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NEES-EPICS Advanced Manual Shake Table

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This low cost shake table provides an inexpensive, easy way to demonstrate simple harmonic waves. The shake tables use inexpensive components that can be purchase at a hardware supply store and assembled using basic tools in a few hours. This table is an upgrade from the previous model created by Jason Lloyd [] and []. The new model features better stability and a smoother line of motion accomplished by the addition of suction cups and drawer slides.  In addition, a bungee cord provides a method to adjust the tension force required to actuate the shake table.


The Low Cost Shake Table is a single axis manual earthquake simulator which allows for useful demonstrations of damped simple harmonic oscillation powered by students. This shake table is cost effective and can be easily assembled with hardware purchased at post hardware stores. Prior designs of the manual shake table [ [] and []. ] also provide a low cost solution to a manually driven shake table. However, the previous design was less stable and had to be stored in multiple parts. This new model replaces the simple roller methods (oak wood dowels) with drawer slides. These slides maintain a single axis motion that ensures safety manual operation caused by pulling rope handle and a bungee cord to return the table to a starting position. The bungee mount can be adjusted to vary the amount of force needed to actuate the shake table. Also, suction cups are attached at the four corners to decrease sliding of the entire Shake Table. Finally, a new mounting system was added to increase the easy of attaching physical models to the shake table platform. . This upgraded model has been tested at the USA Science and Engineering Festival and has received positive feedback from both students and reviewers. This page contains resources for building the unit and recommended learning activities for using it in formal and informal learning experiences. . The main link to this page provides a comprehensive how to assemble video. A detailed parts list itemizes all of the components along with images of each for clarity. Also, written detailed assembly instructions are provided.    

Material List

  • Parts list of materials for purchase at hardware store [PDF]
  • How to Assemble [Video]
  • [[Video(]]
  • Assembly instruction [written]

Links and Resources

Possible lesson plans for use with the hand shake table.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Sean Brophy (2014), "NEES-EPICS Advanced Manual Shake Table,"

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