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DaVinci Self Supporting Bridge

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

As an Art and Engineering student, I could only be drawn to DaVinci's work as a Master of Art, Medicine and Engineering (amongst others). So naturally when I started into the 1830's stone farm house restoration I wanted to honor his work and our shared arts and mechanics with a practical demonstration. While I was working on rain / storm water control and a dry bed creek I had the idea of continuing it to a depth and size that would lead to a larger pond (eventually) and with the ideal excavating machine on hand (originally for planting trees). I roughed in the trench that would be shaped into the dry bed creek. As a patio and walkway concept was also developing there came a need to cross the dry creek with a bridge - a DaVinci self supporting bridge!

The model shows how simple beam structures can be lifted into place to form an interlocking arch and then when lowered with precision they become self supporting - as long as the stops, pegs and blocks all hold! Doing a little internet research, few other DaVinci bridges have been build for practical use (and recorded)

This example was found of a 4 section construction - the tread boards and hand rails have been added in a decent and practical way, but I hope to be able to produce them in a way that is more organic and flowing - also allowing for the interlocking modules to be easily discerend as a design novelty.

Here we can see the extended dig for the dry creek bed. The middle of this section would be a good central place for a path to cross with a "single-file" sized bridge. As dirt can be dirt I need to devise the right footings to ensure nothing sinks or slips for a 3 segment DaVinci Bridge. I prefer 3 segments over 4 as it will be more appropriate for the short span and present a simple low arch which will be conducive to a simple stepped treadle board design for the walking surface. I also wish to use cedar for the main beams and build with them in such a way that handrails are simply an extension of the modular sections. When perfected and proven, this design could be a simple kit to sell and install - who's interested?

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