Grid Beam Workbench

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 thoughts on “Grid Beam Workbench

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. 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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