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Project 2.1.

Truss Design
Nick Maughan
Beth Hosmer
Osric Nagle
Elizabeth Park
POE - 3rd Block
Date - 12/9/2015
Problem Statement
The goal of this project is to design a truss based on
tests and research that performs better than test trusses.
Our truss must be built solely from balsa wood, glue,
and paper and the paper gussets must not be larger than
the gussets used during testing.

The span must be greater than or equal to 6 inches

and the height must be less than or equal to 4 inches.
We are not allowed to use more than 36 inches of balsa

Test Truss
When we tried our test truss it broke in 3 different places, once left of
B, once left of D, and once on A. The truss broke at A because it was near
a joint which was under a lot of strain. The truss broke at D because of
inaccurate cutting which led to the inability to support the force. The breaks
at A and B were caused by the original break, which caused the force to be
redistributed. The maximum weight our test truss supported was 40
pounds. The efficiency was 320,000%.
Efficiency = (Max Force/weight) * 100 = (640 oz / .2 oz)*100 =
The test truss helped us by showing how human errors (such as
wood cutting) can affect the maximum load the truss can hold. We learned
to be more precise and systematic when constructing our truss.
We had no SSA graph because the program did not create a graph.

Research Results
First I visited a site called Carpentry Pro Framer that showed me the different
types of trusses and the different parts roof trusses. Some of these parts included the
parts in the first image below. I also learned about prefabricated trusses and some of
the various advantages to them. On this website, I also learned about the different
ceiling configurations that modern trusses can support. Some of these include
cathedral, vaulted, and inverted.
During my research, I also visited Barrette Structural.com. Here I learned about
many different types of roof trusses, such as Gambrel, Attic, Cambered, and Flat.

"Types of Prefab Roof Trusses." Types of Prefab Roof Trusses. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

"Roof Trusses Solid Value for a Durable Roof." Barrette. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Design Idea

The total length required is 67 inches.

Decision Process
Elizabeth, Beth, and Osric all submitted various iterations of the Howe truss. My truss
was a version of the Gambrel truss. Osric and I both had trusses that failed the amount
of wood criteria (as shown below). All of our trusses were fairly simple, with Elizabeth
and I having trusses that were more complicated because of the angles involved in
My truss was fairly complex and the did not support much weight. Elizabeths
truss was very complicated and large, making it very hard to build. Beths truss passed
all the criteria but was not the simplest truss. Osrics truss failed some of the criteria but
was very simple to build.
The most important criteria to us was the simplicity and passing the basic criteria
such as the amount of wood. We knew we were somewhat constrained on time and
wanted to make sure we could construct our truss by the deadline while meeting basic
requirements. In the end, we decided on Beths truss since it was simple and met all the
criteria. (it also received the highest score on the decision matrix)

Amt. Of



# of













Final Sketch

Official Test
In the official test, our truss easily reached 30-40 pounds without much visible
damage. However, after about 40-50 pounds, our truss started bending more and
more (mainly at the left and on the top) until it eventually broke on the left most
The maximum force held by our truss before the break on the left most
joint was 70 pounds. The main deflection was at the left joint, which started to
bend progressively more as the force on the truss increased. The top joint of the
truss also began to bend as the force increased.
The efficiency of our truss was 390,189.52%
Efficiency = (Max Force Load/Weight) * 100 70lbs/.01794 lbs = 3901.8952 lbs =
This efficiency was higher than our test truss, indicating that we had a
better truss design this time and also were more meticulous about constructing
our truss.

Osric Nagle - Osrics job when we made our group norms was to cut the
balsa wood we needed. Osric cut each piece of balsa wood we used to
construct the truss. Osric fulfilled his job according the to group norms.
Beth Hosmer- Beth measured the balsa wood we needed to cut and also
handled the hot glue gun. Her job in the group norms was gluer. She
fulfilled her job according to the group norms as well.
Elizabeth Park- Elizabeths job was to construct the paper gussets we used
on our truss. Elizabeth made plenty gussets and fulfilled her job according
to the group norms.
Nick Maughan- My job was to handle MD Solids. I also helped refine our
truss by taking off excess glue on the truss. I think that I fulfilled my job.

Explain why you think failure occurred at the truss member where it did. Did your
truss fail at the member that your calculations revealed as undergoing the most
stress? If not, why not?
The break on the left most joint probably occurred because the support
nearest the break was mismeasured and cut poorly. This couldve caused more
force to be put on the joint and cause a break. Our truss did not break at the
member calculated as undergoing the most stress. This was probably due to the
poor measuring and cutting the support near this joint.
If given a chance to redesign your truss after testing, what changes would you
Under the same criteria, I would be more meticulous and cautious when
measuring and cutting the balsa wood used in constructing the truss. I would also
be more proactive in measuring the angles the various members are supposed to
be at. Another improvement we could make is reducing the size of the gussets
we had.

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