2013 – 2014

Dear Bridge Diary


End of the year diary wrap up for steel bridge!

Well, another year is in the books and we couldn’t be happier with how it went from beginning to end. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to update you on what the team has been up to, but only because we had been so hard at work preparing for some great finishes at the regional and national competitions!

In, April we attended our regional competition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, where we sought to reclaim the first place title after dropping to third at last year’s competition. Both the bridge and the construction team gave a great performance, though we were penalized 150lb (translating to $3,000,000 on our finals score) because one of the bridge’s feet was sticking out past the decking support. However, even a hefty penalty was not enough to overcome a solid performance by the team and we still came away from the weekend as the great lakes regional champions!

From regionals on, the team single-mindedly focused on preparing for the fierce competition we would undoubtedly face at the national competition. Those of us who went to nationals last year in Seattle, still had a bitter taste in our mouths from the large penalty that took us from 4th place to 25th, and we were hungry to regain a prominent placement this year. Countless hours were spent at construction practice, in the shop, and at meetings in order to improve our weight, stiffness, and construction time before heading to the University of Akron for the big weekend. By the time we left for Ohio on May, 22, we felt we had a bridge that was certainly a top 10 contender. When the day of the competition finally came, both the bridge and the construction team, once again, gave an excellent performance that was enough to not only earn us 4th in display, 4th in lightness, and 3rd in efficiency, but a 5th place overall finish!

This is the best overall placement the team has had in quite some time and we could not be prouder of everyone who was involved with the team this year. We would like to thank everyone who was involved with the team this year for giving so much time and effort to make this great finish happen. We would also like to thank our very generous sponsors who donated to the team this year. Without all of you none of this could ever be possible. Now it’s time to get just a little rest before getting back at it and preparing for next year’s competition!


Lots of updates since last time. December was a month of planning for fabrication with many members doing various tasks to get ready for fab week. Some were busy building autoCAD drawings from our final design so that we could make 1 to 1 drawings for efficient fabrication. Still others were making connections in the Student Shop. We had many new faces in the shop to help in the weeks leading up to fabrication with some members putting in well over 100 hours in the student shop. At Endres Manufacturing we were paired with a new welder, Tom Dammen, who proved that even the most intricate plans could be made into a beautifully fabricated bridge and within time constraints. The professionals at Endres always do an amazing job year in and year out. After fabrication we took a few weeks off to prepare for spring but it wasn’t long before we were back at the grind to prepare ourselves for regionals. In early February we kicked things off with our main semester meeting. Well we tried to do this but due to cold weather and a dual co-chair lapse in who was ordering pizza there was low attendance. But through hard work and assurances that pizza would be served we came back the next week with very strong attendance and alas we were off to the new semester. The following two weeks we had 3 construction tryouts. These were essentially construction practices with anyone who was interested on being on construction team. We chose our C-team in mid-february and the team has been frivolously practicing the past few weeks. We still have to shore up our lateral bracings but we are very excited for the next 35 days leading up to regionals and the anticipation of competition with other great schools around the region. Look forward to more updates in the next few weeks.


Well hey there. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to get an update in because we’ve been hard at work with the design. But we are pleased to annouce the design has officially been finalized and the steel has been ordered! It’s been a long process but we are very proud of our final design and think that it should perform beautifly at the regional competition in April. But just because the design is finalized doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of work still to be done. The coming weeks the team will be keeping busy fabricating connections and creating shop drawings for bridge fabrication. Even though all this will be happening during the hectic last few weeks of the semester and during finals, we are extremely excited to move on to the next stage of the design and fabrication process. In just a little more than a month all of the hard work our team has put into making a great design will come to life after fabrication. Now is when the real fun begins!

P.S. the website is still a work in progress but we will tame it, yes tame it we shall.


The metaphorical wheels of steel bridge are moving. Things got off to a bang at our kickoff meeting as there were many new faces interested in being a part of Steel Bridge UW. Many veterans also returned and we will look for their guidance during this upcoming semester. Preliminary designs are underway and plans for social events at Vitense and the Union South Bowling alley are in the works. We have had our two balsa wood competion days with 4 teams of 5 people competing. The “Return of Ahraz’s Beard” took the prize being the lightest, fastest, and strongest balsa wood bridge but “Viscous and Delicious” as well as “Awesome Bridge” and “Team Gorkum” did a fine job as well. We are continuing to push ahead with more design work and our members are ready to put together a bridge worth being enshrined in the hallways of the mystical hallways of Engineering Hall.

(8/7/2013) – It has been a long but fruitful summer for those who have worked so hard the past year for Steel Bridge UW-Madison.   Many have gone on to greater things, pursuing the life that lies beyond the college life.  Others have moved on to the next step in their educational path looking to build on the foundations that were their undergraduate degrees.  We, as the next torchbearers, (although not yet equipped with the welding upgrade) want to wish all those who have contributed their time, energy, and talents towards the success of this team the best of luck as they move forward in the next stages of their lives.

With that said, many of us returning members are excited to begin a new legacy for this organization.   All of us still in the eternal glory heaven of Madison have been working hard re-registering the organization for the upcoming year, learning the ins-and-outs of the website, as well as finalizing the 2012-2013 University of Wisconsin-Madison Steel Bridge yearly video.  We are looking forward to the final video product as well as getting it out to our sponsors.

Checking every day, we are anxiously awaiting the release of the upcoming 2013-2014 NSSBC rules so we can get to work planning for an eventful and rewarding year.    With the upcoming year so close, we are excited to foster new relationships with faculty, staff, students, and friends while building on the great friendships we have already established.   We look forward to the start of a great year and continuing the legacy of the Steel Bridge team here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  -Until next time you old crumpled piece of papyrus.

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