tips articles

25 Bridge Building Tips

1. Humidity affects the weight of your bridge. Keep your bridge in a closed container with a few grains of rice. or some silica gel packets. 2. Go easy with the glue bottle. As a general rule of thumb, if you can see it then you are using too much. 3. Keep your hands clean! Oils and grease from your skin can ruin your glue joints. 4. Perfect practice makes perfect. The more bridges you build, the better your construction […]


5 Steps to Building a Model Bridge

This ebook, 5 Steps to Building a Model Bridge, answers the most common questions people have about building bridges. In the ebook I outline the steps of building a model bridge, and then walk people through the actual construction of a bridge. The ebook contains many photos and illustrations, as well as 25 bonus tips.


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 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.


Bridge Height

All the time I am asked “How tall should I make my bridge?” This article will attempt to answer this question by illustrating a principle in model bridge building. There is no cut and dry answer, as you should evaluate your bridge specifications and guidelines and conduct experiments to reach the best answer for you. How Changing Height Affects a Bridge This is our control bridge. The bridge is 8 inches long and 3 inches tall. I have added two […]


Bridge Joints

The type of joint you use on your bridge can drastically change its strength. There are three basic types of joints, the Lap Joint, End Joint, and Notched Joint. To increase the strength of an end or notched joint you can add a Gusset. Learn about each type of joint and when to use it on a model bridge in this article.


Choosing the Right Glue

The glue you choose to use on your model bridge (or model airplane) can make or break your structure. I’d venture to say that glue choice is just as important as your wood choice, which makes it pretty important. If you build your bridge with a weak glue, then no matter how good the design is your bridge will not perform well. This article compares and contrasts different types of glues, showing the strengths and weaknesses of each so that you can make an informed choice for what glue to use on your bridge.


Cutting Strips of Balsa

There are several reasons you should cut your own strips of wood: It saves money It saves time Helps you get familiar with the wood Increases your skills as a builder Video Tutorial Video is about 4 minutes long. DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any injury caused by someone using this technique. I recommend that students cut strips of wood only under adult supervision. The Tools Here is a list of the tools you will need: Table Cutting board […]


Forces that Act on Bridges

Bridges must be able to withstand several types of forces. The two most common to model bridges are compression and tension, pushing and pulling respectively. The other two are torsion (twisting) and shear. Learn what these forces mean so that you can build a better model bridge.


How to Test Your Model Bridge

The method you use to test your model bridge will make or break it. Okay, most of the time the bridge breaks no matter what. How much weight your bridge holds before collapsing is partly determined by how you test the bridge. Whether you have a popsicle stick bridge, balsa bridge, toothpick bridge or other type of model bridge, these testing tips will give you a jump start and help you make an informed decision on how to test your bridge.


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