Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering Technology

Committee Chair

Craig Johnson

Second Committee Member

Roger Beardsley

Third Committee Member

Charles Pringle


How can college students demonstrate the cumulative knowledge and skills acquired during their time in the Mechanical Engineering and Technologies program at Central Washington University? Students were asked to complete a senior project to display their skills, in this case a Balsa Wood Bridge was selected to highlight the student's capabilities. The ability to design, manufacture and test the Balsa Wood Bridge draws from competency in Strength of Materials, and Statics, specifically, truss analysis. This along with experience in computer modelling programs such as Solidworks and MDsolids, and manufacturing experience in the CWU Woods lab led to the completion of the Balsa Wood Bridge. Some of the bridge building processes included visual inspection of the balsa wood, measuring, cutting, and sanding the balsa wood before fastening it together with wood glue. The resulting Balsa Wood Bridge meets several design requirements that were previously decided upon by the project white paper. The bridge can successfully support a load of 20kg while traversing a span of 400mm. The bridge also can articulate vertically 200mm with the use of a modified fishing reel where less than 5g of force is exerted. The total weight of the bridge is less than the limit of 85g, weighing only 79g. The design, manufacturing, and testing of the Balsa Wood Bridge senior project successfully highlights the students' abilities that were cultivated through the MET program at CWU.


2022 SOURCE Presentation: