Friday, June 17, 2016

Out of Necessity

Maybe not necessity, but just trying to avoid spending a lot of money, if possible.

I was in need of a weight rack for dumbbells, as the one I had, from Canadian Tire, was way too small.
After looking at all the really nice ones at fitness shops for $300 all the way up to $1000 and more, I tried to figure out a way to make one on my own.

I went to the Home Depot near me, and walked around looking for suitable materials. When I came across the steel studs, I was on the way.

After rummaging through my garage, I found the remaining materials that I would need, and came up with this.

It's a simple design, but is more than strong enough (for now, anyway) to accommodate what I have. 

So what do you need for this? Two steel studs, a 2 by 6, a 2 by 4 (both about eight feet long), maybe four feet of 2 by 2, four feet of 2 by 3, eight feet of 1 by 1, and a bunch of wood screws. I've also added a few strips of pipe insulation to protect my fingers. More on that in a moment.

The length I made it was determined by the space I had available, in this case, a little alcove around 48" wide. I could have made it shorter, but anything smaller would have resulted in some dead space, and with this I have room to add more dumbbells later.

I used the 2 by 6 for the sides, cut to about 36 inches in height, then cut notches in the side to insert and attach the steel stud. I didn't end up using the lower notch, as the lower rack was made a little differently.

I cut the notch so that the remaining width would be good for holding the dumbbell. I cut the studs to length, then bent one side of the stud over and flattened it out across the full length. This gives the stud significant strength to hold weight. I originally just had the steel stud, but added the 1 by 1 underneath on both the front and the back. I don't know if it makes much difference.

The upper rack is pretty much the perfect width for the dumbbells.

For the lower rack, I decided to make something a bit different because I didn't think the upper rack design would be strong enough to hold bigger dumbbells. It was a good decision, but I made one mistake, which I will get to in a minute.
You can see the notch I'd already cut earlier, but didn't end up using it with the new design.
I cut the 2 by 4 to the proper length, along with two sections of steel stud, again bending one edge over to provide some extra strength (in my mind, anyway), then screwed the stud to the short face of the 2 by 4.
If I were to do it again, I'd use a 2 by 6 instead of a 2 by 4, then rip maybe an inch off the 2 by 6. In its current form, this rack is about 3/4" two skinny to accommodate my hands as I place the dumbbell back on the rack. As a not-very-effective remedy to this, I added some pipe insulation along the length of the stud.
The racks are angled slightly towards the front to make it easier to pull the weight off the rack.

For the base, I cut the 2 by 3 to length, and screwed it to the front faces of both 2 by 6's for some added stability. Then cut the 2 by 2 to about 24" lengths, and screwed them to the insides of the 2 by 6's, at the very bottom. 

After all that, I'm left with a pretty nice weight rack that currently holds 230 pounds of weight. I could probably add two 50 lb dumbbells, maybe 60's as well, but I don't think I will ever need the 60s. There's also plenty of room on the top for 5's and 25's.
I was planning on painting it black, but I was so pleased with the results, I didn't get around to it. I will probably do that at some point.

The rack is very stable, seems to handle the current weight with ease. Sitting where it is, I don't have to worry about anyone bumping into it, so that helps.

As mentioned above, if I were to do anything differently, I'd rip a 2 by 6 down an inch, and attach the steel studs to that, and do that for both the upper and lower rack.

To build this, I used a chop saw, jig saw (to cut the notches, which you wouldn't need if you ripped the 2 by 6 and attached it as I did with the bottom rack, but if you have a chop saw, you likely have a jig saw, so never mind), tin snips to cut the studs, and a drill to fasten all screws.
There aren't a whole lot of cuts, so you could probably do them with a hand saw. I wouldn't want to do that many screws without a power drill, but maybe if I were younger I wouldn't mind.
It probably took me a good two or three hours to build, and cost me two steel studs, the rest I had already. 
Two steel studs, $9.
2 by 6, $4
2 by 4, $3
Screws, a few bucks.
So for around twenty bucks, I built a $300 rack.

I think that's about it. Now all the dumbbells sit out of the way when not in use, are easily accessible, and only occasionally crush one of my fingers when I'm returning a 40 pounder to the rack (not true, haven't done that yet, but I am careful).
If you have any questions, ask away. 

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