- Learn engineering principles from one of the Great Masters
- Completed bridge spans 5 feet and can support 60 lbs
- All parts included: five 16" dowels, ten 24" beams, and 34 rubber bands
- No tools required for assembly
- Kit also includes complete assembly and pedagogical guide
Can five 16” dowels, ten 2 ft long pieces of wood, and 26 rubber bands (total weight of 5 lbs for all parts) be used to build a bridge that spans 5 feet and can carry 60 lbs? You bet; Leonardo da Vinci’s bridge can do it! This kit allows students to build the bridge themselves, and once they've learned the principle behind it, who knows what else they'll build!
Leonardo da Vinci invented this bridge between 1485 and 1487 for his patron Cesar Borgia. Cesar was looking for a light and strong bridge that his troops could deploy quickly – one that required no wood-working expertise or knowledge. Da Vinci’s bridge fit the bill perfectly. It had only 2 unique parts and was completely self-supporting.
Unlike this kit, da Vinci’s original design required no fasteners. Instead, the beams had notches cut in them to suppress lateral forces. For simplicity, this kit does not include notches but uses rubber bands as fasteners. Using rubber bands has the added benefit of allowing us to see how force is transferred in the bridge. The rubber bands stretch as weight is applied, showing how gravitational forces are trans-formed into lateral forces.
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