|Completed, easy to build, DIY power rack|
One of the most versatile pieces of equipment in any gym is the power rack, and for a home gym it is even more useful because it can be used for most of the pressing exercises as well as a variety of squats, deadlifts, and rows. New racks can run anywhere from $500 to $1500 from home gym suppliers, and without any options available on craigslist I decided to build my own.
After doing a bit of research, I found this site with complete plans for a power rack made from 2x6 lumber. I made a few modifications to suit my needs and began work. The most obvious deviations from the plans at the above link is the addition of bracing in the top corners of the rack as well as the 3/4" plywood floor of the rack. I didn't originally intend to add the floor, but it helped square up the entire rack nicely and added to the stability.
As with any project, the first step is to choose your wood. While at the lumber yard I sorted through the stack of kiln dried 2x6s to find the straightest ones (I needed 13), and then once back in my garage I sorted them again to pick the absolute best eight which would become the legs of the rack.
|Sorting through 2x6 lumber to find the best boards|
|Assembled base boards for the rack|
After letting the legs dry over night, I used a 1 1/8" spade bit to put the holes in the legs that would accept the safety bars and adjustable hooks (made from 3/4" pipe). So I wouldn't have to measure to each hole, and so that corresponding holes would line up between the front and back leg on each side, I first made a simple jig by taking a scrap piece of 2x6 and measuring and drilling all of the holes into that. Then I clamped the jig to each leg and used it as a drill guide to make sure the holes were all in the same spot (one tip I learned is to start the hole using the jig and drill about 3/4 of the way through each hole, then take off the jig and place a scrap of 2x6 behind the leg to prevent tear-out when finishing the hole). I also used a combination square as a reference to ensure I kept the drill relatively straight as I made the holes.
|Drilling pilot holes into a scrap 2x6 to use as a guide|
|Drill guide clamped into place on one of the rack legs|
|Using a combination square to keep the drill straight|
|Countersink holes in the bottom of the base boards|
|A braced side of the rack ready to be lifted into place|
Once the rack was standing and fully secured, I added some additional bracing to the top front to remove the remaining wobble, making sure to leave myself room for the pull up bar. I also took two lengths of L shaped metal bracket and secured them to the back legs of the rack with washers and wood screws to prevent the bar from chipping away at the wood as weight gets racked. Finally, I took a section of 3/4" plywood and cut it to the inner dimensions of the rack and added it as a floor, securing it to the base boards with pocket hole screws. This step is an addition I made to the plans I used, but made the rack completely stable and square.
The last step is building the weight hooks. To do this I used a 3 1/2" length of 3/4" pipe (pipe is measured by the inner diameter, not the outer) joined to a 45 degree turn and a 1" length on the front and secured with caps on both ends. An exploded view is below.
And that's it! This is a moderately simple project that can be accomplished in a weekend with a few basic tools, and all for a fraction of the cost of buying a commercial power rack.
|Squat rack with safety bars and pull up bar installed|
|Exploded weight hook|
|Weight hook in position|