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Aluminum tubing strength considerations for design

  1. Oct 10, 2011 #1
    Hello all,

    Thanks for potentially allowing me to waste your time with a simple question.

    I am designing a collapsible photo booth and need to know that the aluminum tubing I intend to use is durable/strong enough for both the repetitions of setup and teardown and the weight to be supported.

    I have attached a drawing with the basic idea, tubing dimensions, etc.

    Specifically, what is the minimum thickness of the aluminum tubing considering the repetitions of setup/teardown and weight(s) to be supported.

    on the right side of the photo, i mistakenly wrote "0.0125" with regards to thickness. this is wrong. all other instances are "0.125" and are correct.

    Any and all advice is appreciated.



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2011 #2
    Please move to "mechanical engineering" if more appropriate.


  4. Oct 12, 2011 #3
    Not really a simple question. The materials are certainly strong enough to support 25 pounds. How well the load is supported (i.e., flexing of the structure) can't be reliably determined with the minimal data provided.

    Durability is subjective. For example, if the shelf support pins frequently use the same holes, and/or if the shelf load changes frequently/rapidly, it's possible that they may gradually elongate. Are cosmetic requirements (scratches, scuffing) considered in your definition of durability?

    Other issues that come to mind are the size, spacing, and location of the holes. How and where are the members supported? How are they connected together? In the sketch, it appears that the lengths of tubing are constructed of multiple sections.
  5. Oct 12, 2011 #4
    I can only give you a 'gut feeling' on this one, as I'm not a ME and can't do the real calculations. 25 pounds is very little weight on a structure like this - you can probably use the smallest wall thickness square tubing you can find, say 1/16". The teardown/setup issue doesn't change this issue, assuming the people doing this don't abuse the hardware. If you plan to have bolts within the holes of the tubing, make sure you don't tighten them enough to deform the square tubes.
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