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  1. #2161
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    I normally don't post much on here since many of the home gyms on this site are literally leagues apart from the simple, non-commercial grade equipment I have...However, a homemade thread is certainly up my alley. I've been looking for inspiration to finally get off my butt and get serious about improving my home gym. I bought all the mild and stainless steel needed for my planned weight room upgrades several years back, just need to start producing the parts one at a time until they're all done. It won't be a quick process, but I don't mind.

    Here is my latest addition to my 'Big box store' Chinese weight bench. A greatly improved lat pulldown attachment that replaces the 14ga cheap tubing setup from Impex. I bought this bench when I was 17 (20 years ago....YIKES!), and have started to replace each of the bench's main pieces with .120" and 3/16" wall tubing over the past 5 years. The pulldown's main guide tube is 2"x2"'.120" wall 304 stainless, but I had to rip down 2.5"x.120" wall 304 square tubing and make it into 2x2", so I could lengthen the main guide tube by 9". Mild steel 1.75"x.120 wall tubing is sleeved inside of the main guide tube where I spliced the stainless tubing together, and a stainless flange is welded to the end of the SS guide tube to act as a stop.


    The bushing material that glides against the guide tube is cut down 1/2" UHMW, and the steel plate loaded part is made from mostly flat bar in 1/4" thickness. Weight pegs are stainless 1"x .120" wall stainless.


    The top part that holds the pulleys is 4"x 2"'.120 wall steel tubing (I rounded and capped the ends), and 1/4" flat bar. I angled it up 2" so I get a full stretch at the top when doing pulldowns, and converted the single cable to dual, using 4 new pulleys from Ivanko (had the factory Impex cable break years ago). This setup is 8" taller than the Impex (super cheesy!) setup that never allowed for anywhere near a full stretch at the top. I'm also upgrading all fasteners to 1/2" grade 8 as I go...



    Everything was carefully planned around the "USA" stamping....after all, they DID take the time to stamp those letters in, right? They will be getting masked off and painted separately (perhaps in red, white, and blue???).


    I added 1/4" and 1/2" thick 304 stainless flat bar to the front leg of the bench to stiffen it up more when doing heavy pulldowns, and the flat bar is welded to some cut 2.5" stainless tubing. Leftover 1/2" horse stall mat in layers is my cushion for the weight stack. I made the plate storage brace years ago in order to stiffen the connection between the front leg of the bench and the backbone, as well as have additional plate storage. It also allowed me to add the handles under the seat so I have something to grip when doing leg extensions (different attachment...rarely used now).

    I still have to fab the benches main backbone from 2x3x3/16" wall tubing (Amazon special, 3 feet for $24 w/ prime shipping!!!), make the squat and calf raise attachment, and create the rear legs of the bench from some 3x3 x.120" stainless I have. Everything else has already been modded or scratch built on this bench. Then comes the fold up 3/4 rack and safety bars that I need to complete.....128 holes (1" diameter) that I need to accurately drill in stainless steel.....I've been putting that part of the project off since I HATE drilling stainless. Once everything is finished, I'll paint my steel parts, and polish the stainless and UHMW....unless I come up with a pattern for the bare stainless that I like better. I have several ideas.....

    Andy
    Missed this last time I checked out this thread, but this sounds impressive. Would like to see more pictures.
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  2. #2162
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    Originally Posted by JustTheDad View Post
    Missed this last time I checked out this thread, but this sounds impressive. Would like to see more pictures.
    Thanks, but it's not really what I'd call impressive. I just happen to be bored and have a lot of time on my hands. It would probably be much more impressive if I finished the entire project, and then took the time to actually paint all the bare metal parts so they looked nicer.

    I posted 5 pics in that last post and 4 were deleted/rejected the next day, so no clue what I'm doing wrong. Maybe it's a file size thing (???)....I'll attach a few more pics and see if they disappear or not...

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  3. #2163
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    Thanks, but it's not really what I'd call impressive. I just happen to be bored and have a lot of time on my hands. It would probably be much more impressive if I finished the entire project, and then took the time to actually paint all the bare metal parts so they looked nicer.

    I posted 5 pics in that last post and 4 were deleted/rejected the next day, so no clue what I'm doing wrong. Maybe it's a file size thing (???)....I'll attach a few more pics and see if they disappear or not...

    -Andy
    Andy, that's an impressive DIY upgrade!
    My son and I decided to learn to weld recently. Him because he's going to be studying aerospace engineering when he starts college and me because I wanted to be able to make some gym equipment and fixtures for the garage/workshop areas.

    This is the first significant metal gym project. My son did almost all of this one from the solidworks sketch to the welding. He's much better at TIG than I am, and easily as good on MIG. I just did some grinding and metal cutting. It's just Rust-Oleum primer on it because it's been too cold set up for 2k urethane outside. Otherwise they'd be the same blue as the plates, but they work well for suspension trainers. Next project will be a multi-grip pull up bar to go where the standard one is now.



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  4. #2164
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    Originally Posted by JustTheDad View Post
    Andy, that's an impressive DIY upgrade!
    My son and I decided to learn to weld recently. Him because he's going to be studying aerospace engineering when he starts college and me because I wanted to be able to make some gym equipment and fixtures for the garage/workshop areas.

    This is the first significant metal gym project. My son did almost all of this one from the solidworks sketch to the welding. He's much better at TIG than I am, and easily as good on MIG. I just did some grinding and metal cutting. It's just Rust-Oleum primer on it because it's been too cold set up for 2k urethane outside. Otherwise they'd be the same blue as the plates, but they work well for suspension trainers. Next project will be a multi-grip pull up bar to go where the standard one is now.



    Hey now, that's lookin' sharp! Nice job working with your son to get that done. It's cool he's more experienced at metal working and welding so you have someone good to learn from. I'm trying to get my dad to learn TIG, but he's getting older and blinder with jittery hands and screwed up fingers. Plus his go-to excuse is, "I don't want to break your fancy welder." I'm pretty sure I broke enough household items, tools in his shop, and parts on his cars from the time I was born to cover the cost of a silly TIG welder (and then some!). Dad's are so modest. Lol

    I've been working on getting my Titan squat rack going (it's been bolted down and ready to use for months!!!), I just didn't think building a pair 30" spotter arms, a pullup bar/crossmember combo, and a pair of adjustable length leverage arms would take this long. I still need to design and build the removable "stop" for the end of the spotter arms, and possibly polish some of the stainless on this project.

    Paint will come later as weather warms up. I did get the smallest project on my list done at least, the trigger roller....and it's even painted (Gasp!!!). I use it daily for the disc problem in my neck, works excellent! My GF got one too for Xmas, but I copied the original design that Sorinex sells since my version took a lot longer to build. If she bashes her head or continually runs into that attachment, I'll buy her a helmet and padding next Xmas. Haha









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  5. #2165
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    Originally Posted by JustTheDad View Post
    Andy, that's an impressive DIY upgrade!
    My son and I decided to learn to weld recently. Him because he's going to be studying aerospace engineering when he starts college and me because I wanted to be able to make some gym equipment and fixtures for the garage/workshop areas.

    This is the first significant metal gym project. My son did almost all of this one from the solidworks sketch to the welding. He's much better at TIG than I am, and easily as good on MIG. I just did some grinding and metal cutting. It's just Rust-Oleum primer on it because it's been too cold set up for 2k urethane outside. Otherwise they'd be the same blue as the plates, but they work well for suspension trainers. Next project will be a multi-grip pull up bar to go where the standard one is now.



    Nice work!
    I quote with pics. ()---() York Barbell Club #78 (DD) ()---()
    My gym walk thru: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?p=1629553623#post1629553623
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  6. #2166
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    Hey now, that's lookin' sharp! Nice job working with your son to get that done. It's cool he's more experienced at metal working and welding so you have someone good to learn from. I'm trying to get my dad to learn TIG, but he's getting older and blinder with jittery hands and screwed up fingers. Plus his go-to excuse is, "I don't want to break your fancy welder." I'm pretty sure I broke enough household items, tools in his shop, and parts on his cars from the time I was born to cover the cost of a silly TIG welder (and then some!). Dad's are so modest. Lol

    I've been working on getting my Titan squat rack going (it's been bolted down and ready to use for months!!!), I just didn't think building a pair 30" spotter arms, a pullup bar/crossmember combo, and a pair of adjustable length leverage arms would take this long. I still need to design and build the removable "stop" for the end of the spotter arms, and possibly polish some of the stainless on this project.

    Paint will come later as weather warms up. I did get the smallest project on my list done at least, the trigger roller....and it's even painted (Gasp!!!). I use it daily for the disc problem in my neck, works excellent! My GF got one too for Xmas, but I copied the original design that Sorinex sells since my version took a lot longer to build. If she bashes her head or continually runs into that attachment, I'll buy her a helmet and padding next Xmas. Haha









    Very nice!
    I quote with pics. ()---() York Barbell Club #78 (DD) ()---()
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  7. #2167
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    Hey now, that's lookin' sharp! Nice job working with your son to get that done. It's cool he's more experienced at metal working and welding so you have someone good to learn from. I'm trying to get my dad to learn TIG, but he's getting older and blinder with jittery hands and screwed up fingers. Plus his go-to excuse is, "I don't want to break your fancy welder." I'm pretty sure I broke enough household items, tools in his shop, and parts on his cars from the time I was born to cover the cost of a silly TIG welder (and then some!). Dad's are so modest. Lol

    I've been working on getting my Titan squat rack going (it's been bolted down and ready to use for months!!!), I just didn't think building a pair 30" spotter arms, a pullup bar/crossmember combo, and a pair of adjustable length leverage arms would take this long. I still need to design and build the removable "stop" for the end of the spotter arms, and possibly polish some of the stainless on this project.

    Paint will come later as weather warms up. I did get the smallest project on my list done at least, the trigger roller....and it's even painted (Gasp!!!). I use it daily for the disc problem in my neck, works excellent! My GF got one too for Xmas, but I copied the original design that Sorinex sells since my version took a lot longer to build. If she bashes her head or continually runs into that attachment, I'll buy her a helmet and padding next Xmas. Haha










    Nice work.
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    Very nice!
    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    Nice work.
    Thank you both for the compliments! I'm excited to get back in and finish these projects next week once life settles down for me.

    -Andy
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  9. #2169
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    I'm excited to get back in and finish these projects next week once life settles down for me.

    -Andy
    Your metal fabrication skills are clearly far past ours lol. That looks like professional level work!

    What are you cutting the metal with?
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    Originally Posted by JustTheDad View Post
    Your metal fabrication skills are clearly far past ours lol. That looks like professional level work!

    What are you cutting the metal with?
    Don't kid yourself, the quality of my work is the result of me having years of experience in metal fabrication, working full time in a fab shop for 7 years, and getting certified in various welding processes, starting in my late teens. The more time you put in, the better you become! Several severe health issues forced me to give up work, but I still like to "tinker around" at home on small projects from time to time. Sounds like that is your goal as well.

    As for equipment, I only use the best stuff available (LOL!!!). A 12" Delta bench top drill press, a variable speed drill, battery powered impact, a Milwaukee Sawzall and portable bandsaw, and various (bench top, angle, and die) grinders. Should be easy to see why I opted to buy the Titan squat rack for $270 (to my door) over buying raw steel and laying out/drilling hundreds of 5/8" holes that required a great deal of accuracy. Raw steel alone cost more than my Titan rack did shipped.

    Oh, I have a brand new 14" chop saw too, but I never use it due to the sparks and dust it creates. Same reason I TIG weld everything over stick or MIG welding. I can't throw sparks in my work area since my dad has a show car that he built and is storing in that same (small) shop. One day I dream of having a plasma cutter and a few more fancy tools (my TIG needs a water cooler and water torch...I keep destroying aircooled torches when welding heavy aluminum! Haha), but I manage alright with what I've got. It's all a process.

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  11. #2171
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    As for equipment, I only use the best stuff available (LOL!!!). A 12" Delta bench top drill press, a variable speed drill, battery powered impact, a Milwaukee Sawzall and portable bandsaw, and various (bench top, angle, and die) grinders. Should be easy to see why I opted to buy the Titan squat rack for $270 (to my door) over buying raw steel and laying out/drilling hundreds of 5/8" holes that required a great deal of accuracy. Raw steel alone cost more than my Titan rack did shipped.

    Oh, I have a brand new 14" chop saw too, but I never use it due to the sparks and dust it creates. Same reason I TIG weld everything over stick or MIG welding. I can't throw sparks in my work area since my dad has a show car that he built and is storing in that same (small) shop. One day I dream of having a plasma cutter and a few more fancy tools (my TIG needs a water cooler and water torch...I keep destroying aircooled torches when welding heavy aluminum! Haha), but I manage alright with what I've got. It's all a process.

    -Andy
    Even more impressive. I thought you had access to a plasma cnc or a water jet cutter.
    There's a video somewhere on youtube (probably several ) about a guy who used a 5 gallon bucket of water and a $15 fish tank pump to create a water cooler for his torch and it worked really well. I saw other videos where people used the type of pump that is in Miller and Lincoln and other commercial coolers. Those pumps cost significantly more, but they're available on ebay. It looked like a fun project for well under $100, and might be worth the time if you are welding a lot of aluminum. I haven't tried aluminum yet, just steel. In the fancier DIY cooler, I think they put a copper coil in line with the pump's fan to act as a cooler, but the small bucket and fish tank pump only warmed up 1 or 2 degrees after several minutes of welding, so that with a cold pack would probably let you weld a couple of hours.
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    Originally Posted by JustTheDad View Post
    Even more impressive. I thought you had access to a plasma cnc or a water jet cutter.
    There's a video somewhere on youtube (probably several ) about a guy who used a 5 gallon bucket of water and a $15 fish tank pump to create a water cooler for his torch and it worked really well. I saw other videos where people used the type of pump that is in Miller and Lincoln and other commercial coolers. Those pumps cost significantly more, but they're available on ebay. It looked like a fun project for well under $100, and might be worth the time if you are welding a lot of aluminum. I haven't tried aluminum yet, just steel. In the fancier DIY cooler, I think they put a copper coil in line with the pump's fan to act as a cooler, but the small bucket and fish tank pump only warmed up 1 or 2 degrees after several minutes of welding, so that with a cold pack would probably let you weld a couple of hours.
    I appreciate the compliment, but I think the words "Even more impressive" should be changed to, "Even more time consuming!" Lol.

    Thanks for the idea. I actually had most of the parts gathered years ago for a homemade water cooler for the TIG.....An aluminum kitchen stock pot and lid that I was going to weld together along with some fittings for supply and return, and an automatic transmission cooler with electric cooling fan setup to dissipate the heat. Just needed a pump. Sounded like a great idea until my friend mentioned that he did a similar cooler for his TIG, then added a nice CK $300+ torch to his machine. He even used the proper pump from soda machines (Procon, if I recall???) that name brand coolers use.

    He went to weld a project one day and forgot to turn the cooler on... burned up his brand new torch. After adding the cost of the burnt up torch, and the $250+ in parts for his home cooler, I think he figured out that he was only a few hundred bucks shy of buying new Miller water cooler that required no engineering or assembly...

    Then again, I AM cheap, so I may resort to the homemade unit eventually. I'd probably go the "less than $100" route and not buy the expensive torch from CK! Of course I haven't been welding aluminum lately, and nothing is cheaper than free. Haha
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    I appreciate the compliment, but I think the words "Even more impressive" should be changed to, "Even more time consuming!" Lol.

    Thanks for the idea. I actually had most of the parts gathered years ago for a homemade water cooler for the TIG.....An aluminum kitchen stock pot and lid that I was going to weld together along with some fittings for supply and return, and an automatic transmission cooler with electric cooling fan setup to dissipate the heat. Just needed a pump. Sounded like a great idea until my friend mentioned that he did a similar cooler for his TIG, then added a nice CK $300+ torch to his machine. He even used the proper pump from soda machines (Procon, if I recall???) that name brand coolers use.

    He went to weld a project one day and forgot to turn the cooler on... burned up his brand new torch. After adding the cost of the burnt up torch, and the $250+ in parts for his home cooler, I think he figured out that he was only a few hundred bucks shy of buying new Miller water cooler that required no engineering or assembly...

    Then again, I AM cheap, so I may resort to the homemade unit eventually. I'd probably go the "less than $100" route and not buy the expensive torch from CK! Of course I haven't been welding aluminum lately, and nothing is cheaper than free. Haha
    Ouch! Painful mistake.
    Is there a switched outlet on the back of your TIG welder? That might solve it. Otherwise, a big old DPST switch at the wall that turned on both the pump and the welder would work. I'm not a fan of only switching half of a 240V outlet, but it's reasonable if you remember to turn off the machine's power switch too. Just throwing out ideas. I got a used Dynasty and cooler from a NASCAR team at a steal of a price, so I never went DIY on the cooler. Case of us having WAY more machine than we deserve given our skills.

    My son bought some 1" schedule 40 pipe to make a multi grip bar yesterday. That should be fun.
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    Originally Posted by JustTheDad View Post
    Ouch! Painful mistake.
    Is there a switched outlet on the back of your TIG welder? That might solve it. Otherwise, a big old DPST switch at the wall that turned on both the pump and the welder would work. I'm not a fan of only switching half of a 240V outlet, but it's reasonable if you remember to turn off the machine's power switch too. Just throwing out ideas. I got a used Dynasty and cooler from a NASCAR team at a steal of a price, so I never went DIY on the cooler. Case of us having WAY more machine than we deserve given our skills.

    My son bought some 1" schedule 40 pipe to make a multi grip bar yesterday. That should be fun.
    That's what I said about his torch too! Haha. "OUCH!!!"

    There is no switched outlet on the back of my welder. I don't plan on messing with any half-a$$ed setups or trying to "rig" something together, I'll wait until I can buy the matching water cooler for my welder. I've only overheated 3 ($14/200 amp) torches in 6 years and they were pushed to the max while welding 1/2" aluminum plate or thicker (or heavy aluminum castings). I knew I was pushing things too far, especially as I was disassembling the torch every 10 minutes and placing it in front of a fan to cool it down quicker. Half the time I have to preheat those thicker parts with a torch AND weld them while they're on a hot plate...So everything tends to get "toasty", not just the torch.

    Anyway, cool that you were able to get such a nice TIG unit for a good price. It should last you forever. As for buying more than you need, that's not a bad thing. You'll grow into it and the more you learn, the better you get, the more that welder will pay for itself. Gaining skill just takes seat time. Screwing up is due to a lack of experience, and the only way to gain experience is through years of screwing up. At least that's what the journeyman I served my apprenticeship under always told me. Lol

    Post pics of your next project. I've been wanting to build a multi-grip myself, but all these other projects keep getting in the way! Haha.

    Pics attached are the homemade (hillbilly/pandemic) pulldown setup that I made for the GF's weight bench last November (B-day present). The receiver pocket w/handle bolted to the bench is some scrap tubing that I ripped down and sized to the upright material. Upright material is 80" of leftover 14 gauge 2x2" tubing from an old Cap squat rack, with 1/2" holes spaced 2" apart.

    I was dumb enough to machine an adapter that allowed me to use a hole saw to enlarge each of the (76) 1/2" holes to 1" diameter in the upright material. Sleeves of 1"x.120 DOM tubing were TIG welded into place using a fixture I made (to ensure evenly spaced holes). I skinned the sides of the upright with 14ga Stainless strips. Trigger roller shown is the one I mentioned building in the above post. It's just a direct copy of Sorinex's design, nothing fancy like the fold up version I made for myself. Most importantly, my sweetie was thrilled due to the fact she can do pressdowns and various forms of pulldowns using bands and this attachment. The trigger roller helps with her Sciatica pain too. Win/win....





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