How To: How Do You Balance 14 Nails on a Single Nailhead? Find Out with This DIY Gravity Puzzle

How Do You Balance 14 Nails on a Single Nailhead? Find Out with This DIY Gravity Puzzle

This little brain game is all about engineering a lower center of gravity. The idea has been around forever, but most people still don't know how to do it. Trying to stack nails above the balance point will raise the CG and make the structure unstable. Here's how you can lower the CG to make a very stable structure and impress your friends.

The challenge is simple—just balance these 14 nails on one nailhead. The nails can't touch anything except each other, and they all have to be balancing at the same time.

I designed the template for my nail base on a spreadsheet. If you'd like to make it, here is the template for free!

Using the template should result in a block of wood that looks something like this:

Once stained and sprayed it's finished and ready to use on your friends.

If you don't have the tools to put this much work into the project, you can just use a hammer and a scrap piece of wood.

Image via wonderhowto.com

If you don't have a hammer, try using a rock.

Image via wonderhowto.com

If you don't have wood, hammer, or a rock, hopefully you have someone who likes you enough to just hold the nail upright?

Stack the 14 remaining nails as shown here:

And lift them up to balance on the center nailhead. The center of gravity is now lower than the balancing point, so this structure is fairly stable, and resists falling when it's bumped, blown or tapped.

I repeated variations of this pattern and got up to 89 nails to balance at once! How many can you get?

For another challenge, see if you can balance 15 wooden matches like this. It's much harder, but once they balance they are amazingly stable as well!

Haven't see the video yet? You can still see it here!

If you like this project perhaps you'll like some of my others. Check them out at www.thekingofrandom.com

6 Comments

Nice execution! Have you tried spinning them on top the nailhead, too?

Yes I have Justin. The low center of gravity keeps them very stable, and they spin very well. Thanks for asking!

Well, first it's better to get a cute girlfriend like that ;)
right after that it's time to create and post a video response :)

I could see myself get real upset real fast every time I dropped one.

Edit: Also would be good to use something other than nails. Especially if you have sandals on :P.

Great points there Esteban! Thanks for your comment!

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