Bridge Building Timeline
- Two months before contest
- Decide if you want to work as part of a team of two or if you prefer
to work by yourself.
- Make some preliminary sketches of designs that appeal to you: discuss
with your teacher.
- View slides and web photos of previous entries.
- Test out the West Point Bridge Designer software (download for home
use if you wish).
- One month before contest
- Get some basic tools: a balsa saw, good carpenter's glue, a clamp or two, some
- Buy your wood: the earlier the better. Buy three to four weeks before the contest, if
- Make a reasonably accurate sketch of your proposed design on 1/4" graph paper.
- Three weeks before contest
- Begin construction by cutting your balsa segments.
- Begin gluing your balsa segments. Clamp where possible and provide adequate drying time.
- Remove excess glue with sandpaper.
- One week before contest
- Aim to have your bridge finished five days before the contest so that you earn weigh-in
- Excess weight can be reduced through removal of pieces, sanding and/or drying with a
- Clearly write your official team number (12nnnn or 11nnnn) on both sides of your bridge.
- Present bridge for preliminary weigh-in the Friday before the contest for maximum
- Present bridge for weigh-in the day before the contest for a reduced weigh-in score.
- Contest Day
- Present bridge for official weigh-in and evaluation on contest day.
- All bridges must be presented by break time to be ready for voting and
other pre-testing requirements.
- Final adjustments may be made to bridge but once all conditions are met it will be held
until testing time.
- A penalty may be incurred for bridges that fail to meet weigh-in times after three
Peter L. Vogel