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Publication Date


First Advisor

Susannah Howe

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science




Cut resistance, Prototype, Rope, Solid works, Cutting machines-Design and construction, Strength of materials, Rope-Testing


This report outlines the design development of a machine to demonstrate cut resistance in synthetic fiber rope. Cut resistance, a measure of how much energy it takes to cut through a rope, is an important parameter that has not previously been well quantified. I designed my machine for use at Sterling Rope, a rope manufacturing company, and its goal is to show qualitatively that some of Sterling Rope’s products are more cut resistant than others.

In the first stage of development, I researched other cut resistance tests and spoke to liaisons at Sterling Rope to determine stakeholder needs. I defined five design requirements based on these needs. The machine must be cost effective, safe, and transportable, and the test itself must be repeatable and demonstrate cut resistance in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. Through concept generation and selection based on these criteria, I chose a concept where rope is put under tension and then cut with an arbor blade with some set force behind it. This concept was developed to a final design through experiments verifying various aspects of the prototype. A final design of the machine was created in SolidWorks, and a prototype was constructed in Smith’s Center for Design and Fabrication.

My prototype has successfully been able to cut five types of rope to varying degrees corresponding to their cut resistance. The force on the blade is such that it cuts partially through rope samples, but in most cases they are strong enough to stop the blade before it cuts all the way through. The final deliverables for this project are this report, which includes the SolidWorks models for the prototype, and the prototype itself, which will be delivered to Sterling Rope at the end of the semester.




34 pages, 38 unnumbered pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (page 34)