Building a garden shed on a slope

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An enthusiastic team of Dublin High School Engineering Academy and Robotics Club students rallied over the long weekend, led by Dublin High teacher Eugene Chou, to build a suspension bridge using only duct tape.
Designing and building the duct tape suspension bridge brought Engineering Academy classroom theory to life as the Dublin High students had to agree on design criteria and constraints (such as making the bridge entirely out of duct tape, building a bridge capable of holding hundreds of pounds, and making the bridge safe – just a few feet off the ground), brainstorm on bridge design options, use a decision matrix to rank possible design attributes, and design a bridge that could be built over a long weekend. Creating the bridge wasn’t just fun, but also reinforced the value of planning, making design choices, and dealing creatively with the inevitable real-world challenges faced during construction.
Duck Brand’s annual Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest awards $5,000 scholarships to students wearing the most creative prom outfits made from Duck Tape.
Thank you Eugene and James for all the time and energy you volunteered to make this bridge become a reality!
Great job to the whole team and the way it got designed & build looks more like professional people working together to build something… Good team work and keep it up. If I were going to buy a street legal kart (which pains me to say, because I'd just make mine street legal) I would want a dune buggy with lights, indicators, and general street legal-ness. I looked into the F1 suspension some more and i think i will take your advise and not use it. The front suspension on my kart actually is more comfortable than many cars that I've driven so I would definitely suggest going this route. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to come up with a design to move the V6 donk from the front to the rear.
I would say if we collectively put our heads together not only would it create a fresh site interest but would keep you guessing who comes up with what next and we just might come up with something great. If it is good enough, some bent Saarf Africaanni or a slightly looney OZ merchant just might build it ..
911 Transaxle, scratch built independent rear end (probably using rear uprights from GT40 rep manufacture, or a vette). Alfetta GT rear beaver panel with exhaust cutout removed, area between tail lights replaced with Mesh and exhaust pipes, Ala F40. The Giocattolo is certainly in the ballpark but its not a GTV and ultimately runs a Holden V8.
In terms of the front end, there are so many advantages to a tube framed fron end with either the vette or roundy round parts. We'll deal with the steering later, but in short - you keep the front of the GTV6 setup pretty much the same (maybe get rid of the torsion-bars, reinforce the towers like we did on the 3.7s and run pure coil-overs up there), ditch the 12 valve, DeDion and 116 RWD setup completely and now run the transverse sub-frame and FWD engine AND the transverse FWD transaxle now sitting AHEAD of the rear axles - creating essentially a mid-engined GTV6! Think fire-wall right behind the front seats and the engine and gearbox about where the rear seats and the trunk used to be. The engine-bay gets closed of on the bottom, the spare (and likely the battery) gets moved over there and a nice luggage-area developed with what is left! Your car will probably weigh less than the original Mustang so the stock 9.25 inch disc brakes would be fine.
I needed the bridge to more directly connect the meadow below my house with my picnic grounds  - which were on the other side of the sometimes-arm-of -the-pond, sometimes-nearly-impassable-ravine. First step in any bridge project is to measure the approximate span for the bridge - both ends of which should be at approximately the same elevation - and then decide what exactly you want to be able to cross the bridge. Taking all that into account, the suspended weight of the bridge is about 4000 lbs, almost all of which is the weight of the dimensional lumber used in constructing the deck.
I laminated 6 posts, cut 1 post in half for the top beams and 1 post in quarters for the anchors. Drilling steel was a cakewalk compared to getting truly vertical holes through the full width of the posts and anchors.
I chose a fixed connection for the cables rather that a saddle as is customary in suspension bridge because I was concerned that during installation of the bridge the unbalanced loads on the towers would be too great for the minimal bury I used.
The towers were erected with the assistance of my compact tractor as well as two human assistants.
The 37 joists on a 2 ft spacing are 2x8x8 treated lumber (all the wood in the bridge is treated lumber), while the handrail assembly consists of a 2x4x4 upright with an 2x4 angled brace to the end of the joist. The aircraft cable suspenders and the plated chain were cut to length with a friction cut-off saw. At the assembly area (more on that later), the sections were dropped onto rollers and then bolted together with 2x8 plates at each joint. Once the sections were assembled, the catenary cable was affixed to the suspenders at the marked location.
I built 4 ft slings which were attached to the east end of the catenary cables for pulling the bridge up to height.
One the catenary cable and slings were installed and all bolts tightened down, the bridge was pushed into the pond (I used round treated fence posts as rollers) using my compact tractor. In the background you can see the anchor and anchor cable going from the top of the bridge to the ground. One of the most difficult aspects of building a suspension bridge is hanging the first pieces of deck from the catenary cable. As it was, we levered up the west end of the bridge sufficiently to attach the catenary cables to the eye bolts in the top of the tower, then, again using my compact tractor, I pulled the east end up far enough to attach the 12 ft come alongs to the slings and we began to winch away, slowing raising the bridge.
The handrail system is an integral part of a suspension bridge - the two handrails form the trusses that provide most of the rigidity to the bridge. To make the handrails into trusses, we placed cut-to-length 2x4s from the top of one handrail support to the bottom of the next, working our way from both ends to the middle. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. I will do my best to update this post all along with pictures of the progress and parts used.
We are working on a new product for this build because the rear section of the frame was cut off to make room for the long travel coilover shocks. I thought I would give an update on the build.  We are currently installing the 4 link kit pictured in the above 3D rendering.


One of the goals with this Jeep YJ build was to keep the 16 inch KING Coilover Shocks covered. The upper coilover shock mounts will be located at the bottom side of the new inner fender tops in the rear. The voluntary project, part of Dublin High School’s National Engineers Week 2012 celebration, was made possible thanks to a generous donation of Duck Brand duct tape from the ShurTech Brands company. The bridge was strengthened by the double-braided design of the cables (a time-consuming option that paid off in the end).
You are both great examples to our youth, we value your time and talent and appreciate you more than we can express!
If you are planning on driving this daily, then you may consider placing your coil-overs directly onto the arms.
Though I have the turning radius of a house fly, my feet are in the suspension box, which is not extremely comfortable.
As good as the car is, it would have been more gratifying to see it all Alfa in my opinion. If you're going to go to the effort of making a mid engined GTV6, you might as well fix the front end geometry. No bandaids, and removing the front torsion bars and chassis rails and torsion bar crossmember from the monocoque will let you get the thing lower and get a better flat bottom. For better balance, I don't know why they didn't choose to use an insanely boosted 4 banger? Dump the DeDion, 116 transaxle and everything back there and build that sub-frame assembly in back there.
The only way to make the struts work on the rear is make the thing really stiff in roll, and thats a bit counter productive. If you are building a high performance car and want additional braking power there are many options available to increase the size of the stock brakes. For my purposes, t is an input, along with the weight per linear foot of bridge (actually, half the linear weight as there are 2 cables) and the sag is what I aim for. Because the only way to keep the tension as low as possible, reducing the strength requirements of all connectors, is to have as much sag as possible, not exceeding approximately a 6 to 1 ratio of span to max sag. The anchors are designed for 3.5 ft of bury with spikes on all sides, and embedded in as much concreted as is feasible - I aimed for 1500 lbs of concrete approximately 3 ft in diameter with at least 18 in of compacted dirt on top. The towers had similar steel plates on both sides tying the beams to the posts and allowing for and eye bolt and eye nut for catenary and anchor cable connection. With the anchor cables installed, I had no worries the towers would fall into the pond during installation! The west side tower has a tree interfering with the approach and was very difficult to raise.
The eyebolt assembly is designed so that the catenary cable and suspenders will fall just outside the handrail.
One end of the suspender must be adjustable to permit as built corrections to tension, and thereby the shape of the bridge. The swaged connection on the left will attach to the catenary cable with a clip, while the other pieces form the lower connection to the joist.
74 pieces of chain, all the same length (16 links) and 74 lengths of cables, 4 of each length except only 2 for the middle suspender, (2 catenary cables, each of which with identical dimensions each way from the middle). Assembly consisted of two 2x8x16 plates screwed into each joist with three 3 in deck screws, having first marked vertical on each plate at a 2 ft spacing. The two end sections were designed to hinge, while the other connections were as rigid as possible. Had I not been able to assemble the bridge substructure ahead of time and float the assembly to the site, I would have had to use another process to actually raise the bridge. The bridge is all but unusable without adequate trusses - witness the failure of the Tacoma Narrows bridge, due entirely to insufficient stiffness. Oddly enough one of the first builds I am putting together as I start a new company is a built Jeep YJ. The parts turned out very well and we are excited about being able to offer the Jeep YJ 4 LInk Kit to the public very soon.  This 4 link mounting system will greatly reduce the time needed in the shop to fabricate and install a custom linked suspension. This Jeep YJ needed a custom aluminum fuel cell to fit behind the seat and above the floor.
We took the extra time to mount them this way to make it safer for someone riding in the back seat. With the exception on a couple small projects most of the fabrication is complete at this point.
On one hand you have the excitement of presenting the build to the owner and sharing in their excitement.
Dublin High students returning to class Tuesday morning are in for a surprise as they find the distinct silver of Duck Tape transformed into a suspension bridge spanning two towering trees in the center of campus.
Chou successfully cross the bridge on the first trial and to watch the excitement in the team of students. Also note that only a few holes were drilled and they were very small relative to the size of the trees. You could build the exact same suspension box that I did (maybe locate the shocks a bit farther out on the a arms) and, with appropriate supports, just weld it to the front of your kart's sub frame. Are you the creative type who would just love do something inspired and radical with a 116 GTV? Here's your chance to form a design team with this global forum to do something slightly insane. Frankly, it could be chain drive,prop drive or rubber belts (DAF) for all that it matters as long as the KEY components were Alfa. If you *have to* use the 164 subframe as a starting point, at least convert the strut to a double wishbone (replace the strut insert with a tube with a closed and and a ball joint).


There are also packages with aluminum hubs and light weight calipers to reduce unsprung weight.
Our bridge was 76 ft across and needed to accommodate a garden tractor or a golf cart and perhaps 20 people at a time - not coincident with the garden tractor or the golf cart. Given the limitations of the equipment and dimensional lumber -I could not readily have raised anything longer than the 16 ft laminated posts (4 2x8x16 glued and bolted) with which I constructed the 2 towers- and minimal bury (approximately 2 ft) that meant I had at most 13.5 ft of max sag to work with.
I don't know what the total uplift resistance is, but I estimate it is in excess of 3000 lbs. The east tower, with the knowledge gained on the west tower and no interference from trees went up almost easily - by comparison, at any rate.
The ideal connection would be a eyebolt through the joist with a turnbuckle between the eyebolt and the suspender cable. The length of the suspenders was calculated in the spreadsheet to account for a 6 in arch in the bridge as well as sufficient cable for thimbles at both ends, the compression fitting on the top end and the two clips on the bottom end. Most likely, I would have installed a second, and much smaller, pair of catenary cables pulled to less that half the designed sag of the main cables. But in about 4 hours from working on the catenary to calling it a day, we hung the bridge more or less level, and called it good.
The new Motobilt design allows the PSC Motorsports double ended steering ram to sit very low allowing more clearance for the frame rails. Because the rear axle was 4 linked and stretched to the rear there was little room to build a custom fuel cell under the Jeep. If the Coilovers were exposed it would be a real hazard for pinching fingers off in the coils. Check out the departure angle, the custom "comp cut" fenders, and you can see how much we moved the wheel well opening up.
Now it's time to do the finishing work like plumbing the custom aluminum fuel cell, running hydraulic hoses to the PSC Motorsports steering pump and double ended ram. Thank you Eugene Chou and James Moorehead for providing such a great opportunity and experience for the engineering students at DHS! And of course we could not have accomplished any of it with out the dedication of Eugene Chou, Engineering Teacher and Robotics Advisor, who is an inspiration to us all!
You're looking at purchasing a lot of heims and bungs; in fact, the entire front suspension is connected via heims. I think you may be thinking of very low-tech go karts, because many karts are better equipped than regular cars performance-wise. Even with a gears-in-back transaxle as in the pics above I doubt there is room to fit a V6 in front of it without moving the rear wheels. There's a reason the Stratos' were considered unpredictable, and this also matches the experience of my friends mini canam car (it started out with a strut rearend).
If you have another suspension in mind for your project let us know and we will advise you on the suitability of using it. A golf cart with 4 people is about 1500 lbs, 20 people are as much as 4000 lbs, while a garden tractor is only about 500 pounds.
I aimed 12.75 ft of sag to allow for about 6 in of arch in the deck plus a really short suspender at mid span.
All the main load carrying material (wire rope, etc) were rated 3500 lbs or greater working load. The 16 ft posts plus the 8x8 beam on top, 2 ft of bury and about 8 in above grade to the top of the joists gave me about 13.5 ft total distance for sag plus a minimal suspender length at mid span.
The problem with that solution is expense - when you need 74 of everything, forged or even welded 8 in eyebolts are expensive, and so are the turnbuckles. The suspenders were installed to dimensions calculated in the spreadsheet from bottom side of the catenary cable to the top side of the joists. Each suspender location, also calculated in the spreadsheet, was marked along the cable prior to installation.
Then I would have pulled the main cables across, having preinstalled the suspenders, attaching joists as the main catenary cables were pulled. If everything goes as planned it will produce a kit that will be easier to install and set up for at home builders. I am not sure if the customer will change out the engine and tranny but I have a feeling he will at some point in the future.
With the Motobilt Jeep YJ Back Half Kit Installed we have plenty of room to work with mounting the shocks. I am happy for the owner of this Jeep project and looking forward to seeing he out on the trail. More bury would have been better, but would have reduced the max sag and increased tension in the catenary. Instead, I chose to drill 1 in holes through the joists approximately 2 in from the bottom and just outside the handrail upright.
I also would have installed either the outside deck boards, or the bottom hand rail boards, or perhaps both. I don't think I would have installed the 2x8 joist end boards at all had I been forced to use this raising process. The kit is going to require cutting the body in the rear of the Jeep to allow the frame rails to pass through just above where the factory bumper is located. The Motobilt answer for this was to build custom sheet metal parts to relocate the inner fenders up roughly 4 inches. If I do another bridge, I might try another approach, but this worked okay, if a bit cumbersome to build and to adjust once the bridge is up.



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