Spaghetti Truss Bridge 2020


design and build a bridge made entirely of spaghetti and hot meld glue that spans an 18″ gap.


  1. Maximum group size is three people.  Only one entry per group.
  2. The entire bridge must be constructed solely of pasta, and hot melt glue.
  3. Only the given pasta noodles can be used.
  4. Only the given hot meld glue shall be used as a spaghetti bonding material.  Other types of bonding materials such as epoxy or tape are not permitted.
  5. Glue must be used only as a bonding material and may not be used to increase the strength of the spaghetti structure.
  6. Your structure must OBVIOUSLY be a truss structure.
  7. Bridges must span an 18″ gorge measured from vertical contact to vertical contact.  The horizontal surface of the gorge on each side is used for support.  The vertical edge of the gorge may not be used (no thrust support from side banks permitted).  All bridges have to be able to support their own weight when spanning the gorge.
  8. The vertical depth of your bridge may not exceed 20″.
  9. The bridge can only be made with single-pasta construction, it CANNOT be stranded/bundled together like cable or rope.
  10. The bridge must have a support member in the center to hold the weight hook.  This support member can be stranded/bundled.

Weight will be tested as follows:

Remember to weigh your bridge before testing.  Each bridge will be loaded by a person from the group that built the bridge.  The weight may be applied in increments as decided by the builder group.  A minimum 5 second waiting period is required between load applications.  The final Official Load is the last load that the bridge withstood for a period of 5 seconds prior to destruction.  Timing is provided by a person of your choice.  The winner is the legal bridge with the highest Official Load divided by the bridge weight.

 To Hand in:

Sketches, bridge results, and calculations (The ratio of maximum load divided by bridge weight) due in PDF format, into MyEdBC by March 2.


Tuesday you will pick a partner/group, work on research and design, and finish your draft sketches.

Thursday we will start building our bridges, and they must be built and cleaned up by the end of double block.  Testing will occur on Friday.  Please allot 10 minutes for testing.  Sketches, bridge results, and calculations due in PDF format, into MyEdBC by March 2.


Please hand in sketches, bridge results, and calculations (The ratio of maximum load divided by bridge weight) due in PDF format, including a short reflection into MyEdBC by March 2.  /50


Tips for building:

  1. Try to keep design simple, using multiples of triangles.  An inverted triangle is more stable than a triangle with the apex on top.
  2. Hot glue tends to cook and melt the ends of the spaghetti, so use just enough to hold pieces together.
  3. The bearing points are the points where the bridge is supported at the ends by the edge of the gorge.  This area should be flat and smooth.  If the bearing point is not flat, the bridge may twist and break.
  4. Spaghetti is brittle and is quite strong in axial tension but very weak in compression.  The hint here is to make the compression members as short as practical, by adding internal web members.
  5. Try to make the spaghetti connections strong but flexible.  If the connections are too rigid, when the bridge starts to deflect, the joints will twist and rotate and put added bending force into the spaghetti.  Spaghetti is not very strong in bending!  In fact, if the ends of the spaghetti are cooked and weakened at the joints, then the bending forces from the joint twisting will break the spaghetti very quickly.

Tips during loading

  1. Select a maximum of two people from your group to add the load.  Try to predetermine the approximate load your bridge will carry.  The ratio of maximum load divided by bridge weight is important.
  2. Apply the load gently, in suitable increments that are not too big, yet not too small either – it’s nerve wracking!  Use the heaviest weight increments first.
  3. Try to avoid unloading then reloading, this causes joints that have rotated to re-adjust and often the bridge fails sooner than expected.
  4. Keep hand and feet out of the way of falling bridge and weights.  Some bridges collapse slowly, while others disintegrate without much warning (but high drama).

Last but not least, HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!


Newspaper Bridge- wrap up and recap

Hey class,

now that we’re done the initial bridge design, bridge construction, and testing, it’s time to do some recap.

Today you’ll be handing in your preliminary ideation sketches, your final bridge sketches (with tension and compression members noted), and a photo or sketch of your ACTUAL bridge (no tension or compression notes necessary).

Next, you’ll include a team reflection under your sketches and photos. This reflection should include:

  • What worked well, and what didn’t?
  • If your structure didn’t end up being a complete truss, what would you have to do to make it a truss?
  • Did you use your planning/testing time well, or what would you have done differently beforehand?
  • If you were going to do this assignment again, what would you do differently? Would you change your plan/design?

Please save these as ONE PDF file, with all your team member names on it, and submit on myedbc under the assignment called “newspaper bridge drawings”.

Here are a few photos I took:

Newspaper bridges…go the distance

Hey everyone,

now that you’ve used Wednesday’s double block to start ideating, planning, materials testing, prototyping, etc…. you should be ready to come up with your sketch, build plan, and test your design using West Point Bridge designer.

Download here:

You should be able to download and install without any special permission necessary.

Once the software is installed, check it out. Open a sample Warren truss bridge, then open a new project and try placing nodes, and click & drag to place members, then test your bridge! Remember, you only need to draw one side of your design. This software can’t test triangular prisms, only rectangular prism trusses. Try changing the gap distance and see if your bridge design holds up!

You can also check out jfmatrix to test your design (although this software is more difficult to use):

Once you’re done your draft, have a building plan, have brought newspaper to school, and have tested your bridge using the west point bridge software…then you can play cargo bridge:

cargo bridge:

Here’s a recap of the project expectations, we will be building and testing on Wednesday February 19. Come to class prepared!


  • Design and build a free standing structure which will span the largest possible distance between two tables
  • The structure must be rigid
    • truss bridge of your design
      • Typically up to 12’
      • Must be more than one member
        • Eg: a single tube is not allowed
      • Suspension style bridges are not allowed
    • From newspaper and masking tape ONLY
    • The structure must not be attached to the tables in any way
    • The structure may sit on the support tables for a maximum of 3”


  • Get a partner (groups of 2)
    • IDEATE with some rough sketches first
    • BUILD your own design
    • MEASURE final product

Materials for building:

  • 36” masking tape (supplied)
  • As much newspaper as you want (provided by the students)


  • The structure spanning the largest gap will receive a grade of 100%
  • All others will be scored by determining the % they obtained of the highest score
  • Minimum score for a structure which spans a minimum of 2’ gap is 65%.
  • Separate marks will be given for ideation sketch
  • Cleanup: All newspaper, trusses, etc to be disposed of by the teams after the competition into the recycle bin outside. Teams who do not dispose of their bridge accordingly will lose marks.

Build time: Wednesday Feb 19 double block, in the garage

Due: Wednesday end of double block


Things to consider: 

  • how will you spend your time? who does what?
  • with such a limited amount of tape, how will you join the newspaper together?
  • what is the best way to create beams/members? rolling? folding? etc
  • how can you maximize your time to get the longest bridge possible?

Drafting notes Jan 30

Some tips given in class….

1.An easy way to switch from absolute to relative coordinate entry is by turning on and off the dynamic input button located at the bottom of your screen:





2.A quick way to check and see if your assignment is in inches or mm is to type “limits”. The lower left corner should display as <0,0>, and the upper right should be something like <12,9> or similar if Inches, and <280,216> or similar if Millimeters.

3. In order to set up Autocad to ask you if you want to open a metric or imperial file when you start a new drawing you type “startup”, then change the startup value to <1>. Once this is done, when you click the “new” button you should get this option:

4. Some helpful commands to try for the first few assignments:

  • draw: line, circle, arc, spline, hatch
  • modify: move, copy, trim, array, mirror, scale, offset, text
  • annotate: dimension, angular
  • properties: line weight

5. Object snap and lineweight are your friend, and the buttons are located on the bottom toolbar.


Word cloud and problem statement


Hey students, here’s your challenge for this afternoon.  Please select a problem from the word cloud.  Then, you need to go through the problem statement process, filling out all 4 criteria, then you can start brainstorming possible solutions.  You can do this on paper, or word….. or however you’d like. Please post your problem statement in the comments.


My example: 

the problem of: FH students j-walking to timmies

affects: students, motorists,

the impact of which is: students in danger of being run over, motorists losing control in order to try to avoid collision, etc etc

a successful solution would: allow students to cross safely, ensuring the safety of all students and motorists.

****I am going to be super critical of your problem statement, NOT your solution……*****

Happy trails!


Problems that need solving…;_r=1

Please, in partners, comment 5 things that you would identify as problems that need to be solved.  Write your names in with your comment.

Image result for family guy grinds my gears meme

“If the most fundamental definition of design is to solve problems, why are so many people devoting so much energy to solving problems that don’t really exist? How can we get more people to look beyond their own lived experience?” – Allison Arieff

Changing human behavior…

What Do Hand-Washing and Financial Illiteracy Have in Common? (Ep. 58)

Knowing that information campaigns are not terribly effective in changing human behavior….

1. How might we change human behavior using the fun theory in order to curb climate change?

2. How might we change human behavior using eloquent, sophisticated, life-cycle design in order to curb climate change?

3. How might we change human behavior using shame and shock tactics in order to curb climate change?

Please work alone or in pairs, and your answer must include:

-your name(s)

-question #1, #2 or #3

-what human behavior are you trying to change?

-how will this change curb climate change?

-a detailed description of your idea(s)/solution(s)

-a drawing or visual representation that helps explain your idea(s)/solution(s)

-submitted PDF to MyEd

Due January 29 by 8:20am

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