I'm a student at HOWEST in Belgium studying industrial design.
Recently we had gotten the task to make swing that you can easily take to a location (a tree or a support beam etc...) and set up quick and easy.
I had to make sure the swing was portable, meaning it had to be lightweight and within portable dimensions, while still being sturdy and an over all good swing.
Here is my approach to an easy DIY portable swing.
Step 1: Design
As shown in the sketch the swing will have planks in one direction with two rods going trough the planks in the other direction.
At the ends of the rods we will connect the ropes that hold the swing up.
Step 2: Materials
I used a wooden plank with dimensions 25cm x 45cm x 270cm. But you can use a plank with your own preferred dimensions, as long as it is broad enough to sit on.
The rod that I used was a wooden rod and had these dimensions Ø20cm x 270 cm. It is important that you take a rod with a big enough diameter, because if you go to small it will loose it's strength and might collapse when you sit on your swing.
I also used some rope and two sets of eyebolts, one set of eyebolts and one set of screw eyes.
Step 3: Cutting the Pieces to Length
I cut the plank into five pieces, each 50cm long.
Then I cut two rods off of the long rod, each 22,5cm long.
Step 4: Drilling Holes in the Planks
Next I drilled two holes in each plank, this is where the rods will go trough.
I drilled them 45cm apart from each other and 22,5cm from the middle of the plank.
Because my rod had I diameter of 20cm the holes would have to be Ø20cm. But this is without any tolerance and would not be ideal. So I drilled some holes with a diameter of Ø25cm.
Note: Because drilling a Ø25cm hole is quite large, it's best you first drill a pilot hole. This will also guide your drill so your holes are more presisly located.
This is all for the planks, we can put them aside for now.
Step 5: Attaching the Screw Eyes
At one end of the rods I attached screw eyes where to rope will be permanently attached.
To do this I first made a small pilot hole and then screwed the screw eyes in place, this makes sure it's going to be in the right spot and also reduces the chances for having wood chip out.
Step 6: Making a Lock System 1/2
Here comes the tricky part. At the other end of the rod I wanted to make a system that would keep the rope in place without being permanently stuck. I wanted to be able to adjust the height of the swing, so one end of the rope had to be adjustable.
How I did it:
I drilled a hole in the rod perpendicular to the direction of the rod 5cm from the end of the rod. The size of the hole depends on which rope you use. Since my rope had a diameter of 0,6cm I drilled a hole Ø1cm big. This insured that the rope would pass trough easily while still being unable to wobble around.
Note: The distance of the hole to the end of the rod depends on which eyebolt you use, mine was 7cm long hence the 5cm distance.
Step 7: Making a Lock System 2/2
Next I drilled a hole at the center of the end of the rod where my eyebolt with fit trough exactly. (This is off course dependent on the diameter of your eyebolt.) I drilled trough until I came out into other hole.
Now as is the bolt wouldn't do anything because it has no grip. So I had to instal a nut at which the bolt could turn and have some grip.
To do this I made a hole that was slightly smaller than the size of the nut at the end of the rod. I made sure not to drill to deep, it only had to be deep enough for the nut to fit in. Then I took a hammer and jammed it into that hole.
Now the bolt could truly be installed and it was almost finished.
note: I coated the nut with superglue before jamming it in, just to make sure it would stick.
Step 8: Finishing Up
The only thing left to do was cut the rope up in the wanted length. I cut the rope up into ropes each 5m long, this means that you can swing at a height of max 2,5m. If you want a swing that can swing higher you simply cut a longer rope.
I put everything together to test it. Everything fits, great! At this point it is actually finished but I also made some simple spacers to go between the planks to make them sit a bit apart from one another. This isn't necessary but I preferred it this way.
Step 9: You're Done!
And there you have it!
A quick and easy build, perfect for a first woodworking project.
Now you can go for a hike and take a nice relaxing go at the swing when you're tired.
A quick demonstration: