Grid Beam is Minecraft for real life

SUBHEAD: Grid Beam is a kind of LEGO, or Erector Set, for grownups who want to build real things.

By Kirsten Dirksen on 17 September 2017 for -

Image above: A computer workstation built by the Jergensons using the wooden Grid Beam system. Still frame from video below.

[IB Publishers note: The Unistrut metal framing system similar in application to the metal Grid Beam system. Unistrut was invented around 1920 by Charles Attwoodand is still widely used in the building industry for everything from hanging pipes above ceilings to framing out engineering projects. There are a myriad of components built for the 1 5/8" Unistrut beams. The big difference is unlike Grid Beam you cannot make the Unistrut beams is a home shop.]

Grid Beam is a kind of LEGO, or Erector Set, for grownups who want to build real things.

Its creators, brothers Phil and Richard Jergenson, have used it to create tiny houses, furniture, electric vehicles, bicycles and even a solar train car that made a 44-mile run on working rail.

The Jergensons grew up playing with modular toys- LEGOs, Meccano, Erector Sets, Lincoln Logs- and wanted to apply this technology to help people construct their own environments, whether car, bike or bed.

Phil’s daughter, Rona, grew up with a set of Grid Beam (then called Box Beam) and constantly re-modeled her room.

“My bed, I changed it out every week, my dad would come in and one time I would have a bunk bed with a slide, the next day I”d say I don’t really want another bed let me put a desk underneath it.”

The Grid Beam brothers operate an off-grid, solar-powered shop in Willits, CA (Mendocino County) where they manufacture and sell the hardware: 2x2 wood (or aluminium) beams with holes drilled through every 1 ½ inches, as well as, standard furniture bolts and accessories like wheels, bicycle pedals or feet for tiny houses.

Video above: A 28 minute video explaining Grid Beam system and examples of things the Jergenson brothers have constructed with it. From (

And given the consistent pattern of the Grid Beams, designs are easily replicated.

“If you just count the holes you can duplicate these frames just by looking at a couple of photos,” explains Phil.

“You can do anything for a fraction of the price. I see people being able to build their own tiny house and tiny electric car for easily 2 or 3 thousand dollars because that’s the cost of the components,” argues Phil.

“And when you build it yourself, if something should go wrong, you are the specialist and you are the one who can fix it.”


“How to Build with Grid Beams”


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