2012 – 2013

Dear Bridge Diary

(7/13/2013) – Last post from the 2012-13 co-chairs here before we hand things over to the up and coming leaders of the team. We just want to give a HUGE shout-out to everyone who helped make this year as fun, exciting and memorable as it was. We had the greatest construction team in the land, a number of students with immense knowledge of steel bridge information helping out and a great support group making this year everything that it was. Although we did not finish as highly as we were hoping for, this year was not a failure by any means. We are taking strides in the right direction and are hungry to get back to the top. Until then, we will not be satisfied. Over and out, On Wisconsin!

(4/25/2013) – Time flies when you’re working on bridge. Last entry we were just under five weeks away from regionals, and now the competition has come and gone. We placed 3rd overall this year, with Purdue taking 1st and MSOE taking 2nd with two great bridges. Despite not winning regionals as we had hoped coming into the year, we are not discouraged by our finish at the GLC. We placed 1st in Structural Efficiency by nearly $600,000 and are very happy with where the bridge is at structurally. Now is the time to focus on making the construction run as fast as possible. We have come up with some initial ideas of how to cut our Construction Economy score and are looking forward to our first post-regional construction practice tonight. We believe that if we put the time and effort necessary into the next five weeks we can leave Seattle with a place we’re proud of. It is encouraging to see how many people have taken a genuine interest in bridge this year and how willing everyone is to make our product as good as possible. So now the focus is to cut weight and speed up our run. And plan that whole trip thing to Seattle which is a bit of a challenge at the moment, but nothing we cannot handle. We’re all hungry to get back at it, and we believe it will show come June 1st. We’ll be sure to check back in between now and then. On Wisconsin.

(3/17/2013) – Happy St. Patricks Day from the bridge team! We’re celebrating by practicing construction runs once again. Progress is being made and our time is being reduced. Less than five weeks away now, starting to feel the crunch.

(3/3/2013) – Construction practice currently underway! We’re just about done with the “tryouts” for the official construction team for the 2013 competition. Many enthusiastic steel bridge team members have been showing up over the past few weeks and we know we’ll have some quality builders and runners constructing the team once again this year. We continue to work on the bridge over the weekends in anticipation of the Regional competition in Angola. Things are looking good after a successful load test as we are now less than 7 weeks away from bringing our bridge to Trine University.

(1/30/2013) – Hopefully this is our last day in the COE Student Shop finishing up our connections. So far we’ve had great success making complicated connections which we believe will be very beneficial in the long run. This weekend we’ll be in the Structures Lab putting the connections on for the crossbracing and hopefully having a finished product to showcase in the near future. Construction runs are right around the corner!

(1/22/2013) – Back again with many updates to speak of. First and most importantly, the bridge is all fabricated! (Well, mostly fabricated..) We had a successful week at Endres with a new welder named Jeff who did a great job for us. It took us a few extra hours on Saturday, but after we printed off 1:1 scale drawings of each piece the process really sped up for us. There were many new and old faces helping out throughout the week which was really encouraging, we hope to keep up that participation over the next few months before the competition. With more connections to be made in the student shop and a bit of welding here and there, the bridge will be complete and ready for our first load test of the year. Construction practice will have to take a backseat until then and we hope to have the whole thing ready to go in about 2 weeks or so.

(12/16/2012) – It’s been awhile since we’ve last posted here, but don’t believe that little has happened between now and then. We’ve been busy at work to finalize our design, especially over the past week. But alas, we have a final design and have officially ordered our steel from Endres! Between now and fabrication week (January 14-18th) we are going to be scrambling to make our awesome new connections and have all the shop drawings ready. It’s going to be a busy finals/holiday season for the bridge team! We’re lucky to have such dedication from the new members who are eager to work in the student shop and have been participating at all of our meetings and socials. Next semester is going to be a great one for the UW-Madison Steel Bridge Team! Over and out.

(10/25/2012) – Today we are headed out to tour Endres Manufacturing as a team. Us co-chairs believe this will be pretty beneficial since over half of our regular meeting attendees are new members who have never participated in fabrication week. Also on the schedule is SAP-a-PALOOZA where we’ll be having a large optimization meeting over the weekend for all members to attend. Big things are happening in our design and we’re excited to start making some connections here soon in the future! Check back in for more updates soon!

(10/11/2012) – Despite being “behind schedule” according to many sources, we are happy to report that our sponsor letters are on the way out the door (look for them!). The past two months have been incredibly busy with administrative work, but we are now looking forward to digging much deeper into our initial designs. We now have many different SAP2000 templates established and are looking forward to exploring all of our options given our design constraints. We will be hosting a “connections” meeting next week trying to familarize our newer members with the restraints that have been added to the competition this year. Two weeks from today we’ll all head out to Endres Manufacturing to tour the fabrication shop for the first time this year before fab week. Looking forward to the challenge over the next few months! On Wisconsin!

(10/01/2012) – Live updating from our first design meeting of the year. Tonight we’ll be starting everyone out with a basic SAP2000 design to familiarize (or re-familiarize) them with the inner workings of SAP. This will be important to help us out as our design becomes more complicated and iterative in the next couple months. In the meantime we’ll be training to become computer design professionals. Lookout world, here we come!

(9/15/2012) – Busy morning here in ECB. A few of us are working on design optimization, administrative tasks and various other small jobs to keep the Steel Bridge train a-rollin’. The last couple weeks have been full of optimism as new members have checked us out at the Engineering Bash as well as at our Kick-Off meeting last Monday. Coming up soon we’ll be constructing balsa wood bridges and continue to search for the perfect bridge to fit within this year’s competition constraints.

(8/25/2012) – The rules have been out for about a week now and we’re already getting started on some preliminary design. As expected there were some changes implemented by the NSSBC Rules Committee, but not in the way we thought. The template for the bridge is essentially the same as last year but the real kicker is that they eliminated dovetails and tee connections altogether. And once again we believe the judges made a rule change because of us: no nuts or bolts are allowed in the builder’s mouth this year. It seems as if we’ll have to come up with something creative to get past these obstacles. Until then, time to launch into some SAP2000 work!

(8/11/2012) – It’s just about that time of year again when the NSSBC Rules Comittee releases the new rules. We’ve been patiently waiting to see what the 2012-13 season has in store for us, and we think big changes are coming. In the meantime we’ve been making changes to the website and getting things sorted out for a busy school year ahead and trying to plan out another successful run at the elusive NSSBC championship.

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