dinsdag 21 mei 2013

Building spaghetti bridges

Over the past few weeks two friends and I have been quite obsessed by spaghetti. And glue. This was the third time in a row we were competing in the yearly spaghetti-bridge competition organized by our university.
Every year there are two challenges to compete in: the team-building challenge and the student-building challenge. We were competing for the third time in the last challenge. Here you need to build a bridge before the actual competition/testing day according to the released assignment. We also competed in the teambuilding challenge for the first time. This takes place on the day itself. You get 3 hours to build a (smaller) bridge.

Last week Wednesday was the big day. In the morning we brought our big bridge in and we build a smaller bridge for the teambuilding challenge. There was a nice spaghetti lunch (spaghetti-overload) and in the afternoon they would test all bridges from both challenges.
Before I share our experiences, let me reveal that we didn't win anything ;)

Let's start at the beginning, the design process of the big bridge.

The key-element of this year's assignment was the height difference. One point was 23 cm higher than the other point. As every year, the bridge needed to span 1 m.
We started sketching and we even made a quick 3D model in SketchUp. This way we could easily measure how long each piece needed to be.

Time to make the spaghetti-beams! 
We needed really long beams so we sort of alternated the spaghetti pieces so they'd have a nice overlap. You can see the sprigs sticking out unevenly at the right end because of this. We taped them tightly before gleuing.

All shiny from the glue, we let the beams dry. This was the result of one day of taping and glueiing and adjusting the design.

Let the assembly begin!
We started out by glueing the middle pieces to the provided wooden block. They pre-drilled a hole in here so the hook can be attached and the bridge can be tested by putting weight on the hook.

Getting there!
It took a while for the glue to dry so we needed to stand/sit in awkward poses for awhile waiting for the pieces to stay in place..

Since it is a bridge we needed to add a road. It says in the rules it has to be made out of lasagne. Sounds professional doesn't it? ;)

We've transported it safely to the faculty of civil engineering. Look how pretty the other bridges look! Especially the arched one in the back.

The winner will be determined by the ratio of what it can carry and its own weight. Our bridge weighs 653 grams. Which is pretty good since our goal was to build a light bridge. The maximum weight allowed was a 1000 grams, including the wooden block and steel hook.

The organization set up a slowmotion camera so you can see where the bridge breaks (and the funny expressions at that moment). They still need to release those videos. Together with the actual results.
UPDATE: The photos are online now!
I'll put links to these pages when they're released, for now, here is just their website. If you scroll down, you can actually see me at the precise moment the bridge breaks haha

Our big bridge could hold up to 9,9 kg. That's 15 times its own weight! It was not enough to win, but we were still happy with our little crooked bridge.

On Wednesday morning we also competed in the teambuilding challenge. The bridge we were building needed to span 50 cm and it should hold a little wooden train with as much weights as possible. There were some irregularities in the rules. At first we thought, as most people, the train needed to go through the bridge. But it was also allowed to go over the bridge. I know this sounds a bit silly, but we could have made a bridge a lot smaller and more effective if we had known this earlier. Anyway, this bridge too could take 15 times its own weight!

Ow btw, we also brought our mascot along, a pink fluffy unicorn. Good thing they provided pink spaghetti shirts this year!
Our team name is Mac&Cheese, but last year we almost changed it to Pink Fluffy Unicorns. You know that song? We were playing it non-stop that year o.O partly because we got sort of high on all the glue fumes that were in the room..
My friend and I couldn't actually be at the competition day last year because we needed to go on an architecture-trip to Groningen. So our other friend was there alone :( But we did won our mascot on the fair in Groningen! Ahh all the memories that come with spaghetti bridges..

So, we didn't win anything. But we had fun that day and also while building the big bridge.
I want to end this post with a picture of our bridge from last year. This bridge was wayyy prettier than the one this year. We actually won the beauty prize that year!
I think this was our last time participating. But never say never, we'll see again next year ;)

Already itching to glue some spaghetti together now? Haha

Bye bye!

8 opmerkingen:

  1. Haha super grappig om te zien, jullie brug ziet er heel tof uit! Jammer dat jullie geen prijs hadden, die mascotte brengt toch niet zoveel geluk hihi.
    Die shirts zijn wel echt heeeel roze trouwens, I like!

    1. Dankje! :D
      Haha nee die mascotte werkte niet echt..
      Shirtjes waren vast door een meisje uitgekozen! hehe

  2. wow that's cool! i'm amazed by the (pasta) engineering behind all of this! great work! i would have screamed very loudly when my bridge breaks haha (this is yurigurlie207 btw) =)))

    1. Haha thank you!! Yes, I also kinda wanted to scream! It is so funny to see the slowmotion videos, cause of everyone's reaction hahah
      can't wait till they put those videos up!

  3. I wanna say it's just amazing!I think winning is not important, you did great work:^)!I hope your another spaghetti bridge next year!

    1. Ah thank you so much Miae! :D
      We had a good time building it, let's see if we participate next year :)