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# Physics/Physics

Question
I have a stepper exercise machine that stands on four legs and I would like to place this machine on a shelf made of canvas cloth ( the whole wardrobe is made of canvas ). The problem is I think the shelf would tear where the four legs are. So I would like to ask if there is any way I could distribute the weight of the four legs evenly over the whole floor of the canvas shelf?
I'm not sure if I'm asking a right question for you - my apologies if I'm not and thanks very much for any information and your time!

Hello Tan,

I have considered several options. I assume this canvas is supported by a frame (I imagine it like a horizontal picture frame) and the canvas would sag when weight is placed on it. I expect the stepper machine would be at least 30 kg and could be as much as 150 kg if it is motorized. So I agree that there would be a risk of tearing. I will list the options I considered. My approaches involve providing a larger area for the pressure of the weight of the stepper. I think the material added to the shelf needs to be flexible to reduce the strain at the edges of the added material.

Use 4 pieces of the flexible material to significantly increase the area of each foot. Use this option only if the stepper is at the lightest of the range I indicated above and the canvas is especially heavy-duty.

Use a larger piece of the flexible material so all 4 feet rest on it. The size should be at least 0.5 m larger than the distance between the feet in both length and width.

Increase the size of the material (which need not be flexible in this case) so that the material rests on the frame that the canvas is stretched between.

I hope this helps,
Steve
Questioner's Rating
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Physics

Volunteer

#### Steve Johnson

##### Expertise

I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.

##### Experience

I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

Education/Credentials
BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University