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Doorframe Chin-up Bar

Picture of Doorframe Chin-up Bar
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Lets build a chinup bar! You do need to get in shape. Chinups are great, because they work your upper body, as well as your core (by requiring that you hold your balance while you lift yourself).

There are a number of commercial designs that mimic the general design of this chinup bar - the benefit of this design is that it is incredibly sturdy, low cost, and adaptable to many door frame designs. This design is intended to work with very deep frames, as commonly found in older buildings. These deep frames are often incompatible with the commercial chin-up bars.

We will be building out of 1" Schedule 40 Steel Pipe (actual outer diameter is closer to 1.315"), and EasyFit structural pipe fittings. There are a number of structural pipe fittings available out there, all of which would be acceptable, but EasyFit is about the cheapest, and still high quality.

Refer to the attached Sketchup file for details as you work through the design!

Some design goals:
  1. Sturdy!
  2. Adaptable to many door frames
  3. Multiple grips for different workouts
  4. Enough extension away from the doorframe that you don't bonk yourself while lifting
  5. Solid grip for the hands
  6. Inexpensive
  7. Attractive
 
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Step 1: Make Your Measurements

Picture of Make Your Measurements
While each chinup bar you make will have a lot of adjustability, they are fundamentally made for your specific doorframe. I had to make my own specifically because my doorframe was too odd to fit any commercial products.

There are four critical measurements:
  1. The depth of the doorframe, measured from the outermost edges of the trim on both sides.
  2. The width of the doorframe, measured from inside edge to inside edge.
  3. The width of your door trim.
  4. the thickness of your door trim.
These measurements will drive the final dimensions of your chin-up bar. Most adaptations will be obvious, but here are some suggestions:
  1. Make the rear vertical supports about 5" longer than the trim is wide - that wil give it enough room to pivot and slide into place with the rear brace in place.
  2. Make the rear brace about 1.5" tall, and slightly deeper than your trim is deep (I used 3/4" MDF).
  3. Make the length of the bars going under the doorframe about 7.5" longer than the frame is deep - that will give you enough room to mount the front braces such that the bar will have enough clearance to slip up into place, but still leave enough front extension that the actual chinup bar will be extended about 6.5" from the doorframe.
  4. Make the width of the main chinup bar at least 7" wider than the doorframe, giving yourself a wide enough bar for wide grips. 36" would be a good minimum, with up to 44" being useful for your workout.
  5. The front support braces should be wide enough to completely cover the trim, at least 5" minimum.

FYI: While Schedule 40 black pipe / galvanized steel will do just fine, is it total overkill for a max load of a 200-300 pound person. And more importantly, more expensive.

Google search "structural pipe" and you will find better options. Steel structural pipe is the common term for pipe used for hand rails, guard rails on play grounds, and light to medium duty weight-bearing support structures. Perfect for our application.

McMaster-Carr has everything a diy'er could want.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#structural-framing-pipe/=j1apwd
Steel Structural Framing Pipe (2534T11):
1" diameter, 4' length - $5.82 each
Steel Clamp-On Tee (2534T21): $2.50 each


Get 3 x steel pipe, for 12' total length. Plenty. $18.
Get 6 x steel pipe tee. $15.

Shipping will be close to $10, because of the weight. But that's still only $42. And less than buying galvanized steel and the Easy-Fit tee's that the OP suggests. (No disrespect intended OP, this is the best DIY Pull up bar I've seen)

Make a run by Home Depot to pickup some pipe straps and a small piece of wood for a door brace, and you're not too far from the cost of an off the shelf, Wal-Mart brand pull up bar. Except this one is custom, and will fit any door!
Just tried this; thanks for the tips. McMaster-Carr is awesome; my order arrived in less than 24 hours and shipping was only $6!

The clamp-on fittings aren't up to par for the two brace lengths, though. I might try the EasyFit, if I can figure out whether they'll fit these pipes properly.
Forgot to mention- The main concern beside cost is Overall Weight. Black pipe / galvanized steel is thick, heavy duty steel. Great for its intended purpose - transporting pressurized steam or air, water, gas, etc. But overkill for ours.

Black pipe makes for a ~20 lb pull up bar
Structural pipe is probably 10 lbs
(Less stress on the door frame too)
phidauex (author) 1 year ago
Thanks for the tips! You are right, there are lighter weight fittings out there - these are just ones I had and went with, and with my inordinately thick door frame there are high cantilever loads on a few of the fittings that won't apply to most people. Appreciate the detailed recommendations for future builders!
1tri2god3 years ago
This is a great idea and I'll be making one soon...a pricelist will be posted once I'm done (at least from Big Box hardware stores here in Atlanta, Ga)
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