Archimedes Screw

The Archimedes‘ Screw is a device used to raise water. Invented thousands of years ago, it is a hollow tube with a spiral thread running along its cntre. One end is dipped into a liquid, the shaft is turned and the liquid travels up the tube eventually spilling out of the top. This version is made of card so can’t be used with water. Luckily the Archimedes‘ Screw works just as well with sugar, salt or sand.

Members can download the parts for free, non members can download them for a small fee. Print out the parts onto thin card (230 micron / 230 gsm) Score along the dotted lines and cut out the holes before cutting out the parts. Use PVA (white school glue) to glue the parts together.

Fold round and glue together the square shaft. Starting from one end, glue the vanes to the angled colours lines. Note that there are two spirals running down the shaft.

Roll the tube outer round the shaft and glue in into place. Note that there is no need to glue the outer to the edges of the vanes as friction will hold it into place so long as it is wrapped tightly.

Fold round and glue down the tabs to making a triangular tube, these will make the edges rigid.

Fold up and glue the box together the box as shown above.

Glue one of the washers to the short end of the shaft so that the tabs touch the end of the shaft. Thread the shaft through the hole in the end of the box.


Glue the other washer onto the other side. Make sure that you don’t get any glue on the box, the shaft mush be free to rotate.


Fold round and glue together the end piece.


Thread the end over the shaft as shown and glue it into place on the end of the box.

Glue up the four tabs on the outer box to make triangular tubes as shown above. Glue one side of the outer box to the marked grey area on the box-inner.

Fold the box-outer round and glue it down on the grey area on the other side of the box-inner.

Fold in and glue down the two flaps, front and back.

Assemble the handle in three steps:

Fold round and glue down the two sections to make square section tubes.

Fold one section into the other and glue it down.

Roll the long tab round and glue it down.

Complete the model by gluing the handle into place.

Fill the end of the box with sugar, salt or sand. Turn the handle and it will be transported up the tube to spill out of the end.

Fill the box with sugar and you can use it as a device to deliver measured doses of sweetness to your coffee. I used a stack of books to raise the Archimedes‘ Screw to a suitable height but you could construct a tall base as part of the model.

Look at the crema on that espresso! Hmmm!