Howe Truss Bridge

By on June 11, 2007 -- Modified on October 5, 2016

Have you wanted to make a strong popsicle stick bridge that used 100 popsicle sticks or less? This popsicle bridge was made from 98 unmodified popsicle sticks and WeldBond glue. It was 21 inches long, 4 inches tall, and 4 inches wide. It weighed about 150 grams, and held 140 pounds. With less than 100 popsicle sticks, that is a lot of strength in this bridge. Its efficiency score was 424.

This is the strongest popsicle bridge I have built so far.

I tested this bridge by putting the edges of the bridge on two books, and then placing a scale on the top of the bridge. Then I slowly lowered myself down on the scale with the help of two chairs. I carefully watched the scale to mark the exact spot of failure.

Before this bridge broke, I did hear several loud “popping” noises. This means several popsicle sticks came unglued. I probably could have stopped testing and re-glued those popsicle sticks. Had I done that, the bridge might have been able to hold even more.

That is the value of pre-testing your bridge. Evidently, a couple popsicle sticks weren’t glued on well enough, at least not as well as the others. That means I had several “weak links” that limit the strength of the bridge. Pre-testing allows you to identify those weak spots and fix them, without completely destroying your bridge.

Purchase Blueprints for this Bridge
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32 thoughts on “Howe Truss Bridge”

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  1. for my class, i have to build a bridge 20 feet wide, with ELMERS GLUE!! ill never get it done with that. elmers. eww. so i think ill use one of your designs.

    By Jacob -- March 17, 2010
  2. i have to roll a matchbox car on my brigde but how would i place them?

    By TIMMY -- February 11, 2010
    • Hello–Like many, my bridge has to be designed so a matchbox car can drive across, but with less than 100 sticks. If I had to sacrifice 5 or so sticks, does anyone have any recommendations?
      Thanks,
      –Max

      By Max -- February 5, 2011
  3. thanks, in science class we are building a bridge of popsicle sticks and i will try to copy one of your bridges

    By Scott Burns -- December 15, 2009
  4. hello? I have a question to ask. how can a vehicle cross your bridge if there’s a cross bracing in the entrance of your bridge? just curious.

    By jkem -- November 14, 2009
    • You will see this on real truss bridges, that they have lateral bracing at the top of the bridge, but still allow for enough room for cars to pass underneath. In this case, this bridges was not designed to have a car going across it.

      By Garrett Boon -- November 14, 2009
  5. never mind i read the top again and it said what glue it was..srry

    By Fiona -- October 27, 2009
  6. cool bridge… i hope you dont mind but im gonna need to use your design as a base for the bridge i have to build πŸ™‚

    also,,, i was wondering what type od glue you used ?

    By Fiona -- October 27, 2009
    • u use crazy glue

      By jamie -- May 11, 2010
  7. im building this right now for a project i had to do in class but since i wasnt there i get to do it at home.it looks pretty simple but its not the picture doesnt show every little corner.lol but im trying my hardest

    By ms -- June 1, 2009
  8. wow i love this website i almost won a contest.

    thanks,

    By abudy -- March 23, 2009
  9. umm how did ou get to attach the walls to the top and bottom i kicked it slightly and it like EXPLODED!!???

    By stephen -- March 11, 2009
  10. thnks for the hepl dude!
    Im gonna get a good grade! πŸ˜€

    By animelover123 -- March 9, 2009
  11. was this bridge on any MESA competition?

    By karla -- January 13, 2009
    • I have never been to a MESA competition. However, it is possible that someone used this design at one of their competitions, but I do not know.

      By Garrett Boon -- January 14, 2009
  12. hi guys awesome bridge i have to do the same thing for my end of yr project

    By Ryan -- January 3, 2009
  13. hey i hav a science project to see if u can build a bridge with the least amout of popsicle sticks and hold the most im excited and i hope ur desings will help mine thx its been a grea help!!

    By lynette -- December 9, 2008
    • I’m coing it for my science fair project to but a little diff tell me how it goes

      By zack -- January 15, 2009
  14. It would have held much more if it had more strength holding the two trusses together. Basically if there were more X’s running through the center. If you look at it in picture “D” you will see only two Popsicle sticks keeping it from just “Falling over” I wasn’t there to see it break, but my guess is that it broke (fell) to the left or right rather than strait down.

    By Eric -- December 8, 2008
    • Eric, that is a good point. However, I don’t think that is why this particular bridge broke. I think some of the joints in the top chord failed first.

      By Garrett Boon -- December 9, 2008
  15. thanks gonna be good for science project

    By JOrdy G -- November 22, 2008
  16. Amazing!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe you built that from scratch!!!!!!! That is definitely going on my science project!!!!!!!!!! Peace out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By monkeyboybb -- November 6, 2008
  17. whoa! dude i love that tower building thingy.
    ha that is amazing, i think when i get home im going to celebrate my birthday and then build that. it looks amazing. πŸ˜€

    By marissarivera -- October 31, 2008
  18. that bridge is tight. i can’t believe it held 140 pounds. is it because the sticks on top were glued tight togeter in threes or twos? i don’t really know much about building except legos…

    By Nasser -- October 30, 2008
    • my teachers held up to 150 pounds

      By bob -- December 16, 2009
  19. That is a good question, John. However, as the scale does not weigh very much (under a pound), I don’t include the weight of the scale in the calculation of the bridge’s efficiency.

    By Garrett Boon -- October 6, 2008
  20. with the scale do u add the weight of the scale

    By jhon smith -- October 6, 2008
  21. hey hrey this site is the BOMB! Hello A+!!!!!!

    By Erin -- September 30, 2008
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