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  1. #1
    Registered User Oxidated's Avatar
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    Fabricating a Safety Squat Bar

    I live on a dark side of the Moon, so buying a legitimate SSB is not an option.
    I do have a metal worker who makes stuff for my gym like racks, benches and utility bars, but only when I provide him with precise measurements and drawings.

    From what I've read, the most popular SSBs are from Crepinsek, EliteFTS and Rogue.
    I'd really appreciate if someone with one of these bars could tell me the angle of the handles, and maybe some little things that may not be obvious in the pictures.

    I dug up this in an old post:
    My Crepinsek SSB has handles angled at around 30 degrees. The distance between the handles is 10". The length of the handles is 12".
    Does that sound about right?

    Since I'm the only one who's going to be using it I could tweak it to suit me.
    Does anyone have a suggestion what would be a good modification, or even a wrong direction to go to?

    Cheers.
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  2. #2
    Registered User rolotomassi's Avatar
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    I'm in the process of getting one fabricated as well. I have never used a quality SSB in person (Rogue, Crepinsek, Elitefts, BWTG) so all the information I gathered regarding measurements is from searching through various forums. But here is what I came up with:

    - The center bar 52"
    - Sleeves 16"
    - Length of handles 13"
    - Distance between the handles 12"
    - The angle of the handles 25 degrees
    - camber 4" center to center

    Show the fabricator a pic of the BWTG ssb. It's the easiest to replicate out of the 4 mentioned.

    Edit: check this out youtu dot be/OzfraVukQ7Q
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  3. #3
    Registered User rolotomassi's Avatar
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    Also, use schedule 80 pipe. It'll be cheaper than using solid cold rolled steel. Dean from BWTG uses schedule 80 pipe for his bars including his SSB.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Oxidated's Avatar
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    Thanks, mate.
    Those measurements seem about right. I'll do a mockup to see if 25 or 30 degrees for the handles works better.

    Here's a gallery of random SSBs for future reference.
    - imgur.com/a/xwQHa
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  5. #5
    Registered User questinable123's Avatar
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    Hi, im in the same boat as you both. But I think the “westside” style (with slightly angled short camber like Crepinsek or Elite) is a bad choice for a self-made bar. If you don’t know the actual manufacturer’s measurements, it’s easy to mess up the bar with wrong angles and camber length. At worst this improperly crafted SSB will be unbalanced, awkward and dangerous for neck/back.

    I suppose the best option is to craft a bar with large angle and long camber (like Watson or Powerlift). This is actually the original Hatfield’s/Hoogland’s design of SSB aka “Squat apparatus”. It’s odd that this design is really unconventional nowadays among manufacturers.

    When crafting a large-cambered SSB you cant make a big mistake. At worst you will get a padded cambered bar which is not bad by itself.

    I cant provide the exact measurements of any branded SSB of this design, but its something like this:
    1. Camber length about 6.5-7 inches or 16-18 centimeters
    2. Camber angle about 55-60 degrees, closer to 60 (the camber is almost pointing to the floor)
    3. The distance between the pads – you can choose any that fits you (about 1 ft, 25-30 centimeters). But excessive spacing is uncomfortable for sure. You just need to setup your neck comfortably between the pads.
    4. Pad thickness and density is also important because it affects the distance between your back and center of gravity of the bar. The optimal thickness for mentioned camber length imo is about 4-4.5 inches or 10-11 centimeters.
    5. The main idea is that COG of the bar approximately matches COG of the user’s body in the vertical dimension.

    I thinks its possible to make a really good and balanced SSB with these measurements. Maybe Richard can provide more detailed and accurate info because he has a real Watson bar which is very good.
    Last edited by questinable123; 09-07-2017 at 08:34 AM.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Oxidated's Avatar
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    I haven't thought much about camber length because I thought the angle of the handles makes the difference. Now I see that the two have to be matched more carefully.
    Wouldn't too much camber bring the center of gravity too far forward?

    Thanks for the input, it's just what I asked for.
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  7. #7
    Registered User gym62richard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by questinable123 View Post
    Hi, im in the same boat as you both. But I think the “westside” style (with slightly angled short camber like Crepinsek or Elite) is a bad choice for a self-made bar. If you don’t know the actual manufacturer’s measurements, it’s easy to mess up the bar with wrong angles and camber length. At worst this improperly crafted SSB will be unbalanced, awkward and dangerous for neck/back.

    I suppose the best option is to craft a bar with large angle and long camber (like Watson or Powerlift). This is actually the original Hatfield’s/Hoogland’s design of SSB aka “Squat apparatus”. It’s odd that this design is really unconventional nowadays among manufacturers.

    When crafting a large-cambered SSB you cant make a big mistake. At worst you will get a padded cambered bar which is not bad by itself.

    I cant provide the exact measurements of any branded SSB of this design, but its something like this:
    1. Camber length about 6.5-7 inches or 16-18 centimeters
    2. Camber angle about 55-60 degrees, closer to 60 (the camber is almost pointing to the floor)
    3. The distance between the pads – you can choose any that fits you (about 1 ft, 25-30 centimeters). But excessive spacing is uncomfortable for sure. You just need to setup your neck comfortably between the pads.
    4. Pad thickness and density is also important because it affects the distance between your back and center of gravity of the bar. The optimal thickness for mentioned camber length imo is about 4-4.5 inches or 10-11 centimeters.
    5. The main idea is that COG of the bar approximately matches COG of the user’s body in the vertical dimension.

    I thinks its possible to make a really good and balanced SSB with these measurements. Maybe Richard can provide more detailed and accurate info because he has a real Watson bar which is very good.
    Yes I have the Watson SSB, I'm very busy with work at present,, I'll take a few measurements and post them as soon as I have some free time.

    Originally Posted by Oxidated View Post
    I haven't thought much about camber length because I thought the angle of the handles makes the difference. Now I see that the two have to be matched more carefully.
    Wouldn't too much camber bring the center of gravity too far forward?

    Thanks for the input, it's just what I asked for.
    As soon as I have time I'll take some measurements of my Watson SSB, as questionable 123 has already said the Watson bar is closely based on the original Hatfield bar, I remember discussing the development of the bar with Nick Paing from Watson and Matt Bembridge from the Gym revolution who were both heavily involved with designing the bar. It was not an entirely straightforward process, as I understand it, getting the correct ratio of camber angle/length was not easy, and many prototype versions of the bar were fabricated before they found the right balance. I think they got it right, the weight is distributed more centrally than on some SSB's that I've used, so you don't feel as if you're being pushed too far forward.

    The main bar is 30mm solid bar, the Chrome sleeves are turned out of 49'5 mm solid bar, the weight of the bar is 30kg/66lb and it's 84" inches long. I will post the more important measurements once I get some free time to measure the bar.
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  8. #8
    Registered User LarryPendur's Avatar
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    I can tell you that the Titan SSB has 4" camber, 0° Offset, and there is 16" c-c between the handles.

    The 16" is definitely too wide for me. it rests the handles on the outer shoulder rather than hugging my neck.

    But the Offset and camber seem about right. I might eventually try to buy or fabricate a bar with even more camber. I am not convinced that there needs to be an angular offset, since IMO the goal is to get the weight more forward so that you can keep your body weight and torso more upright and back, keeping the CG over the center of the foot.

    But I am no expert. Just reporting how it feels.
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  9. #9
    Registered User gym62richard's Avatar
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    LOL, I think questionable 123 has already measured my Watson bar, his measurements are uncannily accurate. I've taken some measurements, but I'm no engineer and didn't have a protractor to hand. It's probably worth mentioning that Watson form the camber by bending the bar to form the camber.

    A correction to my earlier post, the overall length of the bar is 86", not 84".
    The straight portion of the bar is 52 1/4" between the start of the bend, the camber flares out to 54" at the point where the sleeves attach to the bottom of the camber.
    The camber is 8" long, from the centre point of the main bar to the centre of the weight sleeve.
    The distance between the handles is 10 12".
    The length of the shoulder pad is 7 1/2", the handle in front of the pad is 7".
    The padding is round and is 4 12" total thickness.
    As already mentioned I didn't have a protractor, but an offset of 60 degrees would be a reasonable estimate.
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  10. #10
    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LarryPendur View Post
    The 16" is definitely too wide for me.
    I couldn't stand the handles on Elite or Edge being 12" apart, had to custom pad the Edge bar just to make it feel comfortable. Ideally I would want the pads resting just outside my neck, like a 8-10" width or around there (inner edge of the padding). Someone needs to make a bar with adjustable length and width handles, would be a pretty cool feature that isn't offered by anyone.
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  11. #11
    Registered User LarryPendur's Avatar
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    When citing and comparing handle widths, we should probably be clear about whether it is the center-to-center distance of the bars, or the space between the bars, or the space between the bars that is left with the padding in place.

    Bars could have different thicknesses of padding to compensate for width a little. But the C-C distance is usually fixed (welded.)
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    Originally Posted by LarryPendur View Post
    When citing and comparing handle widths, we should probably be clear about whether it is the center-to-center distance of the bars, or the space between the bars, or the space between the bars that is left with the padding in place.

    Bars could have different thicknesses of padding to compensate for width a little. But the C-C distance is usually fixed (welded.)
    This is a very good point, on my Watson bar, 10 1/2" between the handles.

    11 3/4" centre to centre, where the handles are welded to the main bar.

    6 5/8 between the pads, however as the pads are round, the point where the bar makes contact is a little wider, for me pad sits very comfortably on the mid trap.
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  13. #13
    Registered User Oxidated's Avatar
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    Thanks all, I really appreciate the effort.
    I should be meeting with the fabricator this week. I'll try to convince him to make a trial version before final welding so I can test it.
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    The crepinsek is 13" centers and I found it uncomfortable... too wide

    Definitely agree with earlier posters regarding the center to center distance of the yoke. The crepsinek is 13" between centers and it really digs into my shoulders and is uncomfortable. I agree the closer to the neck is better which for me is 10" center to center.

    Does anyone have an adjustable SSB?

    Is the narrowest SSB the Watson?
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