Friday, April 28, 2017

More on the Madison Bridge Project

This year on May 20-21 the Timber Framers Guild will be holding its annual conference at the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Madison, WI. On May 20th a small group of timber framers from all over the country will assembling for display a one of a kind 90 foot timber framed walking bridge designed by Richard Latrobe-Bateman of the U.K. The bridge will consist of over fifty pre-cut 6x6's  13 to 16 foot long timbers held together with custom designed steel connectors. The 2700 board feet of Larch pine wood will weigh over 18,000 pounds and be hand raised by the builders and then taken down at the end of the conference!

Darren Watson, from New Energy Works in Oregon is heading up and assembling the team that will be in Madison to work on the bridge. When I heard the convention was going to be in Madison only 60 miles from where I live I jumped at the chance to work on the bridge. I have been building a small scale model of the bridge. Since this particular bridge has never been built before the model will be helpful to test out assembly and disassembly procedures on before swinging around the 150 - 200 pound timbers. I have just finished a possible solution to providing some guide railings for the bridge. As plans are to allow people attending the conference actually try out the bridge.

Considering that the bridge design is functional art the railings should add to the design and not distract from it. We will see if this idea meets the test.  If the bridge is not sold at the convention it will be dismantled and stored until a buyer can be found.

And at last I have finished the St. Francis bird feeders that I started last fall. You can see the bridge models in the background and the side straw model on the truck hood. Hopefully getting the wind generator back together and running will be my filler project between now and building the bridge in Madison.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Busy spring projects

One down and 4 to go on the St Francis bird feeders. Have all the parts painted and ready to go. Also have to get the ropes and tie the monks knot. Then these are done.

Now moving on the the Madison bridge project. Have been in touch with the people that are doing this project for the May 19 - 21 Timber Frame Guild conference this year. Have built a scale model to test out some of the assembly sequences.

This model is a little over 9' long and made out of 2x2's The real walking bridge will be 90' long and made out of 6x6 Larch Pine. 2700 board feet of timber and weighing over 10,000 lbs. Darren Watson, from is organizing the build. The wood has been cut and machined and brackets fabricated. Everything will be brought to Madison and we will start assembling the bridge on Friday the 19th and have it up Saturday. Then on Sunday we will disassemble it! If you are going to be in the area stop in to the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Madison, WI and have a look. This is really going to be something.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Latrobe Bateman Walking Bridge model

Well with the Timber Framers Guild 2017 convention right around the corner (May 19-21). And being that this year it will be held in Madison, WI (at the Edgewater Hotel). I have a peaked interest in attending this event to help in the construction of a 95 foot long walking bridge on site during the convention.

Sorry for the vertical formatting of the picture. Rotating pictures is one of my many shortfalls.

I have made contact with the TFG about this project and they passed my name along to Johnathan Orpin of New Energy Works and he got back to me with some information. In the mean time I decided to reverse engineer the bridge from the picture to see if I could better understand the bridges design and construction.

I decided to use soda straws and hot glue to construct a model. My first attempt was, shall I say, an enlightening challenge to say the least. The picture proved to be a bit of an optical illusion because of the 3/4 angle it was shot at. Good for selling a used car but not for getting design construction details. After some trial and error I had the basic concept and design of the bridge figured out. I went to work with my calculator and made a CAD drawing that was at a 1:12 scale. Keeping in mind the head clearance heights that would be needed I made the base of the main section (a three sided tower) 12 feet and then tapered it down to 8 feet two sections down. Keeping this all in proportion was the task.

Here is the 1:12 layout for the main tower section.

Soda straws were then pinned down and hot glued together. I learned that low temp glue worked best for this as the high temp glue took forever to cool down and burnt my fingers! One side down and two more to go.

The two sides of the main tower have diagonal bracing. The bottom panels in the real bridge will have cables running at diagonals. Another main tower is made just like this one and both will be angled up at 30 degrees to attach to a base. Each base is made up of a 4 sided equilateral pyramid. The intersection of the pyramid base and three sided tower is very interesting and I believe key to the design.

I took some pictures of the model from several sides to provide more insight into the design of the bridge. The walking surface touches the bridge at both ends and supported by rods coming up from the two cross pieces between each end. In the original picture I could see no connection between each side except at the top piece and the horizontal walking surface between the two halves. I believe having pieces here would increase stability.

Just for fun I had this poseable figure and thought it would give some perspective on head clearances and slope of the bridge incline. About 4 inches per foot, pretty steep and not ADA compliant. My model is only 54 inches long. If the real bridge is 95 feet long I would have to make the equaliteral pyrimiad much larger. Almost double? This will require some more thought and drawing. To be continued ...