Introduction: DIY "VersaClimber" Exercise Machine

I have wanted to own a VersaClimber, but their price is just too outrageous. I saw the "Jacob's Ladder" and thought what a clever alternative it was. Jeez, it costs more than a VersaClimber!

It got the old neurons firing though, and here is my design for a supper cheap, just as effective climbing machine. Of course, it hasn't been built yet ;-)


"notched pulleys"--these are pulleys notched for the rungs of the rope ladder. They keep the ladder from slipping and allow the "friction device" access to the edge of the pulley.

"friction device"--this is the fuzziest part of the design. It could be as simple as a screw that presses against one or both of the pulleys to control the climbing speed, or something more elaborate, of course.

Another item could be a set of counter-pulleys set to the floor to control swing. I would not necessarily want that because the built in tendency to swing causes you to use muscles and technique that would add to your fitness experience.

You could also fit a counter weight for the resistance control and/or to smooth out motion.

Has anyone built something like this? If not I am surprised.


banzi06 made it!(author)2014-02-26

Exocetid made it!(author)2014-02-26


Now we know why there isn't one of these, aside from all the litigation over injuries, the idea has a run out patent.

Well, at least I have the smug satisfaction of knowing that someone else at a different time/space coordinate had the same idea and acted on it.

awesaomeness5 made it!(author)2011-04-19

okay so you get in the middle then you can not fall out, you can use it like a hammock, and you don't have to alter your design in the slightest even ridding it of the "friction device".

Exocetid made it!(author)2011-04-20


awesaomeness5 made it!(author)2011-04-20

you can just go between where the ladder comes up and goes down then, no friction machine, no lower pulley, and when you get tired you could use it like a hammock

camintmier made it!(author)2011-01-15

You might consider adding a pulley at the bottom to keep from "falling" behind the back of the ladder. If there's enough tension between the pulleys, it should keep the ladder vertically level.

Also, if you build the ladder rungs out of metal in an elongated U shape, where the sides are short, and the bottom of the U is long, it would help to alleviate any potential slippage from the pulleys.

As for the friction device, I would recommend not using a screw to dig into the pulley. You might be better using an inline skate wheel, or something that is hard rubber. It shouldn't damage your pulley as much.

Exocetid made it!(author)2011-01-15
Read carefully and note that I suggested that counter-pulleys could be added.

As for friction (did you read the notes?) I said:

"friction device"--this is the fuzziest part of the design. It could be as simple as a screw that presses against one or both of the pulleys to control the climbing speed, or something more elaborate, of course.

But keep thinking and let us know if you build one!
Broberg made it!(author)2011-03-26

Maybe if build at an angle like the Jacob's Ladder and use the inline skate ideas pushing on the bottom of each top or top of each bottom pully would work. I also agree with the comment reagarding using pipe for the rungs to keep the ladder at the proper distance apart. Could also build a deck like on the Jaocab's Ladder...

Just some ideas.... keep us all updated and if you do build; take loads of pictures!

Ranie-K made it!(author)2011-01-16

Anyone think a fluid coupling from a cars automatic transmission would be suitable for the friction device?

Such a device could even be fitted with a sensor stopping the ladder if you were too low on it!

Exocetid made it!(author)2011-01-16

Now that is a good idea. Another would be a generator, which is what many exercise machines use for variable resistance. Either can be had at a junk yard for small $$$.

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