How to make a wooden model bridge design tips

Written by emile heskey | 13/05/2017
How to make a wooden model bridge design tips
Building a replica of the Sydney harbour bridge is an impressive project. (harbour bridge Sydney image by Kim H Lim from

Building wooden model bridges can be a way of teaching children about basic engineering principles, or simply a craft project that you can enjoy. Either way, there are a few tips which you can use to make your bridge stronger, larger and more stable. Whether you are copying an existing bridge, or designing your own, you can build a wooden model bridge using household equipment and be as advanced as your time and inclination will allow.

Sketch your bridge design with a pencil and paper before beginning. If you are making a replica of an existing bridge, work from a photo, although still draw the plans for the bridge on a piece of paper. Determine the area which will experience the most stress and ensure that there is enough strength to withhold it.

Build the base of the trusses first, using wood glue or nails to attach the pieces of wood together. Tape the trusses down to a flat surface, such as a work desk. This will ensure that the trusses remain level. Build the trusses, which will be the most important load-bearing parts of your bridge.

Attach two side supports to the trusses using wood glue or nails to create side support for the bridge. Leave the trusses taped to the desk for this process to ensure that the side supports are level. Do not connect the two sections of the bridge at this stage. When you are happy with the side supports, you can remove the tape from the trusses.

Place a block of wood or a thick book under the bridge where the two sections will shortly connect. This will form a support while you build the connecting section. Attach the two pieces together with wood glue or nails, using the book or block to take any excess weight. When you have finished connecting the two pieces, move the book or block and the bridge should be able to take the weight.

Things you need

  • Wood
  • Nails
  • Wood glue
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Book
  • Workdesk
  • Tape

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