A Great Build-at-home Disc Golf Target (or a better use for 55-gal drums!)

Picture of A Great Build-at-home Disc Golf Target (or a better use for 55-gal drums!)
Disc target 001.jpg
Welcome to another outstanding Instructable from Kentucky Bum! In this Instructable I will show you how to build a kick-ass disc golf target. I have seen numerous plans (and even some for sale) but I didn’t care for any of them; too hooky, too flimsy, not robust enough, not weather-proof enough or just poorly designed. None of the parts in most any of these plans are ‘cheap’ by any standard, but if you are going to put something up outside, leave it there and expect to survive against the weather and a never-ending assault of hard, plastic discs it has to have some mass to it. If it has mass, it’s gonna cost you (KB axiom #28).
A commercial ‘portable’ target that fits in bag cost $120, a commercial semi-permanent one (all metal with a 4-legged base) will cost $175 and a pro version is gonna cost you about $400. Here’s my version of the ultimate home disc golf target. It should cost you about $95 to $100 per target (and take you about 4-man hours to build) but it should last you a long, long time.
 One more note, with the exception of the outer diameter of the ‘basket’ (made from the 55-gallon drum) this target is pretty close to the target specifications shown on the PDGA.com website. For an ‘approved’ target the diameters for the basket should be 24.5” to 27.5”, but most drums are only 23 ½” in diameter, so these will be a bit ‘tight’ for the basket, however it should make you a better ‘golfer’; your practice target should always be a little tougher than a real one anyway.

Here is a picture of my second basket which I put up last weekend. It is made from a barrel that has a bonded on top and bottom. It looks much, much better.

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eightrax made it!4 months ago

Built this bad boy here in Cornwall. 40mm plumbers pipe, flanges and split rings... nice and simple :-) Pictured with and without inner chains.

Damon V5 months ago
Great Job on the instructions can't get any better then that. I made mine the other day. I got the 55gal drum from work I have enough to make a 24 hole course lol. Instead of putting mine in the ground I attack a steel plate with another flange to it and added a 2" threaded coupling in nipple so it can be portable. I'm glad I come across this post.
dave.bornhoft7 months ago
Made from mineral tubs for cattle. Anyone who lives the "livestock lifestyle" knows these tubs are plentiful and they just happen to be the perfect radius for a basket. Convenient when visiting family back home where, unfortunately, there is no course...yet.
wstevens41 year ago

me and my brother are making some targets, on the first one for the base we are using a 12'' aluminum motorcycle rim so it should be light weight...will post pics when it is done. :)

almost done with it...here is a pic

Disc Dog (author)  wstevens41 year ago
I like your thinkin'! You can probably pick up used motorcycle rims for pennies on the pound at a motorcycle salvage lot I imagine!
logan20seb2 years ago
Thank you for the great instructions!! This inspired me when I was building my basket, and helped a lot when figuring out how to put the pvc all together. You the man! You can take a look at mine here http://www.instructables.com/id/Disc-Golf-Goal-all-parts-from-Lowes-Inexpensive/ it wouldn't have come together without your post :)
Disc Dog (author) 2 years ago
Looks nice JThrow! I especially like the base.
JThrow2 years ago
Thanks Disc Dog for the great instructions. You inspired me to make my own basket using a 55 gallon drum. I picked the drum up from a carwash nearby for $10. I used a 1.5" metal conduit for the pole because it was in my garage along with a few materials I found around my house, I used an umbrella base to hold it, and for chains I used rope covered with a garden hose that I cut up into 1.5" "links". I used the closet flanges with the 3" to 1.5" coupler. All in all it cost me about $30 to build. It catches much better than the Instep basket I have that is next to it in the picture. Thanks again for the great ideas and instructions. Here's the picture of mine...
DIY Disc Golf Basket.jpg
bergiemoore3 years ago
It would be very helpful if you created a list of supplies like
1- 5', 2" pvc pipe,
3- Closet Flange 3x4" Pvc,
etc. stuff like that. and added it to this page :)
Thanks for posting.
philrhorn3 years ago
My son plays disc golf and has talked about adding a course so I've been looking at the cheapest way to make the baskets. Great design. I already use the drums as feeders for my animals and floatation for my dock. You can buy them at feed stores from $15-30ea.

I've a couple questions.

How strong is the flanged bottom section?
I was thinking of having it be one length of PVC for strength and have it go through the bottom. You could still use the flanges for supporting the bottom but I think it would be a stronger joint. This could also allow you to use T posts to support it on which would also make the target portable. What do you think?

In order to bring down the cost even more, could you use old garden hose instead of chains? I've plenty of that laying around.

Thanks, Phil
Disc Dog (author)  philrhorn3 years ago
The flanged bottom is strong enough to survive my 70# Chocolate Lab leaning up on the lip and pulling a Frisbee out (when I actually make a basket :). I'm not too sure how you can make the PVC tube one piece as each of the fittings are tapered or have stops in them. Actually, keeping them in two pieces, and NOT gluing in the bottom tube, turns out to be a blessing. It come apart for easy transportation and the lack of glue doesn't seem to affect its rigidity.

Using a short T-post works good as a semi-permanent support if you can keep it from rattling around and leaning on the post with some inner shims. I have found that just using a post-hole digger and putting sand around them makes for a good setup and makes them easier to relocate/remove when you need to. It's almost as easy as putting in then puling a T-post.

I doubt garden hose would make a good target stop, and they sure would not behave like chains would. If you only want a target to aim at (and not worry about getting in the basket) just paint a strip on a pole like they did in the old days of disc golf.
zigzagchris4 years ago
Lucky to have a nice course around your house. I teach discgolf at my camp and its so much fun.
Disc Dog (author)  zigzagchris4 years ago
Thanks Chris. I played 96 holes this weekend down in Pensacola. They have a lot of courses down south where it seems to have become a way of life!
Lucky, up in new england it is not as well known. Out side my camp iv only been able to find one course nearby and it was not in the best of shape...
Disc Dog (author)  zigzagchris4 years ago
Have you tried dgcoursereview.com? They seem to know about courses that don't show up on most DG course sites.
DikkaD4 years ago
Some other forums have suggested using a X-mas tree stand to hold it up or an umbrella rack. I think I am going to do mine in a cement tire tho because Im not planning on moving it around to far/much but want to have the option to do so (Its heavier therefore more stable). Thanks KB for keeping me busy!
Disc Dog (author)  DikkaD4 years ago
I like your thinking...however, depending one how many locations you plan on 'wheeling' your target around to, it may be cheaper (and easier) just of dig a few holes [in those loactions where you want to put the target] and fill them with cement. Pour the cement around a cut off section of base pipe wrapped in an even layer of strong plastic pacaking tape. That way when the cement hardens and you pull the hole-forming pipe you get a hole with a slight clearence. Then just pick the target out of one hole and stick it in one of the others. Just a suggestion...
DikkaD Disc Dog4 years ago
That would not work for my situation as I am wheeling it across the street to a small park. I am looking in to using some sort of stand, possibly with a way to temporally anchor it to the ground. Anything to get my mid range game better!!
Disc Dog (author)  DikkaD4 years ago
One guy said that if you can find a good, used heavy duty light stand (for portable work lights) that you can just slip the PVC tube over the shaft on the base of the stand. That seemed to work fine.
Westyii5 years ago
AWESOME !!! Built this today after work. Took me just about 2 1/2 hours. The Instructions are spot on, had to play around a little with the chain spacing because I forgot to pick up the sewing gadget you mentioned. I took a video from my cell phone and plan to post the final on YouTube. I will be sure to thank you for your creativity. Oh and instead of sinking the pole, I was able to make it a portable basket by slipping the PVC pole over an old work light stand. You can find these pretty cheap at yard sales and salvage or surplus stores, you can see it in the video. It fit perfect, without any modifications! It did raise the height of my basket from 24" to about 27" but that';s ok with me. Thanks again A+ build, now to test it out tomorrow!!!! woo-hoo!
Emsaid5 years ago
i never saw it, but how long are each strands of chain?
Disc Dog (author)  Emsaid5 years ago
I cut them at 24" (2') each. If you buy a 31' length of chain you can cut the 15 chains with out short changing them; you will have @ 6" left over.
pie popper5 years ago
i was wondering what is the diameter of this, and what is the diameter of an official basket
Disc Dog (author)  pie popper5 years ago
I mentioned it somewhere in the text, but the baskets in this 'ible are only 23 1/2" diameter and an official target is 24 1/2" to 26 1/2" wide; these targets are a little bit more difficult to hit. Other than that, they are 'official' in size and construction to the real McCoys.
brees15255 years ago
As far as chain cutting goes. It looks like you used thicker chain than regulation. You should use 2/0 straight link coil chain. And the 2/0 chain is easy as hell to cut with bolt cutters. I used crappy 20 dollar bolt cutters from Walmart to cut my chain and it was pretty dang easy. Also you should use 2 layers of chain, 12 outside and 6 inside.
Disc Dog (author)  brees15255 years ago
Well, actually if you go to the pdga.com website you find that there is no 'size' callout to the chain, it mearly says 'metal chain' (and commercially built target use 5/0 chain; much bigger and heavier with better stopping power). As for the number and layers, it depends if it's defined as a Basic, Standard or Championship Target. The Basic has no chain number callout (it is a painted strip on a post); the Standard (which I talk about in my ible) only needs one layer with a minimum of 12 strands of 'metal chain'. You are in reference to a Champion Target which needs two layers of chains. But don't take my word for it...go here for all the gruesome details: http://www.pdga.com/files/documents/PDGATechStandards_121909.pdf
has anyone heard of bolt cutters? much quieter,safer and quicker for cutting chains.
Disc Dog (author)  8lbhammerhead5 years ago
Yea, that would be another good way to do it for sure, but I don't have a pair (and I'm too cheap to buy a tool like that, especially if I only use it for making targets :-). I've just never needed one. And (if you're not built like Arnold S) a good pair (big enough to cut this chain) will set you back $30-$50...like I said I'm cheap (and lazy :-)!

PS Have you tried to cut 30-45 links of chain non-stop with a bolt cutter? Without a really big one it will flat wear you out. (That's the 'lazy' part of me talkin'...)
Bard5 years ago
 For portability, Ive noticed that portable basket ball hoops have a can that you can add water to weight it down. Would it be possible to attach these targets to something like that to make it portable then just fill it with water when you get it to where your going?
Disc Dog (author)  Bard5 years ago
The only way I have figured out to make this design 'portable' is to not glue in the base pole and toss the upper part of the target, the base pole and a tire filled with cement (one that has the hole for the 2" PVC pipe formed in it) in the back of a hatchback with enough room for the upper assembly. If you do that, make sure you crimp the S-Hooks around the top link of the chains, as if this lays on its side they may slip off in transit.
SureShot5 years ago
Very cool Instructable! I really like the white and red one. The only thing that could make it even sweeter would be a lite weight, yet sturdy, movable base! How cool would that be! You could set up anywhere. Good job and thanks! Here comes spring and this project is going to the top of my list.
Disc Dog (author)  SureShot5 years ago

I couldn't come up with a good idea for a light weight yet sturdy portable base; that's why I figured cement holes were cheap and easy to put up in multiple locations if you only wanted to build one target. There is a 'portable' target you can buy for $175, and as far as the basket is concerned it's a good target, but the base is just 4 bent wire legs, but no matter how you hit it they are just not very sturdy and the target moves quite a bit on a hard shot. If you want to make this thing portable I recommend you make your cement hole in an old car tire (like how the old teether-ball posts were mounted years ago). It should be steady enough for even the most direct of hits, but you can roll it around the yard easy enough without lifting it :-)

I just got 3 barrels for 30 bucks delivered! Man I love craigslist!
Disc Dog (author)  SureShot5 years ago
Sweet! $10 each! You can't beat that. If they were filled with something you're gonna need to clean out, I saw an Instructable on how to clean them out. I'm setting up a third hole this weekend so I'll be good for 6-holes soon.
Marsh5 years ago
 Nicely done!
dougistre5 years ago
Have you thought about cementing pipe in the ground so you could move the basket to other locations? Say put 1-2 ft of pipe in the ground and then slide the PVC pipe in the pipe in the ground? Just a thought so you could change your shot.
Disc Dog (author)  dougistre5 years ago
I have at that (and I like your thinking) but I didn't do it this way for several reasons: for starters, I couldn't find a good, commonly available 'inner pipe' whose ID was close enough to the OD of the 2" shed 40 to keep the target straight up n' down, I also didn't relish the idea of an uncovered pipe sticking up from the ground (especially at night, or when there's snow on the ground or when the wife-unit is mowing the lawn:-) and [lastly] I did recommend cementing in the hole so you can pull the target out just as easy but the hole still remains (it serves the same purpose as the pipe you referenced). This way the target is just as movable, but it cost less and a little safer for when the target is not up. As far as changing your shot, one of the cool things about disc golf is that you can shoot at the same target from 4 different directions and [chances are] you will have 4 different shots. Three targets and you have 6 different holes; I'm only going to put up 5 targets to make a 9-hole course :-).
My bad, I didn't read the entire instructable. After my comment I saw where you had the removable post. As far as the 4 directions, you can have as many holes per basket as you have tee boxes. I really like your instructable and will be following your lead. Good luck with your baskets and your 9 hole course. May the Disc Gods look down on you when you shoot and say WOW what a shot!!!!!!!! Enjoy....
Disc Dog (author)  dougistre5 years ago
No biggie Doug. As far as "WOW", I have to laugh because about a week after I got the first one up my WIFE shot the first hole-in-one on it...NOT ME! And she doesn't even play it that often ! ! ! What's with that =8-O!?
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