3D Printed Bridge Designs

June 5, 2017 | 9:59 am

Course: Introduction to Manufacturing and Tolerancing, spring 2017

In an assignment for Introduction to Manufacturing and Tolerancing, an engineering course that orients freshman and sophomore students to core concepts for manufacturing, students designed and prototyped bridges to span the space between two supports. With the objective of maximizing stiffness-to-mass and strength-to-mass ratios in their designs, the students faced two key constraints. First, the supports were vertical cylinders and the designs were not allowed to rest on these supports in any way, but rather had to cling to the sides of the vertical poles; this required ingenuity as students figured out how to maximize friction between the bridge and the poles. Second, students were required to 3D print their entire bridge structure using the Type A 3D printers in Jacobs Hall’s makerspace, with no additional materials allowed.

Student teams created a wide range of bridge designs, applying concepts learned throughout the course to their prototyping processes. At the end of the semester, their prototypes were mounted onto a test rig and tested with a downward load. Afterward, students analyzed the load-displacement data from their test, presenting their work at the Jacobs Spring Design Showcase.

Want to learn more about the course? Check out:

Course syllabus