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Old 01-19-2008, 04:53 PM   #1
Patrick Donnelly
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Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

I'm just brainstorming at the moment, and could use some commentary from anyone with the know-how.

Requirements:
- must be able to support 4 people, kipping
- must be able to be disassembled (for storage when I go to college)
- must remain firm on the ground while in use, without being bolted down or buried in
- must be suitable for outdoor use


Plan A:
A square apparatus, built using 1" pipe. Each corner will have a 60# concrete base, in the shape of a tapering cylinder (approx. 11" diameter base, 9" diameter top, 11" tall). Each concrete base will have a flange screwed in it, with an 8' length of pipe coming up. All four pipe lengths would be connected with T's (or Y's if I can find them) and 5' lengths.
Issues:
- Would 4 people be able to kip without kicking each other on a 5x5' square? What if they faced outward instead of in?
- Would the bases shift around? I have a feeling they would without any additional cross supports near the ground. All they have connecting them are the pull-up bars themselves. How could the concrete bases be connected without putting something that would either get in the way of kipping, or get in the way of landing on the ground?

Plan B:
A rectangle apparatus, 4' wide by 7' long. Two people would be on each 7' long part. Once again, it would have 4 concrete bases, though there would be an additional pipe spanning the 4' sides (for a total of 2 on each side), which would provide a bit more structure. Possibly, additional pipe could be set in the concrete bases to make each of the 4' sides into a squat rack too, of a set height.
Issues:
- Is 4' a big enough space for people to not kick each other? What if they face outward?
- Is a 7' bar strong enough to support the weight of two people, with the midline of each person located ~2' away from the end of the pipe? (Remember, there will be ~5" of pipe that is directly over the concrete base, assuming the flange goes in the middle of the top of the concrete.) If the bar is not strong enough, what if it were filled with sand, and had the insides sealed off? A non-compressible fluid would disperse the pressure throughout the whole bar.

Plan C:
Same as B, but add two additional concrete bases at the midpoint of the pipe (for a total of 6 bases), which would form two 4x3.5' rectangles, joined along a 4' edge, with people kipping on the 3.5' parts.
Issues:
Price and construction time. Hahah.


General Issues:
- I was looking at pipe at Home Depot today, and the costs didn't seem too bad. However, I noticed the gray pipe (galvanized) was 50% more expensive than the black pipe. I know the galvanized is used for water utilities (whereas black is gas) because the zinc coating waterproofs it, but is there any difference in the strength? Assuming the strength is the same, or at least sufficient in both cases, how would one go about rust-proofing black pipe?
- What would be the best way to secure a flange? I know there are concrete screws, but concrete itself has a tendency to deteriorate (or have small cracks, haha) when roughly shaken by something like kipping. Could a 4x4x11" of lumber be put in the concrete while it is poured, allowing for a wooden place to screw in the flange? Another option is to use pipe. Either a 1" piece of pipe could be left protruding, and left to be attached to an upright by using a union, or a 1.25" each piece could be used, which would actually allow the 1" pipe to fit inside, sliding all the way down concrete base, and be secured there through some other means which I have not yet devised.
- The pipe diameter used for the bar will definitely be 1". A quarter inch in either direction made it feel very awkward for gripping. However, there is the possibility of using 1.5" for upright and horizontal supports, assuming there is some way to taper them to 1" for the bars, and that they don't cost way too much. With lumber, ever extra inch gets exponentially more expensive; I don't know if it's the same way with pipe. (Probably not, since lumber costs more since a larger tree must be found and cut down and found to have good wood... Pipe doesn't grow on trees.)



I think things through too much...

Last edited by Patrick Donnelly; 01-19-2008 at 04:57 PM..
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:27 PM   #2
Kirez Reynolds
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

Patrick, I built to very similar specs, here's the thread I made:

http://board.crossfit.com/showthread...s+pull-up+bars

You can see images here: http://faustin.livejournal.com/274463.html

My bars are not bolted down, and would NOT tolerate kipping from 4 people --- they barely tolerate my kipping (I weigh 195 pounds). But yes -- 4 bars, so 4 people could use it simultaneously. At 43.3" per bar, we'd have enough room even for kipping.

Right now I've got 4 small, ratty pieces of plywood sitting under each post, to protect the tile floor. I plan to put 1' square pieces of good plywood with 3" high blocks screwed & glued to the center, inserted in the pipes, with something like caulking around these 'posts' to snug them to the pipes, to use as superior padding and give more support against violent kipping.

I also used 2" GI pipe, rather than 1", but I'm not sure, maybe 1" will be fine. My bar width at the top is 110 cm = 43.3 inches, so your 5-foot span will be much bigger. With that bigger base, you'll have greater stability, it may be sufficient. (I'm using my bars indoors, and demand portability, so no cement blocks for me!)

Anyway, good luck, and let us know how your project turns out!
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:05 PM   #3
Patrick Donnelly
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

I've been doing some further research:
1. It seems a lot of monkey bars use 1.25" pipes, and they seem pretty good, so I may decide to go with them. It'll take some more feel work at Home Depot.
2. It seems galvanized pipe is just as strong as black pipe, only water proof. So, maybe some sort of exterior paint or other rust-preventer would do the trick for that. Any suggestions?

Also, I'm feeling a bit more confident in "Plan A" after remembering the pull-up bar at my high school track. It has five bars, all in a row, made from what seems to be 1.5" pipe (rusted over), dug into the ground and held with concrete. The middle bar is ~9' high, on either side is a ~7.5', and on the ends are short ~6' ones. It isn't great for kipping, since the bar is so thick, but it swings very little when you do. With a little support in the directional axis perpendicular to the bar, mine should be fine.

However, the space for "Plan A" is still an issue. From looking at videos, most people have pretty conservative kips, but there are a few people with just outrageous ones... However, I suppose if you had to maximize the use of the space inside the square, you could simply have each person do their pull-ups near the left side of each person's bar, rather than the middle. (If you don't understand the reasoning to this, just picture it with an above view for a moment, and it quickly makes sense.) I could hang rings on the right side of each.

Re: Kirez
Yeah, the concrete blocks should help a lot for the anchoring. If you want to pin your pull-up bar down a bit tighter, give each post a large plywood "foot," and plop a sandbag or two on each. They'd be a bit easier to work with than cement, I think, and they wouldn't ruin your tiles (especially sitting on top of plywood).
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:49 AM   #4
Carlos Cristan
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

I have galvanized pipe on the underside of the eave of my garage and its outdoors and I've had no problem with rust or anything. My pipe is 1" and its ideal for me. I'm not sure I would want to kip an anything bigger than the 1 inch pipe. If anything id go with 3/4". I think that when you buy galvanized pipe the size refers to the inside dimension of the pipe which means a 1" pipe actually is 1 + some on the outer dimension.
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:59 AM   #5
Carlos Cristan
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

Im actually thinking about doing the same thing, except I want to make it with 4 4" x 4" x 12' corner posts. The dimensions are going to be 3' x 5'. On one of the 3' sides will be a pullup station with a 1" galvanized pipe and the other side a pullup station with a 3/4" galvanized pipe for people with different preferences. In the center across the top will be some supports going across approximately 20 in apart through which i'll drill some eyebolts for a ring station. Maybe increase the outer dimensions a couple of feet and put two ring stations in. Not sure yet. Good luck with yours, I'll let you know how mine goes. I've already bought some of the equipment to get started. Just need to get the lumber and a circular saw, a square, and a level.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:38 AM   #6
Kirez Reynolds
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

Rings: I don't understand where you're putting those eyebolts. Why not simply loop, tie, or ring the ring straps over the bars? Eyebolts are far from ideal for holding straps. Perhaps you mean large eyebolts, > 1".

If you've got multiple bars and you can clip your ring straps onto the bars (or strap or tie or ring, as I said), you can add as many ring stations as you have bars.

* * * *

I used GI pipe on my bars. My wife uses the 1" pipe; she's tiny, but probably bigger than I was when I was a kid, and used the flat edge of the roof, and never knew the difference. I use the 1.5" and 2" pipes. For kipping also. Really works the grip.

When I move to 1" pipe, I'm that much stronger. To each his own.

(If you really want to work grip, a pipe that spins. Nothing but force exerted through the tips of your fingers, a pinch move, holds you up.)

Grip is useful for some things.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:43 AM   #7
Patrick Donnelly
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

Re: Kirez
I have a spinning bar, though I rarely use it... It's a 2" thick piece of PVC pipe suspended in two small loops made of climbing webbing. It's strong, and spins freely.
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Old 01-26-2008, 12:04 PM   #8
Carlos Cristan
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirez Reynolds View Post
Rings: I don't understand where you're putting those eyebolts. Why not simply loop, tie, or ring the ring straps over the bars? Eyebolts are far from ideal for holding straps. Perhaps you mean large eyebolts, > 1".

If you've got multiple bars and you can clip your ring straps onto the bars (or strap or tie or ring, as I said), you can add as many ring stations as you have bars.

* * * *

I used GI pipe on my bars. My wife uses the 1" pipe; she's tiny, but probably bigger than I was when I was a kid, and used the flat edge of the roof, and never knew the difference. I use the 1.5" and 2" pipes. For kipping also. Really works the grip.

When I move to 1" pipe, I'm that much stronger. To each his own.

(If you really want to work grip, a pipe that spins. Nothing but force exerted through the tips of your fingers, a pinch move, holds you up.)

Grip is useful for some things.
Im still planning and trying to get some ideas and I am a novice crossfitter so could you be more specific and explain to me why the eyebolts coming out of a 2 x 6 wood frome with a carribeaner is less than ideal. I can't do MU's yet and mostly sub ring PU's and dips for most MU work and the straps do have a tendency to slide on the bar when I do multiple PU's or dips just a little. Also I haven't found a place to hang my rings that wouldn't involve either hitting my head on a ceiling or a bar. The structure I plan on building will have two 2 x 4's crossmembers the eye bolts will be attached to approximately 20 inches apart which is the official space between rings required ( approximately) and will be open spaced so that at the top of the muscle up your head and upper body will pass through the two support depending on how tall you are. I have seen numerous pics via these forums where rings are attached to carribeaners or eye bolts from someones ceiling.
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Old 01-26-2008, 02:56 PM   #9
David Sailor
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

Carlos,

I'm looking forward to your progress, I am thinking of something along the same lines.

I'm thinking of making a 4' x 6' station with 10' 6"x6" corner posts. 1" OD pipe all the way around. On the 4' ends, the pipe will be about 7 1/2' off the ground for pullups. I'm hoping by putting the pullups on the ends, it will help eliminate movement. On the 6' side, that pipe will be 10' up to hang rings from. The other side is going to be close to a fairly high 6' stone wall which is a support for the hill behind it. This is to be in my driveway. If need be, I can anchor it by running some pipe to the hill and pouring a few bags of concrete for attachment. I would prefer that it be freestanding, though, for flexibility as long as it's stable for kipping. David
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Old 02-01-2008, 06:46 AM   #10
Patrick Donnelly
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Re: Planning a Freestanding Pull-up Bar for 4

I'm going to start buying stuff today.

I've decided to go with the 5x5' square shape, taking my own advice on adding plywood feet weighed down with sand. Concrete blocks would be more difficult to work with, more expensive, and lighter than 2x50# bags of sand.
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