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I have been designing a plywood bed. I have an idea for legs with two or four angled plywood pieces (not parallel) attached to a big plywood sheet top with beefy L-brackets.

I've thought of a few different leg designs and I'm still worried about stability. I want it to be super, super stable.

How could I model, simulate or somehow test my design before actually building? Plywood is expensive (will use baltic birch at 28mm) so I want to avoid bad cuts or design choices.

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  • I'd be interested in other's takes on this but I think the only way without advanced software is to build a prototype. Just a scale model in cardboard might do it. I've seen ply projects tested out in 3D using card a couple of times and it worked well enough for the respective designers, but offhand I'm not sure if they were testing load bearing.
    – Graphus
    Jan 28 '20 at 16:20
  • Yes, card stock, cardboard, and Popsicle sticks scale reasonably well for things like testing racking. Static loads are harder, and the usual approach is to over-build. Especially for a bed. But you can steal ideas from Ikea, et al, as they have put a lot of effort into minimum safe design using automated testing.
    – jdv
    Jan 28 '20 at 17:56
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    If you sketch up a proposed design and post it here on your question you should get some excellent advise on how it might hold up and what to change. Try starting a question with the text "stable bed design" and you get a list of related question s that have been answered on this site which should help.
    – Ashlar
    Jan 28 '20 at 20:30
  • Great answers guys, Maybe add them as answer so I can accept them? @Graphus My approach will be to first build a cardboard model. I know it'll have flaws with material thickness and rigidity, but it's a start. Jan 29 '20 at 8:54
  • Fusion 360 (by Autodesk) is a popular modeling software that would let you design and test your ideas. It offers a free license for home use and I believe it has a simulation module for static loads. The simulation would help locate potential points of failure and estimate component deflection under load. It may take a reasonable time investment to become familiar with the software, but once you have it will become an indispensable design tool.
    – CFD
    Feb 10 '20 at 3:21

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