Balsa Arch Bridge

This is an older bridge I came across when browsing through my old Science Olympiad photos. I used both Balsa and Basswood to build this bridge. This bridge was part of my design process which ended up with my SO winning bridge in 2004

Balsa and Basswood Arch Bridge

This is an older bridge I came across when browsing through my old Science Olympiad photos. I used both Balsa and Basswood to build this bridge. This bridge was part of my design process which ended up with my SO winning bridge in 2004.

It is pretty easy to see how this bridge failed: the bottom fell out. This is a fairly easy fix, and might have been due simply to poor wood selection. Had I paid more attention to the quality of wood I was using, this failure might have been avoided.

I used two pieces for the arch. I had a square 1/16″ x 1/16″ piece of Basswood for the bottom of the arch. Then I glued a rectangle piece of Balsa wood on top of that to form a T beam. This method worked pretty well, but Balsa is harder to bend than Basswood.

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11 Responses to “Balsa and Basswood Arch Bridge”

  1. muhammad - October 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    nice bridge,i have to build one for class and was doing some research

  2. Alex H - December 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    What process did you use to get the wood to bend without cracking?

  3. molly - January 7, 2010 at 10:59 am

    hello…i like this design but i think tht it could have a stronger base.:)

    • kelly Collins - May 29, 2013 at 11:56 am

      i would really appreciate it if you would tell me or comment or post a comment to help me to learn how you made the wood bend like that? I am having to do a project in math class and I am having to use toothpick sticks to help me make a arch bridge, please comment me back.

  4. Andrea - February 6, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Hey,
    I’m a beginner and am trying to build my first arched bridge. I was wondering if you would mind telling me how you were able to bend the wood and create your bridge. Thank you!
    -andrea; andreamv113@yahoo.com

  5. Brandon Breeden - November 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Hey i like your design of the arch bridge.we’re making a bridge in my class and i needed to zsee an example of one to make it.

  6. Rebeka - February 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I’m building a bridge for a competition and I was wondering if it would be better to use an arch or if I should just leave it out.

  7. Travis Carr - May 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    hey im building a bridge in math class and i was wondering how to lap your joints together but nice bridge thank you
     

  8. Rebecca - November 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    My group and I are constructing a base that will be able to hold 150lbs. Our base is only allowed to be made out of Balsa wood and glue. We have an idea base in mind but I need help constructing it. Please email me and i will show you pictures of our ideas. Thank you for your time. r_garcia248@yahoo.com

  9. yash - December 31, 2011 at 2:52 am

    HOw to bend the wood to make it a arch?

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