×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design
2

Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

(OP)
Does anybody have experience with designing a stainless steel cable railing? I'm working on some for a golf course and everything that I come across seems to be really geared toward the residential DIY'er and supplied in kit form. I think that I'm getting bogged down with all these online suppliers and what I really need is a custom built system. I was out the other day and took these photos of a cable railing system. Not a kit, looks custom built, more durable, seamlessly welded and ground down flush, and more geared to what I think should be specified for a commercial application. However, I believe that that corner detail does not satisfy the 4" sphere requirement. So many of these kits seem to have these cheap top rails that just snap into place.




I understand the geometric constraints, want to use 3/16" dia. cable, 2"x2" post and top rail, and will have a custom mounted rub rail at the base to act as a golf cart bumper. I can handle the design of the terminal posts and base plate connection to the deck. I need to familiarize myself a little more with how to specify the hardware and tensioning at the terminal post connection.

Any experience from other Engineers with designing these for commercial applications? I could use some help steering me in the right direction.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

Not sure what aspects of the design you're concerned with, but I'll offer what may be a fairly obvious bit of insight: Neglecting gravity, which is negligible in this case, the deflection of the cable is fairly straightforward as a force vectors - force in the cable = lateral force on the cable multiplied by the distance from the force to the support point divided by the deflection of the cable. So if the cables are 3" apart, the post spacing is 100", and has to resist a 4" sphere being pushed through with 10 lbs of force (I have no idea what the design force for that is), the required tension is 1000 lbs (each cable deflects 0.5", with a max assumed distance from the post of L/2 = 50" ---> 10lbs*50"/0.5" = 1000lbs.

Rod Smith, P.E., The artist formerly known as HotRod10

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

Rod,

Doesn't that assume that the cable is infinitely rigid? What about the case when it is made out of spaghetti? It will easily deflect the .5" without a 1,000 lb tension.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

Actually, what you said does make sense if it is to keep the ball from being pushed thru the opening.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

This type of railing (with horizontal members) was at one time prohibited by the life safety code (NFPA 101). That prohibition was taken out at some point ( I believe early 2000's).
That doesn't change the reason for the original prohibition which was to prevent little climbers from climbing the rail and falling over, sometimes to their death (has happened numerous times on mid-rise and high rise buildings in Florida.

I have turned down railing designs where a horizontal member above the 2" toe kick and below the top rail was desired. Too much liability.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

Quote:

Doesn't that assume that the cable is infinitely rigid? What about the case when it is made out of spaghetti? It will easily deflect the .5" without a 1,000 lb tension.

Actually, what you said does make sense if it is to keep the ball from being pushed thru the opening.

That's what I was trying to get at. As I understand it, the cable railing has to keep a 4" sphere (representing a child's head) from being able to push through between the cables. I was attempting to describe a method to determine the required tension in the cables.

Rod Smith, P.E., The artist formerly known as HotRod10

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

You could go with a rod railing, instead of cable, which would obviate the wire tension and tensioning during installation. The only snap-on, or more likely, push-on handrails I've seen were for glass railings.

Most of the steel railing handrails I've been looking at are screwed onto the capping of the posts.
https://www.stairsupplies.com/product-category/rod...
https://www.viewrail.com/rod-railing/

These sites supposedly will work with you and your design and ship you the entire kit; I'm not sure what the cost difference would be compared to the piecepart cost.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

Both of the above sites also sell cable railing kits and parts and they detail how to get sufficient tension on the cables to meet code. Given that complication, the rod railings would seem to be an easier thing to deal with, since they don't need to be tensioned.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

(OP)
Rod,

Thanks. That actually does help. Most of them are tensioned to say 300 lbs for a 5/32" cable. Breaking force for cable is far beyond that but I don't want to overspecify the tension as it requires designing the terminal posts for the load.

Ron,

I too don't like the design. I tried very hard to get the owner to go with several other different types of railings. In the end, the board members of the golf course wanted it as open as possible for visual affects. Putting my feelings to the side regarding the railing type, if I am forced to design this type of railing, I at least want it to be correct and something that is going to last. This will be installed directly adjacent to the ocean.

IRstuff,

The example companies you sent were exactly what I am having issues with. You don't find those cheap and flimsy looking? The top railing gets connected to the bracket via some self tapping screws. Crevice corrosion looks to be very problematic with the bracket detail. They also use plugs at the ends of the top rail and all joints are merely miter cut and butted together. How is water intrusion not a huge issue? Don't get me wrong, if I was installing this by myself at my house I would be very happy that it existed but I would never even consider it for a municipal owned project and I am seriously questioning it for a private commercial job.


RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

The solid round bar material would likely bend over time, cables won't.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

(OP)
straub46. Thanks for the reference. That does help.

IRstuff. You're right. The price will be more. Unfortunately, the cheap-skate Contractor that was brought on board already gave the Owner a price based on these kits. So if I change it at this point, it's going to create an issue. I'm debating at this point if I hate the kit system enough to create an issue and paint myself in a bad light, knowing that it will be better for the Owner in the end.

Am I the only one that thinks these pre-engineered systems look cheap?

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

Let them know that the certification of the railing has to be by the supplier, and leave it at that. Is there an architect involved? Maybe he has some sway... There's an ugly 6 storey building down the street from me that I designed 50 years back... I told the developer that he should hire an architect because my aesthetic skills are zip... no such luck.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

hmb... good document...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

If you're still in need of design info, try Ultra-tec. I came across some of their technical info in my files today.

Link

At the bottom of the page under Engineering Data there's a link to calculations for various code diameters for pass-through resistance for 4″ sphere.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

(OP)
hotmailbox and bridgebuster, Thank you for the links. These do help with design info.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

STrctPono - you're welcome. I'm glad it was helpful.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

STrctPono - I have been asked by plan checkers to provide calculations for railings in all projects and each project is different. And this typically takes a lot of time. I was in your situation before and I found it very helpful too. You're welcome.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

(OP)
dik, No architect involved with this project.

RE: Stainless Steel Cable Railing Design

Let the supplier provide the sealed drawings... and walk away from the railing; it's what the client wants and bought.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Resources

Engineering as It Should Be - Chapter 2: Document Security
This ebook covers basic tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Chapter 2 covers cybersecurity and answers the question: How do you secure your files and documents? Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close