Reply by Natobious

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Posted on Engineering question...

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49 posts in 1621 days

#1 posted 08-25-2016 02:19 AM

The steel may not actually help as much as you would think. I know that sounds strange, but think about a standard bed; the steel frame holds up a box frame. and the box frame holds up the mattress. Because the mattress is flexible it needs closer spaced support.

The same will be true of the platform, the weaker the walking surface is, the closer the supports need to be spaced to reduce the span.

Depending on your level of skill, I would suggest 3/4” plywood (not chip board) with 2×2’s under it. set it up on some blocks at the corners and walk around on it. Kids first, then adults if it is sturdy. if it is too spongy add more 2×2’s or a bottom layer of plywood. If you space the 2×2’s every 18 to 24 inches it should be fine. Also, you could use a couple 2×4’s on their sides (to save height) for the longer span.

There are some online calculators that will predict how much the wood will bend with a certain amount of force applied. They are used for designing bookcases but work well for your application too.

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