Help me make horizontal bar for me to practice balance on
August 31, 2010 10:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to create a bar like this one so that I can stand on it to practice my balance. I'm thinking some kind of plumbing pipe may be able to hold me, or possibly a metal broomstick (I'm 56kg). Any help on what to make it from or how to put it together?

Other than the weight problem is how to hold it up a couple of inches off the ground without the bar rolling around. Would Superglue be suitable? Please excuse my ignorance for DIY projects...

Alternatively, anybody that can show me a similar thing selling for cheaper would be even more appreciated. I just feel $132 seems a bit excessive when I could probably put something together for a fifth of the price.
posted by insperatum to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
One trip to the Lowe's / Home Depot / hardware store of your choice should lend hundreds of options. Two t-joints, two elbow joints, and one straight rod should do it from a minimalist perspective. You should be able to find fitted pipe material meaning that it has threaded ends, and therefore won't roll or slip.
posted by komara at 10:50 AM on August 31, 2010

Do you really want to stand/walk on a cylindrical bar? I see that the one in the picture is for handstands. You might be better off with a flat edge.
posted by mareli at 10:52 AM on August 31, 2010

You could buy a length of iron pipe, pre-threaded on both ends, from any Lowes / Home Depot sort of store. Choose the diameter of the pipe according to how rigid you need it to be; the longer it is, the more it will flex under a given weight. Also get two floor flanges of a size appropriate to the pipe. Screw the floor flanges to the sides of two blocks of wood, then thread the flanges onto the ends of the pipe.

Altogether, you'll probably spend $25 or so.

On preview, Komara's idea of using only pipe fittings would work too (though more prone to scratch some flooring materials).
posted by jon1270 at 10:53 AM on August 31, 2010

jon1270's idea of mounting to blocks of wood is superior. Get one of these in whatever length you want, put one of these on each end, run a short bar (of whatever height you want) down to one of these on each end, and screw blocks of wood onto that.
posted by komara at 10:56 AM on August 31, 2010

Galvanized pipe would be good, and if you want it a bit stiffer you could insert a dowel large enough that the pipe acts as a sheath before you put the ends on.
posted by rhizome at 10:57 AM on August 31, 2010

I wouldn't mount to blocks, I would just get a long board, like an 8ft 1x12 (or however long you want your balance bar to be).
posted by rhizome at 10:57 AM on August 31, 2010

I know Home Depot has all of the following:

Get a round 3/4" plywood table top. Everyone big box hardware store I have been in has these from 12" diameter to 36" diameter, you probably want a 12". Get them to cut it in half with their panel saw (they may charge a small fee like 1-2$-its worth it).

In the trim/millwork section they will have various diameter round railings they may also call them closet rods of pine, at your weight a 1" or greater diameter bar will probably be ok as long as you keep it under 5' in length. They may also have hardwood dowels that are longer-if you need that.

Get a hole saw that matches the diameter of the pole you got above. You will need a drill for this. Drill a hole through both pieces of plywood. The easiest way is to clamp the pieces together and drill both holes at once. This will ensure that the holes are lined up with each other and your bar will be pretty much level. For a really clean hole, clamp some other junk pieces of wood over the plywood so it doesn't splinter when you drill the hole. This last step isn't strictly necessary but it will improve the looks of the finished product. I would put the holes about 1" or more below the top of the curve of the plywood.

insert the bar into the holes that are now in the plywood. It may be snug enough you don't need anything else, if you got the right size of hole saw but it may be pretty loose or loosen up as humidity/tempature changes. To avoid the bar spinning I would glue the bar in place with a good wood glue (I really like the elmers glue in the orange and blue bottle). Then I would drill a small diameter hole (1/4") from the top curve of the plywood that goes through the bar and then goes down another inch or two. Insert a 1/4" metal rod into this to ensure that the bar doesn't spin and glue that into place as well. If you can't a rod the right length get a 1/4" lag screw and use this instead. the last step is I would stain the wood with boiled linseed oil, however tung oil or spar varnish would also work and be pretty non toxic and the finish will help ensure lasting flexibility and lack of splinters. You may want to sand the bar depending on the quality of the finish on the bar.

If you already have the drill you will probably spend about 30$ for the above, if you don't have the drill you should be able to get one for another 30. I would probably get an inexpensive corded one for this-hole saws take a lot of power to cut and cheap cordless drills don't really have enough and the battery wears out pretty quick.
posted by bartonlong at 10:58 AM on August 31, 2010

bartonlong: I'm assuming that if insperatum had saws, drills, clamps, and so forth then he or she wouldn't be asking about DIY projects.

Having said that, I'd rather have your bar than mine.
posted by komara at 11:02 AM on August 31, 2010

Slacklining! WIKI
posted by axismundi at 11:11 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

nthing rhizome.

The only reason that thing has a spacer between the floor and you is because it's made for hands to go under it.

If you get what is eventually a square wooden dowel and stand on that, you would achieve everything you're asking for. Weight considerations wouldn't be an issue (the floor/ground would be supporting your weight) and if you did happen to loose your balance, you probably wouldn't fall off it; just step off. Also easy to move around or hide when company is coming over.
posted by royalsong at 11:23 AM on August 31, 2010

You've seen these things, right? I guess they're called "balance bubbles" and they're pretty great for strengthening your balancing... uh... muscles. Sense of balance? Anyway, there's a few different types of exercise you can do with them and they hide away pretty easily. Just thought I'd throw that out there....
posted by amanda at 11:38 AM on August 31, 2010

If a square-edged rail would work for you, just buy a 2x4 stud (~$2), have the store cut two 12" pieces off of it, and nail or screw them back onto the ends of the long piece at right angles.
posted by jon1270 at 12:03 PM on August 31, 2010

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