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Jonathan Ochshorn

© 2009 Jonathan Ochshorn.

**Directions:** Enter values for loads and their positions along the beam, using *any consistent units*. To eliminate a load, set its magnitude to zero. Refer to the diagram for variable names. For example, use ft for distances; use either lb/ft and lb units, or kips/ft and kip units for loads; the reactions will be in either lb or kips; the shear will be in either lb or kips; and the moment will be in either ft-lb or ft-kips, depending on your choice. Loads are assumed to act in a downward direction, with reactions acting in an upward direction. Upward-acting loads should be entered as negative numbers; a negative reaction indicates that its direction is actually downward-acting rather than upward-acting. Positive moments are those corresponding to tension at the bottom of the beam; negative to tension at the top. Positive shear corresponds to a downward-acting force on the right side of a free-body diagram cut where the shear force is being measured; negative to an upward-acting force.

More detailed explanations and examples can be found in my text.

**Disclaimer:** This calculator is not intended to be used for the design of actual structures, but only for schematic (preliminary) understanding of structural design principles. For the design of an actual structure, a competent professional should be consulted.

First posted June 5, 2009 | Last updated June 5, 2009