reader submitted articles

High School Bridge Building

We started our bridge program last year in my beginning engineering and manufacturing classes. I wanted to make a bridge that was very complicated with simple rules that required them to have to work on the mathematics of the bridge. I wanted to stress the strength of the truss design, so within the rules, I made it so other types of bridges do not work as well. Since we are a manufacturing program, I wanted to allow for more material options. I created a […]


Ice Cream Stick Tower

Here is an ice cream stick structure made up from 200 sticks, which carried 30kg. of weight. Submitted by Sandip Babar. Questions from Garrett What glue did you use to build this tower? Was this just for fun and what inspired your design? Did you learn anything from building this structure that you could share with the rest of us? Thanks for sharing!


K-NEX Bridge for Fun!

Hey guys it’s me again, First Timer. I came up with a good way to practice bridge building either before or for the next competition and/or just to keep your bridge building skills good, whether it be science fair or science olympiad. It’s building different bridge designs with K-NEX, Erector Sets, and/or LEGOs. Most of you probably own one or more of the following and it really helps practicing basic truss design


K-Truss bridge for Wake Tech engineering class

This bridge is supporting 191lbs of weight. It didn’t break, that was all the weight we could fit in the trash can. I believe this is close to the maximum load it could hold because the platform the jig is resting on was significantly bowed. The rest of the structure was rock solid. The construction of the bridge is popsicle sticks


Manilla File Folder Bridge

Built by Bill H. Here is the email Bill sent me: I started making bridges about a year ago and have pictures to share with you. For the first bridge I used a set of plans that I found free on the internet from a guy who was in the army. The bridge plans were designed to be made 100% from manilla folder paper. The plans were to fold the manilla cardboard into the different post diameters and use them […]


Masterpiece Popsicle Stick Bridge

This album highlights the Popsicle Stick Bridge that I entered into the Seattle ASCE Younger Member Forum’s Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition in 2009. This particular entry swept all first place prizes in every category: efficiency, aesthetics, and poster. It’s 30 inches long, 11 inches tall, 5 inches wide, weighs just under…


Model Covered Bridge

Garrett- Jobs well done – interesting site and information! We built a 1/8″ scale model bridge just like the bridges we build for production. We successfully loaded it with 345 pounds with the weight being distributed all the way across the middle. Do you know of a formula where we can figure out that weight capacity for our full scale bridge? We have contacted 3 different engineers in our area who don’t have access to such information. Thank you for […]


Monstrous Popsicle-stick Cantilever bridge

These are some pictures of a bridge I built mainly out of boredom, but also since I have an interest in engineering. It’s a large cantilever bridge, meaning it has two arms that extend beyond their piers that hold up a center suspended span. It’s 10′ 2″ long and as of right now is hanging across my bedroom ceiling


Mr. Carlton’s personal bridge (Central High School Springfield, MO)

Basswood model bridge example (built by Mr. Carlton) for students competing in the MSPE competition at MSU April 4th.


Murrah High School’s Contest-winning Bridge

Hello! As promised, here are some pics of our bridge we entered into Jackson State Univ’s Mathematics & Engineering Fair (Jackson, MS). We were amongst what appeared to be a lot of other folks that were just as clueless as us about bridge building! This is our first effort, so a win is a win, right? It is made entirely of 1/8″ square balsa. It weighed 0.1 lbs (~45 g) & supported just under 10 lbs. The top chord is […]


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