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  1. #1
    ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΙΚΟΣ chrislols's Avatar
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    Thumbs up How to make Gym quality affordable Dumbbells of any weight.

    Hey, I'm just posting here because I know a lot of you guys new or old are wondering what a good dumbbell set to get is, be it adjustable or otherwise for your home gym or such. So I'm going to show you step by step on how I made adjustable dumbbells that can work from up 5lbs or 120lbs without any problem.

    I'm hoping if you view this and don't like it you won't flame, but if you do like the idea that's great as I'm only trying to help. Although I have to give some credit to Boxertim for helping me out through the process.

    This is what the Dumbbell looks like as a 50lber sitting idle on my bench. http://i47.tinypic.com/2likm11.jpg If you're interested in how to make these for your home gym continue reading, if not thanks for looking .

    Now at first I could understand this looking like a regular spin lock dumbbell, but it's not really, and in my honest opinion it's much more nicer in terms of feel, and capacity than the old spin lock. In total after getting main supply's, it only cost me about $6.50 per handle with tax, and everything I post that I used can found in your local Hardware store, at first I checked Home Depot but couldn't find any of the major items needed, but I found them quite easily at Lowes.

    I'll be posting pictures of everything I used, and a closeup of the sticker on it, so you can see the dimensions for yourself in case you ever look into making one.

    http://i47.tinypic.com/1238uuq.jpg - Everything you'll need

    Step 1: The first part of 'Step 1' is to acquire all the items that you would need to make one handle. They're as followed

    (1) 3/4" by 1ft All threaded plated steel rod, this cost about $3.25 on average, although you could buy it as a 3ft pipe, right next to it was a rack with 12inchers. Beware of the problem with buying it in 3ft increments is you'll most likely need to get it cut, or have a reciprocating metal cutting saw at home. You can easily find which one is 3/4" because it's marked with a yellow paint at the end.
    http://i49.tinypic.com/xbwryv.jpg

    The second item you'll need is (2) 1" Steel Washers, they only cost about 30cents per

    The third and fourth item you'll need is a 3/4" steel hardened 'Spin Lock Washer' you can find them in a baggie of 2 for around $1.15, the second item are (2) Grade 5 3/4" Hex Nuts, they're about $1.15 each.
    http://i45.tinypic.com/ehdhki.jpg
    http://i49.tinypic.com/2dt6iad.jpg

    I found the threaded rod and the washers, split lock washers, and hex nuts all on the same aisle called 'Hardware'

    The fourth item you'll want to get is 'Stainless Steel HOLLOW Tube' from what I've seen it only comes in TEN foot increments, which is great, because it only cost about $2.15! Ten feet will last you for about TWENTY handles. On the price scan tag it says '10ft EMT' I found this on the next aisle called 'Electrical'. Cutting this was easy, I had a hand held 'pipe cutter' at home they only cost around 5$ for the average one. OR you could use a saw if you had it, which really only cost about 5$ anyway
    (Picture shown below during cutting process)

    The fifth item, all though optional was alsoon the electrical aisle next to the electrical tape which was 'Friction Tape' it's a sticky tape that's like normal tape but has knurling on it, so it feels like a real dumbbell, it only cost about $1 for a small roll, but it's optional in general.
    (Picture shown above in the item list)

    And of course the only thing you need after that is some standard plates which are relatively very cheap sold used because nobody really liked standard plates. Or you can buy them for around 10$ at a local store.

    Putting this altogether was quite easy.

    First you must CUT about 5.5 inches off of your hollow tube be it a saw, or a pipe cutter. After you cut it, it should fit pretty snug over the 12" threaded rod, which will act as a handle, if you prefer knurling tape, don't put it on yet.
    http://i45.tinypic.com/r8wmxd.jpg
    http://i47.tinypic.com/2dm6tn4.jpg
    http://i48.tinypic.com/dgs3kp.jpg

    After that, on both sides of the handle you have to put the 1" steel washer on, which will act as stopper from the weights sliding onto the handle, and it looks nice.
    http://i46.tinypic.com/2ebqq04.jpg

    Cutting the handle in a 5.5" length for me was a perfect length for a grip, and other store bought dumbbells are about that long, but if you want you can experiment. The 5.5" on top of the 12" rod, give you enough room to put about 3 plates on each side and leave enough room to put the hex nut on a good amount though it should not move at all, ever.

    Three plates are perfect for making most used weights, such as any low weight, and getting into bigger weights.


    After picking what 3 weights you want to put on, such as 2x 10 and a 5 on each side to make a 50lb. You'll than put on the split lock washers, and than a hex nut on each side.
    http://i48.tinypic.com/r29vde.jpg

    It was fairly easy to make it even, just put the hex nuts on and than push the weights against each other to make it tight, and than screw them on tight with your hand.
    http://i50.tinypic.com/23h9abp.jpg

    I was able to make these up to 100lbs so far with no problem at all, and it feels great on your hands and fits incredibly nice on any standard DB Rack.

    Picture of completed DB idling on bench, and fitting nicely on my rack.
    http://i47.tinypic.com/2likm11.jpg - Of course my weights are scruffy, but cleaner weights would make it look even nicer, if you're into making them pretty :P.

    http://i45.tinypic.com/2vj4ilc.jpg
    http://i48.tinypic.com/2s5xvzd.jpg

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to read this, and if you like it that's great I appreciate it, and if you have ANY questions at all feel free to post or PM me! Thanks Chris
    Last edited by chrislols; 12-16-2009 at 02:23 AM. Reason: title change
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  2. #2
    Banned skinnycalves's Avatar
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    Pretty Awesome, I will try it sometime.
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  3. #3
    Workin' Stabilizers Skidmarx's Avatar
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    very cool
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  4. #4
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Swamp Dog's Avatar
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    I will try this, this looks like a great idea!
    1 Corinthians 16:13
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  5. #5
    Registered User boxertim's Avatar
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    nice work chris....here is the link to the original thread....

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=1003751


    I used mine for a long time without any real trouble...they got loose on occasion but that happens to almost any dbell. A buddy of mine dripped crazy glue into the bolt threads to secure them from getting loose.

    i took mine apart after i scored a beautiful deal on hex dbells from 6-80.

    If i had it to do all over again I would buy spink lock dbells and cut them to length for each weight...this way you'd get the knurling.

    A great way to get dbells for cheap...until you find cheap ones on craigslist.


    Tim
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  6. #6
    Turtle Brah fitmember's Avatar
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    I wanna do this

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  7. #7
    Registered User Keetman's Avatar
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    Good idea. Nice work and nice creativity.



    BTW, this is not the type of thing one normally gets flamed for around here......this is called contributing!! You did not ask for the 5th time today what adjustable db's are available, you showed people a way to get er done. Huge difference.....good for you and thanks.
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  8. #8
    Equipment Geek Mod Wildtim's Avatar
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    I do believe I would just start collecting these to use if I ever decide to get something other than adjustable but good ghetto solution:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/4pcs-pro-style-d...item5ad58e8d29
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  9. #9
    ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΙΚΟΣ chrislols's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by boxertim View Post
    A buddy of mine dripped crazy glue into the bolt threads to secure them from getting loose.
    Yeah I was showing one of my buddys who owns a body shop, and he was telling me if I ever got an entire set of these made and if I wanted, he would weld the nuts to the rod.
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  10. #10
    Equipment Geek Mod Wildtim's Avatar
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    Why not just weld the whole construction together then you could have flat ended plates.
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  11. #11
    7 fun meals a day :D xephonics's Avatar
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    this nut might help also with the change time, to make it a more viable solution time-wise

    http://www.slip-onlocknut.com/

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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by boxertim View Post
    nice work chris....here is the link to the original thread....

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=1003751


    I used mine for a long time without any real trouble...they got loose on occasion but that happens to almost any dbell. A buddy of mine dripped crazy glue into the bolt threads to secure them from getting loose.

    i took mine apart after i scored a beautiful deal on hex dbells from 6-80.

    If i had it to do all over again I would buy spink lock dbells and cut them to length for each weight...this way you'd get the knurling.

    A great way to get dbells for cheap...until you find cheap ones on craigslist.

    Tim
    Would the lock on spinlocks be secure enough with it cut just flush to the end of the spinlock bar? I'd be worried of it loosening up a bit and falling off.
    Thanks,
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    Cool as.
    I bet you could polish these up and make a decent profit on Ebay or something too.

    I doubt I'll buy a dumbell set. When I do get round to making my home gym, I'll most likely build them.
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  14. #14
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    Great work and repped. This is contributing information.
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    repped and favorited
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    ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΙΚΟΣ chrislols's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Originally Posted by xephonics View Post
    this nut might help also with the change time, to make it a more viable solution time-wise
    Originally Posted by Buccaneer82 View Post
    Would the lock on spinlocks be secure enough with it cut just flush to the end of the spinlock bar? I'd be worried of it loosening up a bit and falling off.
    Thanks,

    That nut does seem like a pretty cool idea, can you buy them at a local hardware store or only from them direct?

    And thats one of the reasons I made these, I hated how just by gripping a spinlock they would start to loosen and the plates would than rattle.
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    7 fun meals a day :D xephonics's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chrislols View Post
    That nut does seem like a pretty cool idea, can you buy them at a local hardware store or only from them direct?

    And thats one of the reasons I made these, I hated how just by gripping a spinlock they would start to loosen and the plates would than rattle.
    I think it would be at home depot, there are used a good bit by electricians (as that is where we raided them from when I worked out at a power plant)
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  18. #18
    Equipment Geek Mod Wildtim's Avatar
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    I don't think home depot has those. you probably have to special order them.
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    great thread!
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    Originally Posted by chrislols View Post
    he would weld the nuts to the rod.
    You mean to tell me they don't come together???! Crap!
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    ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΙΚΟΣ chrislols's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Bump for the best dumbbells I ever used
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    great imagination and I am sure alot of people will enjoy making these. Way cheaper than anything else.
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    ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΙΚΟΣ chrislols's Avatar
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    One month bump for newbie users
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    Originally Posted by chrislols View Post
    One month bump for newbie users
    Thanks for bumping this. Very detailed instructions. Repped and saved!!
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    This thread says to use 3/4" rod and boxertim's thread says he used 1". Isn't the hole on a plate 1"? How do you keep the weights on straight and keep them from moving if you use 3/4"?
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  26. #26
    7 fun meals a day :D xephonics's Avatar
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    the pressure from the washers on both sides of the plates would keep them straight and relatively solid. I do think 1" rod would be better though, especially at higher weights.
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    Originally Posted by NoFro View Post
    This thread says to use 3/4" rod and boxertim's thread says he used 1". Isn't the hole on a plate 1"? How do you keep the weights on straight and keep them from moving if you use 3/4"?
    Some plates have a 1 1/8" hole. I agree with xephonics about the 1" rod, but I bet the 3/4" would be good too.
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  28. #28
    ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΙΚΟΣ chrislols's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NoFro View Post
    This thread says to use 3/4" rod and boxertim's thread says he used 1". Isn't the hole on a plate 1"? How do you keep the weights on straight and keep them from moving if you use 3/4"?
    When I talked to boxertim, if I re-call he confirmed that he also used a 3/4" rod. The plates are 100% still and never move, no matter how many times I've used them the nuts have never loosed at all. Xeponhics is right, the rod used for the handle is too large for the weight to slide onto it, and the pressure from the washer and nuts holds the plates still.

    Although I haven't experimented with different plates, I find the 'CAP' ones I've used are the best, because they look great, and are very cost effective, at say Walmart.

    I also imagine it'd be a bit difficult to fit a 1" diameter rod into 1" diameter hole!

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  29. #29
    Mod of Patience...lol cgc's Avatar
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    while I like the creativity of the idea...I could see myself stabbing myself in the legs with the bolt with heavier DBs bringing them back down from a lift...

    Great thinking though...
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  30. #30
    ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΙΚΟΣ chrislols's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chrislols View Post
    6 Week Bump for newbie users
    sdd
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