Short Howe Truss Popsicle Bridge

I built this popsicle stick bridge to complete my short popsicle bridge series. This bridge uses the Howe Truss design. Previous to this I had built bridges using the Pratt and Warren trusses. This bridge was 13.5 inches long and used 50 popsicle sticks. It ended up holding 117 pounds before failing. Here is a video of the testing procedure:

I changed up the testing with this bridge. Instead of placing one very large weight directly on the bridge, I started with a small weight. This increased the concentration of the load in the middle of the bridge. I figured this would be more realistic to the way bridges would be tested when built by other people. This is why I think this bridge held significantly less than the Short Pratt Truss Bridge.

You can purchase blueprints for this popsicle bridge in my store.

14 thoughts on “Short Howe Truss Popsicle Bridge”

  1. There is a cut in the video at 0:27
    I am making a bridge with a limited number of Popsicle sticks (60) and it has to be at least 1.9 inches tall and 1.9 inches wide (or 5 centimetres, if you live in canada like me)

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  2. Hey. I guess I SUPER underestimate Popsicle sticks. I never thought that something like that could hold up to 117lbs but I guess jokes on me. I’m doing a Popsicle stick bridge project myself ( with a group of 3 others) and ,of course, there are bridge specs: 24″ minimum length, 300 Popsicle stick max limit , use carpenter’s glue only, at least one popsicle stick wide and will be placed across two desks spaced out by 20″.
    We’re planning on making it an arch bridge modeled after the Royal Gorge bridge. We already have a general Idea on how to make it with the exception of the width. With the size , Popsicle stick limit ,and the space between desks, how wide would you think would be a good median between strength and the least Popsicle sticks used?
    Also, does cross-bracing help support the weight, or is it even worth the extra sticks used?

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    • Zachary,

      You don’t want to make it any wider than you have to. In fact, I would wonder if you could make it just as wide as the bridge in this article. It is “almost” one popsicle stick wide. Otherwise in order to connect the sides of the bridge you will have to use double the popsicle sticks.

      If by cross bracing you mean lateral bracing, then yes. It is definitely worth it.

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      • Ok. Thanks for da tip. I have one more question for you. What website could I go to actually “build” a “clone” of my bridge at school and virtually “test” it so maybe I can use that info to improve my bridge without building a separate one at my house that’s more or less identical? It’ll save me a butt-load if time. Thanks in advance 🙂

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    • I am pretty sure I used Weldbond for glue on this bridge. I didn’t use anything other than popsicle sticks and glue for materials in this bridge. I had a couple other things to help me make it, such as the blueprints and some heavy books.

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