How To Make a Model Cable Stayed Bridge

Learn how to make a model cable stayed bridge and you'll discover that like their real-life counterparts, model cable stayed bridges are a bit more complex in terms of their construction. Yes, they often look cooler and more modern, but they involve considerable patience and accuracy. One could even argue that, while not as dangerous or difficult, constructing a model bridge is more tedious. Here are some important steps to get you started.

The Design
As is the case with building an actual bridge, it is highly, highly imperative that you sketch out some plans or blueprints of the structure before you try building it. The load point and its surrounding areas have to sustain the most stress anywhere on the bridge. Another important part is picking out what kind of truss you plan on using-or, the layout for the "cables." The three main options are: Howe-wherein the cables face outward from top to bottom from the center to each side; Pratt-wherein the cables face inward from top to bottom from the center to each side; or Warren-wherein the cables merely alternate from one post to the next, making triangular formations across the bridge. Once you've done this, use some graph paper to draw your bridge 100% to scale, deciding how big each part will be.

Putting it Together
Using your sharp tool, cut out each piece you will be using for one side of the bridge, using your drawing to make sure every piece is the correct side. Take all the pieces off the drawing, and tape down the top and bottom chords, taping in-between where the other pieces are supposed to go. Next, glue all the remaining pieces to the truss. Garretsbridges.com suggests you lay something heavy over the truss to keep all the pieces in place, then repeat the process for the bridge's other side. Once both sides are dry, tape both sides of the bridge within set, parallel parameters to make sure they are even. Then, connect the two by gluing on a lateral bracing. Un-tape the bridge, and carefully flip the bridge over. Let it dry and make sure it isn't leaning. These are the basics for building a model bridge.

Cabling
You can generally find toy cables at hobby shops, but in a pinch, you can also use twine or thin string or laces. Thread the cables through each pillar on the bridge, being sure you tighten the cables in the middle, but rest the highest tension on each end of the bridge. The cables should reach a greater distance from each pillar to the center than they do from the pillar to each end. And, if you are building in a fan design, there should be more cables running from the pillars to the bridge's center than each end.

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