ASL Bridges Class, Feb, 2012

The Arizona Science Lab presents information on types of beams used for building bridges. They show the huge difference in resistance to bending between a flat beam and an I Beam. Then different types of truss designs are shown and explained. Afterwords the students are given supplies to build their own bridges, and this video highlights some of them. Their goal is to make a bridge which holds 50 pounds over a 2 foot span. Their materials are popsicle sticks […]

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

Balsa Bridge

This balsa bridge was built by some students of mine for a Science Olympiad competition. It spanned 14 inches, weighed 8.1 grams, and held 29 pounds. That puts its efficiency at 1630.

Balsa Bridge Videos

Highlighted balsa wood bridge videos from More videos to come.

Balsa Stiffness

Advanced Technique: Calculating the stiffness of your wood, most commonly balsa wood. The tips in this article will help you go to the next level in choosing good wood for your model bridges. Not only will you know how to choose good wood, you can pick wood with different qualities to fit different applications.

Balsa Tower

This balsa tower was 12 inches tall, 8 inches wide at the base, and tapered to a 2 inch square at the top. I only have about forty pounds of sand, so I ended up adding any heavy object in sight to the bucket. After putting in the ceramic mug used to pour the sand, a chain, paper weights, the total weight supported was 50 pounds. The tower did not actually break, but one of the legs was bending almost […]

Balsa Wood

Balsa wood is unique from all other woods. Its properties make it valuable to bridge builders, wood carvers, surfers, and many others. Bridge builders have to be careful, however, when using Balsa. You can’t simply pick up two pieces of Balsa with the same dimensions and expect them to perform the same.

Balsa Wood Bridge Statics Project

I like this video because it is very systematic and well documented. The video shows a Balsa wood bridge built for a statics project. The bridge ended up with an efficiency score of 514.

Basic Arch Popsicle Stick Bridge

This is a very simple yet elegant looking bridge that I built over Christmas break. This bridge spanned 16 inches and was made from 48 popsicle sticks. It held 75 pounds, which was right at what I was expecting.


Basswood has been my wood of choice since I won the GA state Science Olympiad bridge building event back in 2004 (the good ‘ol days). I have since used Basswood with much success in bridges and towers. My Fernbank Bridge was built completely using Basswood, as well as many others.

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