oddball beam span question

Old 05-25-04, 12:51 AM
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oddball beam span question


I am a set designer. I need to build a large outdoor set. My plan is to build two 24 foot tall, free standing, outriggered scaffolds to support a beam, as long as possible, strong enough to safely support the weight of one person. This is a temporary structure and therefore not required to withstand the test of time. I am trying to do this economically, so I hoped to be able to use wood. My goal is a span of twenty feet, although sixteen might be acceptable. Is this possible? What size beam do I need? Any cheap alternatives to wood? Any help would be much, much appreciated.
Old 05-25-04, 05:15 AM
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In my area what you are proposing to build, especially in a public area, requires that the scaffolding be erected by someone certified in scaffold erection and the beam signed off by an engineer.
Old 05-25-04, 06:53 AM
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The beam isn't the real issue

you said that you want a wood beam to carry the weight of a man. Lets say the man weighs 200 lbs / 20' span = 10 plf for the man. However you can't design simply for the weight of a man. You must consider wind, rain, and other types of live loads.
I do not think the design of the beam is the real issue here. I am sure that smal section beam would carry the weight. The toughest part is going to be getting the "outrigged" scaffolding designed at the height of 24' and restrained properly.

As the other poster said I suggest you hire or consult with an engineer to insure that it is adequately designed.

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