Home Fabricated Resistance Sled that cost under $110 to build!!!
Sorry it took so long to finally post this. The bad weather and attending HazMat Tech school delayed the build, but I finally finished it. These are step by step instructions that I came up with while building my sled. Feel free to leave me any questions or comments. So here goes the marathon!
(Links to pics of my sled are at the bottom of the page)
Materials that I used:
(2) 1 3/4" diameter 14 gauge pipes that are at least 60" long each
(1) 2'x2' 1/4" thick steel plate
(1) 1 3/4" diameter (approx.) 3-bolt exhaust flange
(3) 7/16"-20 2" long Grade 5 Hex Bolts
(3) 7/16"-20 Grade 5 Hex Nuts
(3) 7/16" Washers
(4) 1/4" self-tapping screws
A 7/16" socket with socket wrench
(1) 7/16" wrench
A pair of safety glasses
A pair of old firefighter gloves
An acetylene torch
A basic MIG welding unit
A pair of Vice Grips
A pair of C Clamps
A bench vice
A bench saw
A metal hammer
A Black Sharpie Marker
Several sheets of heavy grit sandpaper
2 cans of Rust-Oleum's Automotive Grey Primer
2 cans of Rust-Oleum's Sunrise Red Enamel
2 cans of Rust-Oleum's Crystal Clear Enamel
1 can of Duplicolor Grease and Wax Remover
2 cans of Duplicolor Spray on Bed-liner
Your common spray degreaser
Plenty of masking tape and newspaper for masking
First get a pair of 14 gauge steel fence post. These can be found at most ornamental iron shops or fence companies. Be sure each post is at least 60" long because there will be some bending and cutting. Take both post to a local muffler shop and have each post cut down to 40" long. Then take one of the post and measure 10" away from one of the ends of the post and mark it. At this mark, have the muffler shop guys use their pipe bending machine to bend the post to a 30 degree angle. Repeat this process for the other post. Once that is done, take one of the leftover pieces of cut post and have it cut down to 16" long. Then ask the muffler guys if they have any 3-bolt header or reducer flanges you can use. Just try to find a flange that allows the 16" piece of post to barely fit inside of it. Fence post is usually measured by outer diameter (O.D.) and exhaust pipe is usually measured in inner diameter (I.D.) (Or it might be the other way around, don't quote me on it!), so you probably won't find a flange that fits perfectly.
Second, you will need to find a pretty strong and straight plate of metal that is at least 2'x2' to serve as the base of your sled. Most retail resistance sleds use thin metal for their bases and that is why most of those companies have to put a 200 lbs. load limit on their sleds. I went to a local metal scrap yard and chose to use a 1/4" thick steel plate with a diamond tread on one side ( my piece measured approx. 39"x42".) It's the kind of metal used for metal stairs and access doors found commonly on city sidewalks in downtown areas. The scrap yard did not allow dolly's or wagons, so getting the plate to the weigh station was a workout in itself since the plate weighed well over 100 lbs. and was over 100 yards away from the weigh station. But at $0.20/lb. and the plate weighing in at 115 lbs., it came out to cost me only $23.00 so I didn't complain! There is no telling how much a piece of metal this size would cost new. You will also need a piece of strong round metal bar that is at least 12" long and 1/4" in diameter. It's use will be discussed later.
Next, you will need the use of an acetylene torch, a solvent parts washer, and a MIG welder. If you do not have these tools, ask around the firehouse. There is bound to be someone who knows somebody who has these tools. First, be sure to have a pair of safety glasses and a pair of old firefighter gloves on. Secure your base plate down and use the acetylene torch to cut your base plate into a 2'x2' square. Once that has been done, take your base plate, the pair of post with the bends, the 16" piece of post and 3-bolt exhaust flange to some place that has a solvent parts washing machine. Spray each one of the parts listed above with any basic degreaser and scrub like hell! Make sure to scrub the fence post pieces especially good since most fence post come from the manufacturer coated with some type of grease to prevent rust. Then wash each part thoroughly and dry them, preferably with compressed air. Next, take your heavy grit sandpaper and sand each piece that you just washed. This will allow the paint to better adhere to the metal if you chose to paint your sled. After that, repeat the washing and drying process for each sanded piece.
Once all of you pieces have been scrubbed, sanded, washed, and dried, start laying out the pieces in preparation for welding. Use the Vice Grips and C Clamps to hold the pieces in place until you can tack on some spot welds. With your two post (the 30 degree angles pointing up) spaced approx. 24" apart and parallel to each other, position your 2'x2' base plate on top center of the pair of post approx. 2 1/2" from the back end and approx. 2 1/2" before the spot of the 30 degree bends. When you have everything lined up, begin welding. On each side of the plate that make contact with the post, you will need to make 3 welds; one in the center, one left of the center, and once right of the center. My welds are approx. 3" long with approx. 6" of space between each weld. After you have welded both outer sides of the post to the plate, turn the sled upside down and repeat the welding process (stated above) on the inner portion of the post/plate contact area. This strengthens the sled by aiding in the support of additional weight loaded onto the sled. Let your welds cool down and then turn the sled back to it's up right position.
Take your 3-bolt exhaust flange, place it on a work bench with the 3 bolt holes on the bottom and the flange piece of pipe on top. Then slide your 16" piece of post into the flange piece of pipe and weld the two pieces (completely around, 360 degrees) together. This will be your center post where weight plates will be stacked.
The last thing you will need to fabricate are the hookup points for the pulling leads. Take the 1/4" diameter round metal bar and cut it down so that you have a pair of 6" bars. Place one of the bars halfway into a bench vice and lock it down. Take a hammer and hit the bar until the bar starts to bend into a triangle shape. You may have to make several trips with the triangle shape from the bench vice to the sled in order to line up the two end of the triangle shape with the top and bottom of the end post that is at a 30 degree incline angle. Once the ends of the triangle align, weld both triangle ends to the post fairly heavily since these points of the sled will be under a lot of pulling stress.
Take your newly fabricating center post and center it on top of the base plate. Using the 3-bolt flange, mark the 3 holes, remove the center post and drill out the 3 holes. Depending on how thick and what type of metal your base plate is, it may take a while to drill out the holes. I used a 7/16" diameter drill bit for my holes.
At this point you could save a few bucks and not paint the sled, just bolt up the center post and have at it. If you choose to paint your sled, here is what I did. First, I taped and masked the sled's post (a.k.a the sled's skies) leaving the sled's base plate and center post exposed. Take your time taping and masking when you get near the welds and corners to avoid over spray on the skies. Prep the base plate and center post with Duplicolor's Grease and Wax Remover. Then I applied Duplicolor's Black Spray on Bed-liner to all sides of the base plate. After that, I applied the Duplicolor's Black Spray on Bed-liner to the center post, being sure to spray every side of the post. Follow the re-coating and drying directions on the can.
A couple of days later, I removed the tape and masking from the skies and proceeded to tape and mask the base plate. Then I prepped the skies with Duplicolor's Grease and Wax Remover. My skies had a lot of metal streaks and discoloration. Because of this, I chose to apply 3 coats of Rust-Oleum's Grey Automotive Primer, 4 coats of Rust-Oleum's Sunrise Red, and 4 coats of Rust-Oleum's Crystal Clear Coat. Again, follow the re-coating and drying directions on the cans. After allowing the sled to dry for a few days, I removed the tape and masking. I decided to paint my sled to clean it up a little. I figure once I start using the sled, the paint on the portion of the skies that is in contact with the ground will eventually wear off at some point. I have also seen this type of wear on retail sleds that claim to be powder coated, so I'm not going to sweat over a little wear and tear.
(Note: Next two steps are optional and were not included in the $110 cost)
I had a local sign company make up a pair of vinyl decals that I applied on the side of the skies after applying the clear coats. Once the decals were on, I went back over them with a few more coats of clear coat.
I bought a 2'x2' 1/16" thick polished diamond plate from a place called Metal Supermarkets. I figure diamond plate and firefighting go hand in hand! They have a shop in east Fort Worth, where they cut my piece to my spec. at a pretty fair price. Check them out @ Metalsupermarkets.com. I then placed the 2'x2' 1/16" thick polished diamond plate on top of the base plate, marked the 3 holes for the center post from underneath the sled (using the 3 existing holes on the base plate as my guide), and drilled the holes out. I place the center post on top, dropped the three 7/16"-20 2" long Grade 5 Hex Bolts in, and tightened the three matching nuts with washers from the bottom. To prevent the polished diamond plate from moving around, I secure it with 1/4" self-tapping screws on all four corners. Finally, I sat back and knocked back some cold ones!!!
Note: All prices were rounded up to the nearest dollar.
(2) 1 3/4" diameter fence post- $20
Scrap Metal Plate- $23
Muffler labor and materials cost- $10
Paint & Supplies*- $56
*-Includes 2 cans of primer, 2 cans of base coat, 2 cans of clear coat, tape, nuts, bolts, washers, screws, sandpaper, 1 can of Duplicolor Grease and Wax Remover, 2 cans of Duplicolor Spray On Bed-liner.
Optional Items (Just for looks)
2'x2' (1/16" thick) polished diamond plate- $25
(2) Decals- $12
TOTAL WITH D.P AND DECALS- $146
Please note that both totals above does not include the cost of pulling leads or harness. The pulling leads can be made from your basic webbing (2 pieces that are at least 11' long each) and 4 carabiners. It's important that the leads are at least 11' long so the sled will not run into the back of your legs. I left the cost of the harness out because some people like using the shoulder harness, while other prefer a waist belt. I like the shoulder harness because it simulates pulling a charged hose-line pretty good.
I also didn't put into account the cost of all the tools and shop supplies that I used. This is because my former boss was nice enough to help me with the build and let me use his tools at his shop, a shop that would bring Tim "The Tool-man" Taylor to his knees! But seriously, all the tools that I used are not hard to come by. Like I said before, start asking around the firehouse and sooner or later, your bound to find someone on the firefighter grapevine that has what you need.
I know this project might sound like it was very time consuming, but it really wasn't. I just went into great detail so that if someone wanted to, they could build a sled of their own by using these directions. It's a good feeling to be able to say that you did most of the building yourself and did not have to spend $140-300 (before shipping) for a weaker retail sled. For those who are curious, yes the department I work for has a pretty low call volume. But hey, writing this marathon helped me fly through several slow days, after cleaning the station and finishing my other duties of course!
Stay Safe and Happy Holidays!
Inspiration for the saying on the side!
Thanks Fatkid4! The inspiration for the saying on the side came after my fire academy class had several "run-ins" with the nearby police academy during PT and drills! After putting up with chants coming from a very out of shape group of police recruits for a couple of days, someone happen to mention to the passing police recruits that they were jogging the wrong way, Krispy Kreme Donuts was the other way! That seemed to really **** them off. From then on, each time the fire and police academies would cross pathes, it wasn't good!
Originally Posted by Fatkid4
I would have used a tire, but I had the free time to torch, cut up, weld, and play with metal. It was a pretty fun project to do.
All that fabricating paid off!
Up to this point, I've been using my sled for about 4 months solid, using it in a "PAT" theme workout I do with a few friends at least 1-2 times a week. Yesterday I successfully passed a PAT for a nearby department (though I do wish my time could have been I little better, but hey...I'm happy with it.) I could definitely tell both the strength and endurance improvements I have made by pulling and dragging my resistance sled as opposed to taking previous PAT's when I didn't have my sled to train with. I would recommend anyone planning on taking a PAT in the near future (as well as anyone looking to add a really good exercise to your routine) to incorporate some type of pulling and dragging of a weighted object exercise. The results are worth it!