DO I NEED AN ENGINEER TO HANG A TIRE SWING?

Do I need an engineer to hang a tire swing? Well, let’s start with the basics…

DEFINITION: en·gi·neer·ing  (enjəˈniring) -noun-

“Engineering is the practice of using natural science, mathematics, and the engineering design process to solve technical problems, increase efficiency and productivity, and improve systems…” There’s more to it, but if you’d like a complete run down, you can get the full scoop on Wikipedia.

ENGINEERING SIMPLIFIED

The long and the short of it is that engineering is the use of physics to design everything:  buildings, machines and/or their internal and connective systems.

Every human in the industrialized world is surrounded by products of engineering. That includes the car you drive (or bike you pedal), the stove you cook with (or the stoves at restaurants you frequent); to the hinges used on your front door.  If you use it or live in it, it’s a good bet that it was dreamed up by an engineer.

SO, DO I NEED AN ENGINEER TO HANG A TIRE SWING?

Well, consider this.  You’re set on putting up a simple tire swing for the kids.  So, you haul out an old tire from the garage and dig out a package of brand new rope.  You scope out the right oak tree branch and finally hang the tire. You’ve secured it to the limb using a complex threaded figure 8 knot which you thoroughly researched on the internet; certified to hold up to 610lbs (and if it’s on the internet…).

Ten minutes later your 9 year old twin boys come charging outside to play on their new swing.  You survey your good work with a proud smile and eventually go back to the garage to tackle your next project.

A short while later you hear a thud and simultaneous screams.  What happened?

  1. The rope you used, although new, was not appropriately rated for the combined load of TWINS + TIRE
  2. You tied the tire swing too close to the tree truck; not taking into account the trajectory of TWINS + TIRE when the under-sized rope stretched due to the load stress
  3. You tied the tire swing too far out on the branch; not taking into account the combined weight of TWINS + TIRE; the overall load stress on the smaller diameter portion of the branch caused it to snap
  4. ANY of the above

DIY – How to Hang a Tire Swing

HAD AN ENGINEER BEEN CONSULTED ON THE TIRE SWING PROJECT

So, do I need an engineer to hang a tire swing? Technically no.  However, had an engineer been consulted on the tire swing project, the outcome would have been different. They would have thought through the logistics. Calculated the distance and load, and factored in wind speed variables to design a safe and functional tire swing.

Still not convinced? The fact is most people don’t realize that there are any number of household projects that do require an engineer. Because, if you’re working on remodeling your home or business, you will probably need a permit. And, if you need a permit, in most cases you will need stamped architectural and/or engineers drawings.

So, before starting a building addition or improvement, check with your local building department for the do’s and don’ts of your upcoming project.

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