Basic Calculations

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HintLightbulb.png Hint: WIP.

  1. Use Calculations Template - you can make a copy of it or include just the relevant quantities.
  2. Document your work at a wiki page named MachineName_Calculations
  3. Use Presentation Template to explain your calculations with pictures and diagrams. Embed this on the MachineName_Calculations wiki pag. For simple calculations, take pictures of backs of envelopes, your note sheets, screencasts, etc - that show basic quantifications. Use whatever is relevant to quantify what you are working on.


Calulations are importance for reasons of determining performance. They are also used in product literature to show useful product specifications.

Scaling Calculations are calculations that also consider scalability. These calculations include all relevant physical, mechanical, fluid, electrical, chemical, thermal, static, dynamic, aerodynamic, acoustic, optical, hydrological, nuclear, structural, and other properties that allow a machine to be effective for a particular purpose. Scalability is emphasized because a single design should be adaptable to different scales of operation via Intensive and Extensive Scalability. Calculations include both parameters and calculations based on these parameters.

Comprehensive List with Links to Online Resources, etc

Physical Quantities

  1. Motor Torque based on power
  2. Nichrome Wire Calculator
  3. Pulley Calculator
  4. Solenoid Force Calculator
  5. Solar Angle Calculator
  6. Magnet Force Calculator
  7. Cycling Power and Speed Calculator
  8. Cost of Living
  9. Triangle Calculator
  10. Motor Speed Calculator
  11. Hydraulics Calculators
  12. Chain Length Calculator


  1. Shaft Deflection Calculator

Weight and Size

  1. Volume Calculator
  2. Steel Plate Weight Calculator
  3. Bolt Weight Calculator
  4. Nut Weight Calculator
  5. Metals Weight Calculator - by material
  6. Steel Weight Calculator - steel by shape
  7. Basic force, torque, stress limit calculations
  8. Center of Mass + Weight
  9. Range of Motion Design calculations
  10. CAE analysis for structural failure, fatigue, deformation, crash testing, abrasion, thermal properties, and others
  11. Cost
  12. Beam deflection
  13. Expected lifetime
  14. Basics Statics calculations according to Basic Statics Calculations Procedure
  15. Expected maintenance cost according to Maintenance Cost Template
  16. Performance/power/speed/lifetime/lift/etc.
  17. Precision calculations - what precision of motion is achieved in devices
  18. Tolerancing requirements
  19. Hydraulic fluid flow and pressure
  20. Basic static loads analysis of mechanical devices
  21. Rotation speeds
  22. Bending forces
  23. Shear strength limits
  24. Thermal loss calculations
  25. Thermal profiles - FEA
  26. Geometrical optics
  27. Torque calculations
  28. Rotational inertia
  29. EMF calculations
  30. Thermal mass calculations
  31. Combustion calculations
  32. Embodied energy calculations
  33. etc.


These calculations should be performed for all critical components of machines, even though the aim is not Value Engineering. In the case over-building of components for purposes of lifetime design, calculations are relevant for providing accurate assessment of safety factors and performance expectations independent of empirical performance data.

A list of desired calculations or data points should be produced for each machine. Note: a spreadsheet or education page should be included to give a crash course on each calculation for the benefit of a novice who has a working knowledge of secondary-level


The typical calculations for consideration are: