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  • Steel strength question

    I am new to the welding hobby. I have had my MM 211 for a couple of weeks now, and just got through building some angle iron horses so I don't always have to work from the floor.

    One of the main reasons I wanted my own welder was so I could build my garage furniture so I can actually create enough space to work comfortably in and occasionally park my truck in it.

    I have drawn out plans for a shelf system that is 7' wide, 18" deep, and about 6' high. I am wanting to use 1.5 inch square tubing with a 14 gauge wall. The way I have designed it, I would build four shelves 7'x18" and separate them with 17.5" tubes. I would not have a bottom shelf, but cut some plate for the feet to stabilize it a little more. I will be using 3/4" plywood for the shelves attached with screws with welded on tabs.

    My concern is how much weight it will hold before I start seeing bowing in the shelves, and if I should be bracing the shelves at the center point as well. I won't be putting massive items on the shelves, but I am curious to what it's limitations would be. I might be moving into a larger place and would carry the design over if this one works out.

  • #2
    I don't think there is enough information here to answer the question. Would this shelving unit legs in each corner, maybe two more in the center of the span? Or is going to have two legs with shelves cantilevered out and be bolted to the garage wall? The shorter the unsupported spans the stronger it will be.

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    • #3
      Sorry for lack of information. There will be a leg at each corner of each shelf. Sort of like this picture, but no bottom shelf, all one piece 7 foot wide, and made of 1.5" square tubing.


      Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        It will hold quite a load....if you were to cut a 7' leanth and set each end on a block and stand (or add pressure) it will give you a pretty good idea. Remember you will have two supports, one in front and one if the rear (plus the plywood) so if one will hold your weight two will double the load. that should give you a good idea. Should atleast hold a roll of mig wire for the new mig and the miter saw.

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        • #5
          jokers10,

          Here is info I posted for another user who was building a frame for fish tanks.

          You can plug in your square tubing size and the program will calculate how much deflection will occur for a given load.

          http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...491#post268491
          Miller Dynasty 350, Dynasty 210 DX, Hypertherm 1000, Thermal Arc GTSW400, Airco Heliwelder II, oxy-fuel setup, metal cutting bandsaw, air compressor, drill press, etc.

          Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !

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          • #6
            The shelf unit you showed is similar to some we have at work. Three feet wide and 18" deep, with a stamped sheet metal shelf. I believe they are rated at 110 lbs. per shelf. One main difference is they have added diagonal cross bracing on the back and sides, they wobble pretty bad without them.With 1.5" square tubing welded together this probably won't be a problem. They should support a substantial load before showing any signs of stress, even with the 7' span. In the event they sag too bad with whatever you load on them, you could always go back and add a center support later right up the middle. You could add them up the back side between the shelves first. Then if that's not enough add another set on the front. But if you put enough weight on it to start making the shelves sag in the original configuration, it's going to be a chore to unload, reinforce and reload again. That will be ALOT of weight.You might also think of adding some tabs on the back to secure it to the wall studs with lag bolts to make sure it stays put. Or if it's going on a concrete floor maybe some on the bottom of the legs to anchor it to the slab or a combination of both.Good luck and let us see how it goes and turns out.

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            • #7
              I would say that 200 pounds per shelf would be fine. Even with 200 pounds in the center you should have less than 1/2 inches of deflection. You shouldn't get permanent deflection until it sags an inch in the center.

              Even with 800 pounds total, 4 shelves at 200 each, the legs will be well within the permissible load to avoid buckling. So if your welds are good enough the material is strong enough for this kind of loading.

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              • #8
                If you see if flexing and ready to fall apart id kinda remove a little weight. Otherwise dont worry about it unless your gonna have engineer ut it

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by FernTJ View Post
                  I would say that 200 pounds per shelf would be fine. Even with 200 pounds in the center you should have less than 1/2 inches of deflection. You shouldn't get permanent deflection until it sags an inch in the center.

                  Even with 800 pounds total, 4 shelves at 200 each, the legs will be well within the permissible load to avoid buckling. So if your welds are good enough the material is strong enough for this kind of loading.
                  I agree although the deflection with a 200 pound point load distributed over two 84" spans would be much less than 1/2 inch with stress in the 10,000 PSI range. And with the plywood shelf, the load would be somewhat distributed. Uniformly distributed load of 200 pounds over two 84" spans would have a center deflection of 3/16" and stress in the 6000 pound range. Typical hot rolled square tube has a yield in the 34-38 ksi range.

                  The real issue here would be securing the shelf to the wall as it would be quite unstable. And the weld quality is a limiting, unknown variable. Sure, 14 gauge (0.075") is easily welded with GMAW but tee joints like to burn the branch and barely penetrate the run.
                  Last edited by Keith_J; 08-12-2011, 02:00 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all of the responses. I will be securing it to studs in the wall with lag bolts, and welded on tabs. You all are a wealth of knowledge, and I will keep you updated.

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                    • #11
                      From what I'm reading the Plywood is not sitting on top of the 1.5 square tube
                      beam

                      ..the Weld tab is going to be carrying the load of the 18" x 7' 3/4" Plywood and also the sheite ya shove on the shelf.



                      I assume you are using Weld tabs so that the wood sits flush with the 1-1/4" steel, for Aesthetics
                      Ed Conley
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                      • #12
                        While you are calculating
                        Substitute 1" x 2" x 11ga rect tube.

                        84" x 18" shelf, bet you get to 500lbs/shelf pretty easy.
                        That is equally loaded as all shelf systems state
                        Assemble the rect tube 2" tall
                        You might be able to save some $ and use 1/2" plywood.

                        Cost... almost the same.
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                        • #13
                          hi,just look at the shelving inits they sell at menards, lowes, or home depot. they are tooth pick material and have load ratings that scare me. you can even check out the pallet shelving ratings for a closer look.i would just make sure you run the plywood grain in the right direction.good luck, bob

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Broccoli1 View Post
                            From what I'm reading the Plywood is not sitting on top of the 1.5 square tube
                            beam

                            ..the Weld tab is going to be carrying the load of the 18" x 7' 3/4" Plywood and also the sheite ya shove on the shelf.



                            I assume you are using Weld tabs so that the wood sits flush with the 1-1/4" steel, for Aesthetics
                            My assumption was that the wood was on top of the tubes and that the tabs were on the back side of the tube flush with the top so that screws could go through the tab rather than through the tube. A lot of furniture is constructed like that.

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                            • #15
                              yeah could be that way also- dunno, no drawerings
                              Ed Conley
                              http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
                              MM252
                              MM211
                              Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
                              TA185
                              Miller 125c Plasma 120v
                              O/A set
                              SO 2020 Bender
                              You can call me Bacchus

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