GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE MODEL REPLICA
Side by side comparison with the real bridge.
An image of the full second iteration of the bridge standing on custom-made wall mounts.
Designing the bridge towers.
The Golden Gate Bridge Model Replica is a personal project consisting of 3D printed parts that I designed after researching for sketches and technical drawings of the real bridge in San Francisco, California. I designed the bridge to be a 1/1300 scale replica, going as far as to imitate the subtle upwards curvature of the real bridge. It spans about 6 feet in length and consists of almost 80 individual parts that interlock and can be easily disassembled. The bridge's cables carry tension much like a real suspension bridge, imitating the structural properties of the real Golden Gate Bridge.
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I began this project my first semester at UT Austin when I first learned of the free 3D printing that the Cockrell School of Engineering had for engineering students. I was a Civil Engineering major my first semester and immediately began thinking of something I could print related to my major. The Golden Gate Bridge, came to mind and I began searching for CAD files of the bridge on Thingiverse, a website with 3D printable models, that I could print on the school's 3D printers. I found nothing that looked like what I wanted so I decided I would design and print my own.
The first thing I did was research any sketches and technical drawings I could find to get the proper dimensions of the real bridge that I could use to model the replica. I began by modeling the bridge towers and then moving on the road, trusses, and cables. I designed everything keeping in mind that all the pieces would have to interlock and designed them in such a way that would be most efficient when 3D printing, all while keeping the model as close as I could to the real bridge.
When I finished, I had spent a total of over 100 hours researching, designing, and printing. The bridge consisted of about 65 individual 3D printed parts that interlocked and spanned about five feet in length. I ended up gluing the ends of the cables so that they could carry tension, however, they made the bridge hard to move around since I could no longer disassemble it to transport it. Nevertheless, the bridge was the best I could accomplish with the printers and tools at my disposal so I was very proud of it.
My first semester of my junior year Cockrell got new, better 3D printers that were available to their students so I immediately decided to create a second iteration of my bridge. I spent almost 100 more hours improving on the design of all the parts with the goal of improving the new bridge. This second iteration of the bridge consists of almost 80 parts and is about 6 feet long from end to end. I designed the second iteration of the bridge to have cables that interlock to avoid having to glue anything together. This means that you can assemble and disassemble the bridge as many times as you want, like a Lego set, which allows me transport the entire bridge as a small and manageable bundle of parts.