Poggers Bridge Project to Master Tinkercad by Kristin Houston

    Two 3D printed bridges

    Over the past few weeks, I have been using the Tinkercad program to design a bridge that I can 3D print. The other sophomores and I worked on these designs so that we may gain some experience using design tools and 3D printing machines. We were asked to create a bridge that resembled one of the styles of bridges, such as suspension, truss, or beam. I modeled my design after the truss bridge because I found the style interesting, and as a small challenge, I also tried integrating an arch bridge design into the original. Therefore, I planned for my final creation to have long, rectangular beams going along the sides and over the platform, as well as arch-like supports running underneath.

    Creating the design for the bridge took a bit of trial and error; I wanted mine to be practical so it could come out of the printer with no issues, but I also wanted it to stand out and have detail. Sometimes I would find myself starting over because I was disappointed with the way my bridge design was coming together. Luckily, I was eventually able to create a model that I was satisfied with; it resembled the truss design I was looking for, all while incorporating arch bridge features underneath. I also decided I would name my creation ‘Poggers Bridge’.

    Poggers Bridge took about nineteen hours to print, however, this would not be the last time I would need to use the 3D machine for my design. The first result had a few flaws: the supports under the platform were curved and uneven, and the arch supports did not fully connect to the rest of the bridge. I had to go back onto Tinkercad and re-evaluate my design before printing for a second time. Fortunately, my second bridge turned out much better than the first. Because I made the supports and arch thicker, the supports added by the 3D machine were straight and sturdy; the arches were also fully connected to the rest of the structure.

    Using Tinkercad helped me gain some experience and understanding of the 3D printing world and made me think critically about how I can improve and adjust my designs. I am satisfied with the way Poggers Bridge turned out, and I look forward to designing more structures and using the 3D printing machines in the future.

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