Popsicle Stick Bridge Guidelines
Popsicle Stick Bridge Rules
Bridge designs that conforms to the specifications below will be
accepted for stress load testing:
- The rules on length, width, number of Popsicle sticks, and type of
glue only apply if the bridge will be load tested.
- Only wooden Popsicle Sticks (4 1/2" x 3/8" x 1/16") and
water-based glue such as Elmers (white or yellow) may be used to make your bridge.
You can cut and shape them any way you want, but only Popsicle sticks and
"Elmers" glue may be used.
- The bridge must be at least 20" long and have an overall width of
at least 3 ½". A Pinewood Derby car must be able to roll from one end to the
other. In other words, your bridge must actually be a bridge!
- You may use no more than 125 Popsicle Sticks.
- You will register your bridge at the start of the Pack Meeting.
You will state at registration how many Popsicle sticks you used in constructing
your bridge and the type of glue used to join them. You will also state which award
category/class you are competing in on the registration form.
- Bridges conforming to the rules can be submitted for load testing.
Only one bridge for load testing will be permitted for each boy.
- Please remember that load testing may result in the destruction of the
bridge! We wont know what the maximum load your bridge can hold until it
- Bridges not conforming to the rules may be submitted for judging in
design and decoration categories.
- Decoration and painting are allowed, but the judges will decide
if any additions (other than those made from Popsicle sticks) result in an unfair
advantage to a bridge entered for load testing. However, if you dont want it
load tested, anything goes!
- Be creative and have fun!
x 4½" x 1½". The test load will be applied directly to
the test load block, not the bridge itself. Several configurations for applying the test
load to the test load block will be available in order to accommodate as many bridge
design variations as practical. The judges will be the sole arbiters as to the
equivalency of any one configuration for applying the test load to the test load block
relative to other configurations.
The bridge will be placed on a load testing apparatus capable of
supporting any bridge conforming to the specifications. In addition the load testing
apparatus will be capable of supporting and applying the test load to the test load block
within the limitations noted in Rules 6 and 7.
A bridge will be considered to have "failed" under the test
load if any of the following conditions occur:
- The bridge must be constructed only of wooden Popsicle sticks (4½" x 3/8" x
1/16") and water-soluble glue such as Elmers (white or yellow). No Epoxy or
resin based glue may be used.
- No more than 125 Popsicle sticks may be used in the overall construction of the bridge.
An actual count of the Popsicle sticks used will be required at registration.
- The Popsicle sticks may be cut and/or shaped in any way, but only water-soluble glue may
be used to join them. No nails, screws or fasteners of any kind made from any
material, wood included, may be used unless they are fashioned by the designer/builder
from his 125 Popsicle sticks.
- The bridge must span a minimum of 18 inches of clear space. For practical
purposes, no bridge design that is less than 20 inches in overall length will be accepted
for load testing.
- The "road bed" must be a minimum of 3 and ½ inches wide, and be capable of
passing a standard dimension Pinewood Derby car from one end to the other, rolling across
the road bed surface.
- The bridge must accept the "test load block" (described below) in the center
of the span on the "road bed" surface. Additionally, the test load block
when positioned in the center of the span on the "road bed" surface must be able
to receive the test load from the testing apparatus (see below). If this is not possible
for reasons related to the design of the bridge (i.e.: covered bridge) the test load block
may be placed on top of any trusses, beams, supports or roof structures obstructing the
road surface from application of the test load. This may result in a disadvantage to
such obstructed designs when subjected to load testing.
- The test load block will be
Load testing will consist of the application of increasing weight loads
via the load testing apparatus and the test load block until a failure under Rule 9
All bridges must be registered at the start of the Pack Meeting.
Registration forms will include the total number of sticks used, name and Den
number of the entrant and the awards category. Each entrant may submit only one
bridge for load testing.
Bridges that do not conform to the specifications may not be submitted
for load testing, but may be eligible for other awards. Entrants may submit more
than one bridge for judging in non-loaded bridge categories.
Award classes for load-tested bridges will be split according to the
level of parental involvement and assistance in the design and construction the bridge:
- Any bridge member breaks, fractures, cracks or separates from any
attachment or joint, resulting in the collapse of the bridge (ie: the bridge breaks and
- The road surface deforms downward sufficiently to allow the test load
suspended below the bridge to touch the floor.
- The bridge tips, bends, falls, or otherwise fails to remain on the load
testing apparatus when solely under the stress of the test load.
Awards will be made in each load-tested class under the following
- Class 1: Design and construction is only the boys effort.
Only minimal parental assistance permitted.
- Class 2: Parental assistance of a substantive nature in the design of the
bridge. Minimal parental assistance with construction.
- Class 3: Substantive parental assistance in both the design and
- Class 4: No trophies. Designed and built by an adult who just had
to make one.
Bridges that do not conform to the specifications for load testing
(dimensions, number of Popsicle sticks used, use of other materials, etc.) will be judged
in the following categories:
- Highest load supported before failure.
- Most elegant / creative / Best execution of design.
- Best paint job / finish.
- Best decorations.
The following additional awards may be given by the judges:
- Most elegant / creative / best execution of design.
- Best paint job / finish
- Best decorations.
Painting is permitted. Other decorations not made solely from
Popsicle sticks are permitted only if in the opinion of the judges they do not lend
structural support or strength.
All rulings by the judges will be final. Appeals of judges'
rulings will be entertained at the sole discretion of the judges.
- Weirdest or most unusual design.
- Most creative bending of the rules that does not result in
- Most spectacular bridge failure.