Juanyjose wrote:I was in the habit of always lightly sanding structures after I was done building when bridge building was around, to try to get off another 0.2 grams or something. How significantly does this impact the structural integrity of a tower/bridge, and are 0.2 grams worth it once you get down to really low densities?
Every little bit helps, especially in the highly contested tournaments, but the problem with sanding towers, is that it is probable that you end up sanding that .2 grams off the column area between where the X braces are connected.... If you were able to detail the columns to 100% efficiency, they would probably be square and smaller at the connection to the X braces and taper up to bigger and round at the exact center between the X brace connections, then taper back down to a square at the connection above. This would be done to withstand the buckling that tends to occur between connections. If you try to sand the tower after it is built, you end up taking the material from the exact wrong spots, and in all likelihood will lower your final score. You are far better to select the material you want to use as columns, then very gently, sand all 4 of the corners of each column, just enough to take the sharp edge off before beginning assembly.
In THEORY the most efficient column would be round, but that reduces the surface area used to glue the X braces to, causing additional issues, so most use square columns (with a few triangles) to get the surface area needed.