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Musical Bridge

ENGS 33: Solid Mechanics

November 2016

Objectives: Design and build a scaled model of a structural bridge with musical elements playable by pedestrians. 


  • Shopbot machining

  • Structural Analysis

  • Scaled model design

4 weeks

5 Team members

Our Final Design: Trussed bridge traversed by rolling "rain-stick" capsule. Pedestrian enters capsule and walks forward, rolling wheel. The rolling causes steel bearings to ding off nails hammered radially through a hollow outer layer. Traversing the capsule is like being inside a rolling rain-stick.


I used a CNC Shopbot Table to mill plywood stock to snap fit tolerance trusses. The musical capsule contains steel ball bearings that ping of metal pins as the wheel turns.

Concept for in situ placement. As a pedestrian walks, the wheel spins, and the bearings ding off the nails in the outer layer. It is like walking through a rolling rain-stick.

The Challenge.

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