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What Others Have Done
Around the World!!!

After having this page up almost one year, I have had emails from all over the world asking for a tip or advice about toothpick bridge making.

Lately there are several who have had great success, but the one that warms my heart the most is an entry from Australia. I have decided to get pictures so that those of you who are facing this task can plainly see that it can be done, and done well.

I also will have a mathematical explanation of deriving the catenary, and I would like to make an unabashed plea to those of you who find this page interesting. BUY SOMETHING!!! Either that, or design a catenary crosswalk when you become a famous engineer/bridgebuilder!

Chad who emailed me from Western Australia had so far done the coolest bridge I have seen. ( it looks familiar, you know) The single picture was taken AFTER testing. He wrote and said, " I believe we could have stood on it" and it did not break. Grade? A+.

Chad, and partner Jonathon, are 13 and live in Cottesloe, Western Australia. Chad wrote:

     ...The requirements for the bridge were:
To be constructed  from wooden kebab
 skewers.  We could use a hot glue gun or 
similar and light string could also be used. 
 It was to be capable of spanning a gap of 
1 metre (just over 38 inches) and hold at 
least the weight of one house construction brick. 
       Ours was not tested till breaking point 
but we did put 4  bricks on it and it didnít 
even budge.  We used dental floss to hold 
the flex in the bridge while we completed the
construction  but found that we could remove
 it once the bridge was completed. 
       We also used three skewers thick for
the whole construction gluing  them both sides
 for extra strength.  We tried to follow your
 instructions as much  as possible and didnít
 we have a fantastic result!! 
       Most of the bridges from our year broke.
  Some flexed and just survived but ours 
definitely looked the most spectacular. We 
did spend 5 or 6 afternoons working on it
 but it was worth it.  
     Thank you for all your help along the way.

Chad's Bridge in Australia

Another example of fine work came from my dads old stomping ground, northern Minnesota. I couldn't believe the coincidence when I got a question from a high school student in Fosston, Minnesota. A neighboring town to my fathers home town.

Dad would be proud to help a young 'engineer-to-be' with his physics project. You can see the 'set-up' for testing here allows the bridge to exert a force on the table laterally as well as vertically. This is important to know when designing, but I prefer the bridge be entirely responsible for lateral forces.

Andy's Bridge in Minnesota.
Construction technique is of great importance to success.

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