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  1. #1
    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    What type of cement to buy to make my own dumbbells? (100k reps)

    I want to make my own dumbbbells since the gym is closed and i'm on a budget.

    I saw youtube tutorials and they used cement. Now i went to the store and saw they have different types of cement. Sand cement mix and instant cement. The sand cement mix was only $2 for a 55 lbs bag which is a great price.
    However the instant cement cost $8 per 45 lb bag. This is a lot pricer if i want to make multiple dumbbells.

    Question 1: What cement type is the best to use to make dumbbells? I need the cement to become rock solid. Can that be done with a sand-cement mix or is that too soft when it dries up?

    Question 2: Will adding small rocks inside the cement mix, make the ''weights'' heavier? I can buy a 55 lbs bag of small rocks. So i figured if i add it in the cement mix, it might become heavier and i can save on cement.



    Question 3: How heavy will a 45 lbs bag of cement be once mixed up? Will it still be 45 lbs when the entire bag is used up? I'm hoping to make 66 lbs dumbbells.

    I'm trying to make something that looks like this:



    Final question: Can i use a regular hand saw (used for cutting wood), to saw through this galvanized steel
    pipe? The store wouldn't cut it for me.



    Will rep everyone who gives advice.
    Last edited by backinthegymbro; 03-26-2020 at 07:58 AM.
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  2. #2
    Segabrah devin45k's Avatar
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    I feel like they would crack so easily
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    6'0" 200 nothingshocking's Avatar
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    Where the fuk is Cement Pizza when you need him?
    This machine is obsolete
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    im gon make some shake AltarOfPlagues's Avatar
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    i made a 60 once out of boredom and it was the dumbest and most awkward thing to lift w.

    i just used regular sackrete from lowes.

    so it probably cost me like 20 bucks to make. you can prob DIY a metal adjustable one for 40.
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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by devin45k View Post
    I feel like they would crack so easily
    It's only for temporary use. I just need to know what type of cement to use mostly, and if i can save cement money, if i simply use 90% of grid stone pieces and fill the remaining with cement. Then i can make these dumbbels for only $5 per set.

    Originally Posted by AltarOfPlagues View Post
    i made a 60 once out of boredom and it was the dumbest and most awkward thing to lift w.
    i just used regular sackrete from lowes.
    so it probably cost me like 20 bucks to make. you can prob DIY a metal adjustable one for 40.
    My main focus is making it as cheap as possible.
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    im gon make some shake AltarOfPlagues's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    It's only for temporary use. I just need to know what type of cement to use mostly, and if i can save cement money, if i simply use 90% of grid stone pieces and fill the remaining with cement. Then i can make these dumbbels for only $5 per set.



    My main focus is making it as cheap as possible.
    p sure you can use any cement and any clean aggregate, the water content is important based on the cement chemistry

    im 10 years in concrete biz
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    Originally Posted by AltarOfPlagues View Post
    p sure you can use any cement and any clean aggregate, the water content is important based on the cement chemistry

    im 10 years in concrete biz
    Not gonna really argue with your experience but I’ll add that when I make atlas stones I use a high psi concrete (5000 or 6000 (quickcrete brand).

    Op you need a hacksaw to cut that metal. Your dumbbells will be huge if you’re ant them heavy. Embrace them like a circus dumbbell. You can also add fibers to strengthen them.



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    Good video here

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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by blindsideflank View Post
    Not gonna really argue with your experience but I’ll add that when I make atlas stones I use a high psi concrete (5000 or 6000 (quickcrete brand).

    Op you need a hacksaw to cut that metal. Your dumbbells will be huge if you’re ant them heavy. Embrace them like a circus dumbbell. You can also add fibers to strengthen them.
    How big will 32 lbs dumbbells be?
    And will adding grid stones inside the cement mix increase the weight so they become less big?

    Also how will i know how heavy the dumbbell will be? Is there a way to make sure it's around 32 lbs or higher?
    Because i have no idea how much it will weigh, if for example i fill 1 empty protein whey jar with the cement mix, stick the pipe in it, let it dry. And then do the other side.

    Originally Posted by OffwhiteBrah View Post
    Good video here
    Unfortunately i wasn't able to find those plastic pipes or it would've saved me money and a lot of sawing issue headache.
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    im gon make some shake AltarOfPlagues's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by blindsideflank View Post
    Not gonna really argue with your experience but I’ll add that when I make atlas stones I use a high psi concrete (5000 or 6000 (quickcrete brand).

    Op you need a hacksaw to cut that metal. Your dumbbells will be huge if you’re ant them heavy. Embrace them like a circus dumbbell. You can also add fibers to strengthen them.



    anything you drop, you will want high psi 5000+

    my 60s i made were awkward just bc the bells had a 1:1 aspect so that the ROM was sacrificed.

    i was careful never to drop them

    i used t fittings i think on my black iron handle so mine were a little bit pricier

    at some point its cheaper to just buy 1" 10s and 1" pipe
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    Bro, you would be better off doing a cinder block lifting routine. They cost about $0.98 each, weigh 35 pounds.

    Greg Plitt actually has a good video out there of a full workout using them.
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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    I found a store that sells plastic pipes. If i fill those pipes with cement, they should be solid as handles right?
    I already bought the metal pipe, but i'll return it since it cos me $8 and i don't have the tools to cut through it.

    Thanks for all the replies!
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    Tried to rep OP, thanks for giving me an idea of something to do.

    Don't know chit about this but if you have a random pile of spare bolts/nails/nuts or small metal objects, maybe you could put them in your concrete mix to make your dumbell denser/smaller
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    Concrete is typically 150 lb/ft3. Use this value and you'll get pretty close to what you need. Doesn't matter the strength. If you're trying to be on the gnats ass about it you will have to know the specific gravity of all the components and the ratio of the mix.

    Try to figure the volume which I'd probably just do a quick cylinder calc once you know the diameter. (Height (ft) x pi/4 x diameter (ft) ) [in feet so you can use the 150lb/ft3 value ] Take that and multiply times the 150. should be close.

    note divide by 150 12^3 if you just want to use inches
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    Portland cement
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    im gon make some shake AltarOfPlagues's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    I found a store that sells plastic pipes. If i fill those pipes with cement, they should be solid as handles right?
    I already bought the metal pipe, but i'll return it since it cos me $8 and i don't have the tools to cut through it.

    Thanks for all the replies!
    maybe a no 4 rebar and bend it like [ and try to cast around it using a piece of plastic for formwork. or a lined paper towel roll like a sonotube
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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 15thPeak View Post
    Concrete is typically 150 lb/ft3. Use this value and you'll get pretty close to what you need. Doesn't matter the strength. If you're trying to be on the gnats ass about it you will have to know the specific gravity of all the components and the ratio of the mix.

    Try to figure the volume which I'd probably just do a quick cylinder calc once you know the diameter. (Height (ft) x pi/4 x diameter (ft) ) [in feet so you can use the 150lb/ft3 value divide by 12^3 if you just want to use inches] Take that and multiply times the 150. should be close.
    Thanks! I found cheaper cement, 66 lbs bag for $5.
    And plastic pipes for $2.60 for 13 feet.
    The pipe should allow me to make 10 dumbbells total.

    Then i just need to use the cement (and possibly stone grid) to make the rest.
    A pair of dumbbells should come out to be around 4 to 6 dollars.
    I'm psyched. Thanks everyone!
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    Thanks! I found cheaper cement, 66 lbs bag for $5.
    And plastic pipes for $2.60 for 13 feet.
    The pipe should allow me to make 10 dumbbells total.

    Then i just need to use the cement (and possibly stone grid) to make the rest.
    A pair of dumbbells should come out to be around 4 to 6 dollars.
    I'm psyched. Thanks everyone!
    Please note that cement by itself will have a lesser density than concrete (mixture of cement and aggregates). It will probably be less robust for your use as well. I would recommend getting a concrete mix with smaller aggregates if possible since you're mold is probably going to be smaller than typical applications.
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    Mechanical engineer here. Cement isn’t my forte though, that would civil engineers. But I can tell you some things:

    1) No, you can’t use a wood saw to cut steel, the blade will be too soft.

    2) If you want to know the total weight, remember this: add up the weight of all the ingredients you use for a dumbbell. If you use a 50 lb bag of concrete mix, and say, 5 lb of water and other ingredients to mix it, and your steel pipe handle is 1 lb, then you literally just add all those weights up and that will be your total weight for that dumbbell. 56 lbs in that case.

    3) Concrete is brittle. This means it is prone to breaking due to high impact loads. How guys typically drop heavy dumbbells at the end of their sets Would be an example of a high impact load. If you drop them on a gym mat, likely not a big deal. If you drop them on your garage’s concrete floor... I wouldn’t do that lol.
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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 15thPeak View Post
    Please note that cement by itself will have a lesser density than concrete (mixture of cement and aggregates). It will probably be less robust for your use as well. I would recommend getting a concrete mix with smaller aggregates if possible since you're mold is probably going to be smaller than typical applications.
    So i should buy concrete mix and not pordland cement? Thanks for the heads up! This will help a ton.

    Originally Posted by PlateauTooSoon View Post
    Mechanical engineer here. Cement isn’t my forte though, that would civil engineers. But I can tell you some things:

    1) No, you can’t use a wood saw to cut steel, the blade will be too soft.

    2) If you want to know the total weight, remember this: add up the weight of all the ingredients you use for a dumbbell. If you use a 50 lb bag of concrete mix, and say, 5 lb of water and other ingredients to mix it, and your steel pipe handle is 1 lb, then you literally just add all those weights up and that will be your total weight for that dumbbell. 56 lbs in that case.

    3) Concrete is brittle. This means it is prone to breaking due to high impact loads. How guys typically drop heavy dumbbells at the end of their sets Would be an example of a high impact load. If you drop them on a gym mat, likely not a big deal. If you drop them on your garage’s concrete floor... I wouldn’t do that lol.
    Thanks for your reply! This is awesome advice.
    I never drop the dumbbells cuz i have to lift in my bedroom and i don't want to damage my floor. So the brittleness isn't the biggest issue.
    I guess i'm mainly focussed on the cost. I want to make it as cheap as possible.

    But i also want to use cement/concrete that is as heavy as possible so i don't need to use a ton of it.
    Right now i'm thinking if i use 10 lbs of cement/concrete, then put 12lbs of grid stones in it on both sides, i should have a good pair of 34 lbs +- dumbbells.

    I'll return the metal pipe tomorrow and buy myself some plastic pipes.
    The plastic pipes are hollow, but i assume if i fill the pipe with concrete/cement mix inside of it, then it will be solid right?
    Will rep you first on the r/c. Thanks!
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    Originally Posted by SPP1 View Post
    I think i'll go for that too. Thanks!

    Question: Do you think this hollow pipe is strong enough to withhold 16 lbs on each side? Making it a 32 lbs dumbbell.
    Or would it snap?

    If it's not strong enough, i'm thinking of filling the hollow pipe with the concrete mixture and let it solidify so the inside is rock solid. (no pun intended)

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    OP

    I am a farmer brah who makes a lot of my own concrete.

    Its all about the ratios and how much water you add, add silica fume roughly 5% the amount of the aggregate and polypropylene fibers for 5%. Water should be 10%, the silica will make the concrete much easier to handle with a lot less water

    Less water, more aggrate (say 3/4 inch gravel) and atleast 40% Portland or even a bit more.and the rest your finer aggregate

    The handle should be steel. It's a flex point. Concrete does well under compression but not a against a force like that. If you use plastic it will break right away

    Doing this you will make a concrete that withstands 30,000psi + as opposed to your poverty 5000psi dumbbell. Almost as good as steel
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    So i should buy concrete mix and not pordland cement? Thanks for the heads up! This will help a ton.
    What people typically call "cement" is actually concrete. Cement is the binding agent in concrete. Basic concrete is made up of water, cement and aggregate (sand and stone). You would need very small stone to make something as small as weights. The ratios of the ingredients is absolutely critical. The curing conditions are also important as is the temperature of the ingredients. And I'm not even going to get into chemical admixtures.

    Concrete is more complex than it seems on the surface. Honestly, there's a very high probability that you'll make a literal and figurative mess of it, get frustrated, say fuk it and end up buying real dumbbells/weights after wasting time and money on this project.

    Also it's Portland cement not Pordland.

    *Source* Worked in the ready-mix concrete industry for 6 years.
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    lo phag. just use bodyweight. by the time you make the dumbells, this **** will be over.
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    Originally Posted by Mike1991 View Post
    OP

    I am a farmer brah who makes a lot of my own concrete.

    Its all about the ratios and how much water you add, add silica fume roughly 5% the amount of the aggregate and polypropylene fibers for 5%. Water should be 10%, the silica will make the concrete much easier to handle with a lot less water

    Less water, more aggrate (say 3/4 inch gravel) and atleast 40% Portland or even a bit more.and the rest your finer aggregate

    The handle should be steel. It's a flex point. Concrete does well under compression but not a against a force like that. If you use plastic it will break right away

    Doing this you will make a concrete that withstands 30,000psi + as opposed to your poverty 5000psi dumbbell. Almost as good as steel
    I didn't think of making my own concrete, that's genius. How much money does it save compared to buying a 45 lbs bag for $4?
    As for the handle having to be metal. i don't own a hack saw or any machinery. if this plastic pipe breaks then i'm out of luck for now.

    Originally Posted by JoeDelts View Post
    Concrete is more complex than it seems on the surface. Honestly, there's a very high probability that you'll make a literal and figurative mess of it, get frustrated, say fuk it and end up buying real dumbbells/weights after wasting time and money on this project.
    Also it's Portland cement not Pordland.
    *Source* Worked in the ready-mix concrete industry for 6 years.
    If i use the standard concrete bag you buy at home depot and all i have to do is mix water and pebbles, it should come out fine no? I think if you have to create your own concrete it will get more technical. But i never done anything with concrete in my life so i have no idea, just guessing.


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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    I didn't think of making my own concrete, that's genius. How much money does it save compared to buying a 45 lbs bag for $4?
    As for the handle having to be metal. i don't own a hack saw or any machinery. if this plastic pipe breaks then i'm out of luck for now.



    If i use the standard concrete bag you buy at home depot and all i have to do is mix water and pebbles, it should come out fine no? I think if you have to create your own concrete it will get more technical. But i never done anything with concrete in my life so i have no idea, just guessing.


    Will rep everyone on the r/c. Great replies! Thank you.
    Its a whole lot cheaper. Literally pick up some Portland cement the fibres and the silica, and the Then go to a landscape place and buy as much gravel, and sand as you need. Make sure you weigh it all when you mix it.

    Mix it all together in the ratios above

    Profit?

    Its more work but you could make an entire set easily for a fraction of the cost of steel that will hold up for life

    A 30,000psi dumbbell won't Crack like yours will if you ever drop it
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    Just spit-ballin' but what if you add lead shot or something to the cement? Looks like they have 25lb bags of it on Amazon.

    I made this 86lb bar with a jack handle and two car batteries to go with my resistance bands and dumbbells. It's more solid than it looks but reminds me of Maladrox's sex doll.




    Last edited by BigNik78; 03-26-2020 at 06:21 PM.
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