Junkyard Challenge 2011

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In Junkyard Challenge, each team must prepare and bring materials to build a device on site to complete a task.

2011 Event Description

Given certain materials, each team is required to build a bridge, tower, or cantilever for Regionals and a ramp, catapult, or bouncer for States (any will be chosen for Nationals). Teams have 30 minutes to construct with 2 minutes to test.


  • 1-5 Plastic golf balls
  • 1-8 golf balls
  • 1-10 tennis balls
  • paper/Styrofoam plates, cups, and bowls (must have at least 1 plate and 1 cup)
  • straws/stir sticks
  • Popsicle/craft sticks
  • toothpicks
  • spools of any non-metallic string, line, thread, tape
  • Paper (8 1/2 X 11)
  • Rubber bands
  • Plastic bags(less than or equal to 1 gallon)
  • Scissors (must only be used as a tool, not as part of the structure)

All of this has to fit in a "junk box" that is no greater than 95 cm (length+width+height)

Tips, Tricks and Hints


Duct Tape

  • Duct Tape is your friend. It can hold 67.3 lbs. and is 60 yards long. There is no penalty for weight. Using duct tape, you can build very strong structures.
  • Duct tape is the strongest of most tapes (tested thus far) but is not necessarily the easiest to tear. A hint with tearing: look for the "threads" carefully. Peel carefully and tear straight down along the line. It's similar to tearing cloth, if you've ever tried it.
  • Duct tape may be the strongest, but it's definitely not the easiest to store, either. Resolve this problem by gently peeling the duct tape off the roll and curl it up into another roll. It will be flexible and may lose some strength/stickiness, but will save much more space and still work.


  • Styrofoam cups were tested to be the strongest cups available under loads and when cut.
  • Paper cups were the easiest to cut into desired shapes, compared to plastic cups and styrofoam cups. Small children's paper cups are excellent for stacking and binding together for any sort of height builder. They aren't necessarily the strongest, but they don't take up a lot of space in the box.

Other Tips

  • Rolled paper taped together can make a long stick and is fairly strong.
  • Popsicle sticks and/or rolled paper can form an excellent truss.
  • Rubber bands make a great bouncy surface for the bouncer.

Note: For regional builds, "freestanding" is defined as not leaning on an edge, or being taped down (no cup-holders).

See Also

Elevated Bridge
Bridge Building
Tower Building
Storm The Castle


Soinc Junkyard Challenge Page