HO Wooden Truss Bridge Plans?

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bklynman01

Active Member
I want to try and build my first bridge. Never done this before and I'm sure there will be many questions to come, but lets start here...

I had heard before about being able to use skewers (like for cooking) to build an HO scale bridge because they are scale 2' timbers (0.25"). Unfortunately, I can't find anything on line about this. I did find on a different forum where a guy said he worked as a gov't contractor and said that due to Homeland Security issues, it is extremely difficult for even him to get plans for bridges. Also, I would figure that companies would not put their kit plans out there, as they want you to go and buy the kit, not use the plans to build a bridge without their product.

Anyhow, does anyone know where I could find this type of information? I have a small span I want to cover, and would like to build a wooden truss bridge (I like the way they look). Some of the videos on youtube don't really seem to get exactly what I want. I'm looking for something like the bridge below. Is my best bet to just *wing it* and build the bridge?


 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Considering how tough it is to get actual bridge plans, you maybe better off just "winging it". All you have to remember is that 1" = 7.25' (1/87th scale) or 3.5 mm = 1' (1/87th scale). So long as you remember those scales and know the "actual" size of the bridge you want to build, you should be able to scale it close.

An alternative maybe to look at some Model Rail Road Clubs who have a trestle bridge on there layout and ask them if the wouldn't mind sending you the plans or dimensions for their bridge and use them for your own bridge, adjusted if necessary.

Good luck with this though,

Cheers
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
I have an extensive PDF file of Frisco pile trestles and construction from my source:
It is 7 pages and 1.04 MB which the form will not allow me to upload.
If you PM me your email ... I will send it to you!
 

bklynman01

Active Member
Guys, Thank you all very much! I have printed a few of the plans and will likely make a Frankenstein bridge that includes a little bit of each type. Who knew that model railroading could lead to bridge design and building!?
 

NScaler

Engineer in Training
Model railroading is the one hobby that combines nearly every other hobby into one. That is why it is the best hobby. Electronics, design, art, painting, engineering, sculpting, mold making, metal work, wood work, construction, etc. I don't know of another hobby that covers such a gamut of skills and interests.
 

bklynman01

Active Member
Okay, I designed a bridge. My first bridge, might I add. Sometimes being an engineer is more of a "condition" rather than a profession. Now we get to test my modeling skills when there is no kit. I'm thinking I'm going to lay my own track on this span so I can put down ties that would match the bridge better. Not match the color, but the style.

Any suggestions on how to color all the wood? I'm thinking of air brushing after completing the bridge but the ties I would stain darker. I have cooking skewers for the pile posts, need some flat pieces for the rest, maybe Michaels or JoAnnes? Hobby shops charge way too much for simple things like wood.

Like i said, this would be my first scratch built model ever, so any tips are welcome.

Thanks!





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NScaler

Engineer in Training
I went to Menards the other day and noticed they had a small craft display where they sold hobby knives, various tools and even some Balsa and Bass wood. This was in the tool department. They had a bag of various size pieces of Basswood that I bought for like $8.00. It has a very nice selection of wood that would be great for the larger scales. I bought it to cut N scale ties out of some of the pieces. I will probably buy more. Basswood would be my choice for this project. You can cut it thin, and it doesn't splinter to pieces like some woods do. I would stain the pieces before you assemble. Any glue you get on the wood will not allow the stain to soak in. That is unless you are going to paint the wood. Then I would paint it after assembly.
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
Leather dye cut with alcohol in a mason type glass jar is the best way to stain wood and ties.
Dries fast and they don't stick together.
Start with alcohol first and keep adding dye until you get the color you want.
You can have several jars of different shades for a more realistic look .. Both brown and black.
Fill the jar full of ties, shake them around, strain off the dye to reuse, and then dump onto paper towels or newspaper to dry.
 

NScaler

Engineer in Training
Thanks for the kind words. I think trestle bridges are the coolest when they are hand built. And you have certainly done your homework! I can't wait to follow along.

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