This is for the pre-engineering school building projects like bridge building, that are tested later on after they are built to scale models. I know that materials like balsa wood are being used which could be kind of expensive in large quantities, enough to outfit a big class or even groups of youngsters in the same class. I have done some experimentation and a feasibility study which led me to use Spaghetti and Elmer’s Wood Glue diluted to 50% strength so it runs into the joints needing to become permanent. This “
First I produce a 2Dimensional design (computer or sketched by hand) using TurboCAD Pro 11 or equivalent for designing of the bridge and its component parts and then print it out at full scale which can still be done on normal typing paper for individual sub-assemblies of the bridge. I then tape that 2D print out, down onto a flat piece of plywood or other flat surface so I can assemble the individual pieces on top of the taped down printed design. Using a small pair of wire cutters or toenail clippers, I size them up by cutting the pieces that are going to be superimposed on top of the printed out design. Small pieces of tape can be used to hold the pieces down in place until all the parts are glued together using very small drops of the diluted glue. I am using tooth picks to pick up a drop of glue and then place it where I want it to be. I also use a large commercial finger nail emery board to sand down lengths that might have been cut too long or have un-squared ends and need just a little shortening or smoothing. The glue as I stated before is diluted by 50% with water so it runs into the joints better. Gluing only one side with a very small drop of glue is best at this stage. . You don’t want it to glue itself down to the paper below it, so use very small drops of glue at first. In about one hour or less you can cut the tape off and peel it back from the immobilized taped pieces and carefully flip it over to glue the other side. In tests that I have done by over stressing the parts, rarely have any of the jointed members broken at those joints. With proper bridging techniques and reinforcement of these structures it can become amazingly strong. 2D designs become 3Dimensional after they are glued together using exact mirror images of itself to form solids instead of just flat surfaces.
This method of building is much cheaper and I’m not going to add the comment that “you can eat it too.” Let’s just say that it is cheaper and more flexible in its abilities than balsa wood. It can also be bent to the proper shapes by soaking it in hot water for a few minutes until it becomes (yes you guessed it, Al Dente) and then formed and let dry and finally glued in place to whatever assembly you are working on. As we all know, there are many different shapes and sizes to this excellent model building material. For instance Lasagna can be made into a road driving surface or siding on a house or perhaps a roofing
material. This method can be instrumental in teaching patience and hand, eye, finger dexterity and proper bracing methods for building a strong structure. I have no data on the engineering characteristics of my spaghetti building material use so I will have to leave that up to people that can generate that data to this very easy obtainable building material. Those engineering characteristics for a computer analysis can be used to do the testing on the design instead of putting a physical stress test on it. After the many hours of building it, some people might not fancy destroying the model during the engineering testing phase. For an even stronger structure, yes you guessed it, one can use spinach pasta. My bridge is gaining in stature and strength all the time and it is getting impressive looking. Even my wife stopped shaking her head at me and has come closer to look at it. Perhaps she is sizing it up for whatever pot to use on it. I don’t know. I remember many years ago putting together a balsa wood top wing piper cub with similar materials but of course that utilized very thin balsa wood. A flying spaghetti plane would be a first here. Who ever got hurt on one built with spaghetti? I know you are laughing while you read this but there it is sitting on my work bench standing up on its own, ready to be mated to the other component structures. I know as long as my roof doesn’t leak it should stand up on its own and support that one pound weight. You don’t have to be crazy to think outside of the box with what is considered to be the normal way of doing things but it sure helps at times. If you don’t believe me then you have to try it. I think you will be amazed at what can be created with some imagination and time. If you are not successful then what have you lost, maybe some lunch or dinner? My Italian “
This picture shows the two bottom bridge supports. I’m still bracing things in between the two halves. Here I have four halves that were the same and that makes two pairs of three dimensional parts.