following on from trailbarge, i agree, if the cofg lies within the footprint the item will not just "fall over" but this doesn't make it "safe".
So those boys down at the standards agency(ies) have come up with simple tests to ensure machine stability. We typically produce machines for the US market and hence work to the UL approval scheme.
According to them for a machine to be considered stable it must be rested on a 10 degree slope and then have a certain force applied (horizontally?) at a certain height (or top of the machine which ever is lower). This procedure is the repeated in all directions, and if the machine still stands then in it classed as being "stable".
But please, look up the specifics for whichever set of standards you work to.
My original posting at the top of the page asked a question that was answered by puppet almost imediately after it was posted. I have read all the following postings with interest and as puppet said the discussion has gotten side tracked.
I am not complaining that we have gotten a little side tracked, in fact I think that this is exactly what this forum is for but maybe another posting should have been initiated to discuss the side issues which by the way are very interesting.