STEM and Pasta Building

Can Pasta be used to stir interest in STEM?

I could ask another question here as to what do culinary chefs have in common with the art world?   Well have you seen any of those masterpieces in the forms of Wedding Cakes and other sugar molded and shaped designs?  I can only marvel at those artistic creations because my wife refuses to let me into her kitchen to do any experimentation.  Can you build a bridge out of pasta and make it support a test weight of one or perhaps even five pounds?  I don’t know for sure but I’m going to find out.  I am not a chef or an engineer but for those of you that might be interested in this pasta material to use in your classrooms let me show you what has been accomplished to date.   This first picture is the plan that I made with SolidWorks 2007 which most of you are using as a student version at this time.  The old construction maxim now takes hold with “plan your work and then work your plan.”  Down below here is what I am going to build with Fettuccini Pasta.

          This temporary table allows a nice work area but I also needed something to build the bridge on so I can carry it around.  At this point I do not know if this will come out as a piece of art or an embarrassing defeat of my building prowess.  We shall see.   Oh yes, for anyone attempting to do this, keep your mental health insurance paid up.

          I have all the measurements written down but I also like the pictures to help inspire me to “go where no man has gone before.”  Actually, many people have used pastas for these types of models but very little was found on the internet to help guide me as to how to build with this material so I am finding my own way here  and passing what I learn both good and bad on to you the professional teachers.   Down below is just another look at my building area here.

       In one other activity in my life with helping teachers and our educational system to work in educating our youngsters, I sit on a curriculum advisory committee for the fifth largest school district in the USA.  We have or will soon have six new Technical Career Academies here in Las Vegas, Nevada.  As expected our youngsters are flocking to gain student status in these academies.  They must meet stringent requirements and those that can meet those guidelines, will then have their student applicant numbers put into a lottery system and picked out using a double blind control system for fairness.  No one on the selection committee ever knows the students that they are approving for acceptance to these Technical Academies.  There is a huge expenditure being done here for the addition of 78 more schools and  also the refurbishing of many others.  We are planning to give our kids the best shot at the best education that is possible.  A bond issue and tax increase will help to prove our dedication to this goal.

         Down below here is a closer look at the assembly table with a more detailed look at the I beams in the foreground that will be used for structural support of the bridge components.   Faster progress will be made now because I believe I have found the right methods and procedures to use to complete this project.


If the completion of this bridge can be done to my satisfaction I am going to ask that our kids at the newest Technical Career Academy, in Las Vegas do the testing of it. ( This will be done under the auspices of the people from the Guinnes Book of World Records, if I can get them interested in witnessing it.  I am hopful that it will withstand a five pound static test weight stress, like a bag of sugar.  There are  no physical characteristics given in COSMOSWorks  for this material type, so a physical prototype test is the only way to test this design.  Well, I will keep everyone posted on this as work progresses and if it works it will be a lot less expensive to do those engineering type bridge building projects.  Of course it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as this one either.  Here’s hoping that I can add to the possibilities of teaching STEM subjects with a pasta twist.  Enjoy.





So all preparations are done now with a very level and solid base to build it upon and onward I go.  Next screen shot shows my setup with doing this project.  The final length will be over two feet so you need some nice long straight edge rulers to help you stay on the straight and narrow while gluing things together.  Flat aluminum stock is available at Lowe’s  and Home Depot.

Corporal Willy

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