You are on page 1of 14

Elizabeth Hosmer

Elizabeth Park, Osric Nagle, Nicholas

Project 2.1.9 Truss Design
POE Block 3
December 8, 2015

Problem Statement

Our group was assigned to research, design, create,

and test a roof truss. Our objectives in this activity were to
build a highly efficient truss capable of withstanding a heavy
load, and to learn about trusses in the process.
In order to fit the testing apparatus, our truss needed to
have a span of at least 6

4 8


inches, and to be no more than

inches tall. Additionally, we were given 36 inches of

balsa wood to construct our truss from, with every extra inch
of wood costing a point on this assignment. Gussets would
be allowed but had to be cut from ordinary printer paper.

Test Truss

Our truss supported a maximum load of 40 pounds

before breaking on member BD, near joint D (names
according to the MD solids model). It additionally snapped on
member AB near both joints A and B.
Our truss weighed .2 ounces, so it had an efficiency of
320,000%. We attributed the first break to the fact that the
end of member BD had been splintered and weakened when
we were cutting it. Member AB soon followed suit as member
ED was no longer supporting any weight and was allowing
the truss to be bent out of shape. AB also snapped near its

Since the splintering that occurred when we

constructed the truss had weakened the affected members
so much, we made sure to use a sharper and more precise
cutter on the final truss. When we designed our test truss
the perpendicular members didnt form 90 degree angles as
we didnt measure the pieces carefully, so on the final truss
we took multiple measurements to be sure. Finally, the
difficulty in constructing such a seemingly simple truss
convinced me to create a very basic version of one of the
various truss designs I researched.
The SSA graph did not work for our truss.

Research Results
I researched common determinate roof truss designs for
an idea of what I could use for my project. Both of the
websites I used had a Howe truss design, I used shape of
the simpler of the two for my design idea.



I decided to use a basic Howe Truss for my idea. I

checked to make sure my design was determinate, and
dimensioned the trusss span and height so that it would
meet the requirements. The rest of the dimensions were
chosen for simplicity so that construction would not be too
difficult. The total length of all the members was 33.1 inches.

According to the MD solids model, no member of the

truss would undergo more than 64.34 lbs of pressure if 100
lbs of pressure were applied at the top of the truss.
Interestingly, only the outermost members appear to take
pressure, though this model does not completely accurately
reflect real-world conditions. It did however allow me to
predict that the truss, assuming it would be constructed
reasonably well, would not fail at any of the inner members,

and from previous experience that the failure would be at or

near a joint of load-bearing members, so either at joint A or
joint H.

Design Process
Elizabeth, Osric and I all used the basic Howe Truss
design, though our dimensions varied. Nicholas used a more
elaborate design, but of the four designs Elizabeths and

mine were the only ones that fit the length requirements. We
scored the four designs using the criteria of length,
maximum stress that any member would have to bear, size,
number of members, and simplicity.















Official Test
The truss was able to withstand a maximum force of 70
pounds and a maximum deflection of ___ before it broke at
one of the outermost joints, H. Since it weighed .01794
pounds, it had an efficiency of 3901.9%

Everyone brainstormed and shared their own truss
designs with the group, discussed which truss design we
wanted to use, and worked together to quickly construct and
test the truss.
Elizabeths design was also a Howe truss, however she
was having difficulties getting it into MD solids so in order to
not fall behind we used mine. For the final truss design she
was in charge of cutting out and gluing the paper gussets.

Osric also had a similar design, but his exceeded the

maximum length of balsa wood. Before we started
constructing our truss he borrowed a box of balsa wood
cutters from another teacher so we wouldnt have issues
with splintering wood. His job was to cut all the members
from the wood, and to trim the diagonals so they would fit.
He also manned the computer for the SSA graph.
Nicholas was the only one to design something other
than a Howe truss, but his design used nearly twice the
amount of Balsa wood allotted. He provided an extra set of
hands wherever was needed during the construction of the
My design was the one used as the final truss design. I
measured out and marked the lengths of the members
before Osric cut them, and I glued them together afterwards
to form the truss.

1. The initial failure occurred right above one of the
supports, and when we checked part of the member
above the other support it had been compressed,
though not compromised. The combination of the
pressure pushing down to the right of the beam and the
support pushing up on it broke the beam, though
according to MD solids that member was not
undergoing the most stress. That same member was
also broken a little closer to the center after the initial
break since the truss was still being pushed down and
the break allowed the support to push the end of the
member completely out of position.

2. Considering where the truss broke, I might reinforce

that section and its equivalent on the other support
with our surplus balsa wood so it that wont compress
and break so easily.

Related Interests