Why Snatch Blocks are AWESOME (How Pulleys Work)  – Smarter Every Day 228

Why Snatch Blocks are AWESOME (How Pulleys Work) – Smarter Every Day 228


– Hey, it’s me, Destin. Welcome back to Smarter Every Day. It’s time for the pulley episode. These are like my favorite
things in the whole world. I bought this one, it looks
like it goes to a boat or something like that. Pulleys are one of these things that everybody knows about. They know that somehow, a pulley will give you mechanical advantage, but people don’t really understand it. We all pretend like we do, but the person that really shows up,
and is really clever, and they arrange it in the perfect way and they just make things work, that’s like the smart person
that everybody wants to be. So today, on Smarter Every Day, we’re gonna make a video about pulleys, and we’re gonna slowly
walk through how they work. And specifically, I wanna introduce you to my favorite type of pulley,
it’s called the snatch block. They’re really fancy, they can do tricks. Okay, let’s start by picking
up these cinder blocks. My kids are gonna show you
how to pick up blocks, right? If you have to pick something up, you have to pick up all of
the weight of the thing, and, whether you know it or not, all of the weight of you. How you doing, good?
– Good. – You can put it back down. How hard was that? Not that bad? The magic of a pulley is
really the magic of a rope, because a rope is always in
tension, you can’t push a rope. If you pull on this side of the rope, that force transfers all
the way through the pulley, so you basically can redirect the force. That is the primary function
of a pulley, redirecting force. (child grunts)
That’s pretty good, how was it? – Hard. – The pulley changes the
direction of your body weight, so you can use your own body weight to help you pick something up. Very good, was that hard? Not as hard.
– Not as hard. – Not as hard as what?
– Just picking it up. – Okay, so it’s easier to
pick it up with the pulley because you can kind
of lean into it, right? – Yes sir.
– Right. – So this is the part that
starts to confuse people. If you can change the way
the pulley are arranged, you can make it even
easier to pick this up. Do you want the normal
pulley, or the snatch block? – The snatch block.
– Snatch block! There you go.
(pulley clacking) Go for it. So you split it apart, don’t
cut your finger off there, there you go. So this is the magic of a snatch block. We can put a pulley in
any place at any time as long as there’s a
rope, and the snatch block is big enough for the rope. This is the part where
when you see it happen, you’re like, “Oh yeah,
of course it’s easier, “because of pulleys.” But if you don’t stop and think, you won’t really understand
what’s happening. So slowly pull, is it
really easy this time? – It’s a lot more easy.
– A lot easier, okay. So, this is what’s happening: the tension in the rope right here is being redirected by this pulley because that’s what pulleys
do, they redirect force. But down here with the snatch block, we’re doing the same thing,
we’re redirecting the force. But you have tension in the
rope, and tension in the rope. So all you do is you put
tension in a rope somewhere, and then you add up as many
ropes as possible on the thing, and that’s how you get
mechanical advantage. So in this case, how much
force is on the cinder blocks, do you know? – Two. – Two times the tension. I don’t know about you, but I
understand things a lot better if you can work with it with my hands. So I 3D printed a bunch of
pulleys and snatch blocks, and we’re gonna rig these
things up and generate a model of how we were picking
up those cinder blocks. When I pull on this rope,
that tension transmits itself all the way through the
rope to the very end. Wherever the rope is,
there’s also tension. If I pull here, think
about the word pulley, it pulls on the rope on the other side of the pulley right there. That pulls on the rope
there at the bottom, which then pulls on the
rope on the other side of that pulley, which
ultimately pulls against that hook at the very end. All of the ropes are in tension. Now, if you look down
there at the cinder block, you’ll notice that there are two arrows pulling up on that pulley. That’s why we get twice the
force on the cinder blocks. But what if we wanna pull harder? Can we just add more ropes and tension? Yes, we can using this. It’s basically a double pulley. Some people call this a block and tackle. Instead of two ropes pulling
down here, we get four. Just a little bit of force
here, even with my pinky finger, that’s like 10 pounds of force by just barely pulling at all. This is the same number of ropes, and pulleys and everything,
it’s just flattened out so we can see what’s going on. So, I’ve got a scale. I’m gonna attach a scale
to the input of the rope, and remember, if we put input tension, that tension goes all the way through. So as I pull here, I have
one, two, three, four ropes connected to the thing we’re pulling. So if I put two pounds here, look at that, I get eight pounds on the output. That’s awesome! I’m getting four times the force, but I’m only moving it 1/4th as far. How far do you think we an go with this? You think we can double it again? So now we have two blocks
with four pulleys each, which if you count all those up, one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight, we have eight ropes in
tension on that block. So as I pull here, look
at this, that’s nuts. That is a little bit of
force, and a lot of output. That is some serious mechanical advantage. Look at this though, the
ropes over close to me are moving a lot, but
the ones over near you aren’t moving as much. Let’s break this thing apart again, and see if we can
understand what’s happening. This is so awesome!
(board clunks) Oh man, that’s a great shot! Okay, so here’s what we got:
we’ve got one input pulley, let’s count up the tension again, one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight. I put two pounds here on the input. Oh, that is a lot of force on the output. Do you remember on the block and tackle, the ropes we’re moving at different rates? Well, think about this. On this side over here,
that rope is tied up there. It’s not going to move. On this side, I’m pulling the rope. It has to move as much as I pull it, and the same is true for this one, because it’s just redirecting that string. But after that, everything is affected by how much this moves. So, just playing around with it here, you can see that these
ropes move a whole lot more than that one over there
that doesn’t move at all. There’s a lot going on here. Not this is the sort of thing that, yes, you can probably explain it with words, but if you have a
fundamental understanding of how this stuff works, and
you just know how to use it to your advantage, you can get yourself out of some really interesting situations. For example, the other
day, the driveshaft broke on my buddy, Jeremy’s truck,
and we had to figure out how to get his truck up
onto a flat bed trailer without a winch. Snatch block! We rigged up a pulley
system so that we could pull his entire truck up onto the trailer using only ratchet straps. We figured it out, but because we were trading force for distance,
it was taking forever. That’s when a nice guy
named Jeff showed up. He drove up, offered to help,
and instantly understood our pulley system, and knew
what to do with this truck. We disconnected one of the ratchets, put Jeff’s truck in it’s place, and pulled this truck up until
the rope hit the trailer. One thing I love about Alabama
is nice people like Jeff just stop and help you,
and the instantly know what’s going on. For example, watch how
quickly Jeff figures out all the mechanics once I tell him we have an extra snatch block. (engine idling)
Oh, I’m so excited, we’re gonna do a double snatch block! Oh, this is great! Is I’m gonna put that one–
– It’s locking on the block? – Yeah, yeah.
– Okay. – If you’ll point that direction. – Yeah, I’ll do it. – [Destin] I’m gonna level with you, Jeff is the kind of guy I
wanna be when I grow up. Watch how he just picks up a snatch block and starts working. He just knows what to do. Also, his hands are just amazing. Watch this man work. (engine idling) Snatch block engaged.
(Jeff chuckles) How many snatch blocks you got? – [Jeff] About five. – [Destin] Dude, I’m a
amateur, I only got two. (Jeff laughs) – [Jeff] I got a triple. – [Destin] You got a triple? Like a–
– A wooden triple block. – [Destin] A block and tackle? – Yeah, that’ll work.
(chains clang) – Oh, dude, that’s a thing
of beauty, my friend! Any day you can use a
snatch block is a good day. So yeah, snatch blocks can get
you out of a hairy situation, knowing how to use them
can help you make friends, thank you so much dude, and they can also be a ton of fun. Zip lines are basically
just snatch blocks. You have the ability to
break apart the pulley and you can insert a cable into it without having to disconnect
the cable from either end. That’s essentially the
definition of a snatch block, a pulley where you can insert a line without having to take apart your line from whatever it’s hooked to. Snatch blocks are amazing, and where else can you get amazing views
of the rainforest canopy like this without having a snatch block? (fast forward zip lining) (pulley clanging) Muy bien.
– Amigo. (metal clanging) Can you hold this, then?
– Si. That’s awesome!
(girl chuckles) (Jeep engine roars)
(grasses rustling) Okay, so you can do a
video about snatch blocks without getting a Jeep
stuck, so let’s go do that. Let’s say you got the Jeep stuck. You might be tempted to
find the nearest tree, pull the winch out, and pull the cable directly to that tree. What do you think, Jeremy,
winch is the way to go? – Winch is the way, well, a
snatch block is the way to go. (men laugh heartily)
– Good answer, good answer! If we pull that winch out
directly to that tree, we would only be able to pull the Jeep with the force that that
winch is able to apply. Snatch block! We’re gonna snatch block
this bad boy out of here! What you actually wanna
do is put the snatch block on the tree side, then take that hook, and you hook it back to the Jeep, and so you have twice the pulling force with your snatch block. Alright, you got the winch, right? (engine idling)
– I got the winch. – [Destin] Okay, here we go. Cut the engine off and put it in gear, and just see if it’ll pull the Jeep. – [Jeremy] And like drag it, okay? – Yeah, see if it’ll just pull it. – Ready?
– Yeah. (cable motor running) Oh, that’s scary. That’s a lot of force, dude. – [Jeremy] Yeah, man. (cable motor running) – That’s good. Dude, that’s a lot of force, man. – [Jeremy] Yeah, man! – Thoughts?
– Alright, man. Snatch blocks are awesome, man. (men laugh) – There’s a type of pulley system we haven’t talked about yet,
it’s a compound pulley system. You remember the block and tackle, we had an eight-to-one
mechanical advantage? Well, this has the some
mechanical advantage, but it does it a different way. You remember we add up the
tension on these ropes, and we have one plus one is equal to two? But if we have two plus
two, it’s equal to four, and four plus four is equal to eight, we can come up with an
eight-to-one mechanical advantage just like that with less pulleys. This is fascinating, and
one of the first people to come up with this concept
is a guy named Archimedes. To learn more about Archimedes, I went to make local
library, and got a book by a man named Plutarch,
who mentions an interaction between Archimedes and
King Hiero of Syracuse. It’s a really interesting story, but it’s gonna be even
better if I tell it to you with this flannel board. So it goes like this:
Archimedes writes a letter to King Hiero of Syracuse, and he’s like, “Yo, King Hiero, I’m really
good with pulleys and stuff.” And Hiero’s like, “Why
don’t you prove it?” And Archimedes is like, “Well, I will “if you give me a war ship.” And King Hiero’s like, “Yo,
dog, here’s your war ship.” And the Archimedes is like, “Yo, dog, “I hear that you like pulleys. “I got pulleys on pulleys on pulleys.” And the Archimedes does something amazing. Under his own physical strength,
he pulls an entire war ship out of the dock, which
totally impresses the king because that’s what happens when you know how to use pulleys, you impress people. So people have been using
pulleys and snatch blocks for thousands of years,
and they’ve been impressed, all the way back in the
day with Archimedes. But they’re gonna be
used for thousands more. That’s why you need to know
how to use a snatch block. Don’t take my word for it though, I’ll let Veteran Astronaut
Commander Chris Hadfield explain it from his point of view. – The biggest difference
between being on Earth and being in space is
that you’re weightless, and when you’re floating
around weightless, like on the Space Shuttle, it’s
really hard to get leverage. You can’t dig your feet in, you can’t use the weight of
things to hold ’em in place. So having a way to hook on one
end and hook on the other end and apply a steadily increasing
force is really important. And that’s why on board the Space Shuttle, we have snatch blocks. They’re part of normal equipment. In fact, there’s a special
stowage block for them that contains a couple, and
they get used pretty regularly, both inside the ship, an
even outside on a space walk. You’re in a problem, you have a load, you have to pick it up, what do you do? Snatch block! (metal clanging) (Destin laughs)
(girl laughs) It’s kind of funnier when
it doesn’t work, isn’t it? Snatch block!
(metal clanging) Snatch block! That is exactly what you want. You wanna be the person that knows how to use the snatch block, understands mechanical advantage, and gets your team out of the situation. Snatch block! Snatch blocks are amazing. I wanna tell you something
else that’s amazing, and that is the sponsor for
this video, which is Kiwi Co. Kiwi Co is like having pure
curiosity mailed to your house to ignite the mind of a child every month. And recently, I got to take
my boys to headquarters, and we got to meet the
people that design the kits. The boys gave them feedback
on what it was like to build and play with
each one of these kits. In one case, my oldest son
collaborated directly with Rebeka whose a kit designer to
troubleshoot something she was working on. – But you pull this up, and so like, the plane that hits that
instead of your hand. – [Destin] In a matter of seconds, she prototyped his proposed solutions out of toothpicks and string,
and they tested it out, and it worked. – Yeah! – This was a really big moment in his life.
(Rebeka chuckles) It was super fun meeting these designers, and seeing how they come up with all the different ideas for the kits, and how they make these
really clear guides that go in the box so the
kids can make these things. These kits are incredible. They teach kids all kinds of subjects, like mechanics, optics, geography, art. There’s a specific kit
that is an ideal match for any kid in your life who you love, and you wanna inspire to be
more curious and creative. I love this company, I’m very proud that they’re a sponsor
of Smarter Every Day, and they just have a lot of heart, and I think that’s very evident if you meet Sandra, the Founder and CEO. Can I ambush you in your office? – Absolutely.
– And ask you some questions? – Yes.
– Let’s go. Where’s your office? – My office?
– Yeah. – I don’t have an office, I have a desk. – Can we go to your desk.
– Sure (laughs). – Okay, you don’t have an office? You’re the boss. – We have an open office environment. – [Destin] So why did you start Kiwi Co? Now, you’re an engineer yourself, right? – I am an engineer. I grew up making a lot of stuff, and once my oldest two kids got to a point where I wanted them to start making stuff, I started to compile materials and ideas. And one of my friends was
like, “This is so much fun. “You should start a business around this.” Yes (chuckles)!
– So you created this company as a fusion between parenting and the desire to have your kids tinker? – Exactly, I wanted them to be hands-on, I wanted them to see themselves as people who could create things. I hope these kids grow up not only to be scientists and engineers, but people who do make a
positive difference in the world. So I think that has been really great, and hearing about the quality time that people spend with their kids. We want kids, and families, and parents to come away from the
experience with Kiwi Co, and just be like, “Whoa, awesome!” That discovery, excitement, fun, wonder, hopefully all that packaged in a box, (laughs) and that gets delivered to your door.
– Literally in a box. – Exactly. – [Destin] Thank you so much for making this company.
– Yeah! Of course, my pleasure! Thank you for your support. – [Destin] Oh yeah, do you
remember how we started? – No.
– You don’t know how we started.
(Sandra laughs) I called the company before you
did anything on the internet and I asked if I could
sell your products online, before you had ever worked with
any influencers or anything. – We so appreciate that. – [Destin] It was really good, it was really good.
– No, we really, really appreciate that. – Do you know what the promo is? – Yeah, you get a free crate! – You get a free crate?
– Yeah! – [Destin] That’s awesome! – That’s what you get. – [Destin] KiwiCo.com/smarter, right? – [Sandra] That’s right, and
we’ll send you a free crate. Any line you want, you pick. – [Destin] And people get to pick, and you’re gonna send it to them yourself. – Abs, what?
(both laugh) What are you signing me up for (laughs)? – You’re gonna have the team do it. – We will send it out to you. – There you go, KiwiCo.com/smarter,
get a free crate, pick out the line that’s
best for your child, or in the case of a Eureka
Crate, what’s best for you. So, that’s awesome. Thanks for your time. – Yeah, absolutely. – Thanks.
– Thank you. – I’m Destin, you’re
getting Smarter Every Day. Have a good one, bye. (speeding traffic) There’s a road crew on
the side of the road repairing the guard rail
with a snatch block. (speeding traffic) Thanks, man. – Yeah, man.
– Have a good one. – [Crew Man] You, too. – (chuckles) It was kind of
weird, I pulled over and said, “Hey, can I check out your snatch block?” (laughs) And they we’re like,
“What are you talking about?” (laughs) Pretty cool, though. (speeding traffic) I should get back in my truck.

100 thoughts on “Why Snatch Blocks are AWESOME (How Pulleys Work) – Smarter Every Day 228

  1. Snatch Block!
    I want to take a moment to thank those of you who support Smarter Every Day on Patreon. I'd also like to point out 2 things about this video.
    #1. You'll notice Jeremy Fielding is in this video. He's the "Contraption Fabricator" that's started working with me now because of your support on Patreon. He's a great designer, father, and friend. You'll be seeing more of Jeremy around thanks to those who support at https://www.patreon.com/smartereveryday/
    #2. If you'd like to 3D print the Snatch Blocks and pulleys we use in this video they are here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4022579
    #3. I really enjoy KiwiCo and I think you will too. I got them as a Christmas gift for my children years ago, and it was a huge hit. It was after that experience that I reached out to their team and asked if I could advertise for them because of how good it was for our family. I think you'll enjoy it too. https://www.kiwico.com/smarter
    It was 3 things… I ended up pointing out 3 things.

  2. Hey you should try and make a pulley with 11 turns and see what happens. You start losing force the more you add. Because of resistance. After 10 the amount of resistance added into the system is greater than the mechanical advantage of adding more turns. It's actually getting better and better as they make better blocks. But with more traditional blocks like the ones on my ship 10:1 is the best you can do

  3. Another very interesting thing to note: shackles themselves can be made out of dyneema line (soft shackles), which is stronger and lighter than steel cable for each thickness. This allows for a lighter and more flexible system, as well as ease of attaching snatch blocks. Awesome video, Destin.

  4. I am confused – was this an educational video about the physics of pulleys or an infomercial for Snatch Blocks? Either way – THUMBS UP!

  5. You said "snatch block" to the tune of the guy in the "flex seal" commercial. And there was a few "but wait, there's more!!" Moments.

    I love it man!! You're awesome, keep up the good work!

  6. That was really helpfull. I didn't know their true mechanical purpose before😅. Only thought they change the direction of the force applied.
    Great video

  7. Excellent video. You might like this, I'm building a two story house by myself. Due to the span of the kitchen I had to reinforce the joists between the first and second floor with c10 channel iron. They ended up weighing about 600 pounds each times 8 of them. I lifted them in place using snatch blocks and comealongs. All by myself, easy as pie. And I'm 57 years old. Archimedes was a genius. Eureka!

  8. I learned a bit about pullies in grip school by my teacher tony moran who worked for 20th century fox for many years. I never became a grip. I'm actually a residential mover now. I appreciate you taking the time to illustrate mechanical advantage for us. That guys hands are great. Your videos are educational fun for family. A man that knows how to gain mechanical advantage will appear as a godsend and can avoid some pretty harry situations

  9. I have never seen the lateral side of a pulley. That is amazing to see the weight move in a 2-D view. I freaking love this channel. Jeff's hands are something to aspire to.

  10. Next thing you know your kids are going to be snatch blocking their way to the top of trees screaming SNATCH BLOCK the whole way.

    Wish I would have known this as a kid. Would have made all the climbing trees to our tree forts much easier.

    SNATCH BLOCK!

  11. Thanks Destin, I've been watching from the beginning. I don't mean to overstate it, but your contribution to education is tremendous, and even then I think I fall short in the compliment. Keep it up. I'd like to also to wish you and your wonderful family Happy Holidays.

  12. So could you just use a 100 snatch blocks and and pull 10k pounds with a toy rc car or even have a baby pull 10k pounds by just adding more snatch blocks untill just it Crowning around and not even notecing the incredible feat it is pulling off

  13. KiwiCo is wondering why they payd you to say Snatch Block all the time 😀 next Video is spnsored by Snatch block and it will be all about KiwiCo

  14. Destine pls don't forget the advantage of formulas. To show the beauty of pulley's with the formula for work (= distance x force) would be really helpfully.

  15. It's not often I feel the need to share my thoughts, but Destin has been doing such a fantastic job at all of this for so long that it puts me to tears. Helping people learn, showing such wonderful passion and enthusiasm and most of all, sharing it all with his family. It's great to be Smarter Every Day but it's a truly unique thing to be utterly Amazing Every Day and that's what I feel he's done. You deserve so much credit for putting a smile on and feeding the brains of so many people, I wish I could present you a lifetime achievement award.

  16. Aww. This reminded me of elementary school 4th grade physics!
    I bet nowadays the kids are barely able to learn to spell in 4th grade…

  17. Nice video, I've helped my Dad out just the same as in your video when I was a kid and was fascinated by pulleys.

    I had an issue when I took the crash bar off the front of my car to remove the engine, basically, the chassis separated enough that the crash bar would not go back on. To pull it back together I tied a rope around the two parts of the chassis that separated (so that the rope overlapped itself) then twisted the rope together with a spanner to pull the two parts together. It worked a treat and didn't require much force, although you wouldn't want to let go due to the stored kinetic energy (ooh that sounds geeky). I'm guessing this is a similar principle?

  18. You did a great job of introducing very simple mechanical advantage (MA), however, there is so much more to it. For instance, when you added a second pulley to the rigging for the truck onto the trailer, you did not add any additional MA. You simply put in a change of direction (CoD) pulley. If your interested in grabbing a hold of this concept more, I can help. We use MA systems a lot and have very competent riggers that use this for technical high angle rescues.

  19. Safety tip. When pulling under heavy load, get clear of cable boundary. If the cable breaks, it can do serious damage.

  20. 10$ shipping on the 20$ kiwi boxes…. its 2019 were in the age of amazon if your company doesnt have a contract for free shipping its going bust

  21. Very cool video. Use a snatch block quite a bit with my job when pulling very heavy pumps from wells. Wouldn’t be able to do so without them.

  22. Use laminar flow in conjunction with “SNATCH BLOCKS” to build a house. That’s how the pyramids must have been built.

  23. Stuck in the mud? Snatch block! Broken driveshaft? Snatch block! Have crippling depression because Karen took the kids? SNATCH BLOCK!

  24. Just want to say thank you for posting your videos, you bring science, physics, engineering and outright fun together with the best enthusiasm I’ve seen in a long time. Your a true inspiration to your kids as a father and your followers as a mentor. Keep up the great work your doing!

  25. that leverage of making weight look easy still has a load limit. It would be cool to show what parts are straining.. the tree it was tied to etc etc.

  26. When the guy pulled up to help Destin pull the truck on the trailer, Destin sounded much more southern. Like, his Alabama really came out. X

  27. Out hunting one fall, I shot a deer and lifted it up to gut it using a Spanish Windlass. I impressed my younger brother.

  28. I live in Washington State, and there are nice people here, too. There are nice people everywhere, just as there are jerks everywhere. No part of the country has more nice people—or more jerks—than any other part of the country.

  29. Another way to explain pulleys…. And im sorry if i use the 'x' incorrectly. Is your using x energy to move x mass x distance over x time. To use less energy you need to change something else. By adding pulleys you're increasing the time for rope to go from point a to b. So overall you are using same amount of energy same distance same mass. Just lower amount of energy at any given moment over a longer period of time.

  30. Bald tires on a jeep off road, surprised by old man with labourer hands knows how to load a truck. Guessing you didn't grow up with that way of life ? 😆

  31. i love your videos dustin but you should never kill your engine when you use your winch its really bad for the solinoids as you are not keeping up the amps in the batteries so as the amps drop the solinoids have to work the same with less amps but still keep up the work mate i love the videos

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