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Design and build the perfect bridge

The main goal of this project is to design and build a prototype bridge.


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Gieljan Vantyghem teacher at Ghent University, Belgium


Link to movie:

Learning goals
Featuring active and experiential learning in a design-build-test environment
Develop a project from concept to completion.
Enhancing the students’ professional skills such as teamwork and communication
Explore the possibilities of 3D Printing applied to engineering
3D designing with SolidWorks & 3D printing
Creating the final draft with a 3D printer
Learning to face challenges and to solve problems using creativity and ingenuity

Time indication
1 semester

Type of education
University of Ghent
Country: Belgium
Level of education: Bachelor

Education toolbox
Which design program do you use?

Which other tools and equipment do you need?
3D printer and filament

Theme/ subject

Project description
The main goal of this project is to design and build a prototype bridge. There will be 10 teams of 5 students. The design of the bridge will be tested virtually and then printed on an Ultimaker 3D printer. The categories of this year’s competition structural efficiency and cost. The construction should resemble a real-life bridge with an accessible single lane deck. Due to manufacturing constraints, the construction will include multiple segments. Each one of these segments has to fit within a virtual cube sized 20x20x20 cm and is to be printed in PLA. No other materials can be used for the assembly of the different parts and no other reinforcements of the bridge are allowed. Finally, the bridge must be self-supporting and the use of any glued parts is prohibited.

Materials and methods

3D printer



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