″) off of the top of the football bleachers as hard as we could about 4 times before the egg broke.

    Regardless, have fun.

    Jonathan Reynolds

  14. Am I the only physics major here?

    I would like to congratulate everyone for paying attention that this is NOT AN EGG DROP.

    This is an egg slighshot. Your normal, low velocity, egg protection techniques will not apply here.

  15. a normal eggdrop from 60′(if you make one that doesn’t try to slow down the fall) hits the ground doing around 42mph. I don’t think I’d really call that a low velocity impact.

  16. Added an egg drop photo from a small contest at high school camp to the Flickr pool. The strategy seemed to work since we ended up winning out of a dozen or so teams :)

  17. The easy win, using the KISS method: a cluster of balloons.

    For a drop, use some helium (enough to let gravity affect the egg and give it a nice soft landing).

    For a toss/slingshot, regular air would work.

    Works every time.

  18. joepbrown: Compared to the much higher velocities that can be achieved with the slingshot method to be used here it is in fact a low velocity impact.

    This method could easily double the speed.

  19. U R N IDEUT

    It takes just as much effort to type “realli” as it does the correct english spelling of “really”.

  20. omg thanks a shamillion for all the egg tips!!!! i have an egg dropping club in school (its awesome – you should all join!) and every wednesday at lunch we have egg dropping contests. problem – we have to experiment with a diff technique every time. crazy, huh???? so these tips have been A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! yall are the best!! ill put up pix asap lu all mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :-x
    luv, ur co egg-dropper, p.z. to the shminiggle (ya, cant really help that last name – my dad’s from scandinavia)

  21. i just did a egg lanuch last week in school.
    my egg broke but my best frends did not

    all he did was use this stuff called “Great stuff” and a alumina bowl as a parachute

    that fit our rules

    NO tape

    NO wood
    NO glue
    NO pipe cleaners
    NO safety pins
    6 in at bigest

  22. i just did a egg lanuch last week in school.
    my egg broke but my best frends did not

    all he did was use this stuff called “Great stuff” and a alumina bowl as a parachute

    that fit our rules

    NO tape

    NO wood
    NO glue
    NO pipe cleaners
    NO safety pins
    6 in at bigest

  23. …Or instead of going to all this trouble you could take a cardboard box, fill it halfway with packing paper, put the egg in, cover it in packing paper, then stuff newspaper in it until it is so tight the egg cannot move. My egg capsule survived a drop from three stories off.

  24. i simply used a ziploc conter covered the bottom with a papertowel and used cotton balls and stuffed animal stuffing and then layered the top with a papertowl and put the lid on. dropped from 60′ and survived !

  25. i simply used a ziploc container covered the bottom with a paper towel and used cotton balls and stuffed animal stuffing [ put the egg in the middle] and then layered the top with a papertowl and put the lid on. dropped from 60′ and survived !

  26. I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people
    could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text
    for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

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