How to Convert A Structure Into A Load Cell?

Getting Started with a Strain Gauge Load Cell (DIY)

A load cell is a transducer (physical element) that converts mechanical force into electrical signal. There are several different types of load cells  such as hydraulic, pneumatic, and strain gauge that operate in different ways, but the most commonly used load cell today is the strain gauge load cell.


A typical load cell usually consists of four strain gauges ( full-bridge) in a Wheatstone bridge configuration.


There are several deformation modes in load cells:

  • Bending – Active joystick, extensometers, infusion pump pressure
  • Direct Stress – Bolt in tension, suspension pushrod, silo leg
  • Shear/Torsion – Driveshaft, steering column


In this iNote Anton explains and demonstrates how to convert a Aluminum Beverage Can (A structure) into a load cell using a full bridge foil strain gauge for torsion measurement.






Useful links:

Surface Preparation:


System 8000:

StrainSmart Software:

Advanced Sensors Technology:

Our new Aluminum checklist: