Grid Beam Workbench

February 26th, 2009 § 4 comments

Grid Beam is a building technique developed in the 70’s. It is a simple technique which uses perforated square beams, connected by normal furniture bolts. I first learned about the technique from the book How to build with Grid Beam by new society publishers:


While the book is more of an history of grid beam, it does have some techniques and discussion on design. I think the technique has huge potential as a reusable building method

In need of a Dirty workbench, I decided to build a ‘stick’ making jig and attempt to build a bench. I was surprised by a few things:

  1. Beam stability is a function of the species, not the holes
  2. Hole accuracy is important, but not a deal breaker – the bolts pull the beams together nicely
  3. It takes about 20 minutes to drill a 6 foot beam – not including finishing touches like chamfer

Here’s my bench:



§ 4 Responses to Grid Beam Workbench"

  • Glenn Beeson says:

    I actually found your site by searching for grid beam. I was looking for jigs for a drill press for the express purpose of drilling for grid beam and I haven’t had much luck. Given how the system works, my drilling all those holes free-hand is not going to win awards in the keep-it-square category. Your desk looks good and stable giving me hope that it is possible. Thanks.

  • fenn says:

    hello. could you please look in yon book and tell me if there are any standard gridbeam sizes below 1 inch?
    I would rather build my (repstrap) project to conform to any standard that already exists, rather than just make up my own. i was thinking 1/2″ or 3/4″ square aluminum tubing with 1/4″ or 3/8″ holes spaced one beam width apart.

  • lou.amadio says:

    The Grid beam standard really only says that hole spacing is equal to the cross section, with end holes at half cross section. I was looking into grid beam for various sustainable projects, one of which was potentially as a frame for repstrap (although, continuing to use 80/20 T-Slot for stability reasons)

  • David Cary says:

    If you are looking for a “standard hole spacing for small parts”, perhaps one of these standards will be adequate:
    * Grid beam: “hole spacing is equal to the width of the material.” — most commonly, 1.5 inch (38.1 mm)
    * Erector, Marklin, Meccano, Vex Robotics: 1/2 inch hole spacing (12.7 mm): “Half Inch Systems Group (HISG)”
    * Merkur, Eitech: 10 mm hole spacing
    * Mignon: 6 mm hole spacing

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