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  1. #1
    Registered User randomcrash's Avatar
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    DIY racks and cables

    Anyone got any good pics of DIY racks and cable setups?

    I am thinking about getting some 7' pieces of 2"x2" steel tube with 1/8" wall and making a rack with rough dimensions 3'x4'x7' that makes all 12 edges of a box outline minus 1 edge at the bottom. I have a garage full of metal working tools, but i suck at welding and sold the welder i had. I thought about making some triangle brackets from 3/16"or maybe even 1/4" steel to hold it all together. Have a pullup bar with different grip options. Then do pin and tube safeties and pegs.

    For the cable setup i plan to have a high, mid, and low pulley setup using mountain climbing rope. The weight will be a dumbbell (i have those 20" monster dumbbells that can hold a lot of plates) with a rope with a loop on each end looped over each end of the dumbbell.

    Basically i want ideas on how to stabilize the pulley weight, and ideas to get more functionality. Like a way to work my legs more would be nice. I can never follow workout programs exactly because i can't do leg curls or extensions now. I also like doing cable crossovers but i don't see a way to make it work in a rack/pulley setup. I have limited space in my home gym.

    I can buy all the steel locally which saves shipping and it is cost effective over buying a commercial setup, plus i get to make it exactly what i want.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Mech6's Avatar
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    All my stuff is DIY.
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  3. #3
    Registered User gym62richard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mech6 View Post
    All my stuff is DIY.
    Lol, but you have a welding mask.
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  4. #4
    Registered User randomcrash's Avatar
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    Welding is often unnecessary. It occurred to me that I can save time, money, and effort by doing the top and bottom supports with wood. I would use a thin sheet of rubber between the wood and metal for a stronger joint after bolting together. I got a quote from the local steel supply for the 11 gauge 2"x2"x7' tubes for $40 a piece. After hardware, pulleys, rope, wood, and some more galvanized pipe I should be under $300. I think I'll just build my best guess and if I don't like it I can easily and cheaply replace the wood to change the footprint and pulley setups. If I did it all metal, then prototyping would be cost prohibitive.
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  5. #5
    Registered User irongrandpa's Avatar
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    If you're patient you can find a good used commercial rack or 1/2 rack for $300 - $500. I wouldn't want to invest $300 into a DIY rack unless it would be equal to a very nice commercial piece.
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  6. #6
    Registered User randomcrash's Avatar
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    I ended up spending $30 at ace hardware. I got 2 nice pulleys and some 550 paracord. Using my squat stand, i tied one pulley to the bottom crossbar, and the other pulley is tied around an ez curl bar on top of the rack. The pulleys are about a third of the way in, on opposite sides, so the dumbbell weight doesn't hit any cables. It is pretty solid, no wobbles or clanging.

    I can do side/front raises, flyes, reverse flyes, one arm pullovers, one arm seated row, leg curls, and more, but I'd just want to do these with the cable setup. With just using the top pulley, i can do cable crunches, and one arm incline rows, which is pretty good.

    Eventually I'll get a rack and legit cable setup but this works great for now.
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  7. #7
    Registered User TheShadowMan's Avatar
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    For mine I went a different route. My cable system is detachable, and simple to make really. I hang a U-bolt over the neutral grips of my pull up bar, a pulley with a cable which has ends looped and crimped into an eyelet in it, attach carabiners to the looped ends, and it's ready for attachments. Setting the cable system up was inexpensive, I already had a pull up bar so I didn't need to buy that. The whole project ran me under $100, all I had to do was find eyelets, cable, mountaineering pulleys(fusion brand) & carabiners(favofit brand). Getting the attachments for the cable setup, like bars, ropes, handles, loading pin(I recommend the Ironmind, the olympic version of these is rated for 6600lbs), that's where it started getting expensive(I went with Troy for those). Now, as for the issue of cable crossovers, unfortunately that's going to be a bit of a challenge. Basically you can either do one arm at a time and switch sides each set, make another cable system on another pullup bar parallel to the one you use now, or you could try something with bands. Bands will be the cheapest method, but not much options for progressive overload there. Personally i'd just do one armed crossovers and switch arms each set, if you're low on space because a full two ended cable cross setup takes a ton of space.
    Last edited by TheShadowMan; 01-11-2020 at 02:23 PM.
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  8. #8
    Registered User randomcrash's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TheShadowMan View Post
    For mine I went a different route. My cable system is detachable, and simple to make really. I hang a U-bolt over the neutral grips of my pull up bar, a pulley with a cable which has ends looped and crimped into an eyelet in it, attach carabiners to the looped ends, and it's ready for attachments. Setting the cable system up was inexpensive, I already had a pull up bar so I didn't need to buy that. The whole project ran me under $100, all I had to do was find eyelets, cable, mountaineering pulleys(fusion brand) & carabiners(favofit brand). Getting the attachments for the cable setup, like bars, ropes, handles, loading pin(I recommend the Ironmind, the olympic version of these is rated for 6600lbs), that's where it started getting expensive(I went with Troy for those). Now, as for the issue of cable crossovers, unfortunately that's going to be a bit of a challenge. Basically you can either do one arm at a time and switch sides each set, make another cable system on another pullup bar parallel to the one you use now, or you could try something with bands. Bands will be the cheapest method, but not much options for progressive overload there. Personally i'd just do one armed crossovers and switch arms each set, if you're low on space because a full two ended cable cross setup takes a ton of space.
    I do have a pullup bar in my garage. I saw the Scooby video where he put a pulley setup on his bar. I just felt a low pulley would be more useful for the exercises i want to do on a cable (mainly shoulder and pec isolations, and having a leg curl would be nice). I lay on the floor to do chest exercises. I may still put one on my bar, but then I'd have to pull the car out whenever i use it. My garage is pretty limited on space due to work bench on one side and shelves on the other. I am the only guy in my neighborhood that parks two cars in his garage lol.
    Last edited by randomcrash; 01-11-2020 at 04:48 PM.
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  9. #9
    Registered User smokinHawk's Avatar
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    Here is my DIY cable pulley I did.
    Took me 3 weeks to design and build it.
    It's made not to take up much space. It is right against my stair case in the basement so it hardly takes up any usable space
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  10. #10
    Registered User TheShadowMan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smokinHawk View Post
    Here is my DIY cable pulley I did.
    Took me 3 weeks to design and build it.
    It's made not to take up much space. It is right against my stair case in the basement so it hardly takes up any usable space
    Very professional looking, I like the (what looks like)vertical adjustability of it. Looks easy to use. What kind of weight capacity does it have?
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  11. #11
    Registered User randomcrash's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smokinHawk View Post
    Here is my DIY cable pulley I did.
    Took me 3 weeks to design and build it.
    It's made not to take up much space. It is right against my stair case in the basement so it hardly takes up any usable space
    Wow, that looks nice!
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  12. #12
    Registered User smokinHawk's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TheShadowMan View Post
    Very professional looking, I like the (what looks like)vertical adjustability of it. Looks easy to use. What kind of weight capacity does it have?
    Yes adjustable dual cable pulley
    It's a 200lb stack with a 1:2 ratio.
    I about wish I would have made it 4:1 since I usually go light with my shoulder rehab work with it. I don't really need much weight.
    Though the cable pull length is long enough for me though.
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  13. #13
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by randomcrash View Post
    Welding is often unnecessary. It occurred to me that I can save time, money, and effort by doing the top and bottom supports with wood. I would use a thin sheet of rubber between the wood and metal for a stronger joint after bolting together. I got a quote from the local steel supply for the 11 gauge 2"x2"x7' tubes for $40 a piece. After hardware, pulleys, rope, wood, and some more galvanized pipe I should be under $300. I think I'll just build my best guess and if I don't like it I can easily and cheaply replace the wood to change the footprint and pulley setups. If I did it all metal, then prototyping would be cost prohibitive.
    You can do the whole rack out of wood if you want. It'll work fine.
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  14. #14
    Registered User randomcrash's Avatar
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    I can't post a link to my cable setup because i don't have 50 posts. It us cheap looking, but simple smooth and effective. Today was upper day and I used it for first time today. After my 4 compounds, i did my 3 isolations, 2 of which i used cables. I did chest flyes and side raises using the cables. The difference between dumbbell and cables is huge. The flyes i used about a third of the weight and felt it in the middle of the chest a lot more and a lot less stress on the shoulder. I like it a lot. And the side raises had much better engagement throughout the exercise. Next upper day I'll try it with reverse flyes and start doing face pulls. I bought an ankle cuff today and tried it for leg curls and I'll start doing those on lower days.
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    I made a double half rack and a dip attachment

    I don’t have enough posts (1 of 50) to attach pictures yet. But I had a friend that got me started welding and helped quite a bit on my rack.
    Like the Title says I made a double half rack with safeties and much later a dip attachment. I didn’t really see anything I wanted at the time (I like Rep’s Double Half Rack now) so I came up with the design (quit a bit of copying.) I did all the cutting myself and I eventually did quit a bit of the welding. Drilling all the holes in the uprights was the hardest job of all, it was very tedious.
    I really enjoy the “fabrication” and was considering some more projects.
    You can search my user name on the Exodus Strength website and I have the picture posted there.
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  16. #16
    Registered User randomcrash's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 220Eric View Post
    I don’t have enough posts (1 of 50) to attach pictures yet. But I had a friend that got me started welding and helped quite a bit on my rack.
    Like the Title says I made a double half rack with safeties and much later a dip attachment. I didn’t really see anything I wanted at the time (I like Rep’s Double Half Rack now) so I came up with the design (quit a bit of copying.) I did all the cutting myself and I eventually did quit a bit of the welding. Drilling all the holes in the uprights was the hardest job of all, it was very tedious.
    I really enjoy the “fabrication” and was considering some more projects.
    You can search my user name on the Exodus Strength website and I have the picture posted there.
    I found your thread, that looks nice! I can't decide if I'll build or buy a rack. For now what I have works okay. I will keep an eye on classifieds like craigslist and if time goes on long enough and I can't find a good used rack then I will build.
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    I welded some pieces I had and made a glute ham raise. I wouldn't do a metal power rack with my current skill level of metal working. More so because of the nature of repetitive holes than squaring up the rig and having solid welds. My flat bench I made out of wood and it holds over 1000 pounds. Not sure how much it would hold because I basically ran out of plates aside from some 5s and maybe some standard 10s. Going to do some more equipment making videos in the future. Got a 12 inch miter saw for wood based projects. I want to get a metal cutting band saw but that is a ways off while I clear up some debt. But if you have a strong enough desire you can make your equipment.
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