Build a Pull Up Bar: Tools



This is part 3 in the build your own pull up rig series.  You can find part 1 – the overview here and part two on materials here.

 

Tools of the Trade

There are relatively few tools required to form your raw materials into a working pull up structure.  I’ve attempted to include a complete list of the tools used to build my structures.  Depending on the specifics of your system, it is likely you’ll just need a subset of the tools listed.  In fact, if you’re interested in building your own system, there is a good chance you already have many of the required tools.  However, none of these tools are specialty items so if you don’t have them, you may find a friend or neighbor that does.  Below I’m including a description of how I used each of the items (and the pictures are links to the items on Amazon in case you’d like to pick up your own or would just like to see an example out in the wild).  Enjoy.

 

Measuring and Cutting your Pipe

Saw
Unless you are building a very small structure, you’re definitely going to want power tools for cutting your piping to size.  I used the Dewalt compound miter saw I had on hand.  You can get by with a cheaper saw, but I’d be wary about going with something less powerful.  I found the Hitachi saw below on Amazon that has roughly the same size motor as my Dewalt at a fraction of the price.

Saw Blade
You need a specific type of blade for your miter saw to cut aluminum pipe.  Below are two examples of the proper blade, you can find these at your local hardware store too.  The first blade is a 12″ one which will fit the Dewalt saw and the second is a 10″ blade that will fit the Hitachi.  When selecting your blade you not only need to ensure you get the correct outside diameter blade, but also the proper diameter arbor (hole in the middle).  Common sizes are 5/8″ and 1″.  Some saws like the Dewalt I have are equipped with an adapter and are capable of accommodating both size arbors.

For the Dewalt

For the Hitachi

Safety Gear
When cutting metal pipe, shards fly everywhere.  If you are not wearing the proper safety gear you very likely may injure yourself – or at least find yourself blinking for 3 days straight trying to flush your eyes out.  There are three key pieces of safety gear: gloves, glasses and mask.  You should wear gloves while cutting and handling cut pieces of pipe (the cut edge is usually a little rough and will slice your fingers open if you’re not careful).  Safety glasses are definitely needed while cutting, getting metal shards in your eyes is not so great for them.  Shards are also not so great for you lungs, so wear your mask… turning your head to the side is not good enough!  These items are all really cheap.  Get them!

Leather Gloves

Eye Protection

Breathing

Shop Vac / Drop Cloth
Did I mention metal shards get everywhere?  At a minimum you’ll want to put down a drop cloth in your cutting area.  This is often insufficient though.  A shop vac will most likely be required to suck up all the shards.  These things are quite the hazard so be thorough in your cleanup.  You don’t want people doing burpees on a pile of shards!

Measurement Supplies
Tape Measure

You’ll need a metal tape measure for a variety of measurements including determining the sizes of the necessary pipe pieces and then measuring the cuts on the actual pipe.

Sharpie

A permanent marker is very helpful for marking off your cuts on the pipe.

Laser Level / Stud Finder

A stud finder can be useful for locating studs to bolt wall flanges and other structural components of your rig into.  A laser level is also very useful.  I use a combo model like the one shown below, but the most useful laser level I’ve had the privilege to use was on the most complicated structure I built.  It was a level you setup on a tripod and it projects a straight line on the wall.  However, these are pretty expensive, so if you don’t have someone to borrow it from, it’s probably not worth it for you.  Trust me, the model below will make life easier for you.

 

Installing the Structure

Drill
Depending on your setup you may not need a drill, but they do speed things up.  It’s a good practice to pre-drill the holes for your lag bolts to prevent the wood from splitting.  I happened to have the Dewalt model shown below, but any cheap drill will work fine for this purpose.  If you’re drilling into concrete or brick you will very likely need a hammer drill.  My system at 626 is fastened into a 16″ thick brick wall – you need a nice hammer drill like the Bosch shown below to drill through something like that.  I tried a cheap one… it didn’t work.

Drill Bits
A simple drill bit set will be sufficient for pre drilling holes into wood, but if you’re going into concrete or brick you’re going to need a masonry set and depending on the thickness of the wall, you may need a long bit like the bad boy pictured below.

Socket Wrenches
You need a socket set to tighten down the nuts on concrete or brick anchors or to tighten lag bolts into wood.  I had a set on hand, you don’t really need anything fancy for this.  Below is a cheap set on Amazon that will do the trick.

Allen Wrench
An Allen wrench is needed to tighten the set nut in the speed rail fittings.  It’s that little nut that keeps your structure in place!

Rubber Mallet
Sometimes the last few pieces of pipe just don’t want to cooperate and slide into the fittings.  This is when you break out the rubber mallet and show the bars who is boss.

 

Finishing Touches

Paint
I’ve left most of my bars unpainted.  However, half the bars at 626 are painted and many of the members really like the feel of them (though I prefer unpainted).  The Rust-Oleum Hammered paint for metallic surfaces provides a textured finish so that the bars aren’t overly slippery.  If you’re going to paint them, use this paint and keep in mind you’ll need a few coats to get the paint to provide enough texture for adequate grip.

 

Final Words

I think that’s about it.  If anything else comes to mind I’ll be sure to add it to this page.  If you’ve used any other tools on your systems let me know in the comments.

 

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