Ramp Climber


To build a motorized device that will climb a 12 ft. 2X4 ramp.

Permitted Materials
  1. A single electric motor powered by one or two AA cells.
  2. Parts may be used from commercial objects (toys, models, etc.) but the frame holding the device together must be home made, not purchased whole or part of a kit.
  3. There are no limitations on the types of materials used in the construction of the device but it must be entirely self-contained.
Other Constraints
  1. No energy sources (elastic, chemical, etc.) other than the AA batteries may be used for any part of this competition.
  2. No remote control devices of any kind are allowed.
  3. Propulsion must be accomplished by one or more drive wheels in contact with the wood ramp. The wheel(s) must drive by friction only. No piercing or scratching of the wood ramp is allowed.
  4. Part of the device may extend to a maximum of two inches below the top edge of the 2×4. Drive wheels may be located either in this area of overhang or on the top edge or both.
  5. The device must fit completely in a box 30 cm. X 30 cm. X 30 cm.
Testing Procedure

The 12 ft 2×4 is placed on edge (top surface approximately 1.5 in. wide) and at an angle of 30 o with the floor. The first foot will be the starting zone where one of the participants will place and release the device. Photogates will be used to time the device as it climbs the next ten feet along the ramp. The device will be caught by a judge as it passes the second photogate in the last foot of the ramp’s length.

Contestants will have three attempts. The best (shortest time) of the three will be used as the final score. The three attempts will be scheduled consecutively; however, contestants may opt to delay the third attempt to make minor repairs or adjustments. In the event of a tie, the second best of the three attempts will be the tie breaker. If none of the entries travel all ten feet, the one going the furthest will win.

Batteries may be replaced for each run.

Practice runs in the testing area, prior to the actual competition, will not be allowed.

Testing Equipment – Timer

College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Jim Crumley
Chair, Physics Department
SJU PEngl 107
Physics Department