How to Build a Waddell "A" Truss Bridge out of popsicle sticks A simple bridge for a simple budget

Did you just get assigned a popsicle stick bridge project that has a very low budget and you can't build a material costly bridge? Do you want an easy build that will barely pass all of the requirements for a bridge project? Are you new to the art of building popsicle bridges and you want to start out with a simple craft? Then the Waddell "A" Truss bridge is a perfect bridge for you. If built correctly, the Waddell "A" Truss bridge can withstand 25 pounds of pressure or more with only 150 popsicle sticks.

Here are the Materials you will mostly need:

  • 150-200 4.5 inch popsicle sticks (can be any brand just as long as each individual stick is 4.5 inches long).
  • At least 2 bottles of Elmer's School Glue glue
  • One box of 100 paper clips* (paper clips can be any size or brand)
  • One bag of rubber bands (preferably rubber bands around the size of rubber bands used to bind newspapers).
  • 2 Kleenex tissue boxes (it does not matter if they are empty or full)

*paper clips can be used but I recommend that you use them in order to help prevent sticks from moving while drying.

Here are all of the materials I used to make my bridge.

Step 1: place two popsicle sticks about three inches apart from each other. Place a stick that overlaps each stick by the edges on top of both sticks. Make sure that all sticks are as straight as possible. Place another stick 3 inches away from the an open end and another stick that overlaps the edges on top of the ends of both sticks. Make sure that every stick is as straight as possible. Repeat this process until your side reaches 32 inches create another 32 inch side.

Step 2: put a period size dot of glue in between each overlap of both lines out sticks. You can go slightly overboard but not by too much with the glue or else the sticks will slide during the drying phase and the popsicle sticks will warp. Use a paper clip to clip the glued overlap in order to apply pressure and keep the glued sticks in place*. Leave the 2 32 inch sides to dry for 25-30 minutes before any activity involving the drying 32 inch sides happens. It is critical that you keep the glued sticks as straight as possible or the final product will snap at any bent section very easily.

Paper clipping and keeping sticks straight is a very difficult thing to do so clipping is a completely optional thing in this project.

Step 3: While the 32 Inch sides are drying, start laying out and gluing 4 sides of 7 sticks, each side ranging exactly 27.5 inches, by using the Stick placing and glueing techniques from steps 1 and 2. Leave this sides to dry for 25-30 minutes.

Step 4: Keep all of the the paper clips on the dried sides if you use paper clips. lay out 2 Isoceles triangles with all of the 6 sides dried sides. Remember to keep true to the overlap pattern.Use each 33 inch sides as the baselines for each Isoceles triangle. Have the 27.5 inch sides complete each triangle by connecting the ends of the baseline and meeting each other by having the edges overlap right over the center of the baseline. Glue and clip* the sides and leave the Isoceles triangles to dry overnight.

Step 5: After the Isoceles triangles fully dry, carefully remove all paper clips if you used any. Next lay down, glue, and clip small, straight lines, down the middle from touching the vertex to touching the baseline, of each Isoceles triangle, that divides each Isoceles triangle into 2 more triangles, using however many sticks it takes to do so and let dry for 20 minutes Remember to use the same overlap pattern when doing so.

My Progress halfway through step 5. Note: we did not use the overlap pattern described in this how to. According to Mr. Damm the overlap pattern we used caused our bridge to be extremely weak.

Step 6: repeat step 5 by diving all 4 triangles into 8 triangles.

Progress after step 6.

Step 7: repeat step 5 another time, but with every triangle.

Step 8: repeat step 5 one last time, with every triangle.

Step 9: Make the bridge 3 dimensional by turning the two Kleenex boxes so that the tall side points straight up. Tie the two bridge sides together, up against the Kleenex boxes, while the Kleenex boxes are completely inside the bridge yet they have a bit of distance between each other of space with the rubber bands, using the Kleenex boxes to give space between the two sides of the bridge. Do not use too many rubber bands or else the bridge will cave in due to pressure.

Step 10: after rubber-banding the bridge, glue down and clip most of whatever remaining sticks you have in order to connect the bridge sides together and let it dry overnight. Leave the Kleenex boxes and rubber bands on and in the bridge while it is drying. Do not trap any of the Kleenex boxes inside the bridge because you will be required to take those out in the next step.

This is what the bridge should end up being like afte step 9 (make sure your bridge doesn't have an ugly bend in any spot unlike like mine though)

Step 11: Cautiously take out the Kleenex boxes, rubber bands, and clips if they are used. You may use your final sticks (If you have any left) to strengthen areas you think need some extra support.

Step 12: enjoy your Miniature Waddell Truss Bridge.

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