Tower Crane

Tower cranes come in all shapes and sizes. For the most part, a crane is a machine that is equipped with pulleys and cables that can be used to lift and lower heavy objects. They are commonly used in the construction industry to move heavy equipment. In this lesson, students will design a tower and jib for a crane before manufacturing and 3D printing their crane components. Using their assembled cranes, students will investigate, through practical experimentation, the principle of moments.
ComputingDesign and TechnologyMathematicsScience
Years | Grades
9th Grade | 13-14 years10th Grade | 14-15 years11th Grade | 15-16 years
Lesson 1: 90 minutes Print Time: 4 to 6 hours

Tower Crane Trailer
Play 0:42


  • Know the functional requirements of a tower crane
  • Investigate, through practical experimentation, the principle of moments 
  • Manufacture a tower crane using a 3D printer 

Tools and equipment

  • BE3D eDee printer 
  • Set of example crane components 
  • Internet enabled computer and TinkerCAD® 
  • Paper pad and pencil 
  • Printed lesson resources 
  • ShapeString (or strong cotton)

Skill requirements

To participate in the lesson, students should be able to:
  • Use TinkerCAD, Fusion 360 or similar CAD software at an intermediate level 
  • Be comfortable using DeeControl software including adjusting print settings 
  • Use the BE3D eDee 3D printer 

Tower Crane Walkthrough
Locked Play 7:04

3D models overview

  • Total print time 9 hours 45 minutes
  • Total filament 21.7 m
  • Additional non-printable components
  • Printed all at once
Crane 1
  • 7 hours
  • 15.7 m
Crane 2
  • 2 hours 45 minutes
  • 6 m
Note: Values are calculated for one set of models.

Lesson resources

  • Lesson plan 
  • Example crane components 
  • Worksheet 
  • Walkthrough 
  • Presentation 
  • 3D models 
  • 3D print instructions 
  • Curriculum alignment