Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Here Comes Santa Claus...

Well, Chromalypto is about to set in...YES!!!

It's now officially fab season, and you know what that means, steel splinters in the finger tips, ooo, yes!!!

What was that Marv?

You got it buddy.

Okay, the steel will be here shortly, mostly from Pennsylvania hopefully, CTV and Co. permitting, if not, we'll take in what we can to get started from Southern Illinois.

We need to mainly cut and precision mill all lengths first. Remember on the flanges to look for the bow and put that bow in the "deflection direction" i.e. the one that goes up and down on the bridge. If you we cut and clamp a flange that is warped in the lateral direction, it will warp the deck and make connections a bother. Better to prestress/weld the flange in the up and down direction. Milled slots will need to be in the up and down direction as well. Check with Matt before you mill a deck slot on any flange.

Phil will hopefully set up the dovetail mill program tomorrow. Matt will be there for about an hour or so before he has to jet for work. Need to get that order in before Friday the 22nd from PA. UPS baby! Let's get the maturl here.

Feliz Navidad Amigos! Relax while you can, it's relentless 'til April in San Jo!

Why did Santiago Calatrava design a bridge in Redding?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

D Week 12/3+

Howdy Y'all,

Saturday was a great day for us! We got solid, reliable numbers for all 12 design variations, now Jessica and Matt will look at the models, double check the weights, deflections, load placements etc. etc. and Tuesday night we'll have a vigorous discussion on what we think the best choice will be. Depth vs. Chordage? Speed vs. a bit lighter and/or stiffer? Cold decisions come from the scoring, so we'll need some good thought this week to make decision we all feel comfortable with. The good thing is, every design choice we have is a good bridge. Veterans will use their past season's experience during the fabrication rounds to help steer the way to our best choice.

Until then, finish strong in Bridge, finish strong in the classroom.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

...for in the final analysis...

What's happenin' everyone!

Tests and Projects beating you down? That's okay, we'll procrastinate with a design session Friday night and a full day of Chrome Ollie stuff on Saturday!!!

Okay, so, here is the earth, I mean...We'll be meeting Friday night at Matt's place on Brandywine to discuss the options we have to analyze on Saturday. Our priliminary analyses show what are the likely best cases for all bridges. Friday night we will finalize all design features for each bridge that WILL be made for each design. So, for instance, if one bridge has a shallow deck, it will have a wide lateral truss, if it has a deep deck, it may have a tri-lateral truss, or we may put more DK to DK laterals in it (separate members). Either way, these decisions need to be made so we can get a dead nuts accuracy on what features will be fabricated for each bridge. Most importantly, we'll talk about constructability of each design.

On Saturday we will of course be moving our gear down to the fabrication level below the Loft so the construction boys can have their way with the wall and the staircase. This will only improve productivity. We will make brand new models from up to date DXF's in SAP, and analyze our previously recorded best results for each bridge. Right now there are 6 main designs (including a new one we haven't analyzed just yet) we are going through, each has 2 flange variations, so that makes 12 models we'll have to make from scratch on Saturday. Be ready to get into it, we may have to assign 2 bridges per person.

Matt will be in charge of making the DXF's. Team members, especially returners, will be responsible for making decisions on what will go into each design. Everyone will be responsible for analysis on Saturday. Let's be methodical and cold, and get it done with a numbing efficiency. We need clear numbers for each bridge so we can DECIDE.

After analysis, Phil and Matt, and anybody who wants to join in, will be TIGging model bridges out of steel. Each model will be approx. 2 feet long so we can get an idea of how everything looks in 3D (i.e. structural behaviour, assembly etc.). Should be fun. Phil and Matt will coordinate getting more steel to fabricate the models, which will consist of making a simple CAD model, getting dimensions and sizes set, cutting, grinding, and TIG welding the suckers together.

Okay, that's it, get ready to put forth one final analytical effort. ANY NEW DESIGNS ARE WELCOME, IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA, DON'T BE SHY.

It takes a vision to start something wonderful...

...but engineers to finish it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Getting Down to it.

Last Saturday, or Causeway Saturday, we took a closer look at some of the trusses we've been analyzing. The Monster looked better with slightly modified flanges on the deck, it came out lighter and stiffer, so kudos there. The others were about the same, a little lighter, but not much else.

We also tried analyzing a multiple beam set, which didn't do so well, but if it's stiff enough, it might make it worthwhile. Matt's going to buy the beams for a field test as soon as he can (maybe...$$$ concern).

This Tuesday we had a Construction Rules Quiz, and it is evident that new Team members need to read the Rules more often and become more and more familiar with them as the season progresses. We also need to learn how to speak up! It's okay to talk and be vocal, if you aren't sure ask. Time to break out of the mental shell and be a real engineer. Talk, and with volume! ;-)
After the Construction Quiz we discussed some of the best bridges. New bridge ideas are dwindling, so we'll have to decide what it is we want to do with the ones we have. We have to think about, and possibly tinker with the assembly design, all of the following:

Constructability - # members, # bolts, reachability of certain nodes, risk potential, assembly location, connection type.

Lightness - weight of connections, weld weight, what needs more wall thickness, what can do with ultra-thin wall (i.e. web, wide OT)

Stiffness - Depth vs. beam-like truss vs. how stiff can we get a beam.

Lots of discussion coming up before we decide, be prepared to listen and state your beliefs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

11/14 Notes and about Saturday 11/18

Hey Chrome-O's,

This Tuesday Jessica and Matt summarized what we've analyzed so far:

Bis Vs
Chichen Itza

As of right now, the Everest Truss looks too unstable, and has safety issues for construction that, quite frankly we shouldn't have to worry about. We're trying to get a solid structure and minimize construction risk, as our construction score counts for quite a bit this season.

We also noted that weight is a big factor in our structural score, so all design will be on a diet plan to a certain extent. Roughly 75%, 25%, weight to deflection (if our deflection range is reasonable on average)

Think about construction in the meantime, we have to put this baby together in our best time ever if we're going to win at Mid-Pac. The 2005 effort was our best yet at 3 minutes 38 seconds, with an immense amount of practice mind you. Last season's effort was also very solid, but imagine how fast we'd have been if we didn't rebuild the entire overtruss after Mid-Pac. That's 3 more weeks of practice!!!

THERE WILL BE A COMPREHENSIVE CONSTRUCTION QUIZ ON TUESDAY NOV. 22ND!!! So be ready to answer question correctly -- there may even be rules pertaining to the clarifications on the AISC NSSBC competition page found here:

(follow the links to student design competitions)

Well, it's no secret to those that've been showing up. We're getting very efficient at analyzing, and with the turnout, we are ahead of schedule. This weekend, and this weekend only, will be the last effort to try new things. The weeks following will require some fine tuning, and narrowing the decision. Jessica and Matt will have models ready for input and analysis - there should be about 4 or 5 workable designs.

Sac State will be in town this Sat. We play at 1:05 p.m. at Toomey Field - All current students can get free tix so long as they show up early and check in with Aggie Pack on the East Side of the "Stadium" - 11 am would be safe, maybe even sooner, don't know how crazy everyone is going to be. Gates open at 11:45 a.m. - this game, the 53rd Annual Causeway Classic, will be televised (pause for laughter of the I-A university football schools reading) so that's an added bonus, tape the game, maybe see yo'self on tv.

Our analysis checks for this Saturday will include:

Monstro - with modified deck flanges, I-Beam NDSU style I guess you could say, but the geometric centroidal depth in SAP will go up 1/2". Sweet.

Big Vs - again with I-beam like tubular flanges.

Chichen Itza - with the new flanges again.

Matt will also develop his "Lowrider" beam deck - it will be a special case, and hopefully, he can organize a trial loading of the PDM Model very soon to see if it's worth it. This will be our first beam-style analysis.

BASIC rule of thumb for analysis to final product, is that the shallower your bridge is, the smaller the margin is for error. Deeper bridges tend to deflect closer to that analyzed. We may have to elevate the pin connections atop the piers for the beam to be effective.

Okay, ramble on! I know.

See you Saturday -- again, good luck with continuing mid-terms.

And so we design and analyze on! Remember to read the construction rules AND clarifications.

Having dreams is common, being crazy enough to make them reality, that's Chrome Ollie.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Two new ones 11/11

Sweet day of analysii today.

The Monstro and the Everest were analyzed today. Both have their good aspects, especially Everest, it's very buildable with a few extra bolts at midspan. Monstro looked good despite it's lack of depth.

On advice from Jessica, we'll try the Big V's a bit shallower to see how it performs, we need to reach up top, and quite frankly we've only got one 6 footer on the Team right now.

Tuesday, November 14th at 6:10 p.m. is our next meeting. We'll meet in the Chrome Ollie Loft in 1203 Bainer Hall. Discussion will include the numbers for all four trusses we've looked at so far, we need to talk constructability concerns, lateral arrangements, and sequence, because that will most likely determine the final decision. After making a decision here in the next couple of weeks, we need to concentrate on building the best bridge possible and then get it ready for practice at San Jo this April.

On the football front: NDSU killed Cal Poly, Sac State lost to Matt's hometown PSU Vikings. The Cal Poly loss is bad for the Aggies, as it makes Univ. of San Diego look better to the I-AA playoff committee. UC Davis has already agreed to bow out of the Nov. 25th contest with the Toreros in the event that they make the playoffs (we are playoff ineligible until next year). Right now we're at 4-5, and a win against Sac State and USD would ensure our 38th consecutive winning season. So everybody needs to show up at Toomey on the 18th for the 53rd Causeway Classic, after that, it's in the committee's hands as to whether or not USD will come to town...not that anybody will be there, it's Thanksgiving.

Design/Analyze on...

p.s. - Granite just chipped in for $2000 - this means we might be able to buy those test girders from PDM. Matt will get the quote from PDM on that, while Jessica checks with Dillsburg on those sizes to see if we get to go into a deeper tinker on the best choices so far.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006


This may have been previously stated, but here it is again.

Don't know who's reading this, if anybody at all...from Davis let alone across the country.

DON'T USE STRUTS (or more simply - angled braces going from bottom of pier to underdeck and/or up into the truss). All they do is kick out the bottom of your free standing foundation and cause more rotation/moment into the critical areas at midspan. Keep it flat, even hinged if possible. Do not strut, no matter what John Travolta says, it's a waste of time and energy. Focus your efforts into keeping a truss or a beam as flat as possible. If you do anything, batter your piers like they do on highway bridges, do not strut.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

November 7th

Well, it's election night, if you haven't voted and are reading this at 8:05 pm then it's too late. Shame on you for not voting!!!

Looks like Dems are taking a few more seats, whether or not they gain control of the House and/or Senate we'll see after tonight.

On the Steel Bridge front:

We analyzed on Saturday, November 4th, before the NDSU game (which we lost in heartbreak fashion due to an uninspired 2nd half). The two bridges were the Chichen Itza Truss and the Big V's. Both are very deep and buildable, they both gave great numbers, some a little, ummm, TOO great, so upon further investigation there were definitely some input errors. It's okay though, it was a tough assignment for first time analyzers. Jessica and Matt will reinput each bridge and check the beginning values for each design. In all there were about 40 or 50 scenarios total for all 6 bridge variations of these two designs.

This Saturday, November 11th, we'll be at it again with two new fresh designs, maybe three, if Matt can find some time in an ever-expanding schedule (thanks Thai Bobby). They'll be much, much simpler, so the new analysis team can get some confidence, but don't think they're insignificant, because they may very well end up being our design choice.

So, Saturday, Nov. 11th, at 10 a.m. in the Chrome Ollie Loft of 1203 Bainer Hall.

Take it easy, good luck with continuing mid-terms!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Mtg. & 11/4 Analysis


Happy Halloween everybody!

Real quickly today we talked about two truss designs we're going to analyze this Saturday before the Aggies take on North Dakota State at the Toom. They're primarily built for speed, and have a LOT of construction options on them, as well as a stellar structural profile. If they analyze well, we may very well have finished our truss analysis for the season. Kickoff for the game is 1:05 p.m. local.

Open bay beams will be analyzed in conjunction with the structural optimization class (ECI 153) on campus. Chosen for their relative simplicity (and absolute boringness), the class should be able to spit some numbers back at us, that we more or less already know. The key to the beams functioning structurally, as with any design, but moreso on beams, is their connection solidarity. They may even have to be structurally bolted to work well, dovetails may leave too much play. Then there's the idea of multiple beam-type bridges.

So...this Saturday, 11/4, at 9:30 a.m. we'll meet in the Chrome Ollie Loft in 1203 Bainer Hall, then trek over to EUIII on the 3rd floor student labs where we will input AutoCAD wireframes in SAP 2000 and analyze those two truss designs with the section sizes we think we can get our hands on in 4130 alloy. We may have to hit up the mother supplier in Dillsburg to find what we need and/or want. i.e. wide/thin-wall material. The SAP procedure is pretty simple, it's step by step, and the more you do it the more you'll see how easy it is.

Jessica will work on OT collars soon. They're pretty basic lathe stuff, nothing fancy, but we need to get tolerances down to acceptable levels now, so it won't stall us this winter.

Okay then, time to start charging ahead, let's continue to think and be creative, we have a lot to decide on in the next 5 weeks...

Friday, October 27, 2006

10/24 Meeting & THIS Saturday

Hey gang,

On Tuesday, 10/24 we had a Rules quiz. We covered the absolute fundamental things everybody on the Team needs to know in the Quiz. Basic dimensions and design envelope, member requirements, some basic construction considerations, as well as others.

Correct answers got rewarded with some nice Scooby Snacks, wrong answers were punished with the usual caning across the back. Despite the punishment, most everybody was willing to try for the answer, which was refreshing.

THIS Saturday 10/28 at 10 a.m. -- we'll have a very serious and considerate design/analysis meeting. Hopefully, Matt will have design packages ready for analysis, as well as design folders for each new member detailing the many bridge types we have on the platter this fall. Analysis should go quickly once we get going as it has been streamlined to the bare necessities over the past 4 seasons...now it's just a matter of monitoring weight (including weld and connection weight), and fine tuning the fabrication process yet again.

Notes on fab:
1. We're going to try to get that girder/or truss deck up to it's maximum depth possible. This will require a mock up model of the new, uber-efficient dovetail design with the advanced alloy form Pierce-Spafford or ABC in Sac.

2. We need to plan for the possibility of a floor-flat welding procedure of a truss if that design is chosen. The NDSU procedure looked awesome, it's like doing a beam, just on a bigger scale, and it will alleviate the need for excess clamping (though there is not such a thing), but it will help keep things from falling on our craniums.

3. Need to make OT collars.

4. Need to re-examine Dovetail redundancy :(i.e. fab/test/research/analysis/results/implementation of new sizes) -- added depth means less axial force, so we don't need as much DT mass as before. Beams are another story.

Okay, one day at a time, non-stop, push to perfection, Unity! (yes, I'm doing the Dave Chappelle voice) Chrome Ollie por vida.

p.s. - for the unmotivated: Chico beat us at Nationals last season, let alone 7 other teams, GET ASSIGNMENTS, GET IN THE LAB, GET IN THE SHOP!!! GET 'ER DONE!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10/17 general meeting # 2 notes


We talked a little about construction first thing on Tuesday. We went over the basics of the site plan, staging areas, rivers, penalties etc. etc. After getting a look at the 2005 site plan, we watched the UC Davis 2005 construction run in Orlando, all 3 min. and 38 seconds of it, point out some basic rules, tool ideas, penalty concerns, what's different fom that year to this year, and basically got a feel for how the construction run goes.

After watching the 2005 UC Davis run, we watched the 2006 University of Florida run from Gainesville. We discussed the main rule changes from 2005 to 2006, how the course was different, and asymmetry played a part in the construction sequence, the need to make things reachable, yet keep the bridge stiff as a whole, etc. etc.

When film was concluded, we went out to the front of Bainer to check out the 2007 Construction course, got a feel for the size of it, the distances needed to be travelled, the friggin' walls that will be in the way, the bigger pier boxes, the 9 foot river, the basic span length and lack of skew as in the previous (2K5 & 2K6) years. Questions were answered, and then we moved on to a design rant by Matt.

Matt explained the basics of bridge design which primarily are driven by the Scoring. We noted how Construction as well as Structural Efficiency measured the value of a bridge. Both of these issues must be addressed to have a good bridge.

Going from the bottom up, or simplest to most complex, some bridge ideas were set forth by Matt, from beams, to stacked beams, to multiple beams. to trusses, the bridge type selection will be an interesting choice.

Connections, Analysis Methods, Scoring Scenarios, Steel Sizes we typically use, and Member Layouts will all be discussed next time, Tuesday, October, 24th, at 6:10 pm starting in 1213 Bainer. There will also be a Rules quiz, with a reward for the Top 5 Scores, ties included!

Analysis will also start Saturday, October 28th, in EUIII, we'll pick some bridges on Tuesday, the 24th for analysis, and we'll go through the basic SAP2000 input procedure. Anybody wishing to stay and optimize is welcome to on Sat the 28th!!!

Okay, that's it for now, READ THOSE RULES, highlight them if it helps, if you have questions, email the captains or email the rules committee on the AISC website below (just go to Question Submittal Form), though for basic stuff I'm sure returners can answer the Q's just fine:


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Stuff

10/10 Tuesday General Meeting was great. A lot of young blood showed up, and we got to talk a little bit about the competition, what it involves, and the need to read and understand the Rules. We also took a look at last year's Bridge and answered some design/analysis/fabrication questions.

Next Meeting will again be on Tuesday, 10/17, at 6:10 p.m. in 1213 Bainer (and later out in front of Bainer Hall - on the East side of the building).

We'll head out to the front of Bainer and get a look at the 2007 Construction site, maybe watch some film and answer some more questions. We'll probably start talking design and analysis very soon too, most likely Saturday 10/21!

Hope to see everyone again, hang in there!


College of Engineering Ice Cream Social:

Thursday, October 12, 2006. 2:30 - 4 p.m. Kemper Courtyard.

We'll have the 2006 Bridge up and on display.

Matt will be there to help set up, anybody else, meet in the Bridge room at around 1:45 pm.

Friday, September 29, 2006

October starters

Phil and Matt discussed three different design philosophies at the Raiders vs. Browns game on Sunday. All would probably work for this year's bridge. The question is how efficient can a beam be at ~ 7 1/4" depth...8 1/2" depth (stacked?)? Fabrication and advanced planning will have to be at the forefront of the project decisions we're going to make in the next 8 weeks.

Design Meeting Thursday 10/5 right after the ASCE BBQ. Discuss bridge type selection, connections, but mainly construction issues concerns and tool/pier scenarios.

First General Meeting that will include all possible new members is set for:
Tuesday, 10/10, at 6:10 p.m. in 1213 Bainer Hall

-- no Wildcats, Hornets or Cal Bears allowed :-p

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

9/28 Mtg.

"Hey everyone, we've spoken with Dr. Cheng about setting up a directed study ECI 199 class for bridge and canoe. We would meet once a week, for an hour, either Monday, Wednesday or Friday at 6pm to discuss design issues (we'll split the time with canoe). If anyone is interested in signing up let me know which evening you'd prefer and if there's an evening you have a conflict. Also, Team meeting this Thursday at 6pm in the bridge room." - Jessica

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September rush

Chrome Ollie will be starting up their formal/informal design sessions very quickly here. Captains are Jessica Revell and Phil Weeks. Jessica will be working in the shop for the next couple of weeks developing collar style connections for the truss, if we choose such a design, on the lathe. We bought some 4130 alloy chrome-moly stock a month ago for this.

Phil and Matt are discussing sheet metal options and increasing the active length, or development length, of each dovetail connection to better stiffness for a beam. If possible, we're trying to get the design down to a beamlike structure for quicker assembly. We don't want to go above 1.2" deflection if we can squeeze 2 or 3 minutes out of construction. If the PDM field test proves that a beam may work if connected properly, then we may very well use it, if not, one of the three truss design philosophies we have will go into further development. The basis for the truss will first be assembly, then lightness, and assuming the stiffnesses are comparable, then stiffness.

Recruitment will also be prominent this fall, as only a few people, if anybody, will be back for the '07-'08 season. Need to organize talks in ECI 131, ECI 135, ECI 171, ECI 179, and ENG104 for sure, perhaps some others in the Mechanical Department as well if we can get a MechE to do it. The Raiders got beat very badly yesterday, I guess they were busy remembering 9/11.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Start Up

Hello again,

It's Mid-August now, and the Rules have been out there for a month more or less.

As the first meetings, emails, and design sessions start to go down, just remember two things.

1. Do not suppress any ideas, no matter how unconvincing, whatsoever. Get the data first, talk about it in a reasonable sense, and make a decision. Case in point, the 2003 UC Davis Steel Bridge Team: Only beams won, and the Team jumped to the conclusion that a truss would be needed over the longer river. It was a bad decision, because the beam was considered, BUT NEVER ANALYZED. Now you look at the profile this year and may think a light, 7' truss will do the trick, but maybe a beam will work, or maybe it won't...either way GET THE DATA FIRST.

2. At some point you (Captains &/OR Design Heads) are going to have to stop the "paralysis by overanalysis" and make a decision to keep the project on schedule. If you go too deep into the numbers, and aren't sure what you want to build, then make a few key areas in the design, ie constructability or weight, and then just stick to your guns throughout the fabrication process. Committing early and completing the bridge to make mods and to practice will do way better than choosing the absolutely analytical best choice, because remember, you still have to build the thing, and the bridge + your construction crew have to perform to make it win.

That's it, design on :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

2007 Design Notes

There is obviously a big, wide open profile to design in this season. The deck window has been increased to 9" absolute maximum, and the overall height of the bridge can go upwards of 7 feet. So now there are the options: beam, multiple (3 or 4) beam, stacked beam, low profile truss, medium profile truss, or maximum profile truss.

Maximum depth for a one beam section (if you go "Double Black Diamond" on it) will be about 8 1/8" to be safe. A flat flange, like a square tube, or a bar flange, maybe you can get in the mid-7" range for depth. Is this going to be stiff enough? It just might be, based on the loading and the essentially 19 foot span ( approx. 2 feet shorter than the last two seasons). Always be aware of the killer S1 = 5,6, S2 = 1,2 scenarios, however, because they could quite frankly be worse than last season. 1300 lbs. per grate is not that small.

Multiple Beams
Because of the 1 foot by 1 foot footing box, there is possibility of loading up maybe 2 girders on each side. It's certainly nice for construction to have more liberty in the pier boxes - God knows Davis had some box issues on the construction site in Salt Lake City, like 7 issues.

Well, there is definitely the possibility of stacking a beam system. Either by doing it in a box or girderlike fashion in the 9 inch window, or going deep on the bottom layer of the stack, and then wide/boxy on the top to meet the 3'-9" necessary clearance. The connections can be complicated (see prev. post), so be wary of this design, because fabrication will be paramount more than ever to it's success in efficiency. You could also do a trip stack in the same fashion, but those connections are even more difficult. Big jigs needed. Remember the river too, can you reach 4-1/2 feet easily?

If you do a truss you basically want to go as deep as you can, and try to keep the chords down to one piece each. In general, double piece chords aren't that great, because they can hinge/bend at their connection if in compression, unless they're very wide, and bolted/doved thoroughly. The double piece may be good if you intend on going for the full 7' with a pyramid truss or other "simple" truss type structure. The Warren Trusses that have been winning for the past 3 seasons, obviously provide the best structural integrity, but it may need to be skimped down to accommodate for better economy, and the presence of off center loads.

A Word on Loading:
Last season was basically a truck load, with the big weight at the front axle. Now it's more of a tandem load, with two equal, relatively large loads, closer to each other (at worst case scenario). This will alleviate that "arch like" kink at the center of the truss bridge somewhat, but not entirely. The kinks just move closer to the piers a little is all. Double measurement on the "left side" which could very well be the right side, if it's chosen that way. Asymmetry should not be a big design idea for most schools. The span is also about 18" to 24" shorter, and that more than anything, will stiffen up most of the bridges.

Construction Site:
Totally equal (except for the 30' and 15' run). The little barrier in front of the site, is going to make things trickier than last season where there was so much room to run! Now the tippy toes will be out again. The 9 foot river is not to big of a concern except for 4 member/node connections at center span. Reaching for things at 4 1/2 feet is a challenge even on your knees, and there's no room for economical error this year, so choose your profiles wisely and consider their constructability. That is it for now. Design on!!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

2006 NSSBC Awards - "As a Cal Aggie observer saw it."

Okay, until we manage to set up a self-controlled website on ucdavis.edu through the Dept. this blog will just have to serve. The picture, linking, and overall presentation capabilities for Blogger are a little bit limited, but nothing can replace good writing...so this may really suck.

The first will be the most boring, but most meaningful ones, and rightly named:

1st Place - North Dakota State University
You can't say enough about the Bison of Fargo, ND. We nickname them "The Borg", because each year they have a flawless structure and always seem very soft spoken and highly organized. This year was no exception as they walked away with the most necessary award of '06, that being Structural Efficiency. Hats off to NDSU, 4th NSSBC Championship, 3rd in 5 years...I guess so long as it's not a Structural Efficiency dominated competition with Nationals in around the Midwest, other schools have a chance ;-p.

2nd Place - SUNY Canton
A Team of evolution and emergence in the past 5 years much like UC Davis, the North Stars now have something to cheer about besides their hockey team. Their first national placement (???we believe???), and plenty of hardware on top of it, Canton deserves tons of credit for giving NDSU a real run for their '06 money. This 2nd Place follows a steady 5th Place showing right behind NDSU (4th) from 2005 in Orlando.

3rd Place - University of Wisconsin, Madison
Badger, Badger, Badger, Badger, Badger, mushroom, mushroom! After the agony of a 2005 failure, the pesky critters from up north turned in a dandy at Salt Lake City. The workmanship completed at Endres looked superb, as well as the high velocity builders during the big show. They were almost running too fast, as they had make a few glove saves along the way. That concrete in the Salt Palace was a bit slippery. Didn't make it to Slappy Chest, but we do remember...Cannonball!!!!!!

f.y.i. - No rankings here just mentions, as most of these categories are subjective.
Ecole de Technologie Superieure (ETS) - That crazy counterweight for their piers, wtf eh?
NDSU - self tightening bolts over the river - gutsy move - and now proven effective.
Wisconsin - The "ubermallet" for the doves over the river - very nice.
UC San Diego
SUNY Canton
Missouri KC
Lawrence Tech
Georgia Tech
Chico State
Texas A & M - College Station
SUNY Canton
UC San Diego
SUNY Canton
Southern Poly.
Wisconsin - no competition
Ohio State
Illinois Inst. of Technology
Penn State
South Dakota State

Georgia Tech
Oregon Inst. of Tech.
SUNY Canton
Southern Poly.
San Jose State (you're in Silicon Valley people)
University of North Dakota
Hudson Valley CC
University of Michigan
Lawrence Tech
Alaska Anchorage
Akaska Fairbanks
University of North Florida
UC Berkeley
UC San Diego
SUNY Canton

Monday, July 31, 2006

The cheese

To get the cheese takes the right cow. To get the right cow you have to breed, grow and nurture to perfection. This is not too unlike a Steel Bridge season -- just without the cow and cheese.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Stack it!

The Stacked Beam. One beam piece on top of another, or make that three for a friggin' sandwich! The Stack beam idea is something that really only became prominent in the 2002 competition at Madison. UF, Sac State, Clemson, Penn State (more like a truss than a stack, they also repeated the Stack in 2005) all went for extra depth to achieve a better efficiency. You could also see Southern Illinois U. Carbondale go after it in 2001, where they took home 1st in aesthetics Nationally. UF should've finished 1st in 2002, but had some difficulties with the site, as did UW Mad, who also should've won that year, NDSU proved to be very efficient, and didn't have any major problems with the Rules.

The key to making a Stack work is the connections. You have to get complete rigidity between stack piece to stack piece. All web members most be connected solidly if the thing will behave like it should, otherwise you're just wasting material.

UF's stack of 2002 demonstrates the best Stack technique in the history of the competition. It was top loaded, meaning everything went down in the beam, rather than middle loaded like Penn State's was in 2005 or SIUC's was in 2001. By being top loaded connections are much simpler because you rely on the direction of load to tighten up your connection surface. When you get middle loaded you rely on your connections to transfer up to the top stack half.

Also, of note the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, stack of 2002, it didn't win at regionals, probably because of construction, but it was beautiful, and was a National quality bridge that would've been good to show off. Anybody for UAF got pictures from that year? Send 'em in or give a link to where they are. Thanks.

UF's top loaded stack:

A look at UF's 2002 Pier setup, a fine piece of bolt consolidation:

SIUC of 2001 ("middle loaded"):

Penn State 2002 (top loaded) and 2005 (middle loaded, more like bottom though) respectively:

Sac State 2002 (note the lack of truss/beam transfer on the way down at points):

Clemson Tigers 2002 (then defending National Champs):

Another Clemson connection masterpiece, folks who were there at Madison might remember the 6' drill extension that got a lot of notice from the UW Mad camera crew and the judges, rules change baby!:If you try a stack, fabrication will be a pain (if you're trying to do it correctly), set up a huge jig, and keep tolerances on connections minimal. You'll need a total connection philosophy to make it stiff, so not skimp on connections or it won't behave as planned. Go as deep as possible, trusses will kill stacks for efficiency in most cases.

2004 - Best Stack Finish is owned by Oklahoma State, see how they did it right, in a structural efficiency year too. Every connection bolted for total structure behaviour. Put a dove there instead?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ninja - Make it light, travel fast...

In honor of the need for weight monitoring and the need for constructability, here are some retro pics from the 2001 NSSBC in Clemson, South Carolina.

Some went deep and light, some went as shallow as possible. There was a depth factor in structural scoring, so going shallow proved to be beneficial...which is why the home team won at 5.5" depth - Chico however, a bit more with their truss, but at 101 lbs (100 lb comp. min.) they took that award home - Break out the Finite Element Analysis for that sucker, or just make it and test it eh? UF finished second - also shallow, and a construction sequence that was both simple and exciting - some real creativity on their design, and a great paint job -- 2nd place overall 2001.

How light can you go? 120 lbs? 150 lbs? At 19 feet of span, too light (w/o 7' depth) may hurt more that you think -- gotta keep it stable too, no buckling allowed!

Chico State 2001:

Clemson Tigers - 2001 NSSBC Host and Champs, note the low depth, the double 2x1 tube beam design, and the deflection flexibles on their end cantilevers - a lot of team's incorporated this backwards deflection relative bending to trick the gauges - it has since been eliminated more or less. Structural Mechanics are essential to accurately predict steel behavior under load, thus the inspired Innovation Award for their dual span beam in 2004 -- cheesy award from the judging committee, to make up an award, invite them to Nats under agreement, then DQ them, harsh...the um...TIG wire for a tool was pretty rough though - but sometimes you have to just go for it. Big Brass to Clemson in 2K4. Some Teams try to win the competition, some try to win and aim to get the Rules rewritten because of their creative thinking.

UF in 2001, extremely simple, stiff, shallow, heavy, good looking bridge.

WTF? Ah the good ole' days where you got 4' on the member. Those are some crazy cantilevers.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Goin' Deep

The hardest thing about doing analysis for a Bridge Design, is the old principle of not falling into "Paralysis by Overanalysis". All of you reading this (most likely not too many), take these words to heart: If you are creative, build it well, and practice hard, you will be successful. The best analyzed designs don't win, it's the most determined and detail oriented Team's that win.

UF - 2005 (above) - Width in Chord members means better rotational resistance, means better stability, means better stiffness, means better efficiency.

NDSU - 2004 (above) - By cutting the 15'-6" span off "near-pier" with their overtruss, The Bison were able to cut their truss members to 5 and keep their efficiency. This is probably not advisable for single span bridges ala 2005-2007, but for the dual span and corresponding 2K4 loading, it was a good idea. Note also the light/deep deck sections, and "battered" steel piers for stability during construction and rotational/frictional foundation resistance during load.

Michigan - 2004 (above) - Again, cuttin off the span for the 5 member overtruss. A different deck philosophy than NDSU (who finished 1st overall 2004, Go Blue! finished 2nd...after taking the 2003 championship ;-), the steel is located on the top side, which between chords sees less tension and more compression under load, though both flanges are essentially in tension. Michigan was far less deep than NDSU over their long span, though with their 4 person crew (UC Davis did not witness -- we were eating lunch arggghhhhh!) they managed to maintain both economy and efficiency, narrowly being beat out by the Bison, and coming as close as Chico State in 1999-2000 (2nd, 1st respectively). Michigan Champs in 2003, 2nd in 2004, good stuff donde estaban en el ano dos mil y seis Universidad de Michigan? Mas libre que no?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What it's all about.

Why do we all do this? The recruitment, the speeches, the explanations for why someone should be on the Team, the conceptual design, the analysis, the Team meetings with pizza and possibly beer if the Team's an older one, the material selection, the steel ordering, the de-greasing, the cutting, the miling, the lathing (is that a word?), the grinding, the welding, the attention to fabrication detail, the connection tolerances, the construction planning, the practice, the practice, the practice, THE PRACTICE, the aesthetics prep, the nervousness for only ONE day of competition, maybe two if you're good enough, the "Euphoria" of victory, the agony of defeat...be it not being prepared, bad luck or simply being out-designed/competed, the trips to Nats, the picture taking of all the other schools, the talking to all the other schools, the quiet walk bys of the Team members from other schools you know to be as good, if not, better than you are, the last day practices, the final competition, the award banquets, the rewards or the "get 'em next year's...

Why Why Why? Because it's fun, because you're addicted, because you want to impress your future employer, because engineers have to have each other or they really don't have anybody, because of school pride, because you live in the middle of nowhere, because you want to do something with your life, because of the friendships, because of the parties, because of the thrill of victory, because of the things you learn, because you know it's worth it, IF ONLY FOR A TRIP TO CALI BABY!




Can you name all these champions?

We compete and strive to be the best in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada and Japan -- be the best, work for your awards. That's why we do this...

...Until German schools enter, then we're all screwed.

Thanks for the tip Tigers:

definitely da bomb.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday, Monday...

Yes it is Monday. We analyzed two new bridge design concepts, one showed obvious structural advantages to the simple beam, but how stiff can we really get it? Who knows for sure, time to dial in the predictions.

Go deep or go fast that has always been the question, but with this scoring system it may as well be all the same category. We'll have to set priorities.

Here's the Ecole de Technologie Superieure (ETS) super balance tool, the pic sucks but this slanted pier stood with no holding at all. Is this legal THIS year? Clarification please, everybody likes doing this and now we may not be able to do it, friggin' rules changes, hafta think now.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

New Rules (not from Bill Maher)

What up Bridge Bums?

The Rules came out last Thursday, 7/20 -- Matt found them at about 1 in the morning, said he couldn't sleep, but it sounds more like a Shyamalanian connection to everybody else.

A lot of changes, and a return to the "sqaureness" of the competition. NO more skew, but there are some interesting construction changes. As for the structure, it's a bit more varied, like canoe of sorts, bridges could theoretically be as short as 18' or as long as 21'. So the challenge to keep the span minimal while simultaneously not getting the piers too close for comfort will be an interesting concept.

Lots of temporary piers for most folks probably, not only are they allowed to go everywhere on the site, but the supporting constructed portions by builders is pretty much forbidden. Only a 9 foot river, but this will leave some issues for those who choose a truss and desire central chords which will need to be reached.

Beams are also a possibility - the loading proves that no killer central load could let the beam sneak through.

Time is money, weight is money. Notice how the Efficiency has been split up, so we can see weight is slightly more important than stiffness, though we don't want stiffness to skyrocket.

Good mix of necessity for this year's type selection. Should see a wide range of designs winning depending on the project management of each school Team.

As for Chrome-Ollie, you can expect a damn muy bien bridge.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Team Chrome Ollie

2nd tester beeyatc!


nothing new, just testing. the blog chromeollie.blogspot.com is messing up, this one will be the new one until the other one gets sorted out...