Organizers of most bridge-building contests rank these bridges, highly. Toothpick Bridge Plans Here are a few toothpick bridge plans in pictures. You can also insert the toothpicks into marshmallows which can secure the junctions of your bridge. What are the strengths of the individual elements? In fact his structure was so sturdy, it is still on display in our living room for everyone to see. History is riddled with examples of failed bridges which have collapsed due to insufficient knowledge of architecture, building materials or environmental variables. To normalize the function, we needed to use a particular part of the curve to get the height we wanted, and then magnify it to the size we wanted.
The glue outside the joint is just for show, it really doesn't enhance the strength of the connection. Strongest Toothpick Bridge Design The strongest toothpick bridges have very big ratios of their own weight to the maximum weight they can handle. You know, I really put these pages on my website as an experiment, but since so many people view the page, I thought I might try to resolve a question that always arises when defining this problem. While this design did not stand for as long as he wanted, it was pretty spectacular. You know what, once I looked at it again. That looks like an amazing experiment! This bridge failed because the joints between the arch and struts failed.
Abutments support a bridge on either side and connect it to the ground. How long does it take to dry? Other Points to Consider Here are some tips for building toothpick bridges that will last. I was very surprized at the outcome. This background serves as the basis for further exploration, and can include discussion of force and tension. What do you see when you look at his structure? Choose round or flat toothpicks based on your design.
When you make a purchase through that link, it generates a commission that helps support our efforts to maintain this website as a resource. By laying waxed paper over that and using pins, we pinned the design and wax paper to a piece of 'foam core' get this at an art supply store. Start with uniform building blocks I decided to make easier building blocks by first gluing toothpick 'head to toe', as it were, and by putting the fat end and the skinny end together, we get a uniform width, flat, and stronger, building block. Toothpick Bridge Toothpick Bridge Designs Before starting the construction, it is important to decide on the design of your bridge. Arch Bridge This one has a deck supported by an arch below it. The one I chose to build is in the third row third column.
I would love to know! Toothpick bridges created in large competitions can be made from several thousand elements and can carry weights of several hundred even thousand pounds. This page will give you a starting point and also an idea about calculating the tension and compression involved in each member of your bridge design. I see exactly what he is talking about! She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. The continually subdivided reinforcement pieces divide the weight more evenly, and that allows for a more stable bridge. These bridges are suitable for shorter spans.
Start with a small quantity of water and gradually increase the level. Because of the inexpensive nature of build material and the possibility of the creation of very solid bridges, toothpick bridges are often practiced not only in engineering schools but also in competitions. The way you design it is important because your bridge should have a proper balance while at the same time being sufficiently strong. List the replicable features of successful bridges before planning construction. Position each toothpick so that it gets maximum strength. The image depicts the sketch I made for the base of the bridge. This can make it more durable.
If you have the ability to bring better glue, you definately should. The first 'flap' of the struts between the arches were assembled while still flat. Draw a scale or full-size blueprint of the bridge. We have an opportunity this year to participate in our first homeschool science fair. Building a toothpick bridge in schools is often found in physics or math classes in junior or high school, where in addition to the process of building the bridge students sometimes also have to get involved into algebra calculations of determining tension and compression effects of in each structural piece of the bridge design. For this, you can go through good books on bridges with illustrations.
This will keep you from tiring out. Wood glue is a preferable adhesive as it expands to fill gaps in porous surfaces and is designed to withstand stress. The bridge will start to bend before it breaks. Christmas and Winter are here. I recently decided to calculate the forces in the struts of a typical catenary truss. Think also about three-dimensional truss elements, such as pyramids.
They hold the struts to the flaps and in this design, where the struts are not in the same plane as the arch, it was a quick way to make the connection. Strength in Design I then gave the kids graph paper with which I instructed them how to begin designing bridges of their own. I am not sure it gets much easier than that! Plan the toothpick bridge as if it were a real-world construction project. Our next step will be to beef up the struts. The most simple bridge designs can even be produced without the glue! Use thick, wooden toothpicks for construction as they have a larger area for glue application and are more rigid than their plastic counterparts. See how different this task can by visiting In searching for the best design, there are a few things to consider.
These two segments will go on the top and bottom connecting the two sides together. We notice that the struts start to buckle. Bent it a little to make sure it doesn't snap instantly. Weigh the bridge and pieces throughout construction to ensure that the guidelines of the assignment are met. For round toothpicks, put some pressure on it. I later built the bridge I had planned while at home and it worked pretty well it was a foot and a half long with a double truss design a set of trusses on the top and bottom and it also had a slight arch to make it even sturdier. Use knowledge of bridges to predict weaknesses in the design.