My goals for jumps, hoops, frames, braces, tires, and all other fitness or agility equipment is that they are re-usuable, re-purposeable, and safe as possible. I don’t like to use glue, because it makes re-purposing the PVC very difficult. Most PVC is available at big box stores, but it is harder to find furniture grade PVC — I buy this either from Amazon or Home Depot on-line. I haven’t found it available anywhere locally, though I don’t live n a major city. Furniture grade has some shape and color options that PVC for plumbing doesn’t, but provided one is careful to select schedule 40, the two types are inter-changeable and can be used together in the same project.
Schedule 40 refers to the thickness of the pipe-wall. The higher the number, the thicker the wall of the the pipe. On occasion, schedule 20 will be used for weave poles or even tire jumps, but after experimenting with both, I avoid schedule 20, and always work with schedule 40. The tools I use and recommend are:
PVC cutter (ratcheting)
sharpie or pencil for marking pipe
Yes, it is a short list of equipment needed. PVC can also be cut with a wood saw, but will sprinkle little pieces of PVC everywhere, so be sure to cut in a place you can sweep up.
The basic frames I make work well for both inflatable peanuts and for tunnels (in lieu of sandbags).
There are two sizes to make — small (for smaller peanuts or smaller tunnels), and large (for larger peanuts and standard-sized tunnels)
the large is 16″ x 21″ (cut two pieces of pipe to 14″ and two to 19″), with 6″ stanchions (cut the pipe to 5.5″).
the small is 14 x 16 (cut two pieces of pipe to 12″ and two to 14″), also with 6″ stanchions (cut the pipe to 5.5″).
The corner pieces I use are 1″ x 1″ x 1/2″. 1 x 1 x 1 would work just as well, but I like that the 1/2″ portion is threaded on these. It doesn’t really matter. If you want to do it exactly how I do, the hardware needed to make the corner work looks like this:
The larger of the two works very well as a tunnel brace as well.
This heavy duty style frame incorporates the furniture-grade 5-way connector piece for the corners, to allow the extenders for extra bracing, and the taller, thicker stanchions. I make these only for the peanuts that tend to wobble their frame — the very largest ones, especially when we are doing silly dog tricks on it.
If the frame is a little too big for the peanut, putting Ts on top of the stanchions allows one to turn them inward and hold the peanut tighter, as with the blue peanut in this picture.
The first couple PVC projects I worked on turned out a bit… rough… but with a little practice, and a little creativity, you can create all kinds of stuff. The most important things are to be safe, and have fun!