St Louis Beer Arch




Introduction: St Louis Beer Arch

A fun little party idea I had using empty beer cans.

Step 1: Mathing the Arch

Growing up in St Louis, I have been on my share of field trips to the arch. We also had math and science problems involving the arch. Somewhere along the way it has been engraved into my memory that the arch is not a regular hyperbola, but a hyperbolic cosine with the same height and width of 630ft.

I figure if I am building a scale model of the arch I might as well take pride in its accuracy. And a quick trip to Wikipedia gave me the exact formula used in the design.

Step 2: CADing the Arch

I took the formula I found on Wikipedia and graphed it in excel. I imported a screen shot of the graph into a sketch in solidworks. I felt like a 4' tall arch would be a good first so I modeled an assembly of cans that traced the silhouette of the graph.

I used the assembly in solidworks to come up with the angles between each can.

Step 3: Jointing the Arch

One challenge for the project was to make the joints between the cans as discreet as possible. I also need the joints to be strong enough to hold the weight of the arch, and accurately hold the cans at their angles.

My solution to these demands is a 3d printed elbo/cap joint.

Using an instructable I found (Great Idea) I can take the tops off empty cans and replace them with my own caps. These 3d printed caps will have the necessary angles built in and can be connected to the next can with a wood screw.

I printed out all the caps and labeled them for where in the arch they need to be.

Step 4: Drinking the Arch

The 4 feet tall scale model of the arch will require 22 empty beer cans. And in my opinion, if I invite people over for a "build party" the beers need to be drank that night. After all, where is the sportsmanship if I save up empties for a while and attempt construction sober.

Step 5: Constructing the Arch

With enough people 22 empties isn't too tall of an order. After a few games we were almost there.

We had some trouble with the arch swaying from front to back so we had to cheat a little and hang some string from above.

Step 6: Filming the Arch

I have decided to set up a camera to film the event. I am pretty limited in my camera / video recording talents. But luckily for me Iphones have stop motion built into the camera app.

Step 7: Challenge the Arch

My first attempt at the beer arch is in the books and I would like to extend the challenge to the internet.

I will post any updates if I make any larger arches or get any pictures submitted.

Edit: Here is an arch I pre-built to tailgate the rams game. Had to tether it down so the wind wouldn't knock it over. The arch turned out well and the Rams got the win.

Step 8: Sharing the Arch

I have attached STL files of the clip design for anyone who wants to try and 3D print their own.

After trying a few arches myself I would suggest a little super glue before mounting each can



    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Organic Cooking Challenge

      Organic Cooking Challenge
    • Metalworking Contest

      Metalworking Contest

    11 Discussions

    Beer dates back to before the written word and civilization. The arch, to about Roman times. Never have the two been so gracefully combined. (Bud Light is gross, however.)

    1 reply

    Very cool!

    Any plan to share the print files, if anyone was interested in replicating your beer arch?

    1 reply

    Good idea. I have added another step with some STL files attached along with a blueprint for the build. Hopefully you can download these and give it a try!

    i thoguht the formula was e=mc*c. Just kidding, awesome job.

    I grew up in the St Louis area and my father worked downtown. I loved to go visit him because it took us past the Budweiser brewery. It smelled so good...

    This is pretty clever. I thought that it was just going to be a duct tape and beer can arch, but I am very impressed. Thanks for sharing!

    I feel like this is exactly what the invention of excel, solidworks, wikipedia, 3D printers, the fantastic leaps in maths, the perfection of beer brewing (Bud light though :/ ) has lead up to. Absolutely perfect sir!

    If you haven't already found it, your level of genius and skill would be very welcome at the Arch Reactor Hackerspace in St. Louis, Missouri. for more info, directions, and our calendar of events.
    One event you should enjoy is the 3D printer meetup, usually held on the last Friday of every month.

    In my opinion it would have been easier to solder the cans together. Great project though

    Hahaha I am totally geeking out over the math aspect of this! Thanks for sharing!