Published: 12 February 2015

3rd Annual ScraphEEp Challenge

On the 6th February 2015 the Electronics and Amateur Radio Society (EARS) hosted its 3rd annual ScraphEEp challenge supported by Electronic Engineering and the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Teams made up of both students and staff must create their contraptions from scrap and a basic starter kit to complete the challenge with a build time of just four hours! This year the challenge moved off the ground and into the air. The challenge was to create a cable car that could transport paperclips across a "ravine" on behalf of the Very Sensible Paperclip Company - points were scored per gram delivered with a heavy penalty for paperclips lost.

Several different solutions emerged as always, with each team providing their own solution to the challenge. Many teams created cable car systems with lowerable electromagnets, but two teams stood out in terms of innovation. “Unicorn Machine Gun” separated the challenge into two distinct components; the lifting and the carrying of the paperclips using a stationary crane and a mobile, tipping, bucket to take them to the other side. Sadly some of the wiring let their execution down, but the idea itself was definitely a winner! The second innovation award went to “Dot Matrix” for their electromagnet design - a behemoth with nine magnetic cores capable of running more than four amps of current. This allowed them a wide pickup area and was supported by their effective and stable cable buggy design. Also of note was their effective control panel.

The clear winner of the event was “Team One Way Street”, thanks to their formidable lifting capabilities (arguably greater even than Dot Matrix), the speed of their much lighter vehicle, and their efficient control system requiring only a quick change of cables to reverse direction. If you want to see the final showdown between Dot Matrix and One Way Street, it's on the YouTube video at​

The afternoon was a great success enjoyed by many attended. EARS would like to thank Electronic Engineering and the Institute of Engineering and Technology for their support, and as always those who participated for making the event come to life. We look forward to seeing you all next year! If you're interested in getting involved with EARS, find us on the Union site or email us at

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