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How to Build with Grid Beam: A Fast, Easy and Affordable System for Constructing Almost Anything Paperback – June 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Grid beam is a modular, reusable building system that is fast, easy, affordable and virtually goof-proof. Ordinary people, with few skills and even fewer tools (all you need is a wrench!) can tackle projects ranging from furniture and shop benches to more ambitious projects like wind turbines, truck racks, small buildings--even electric vehicles.

Grid beam's modular pieces and bolt-together construction make the system fast and straightforward to work with. It has all the advantages of an industrial building system: standard, modular sizes; uniform materials; and interchangeable parts. Projects knock flat and are easy to transport. Since the pieces can be used over and over again, grid beam is easy both on your wallet and on the environment-the authors have been using some of their components for over 30 years.

How to Build with Grid Beam includes hundreds of photos of real projects built over a 60-year period, showing the many uses of grid beam, from shelves for college students to projects involving alternative energy. The versatility of grid beam is inspiring, for beginners, more experienced do-it-yourselfers, and innovators who will develop their own designs. Even school-age children can use grid beam to build simple projects.

(2007-11-27)

About the Author

Phil Jergenson is an innovator who built the first grid beam vehicle, and standardized grid beam technology into a system. Richard Jergenson built his first grid beam project in 1977, and has since organized trade show booths and solar panel installations. Wilma Keppel is a writer and editor who is also a welder, carpenter and grid beam builder.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers; First Thus Used edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865716137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865716131
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 7, 2009
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How to Build with Grid Beam is the gentle manifesto of a group of Whole Earth Catalog/Maker/Burning Man/Buckminster Fuller afficiannados who share a vision of a new way of building things. As a poke in the ribs to our ordinary ideas of construction, Grid Beam deserves more attention. The construction principles are simple to understand, and this book presents them in a way that *does* encourage you to go off and build on your own. Making is something more people should do.

Alas, Grid Beam has some problems, ones that are shared with and come from its counter-culture heritage.

The main problem is that Grid Beam-compatible components are *very* hard to find. The book lists some suppliers, but they are all either "true believers" hidden in a small town in California, or big industrial firms spread out over the country. In other words, you can't find grid beam posts/tubes/beams in your local Home Depot. Without them, you're stuck. You have to make your own wooden grid beam posts, or figure out a way to get steel or aluminum ones shipped to you.

Doing your own wood posts is time-consuming, and it's a big challenge for those who are afraid of power tools. And yet Grid Beam was supposed to *overcome* that fear!

Buying steel or aluminum posts is going to be a big hassle. Steel is not pricey, but aluminum is, and neither are going to be cheap to get shipped to you. Even Oakland, CA, a hotbed of alternative building, doesn't seem to have a supplier.

This book shows that the authors have failed to grasp a lesson that dome-builders learned in the 1970s. Fuller devotees published "Domebook" and "Domebook 2" in the late 70s before revising their ideas and coming out with a new standard, "Shelter".
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David Lisle on June 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
The idea of modular building is not new, but it's one I've been interested in for years. I have several similar books, but this is by far the best.

If you need practical, inexpensive, yet elegant solutions for any kind of storage units, basic furniture, and much more, this book will show you how to do it.

Afraid of building things? Read this and see how easy it is. Anyone can do it with minimal cost, very few tools, and with a variety of materials.

As the book says, it's basically an Erector Set for adults (or even smart kids with maybe a bit of supervision...)

I needed bookcases -- next week I'll have them.

Simple, elegant, and (here's the best part) if and when you no longer need what you've built, you can dismantle the project and re-use the pieces to build something else. Thorough, inspirational, and completely practical.

No fear. Just do it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. M. Nelson on March 10, 2009
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Highly recommended for the mechanically inclined and especially for the non-mechanic, non-builders, non-handy inclined.

I really wanted to understand how this system works and what the possibilities might be.

The book gives me exactly the information I wanted: a bit of history of grid beam, ideas, sample projects, safety considerations, resources, and how-to. It is clear and concise and encourages you to develop your own ideas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. L. Scott on July 28, 2009
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I really enjoyed the book but be prepared to be extremely frustrated if you decide to build a grid beam project. Finding the grid beams is very difficult. The book gives a few suppliers but is almost impossible to purchase grid beams on the Internet and finding local suppliers is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

But if you can find find the parts this is a great system for prototyping or building projects without a lot of supporting tools.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nestor R. Diaz on April 27, 2010
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In just a week I build a closet for my parents and a workbench for me with scrap 2x4, a drill, a saw horse and some bolts and nuts. Very easy, strong and light weight system. My next project is a hybrid electric vehicle (human and electric powered), I'm just looking for local aluminum supplier, but the book include sources for internet and mail order.
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The ideas have been out there for a while, but they make SO much sense. I'm terrified of tools as such... but with the grid beam system... all I need are allen wrenches! Like they say in the book:
" My Own Personal Industrial Revolution!" WOW!
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