So… the gyms are STILL closed, right? I mean, honestly, that doesn’t upset me as they weird me out even without the threat of a deadly virus residing on one of the sweaty handles. But… if you’re struggling without your usual outing to your local muscle factory then maybe I can help. I made my own push-up board; I did this because that’s just how I am, but also all the one’s you can buy look like they wouldn’t last more than a week.
The push-up board base
If your main objective following this project guide is to save money then you’ll want to source some sort of scrap material to make the board from. I used 16mm melamine faced chipboard which I pulled out of a skip (classy). This works really well and would be my recommendation as it’s very flat and fairly isotropic. It also provides a smooth, easily cleaned surface to your final push-up board. If you can’t find any to repurpose, it’s fairly cheap to buy; or just use whatever you have that’s strong and thick enough.
Glue two pieces surface to surface to double the thickness, this gave me an unexpected advantage later when drilling the holes. If you’re planning to use wood glue to do this as I did, then make sure you roughen up the two inside surfaces. Use a pallet knife to spread the glue evenly and then clamp them together to dry.
Once the glue has dried then mark out the boards to the correct size. Use two of the factory edges for reference if you can as this will give you a guaranteed square corner to work from. The overall size wants to be 200mm x 600mm. This seems to be a standard size for a push-up board, if you’re a particularly large person you may want to adjust this but the template files I provide later would also need adjustment.
Use a jigsaw to cut the boards to size. Make sure you cut on the waste side of the line. Take your time; rushing will chip out the melamine surface of the boards.
This part isn’t necessary but it does make the final product look much nicer and will also add to it’s durability.
Mark out some timber to the thickness of your glued boards (I used pine) and cut it to width. Mark out a centre line and drill some evenly spaced countersunk pilot holes. Glue and screw it to the sides of your boards to hide the rough edges of the chipboard. It’s a skill/time/preference choice if you decide to mitre the corners of these pieces. It looks better but takes longer.
If you want to be really fancy then cut the timber slightly wider than it needs to be and use a flush-cut router bit at the end to trim it back to the surface of the boards. I then used a 45 degrees chamfer bit to finish the edges.
The layout of these holes varies from product to product, I came up with this design based on studying a range of boards I’ve been using it for a few weeks. It feels like it targets the intended muscle groups well and is comfortable (aside from the intended pain) to use.
Using the template provided in the resources pack, print out the two sheets on A4 paper with the scale set to 100%. That last point is CRITICAL. If you scale the template to fit or use any other ratio then the holes won’t be correctly spaced when you drill them. Tape down the template making sure the two sheets are properly centred. Use a small drill bit to make a pilot hole on each of the centre marks, then remove the template. Using a 25mm spade bit, drill to a depth of 16mm at each centre mark. This where the two layers of melamine backed chipboard worked unexpectedly in my favour, as you drill through the boards the bit hit the second layer of melamine and then stops cutting as it spins freely on top of the second board… bonus.
Finally, glue in one 3D printed socket into each of the holes, making certain that the top surfaces are flush. The files for the 3D printed sockets are available in the resource pack. Alternatively, you could use some sort of PVC pipe and drill the holes with a matching diameter to the pipe gauge. What you’re looking for really is a smooth hard-wearing internal surface.
The remainder of this project is 3D printed, all the files required are in the resource pack. The parts are held together with self-tapping screws and some threaded socket cap bolts which run into some threaded holes in the metal handles. This is probably just me over-engineering things, as per usual. You could just as easily glue all the parts together. The metal pipe is 22mm galvanised steel which I reclaimed from a swing-ball set (also from a skip). Remembering that this is meant to be saving money over buying one or at least costing around the same, a wooden broom handle would also work. I’d avoid using plastic though, remember it has to take half your full weight on each handle.
This of course assumes you either have, or can access a 3D printer. If you don’t then making something similar out of plywood would work. You’ll want a strong hard wearing materials which won’t come apart under your weight.
You can also order a set of the 3D parts printed from the store.