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I have a 4x6x16 beam that I would like to use on a new swing set. If I span 12 feet between supports, can I leave one or both ends cantilevered to support an additional swing?

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Yes - I have a swing set that we purchased that was exactly that construction with 4x6 legs and a 16' 4x6 main beam with one swing cantilevered on one end. Ours was made by Woodplay

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4x6x16 is a good sized beam. Enough for a swing set anyway. As for the cantilever, how large of a cantilever are you talking? The general rule of thumb in architecture is no more than 30%. So for example, a 30% of a 16' beam is 4.8', which would be just under 2 1/2 feet on each side. Thats a little tight but in this case you could probably get away with 3 feet on each side as the moment is still very near or over the support. You can do some quick beam calculations here.

https://skyciv.com/free-beam-calculator/

  • I think I’ll span 12 feet and cantilever 3 or 4 on one end but I just found out the 4x6 is shorter than I thought. Will it work if I screw two 2x6’s together? – Debbie Jul 9 at 1:53
  • That should be ok. I'll assume it is attached to the ground in some way. Bolting 2x6's together is fine. but use 3" structural screws or lag bolts. I'm a big fan of GRK – mreff555 Jul 9 at 1:59

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