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Xlg Toothpicks 1
Modern Mechanix has another good one from Popular Science 1940, incredibly structures made from toothpicks – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


4 Responses to Toothpick engineering

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  1. cheesy on said:

    I remember doing something like this in middle school for this Odyssey of the Mind competition thing. It was a structure that had to be under a certain weight and hold as much weight as possible.

  2. ollie on said:

    I remember something similar while visiting LSI Logic near Milpitas around 1994. Engineers had constructed a giant suspension bridge that spanned at least two office cubicles. The entire bridge was made from various paper clips. It was beautiful!

  3. DrDrang on said:

    Balsa wood bridge contests are common in high schools and at “open house” days at engineering colleges. Their strength usually comes from two things:

    1. the ability of the modeller to make good glued joints; and
    2. a truss design that delivers high strength with low weight.

    Coincidentally, the structural analysis of trusses is the next topic in my Mechanics blog, where I am going through a well-known enginering text, giving a detailed solution for every problem. I’ll probably start doing the truss problems this weekend.

  4. cookiedough on said:

    I was a total science fair dork in middle school, but the popular alternative was the toothpick bridge competition. The bridges could only be constructed from toothpicks and glue. Then came the stress test: those things could explode like nothing else!

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