This is a simple how-to for making a good quality skate box that can be portable. The decision to make your own box is really a natural one when all street spots are a bust and the parks are overcrowded. This particular box can also be made fairly cheaply especially if you have some plywood and 2x4's lying around. The only non-common components are the right-angle bar and masonite.
I have attached a small pdf with drawings of the box and dimensions.
Here's a short video of my friend skating the box: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW3-vSasAT0
Step 1: Considerations and Materials List
We had several restrictions in mind when designing the box:
1) The box had to be able to fit in the car. In our case unfortunately, this meant that the box had to fit into a Subaru STi. This gave us a max length of under 6'. Our final length was 66" and the box just fits in snug enough to shut the hatchback. This works fine for us but a longer length would be more comfortable to skate. I recommend going with something around 7' - 8' if you have a larger vehicle or are not concerned with moving the box. Keep in mind though that the length of the box will be limited by the length of right-angle bar that you can find. At Home Depot, the longest one I could find of decent stock was 6' length.
2) The box had to be sturdy enough to take a beating and get skated regularly without breaking down.
3) Light enough for a person to carry by hand.
Parts! The parts list is fairly short so here goes:
1) The all-important right angle bar! This is what you will actually be grinding and limits the maximum length that you box can be. As I mentioned earlier, the length of this bar will limit the maximum length of your box and at Home Depot I could only find 6' length. You should be able to find longer ones elsewhere. NOTE: make sure you are using steel or the densest metal you can find and it should be at least 1/8" thick.
2) Sheet of masonite: Try to find one that matches the thickness of your metal bar.
3) Sheet of plywood: get a sheet that is 3/4" or thicker.
4) There is not much to the 2x4's. It is important to look for the straightest pieces possible and make sure you get a little more than you think you will need.
5) Screws: we used standard 2" wood screws to fasten the top pieces (plywood, masonite, metal bar) and used 3" stainless wood screws to fasten the 2x4's to each other.
Home Depot Note: they offer a cutting service that should definitely be taken advantage of for the plywood and masonite pieces if you buy them there. I do not recommend cutting the 2x4 pieces to size there. You should be measuring each fitting as you go and then cutting the 2x4's to the correct size (there is usually some play in the actual lengths).
Step 2: Assembly Part 1
I should have taken pictures while putting this thing together but since I didn't I decided to put together some Solidworks animations depicting each step.
This first step is simple and just uses the sheet of plywood cut at 66" x 24", two pieces of 2x4 cut at 66" and the other two pieces cut at 21". Using the plywood sheet as a baseboard make sure to screw in everything securely to the plywood first and then put in screws attaching the 2x4's to each other.
Step 3: Assembly Part 2
Now you are ready to add the legs.
You can use any height legs that you want. Just keep in mind that the overall height of the box will be about 1" taller because of the plywood and metal bar. We went with 15" for the corner legs and cut the two center legs at 14.5". The reason why is in the next step.
Step 4: Assembly Part 3
So in this step you will add the second set of supports for the legs. In my case this just consists of another set of 66" and 21" 2x4's.
The only difference now is to offset these from the end of the legs by 1/2" and it will line up with the center legs. This increases stability as it will allow the box to sit flat on bumpy or non-flat surfaces. The box itself will still be heavy enough that it will not slide around when you are skating it.
Side Note: In my case some of the legs were a little warped and we had to use long clamps in some cases in order to be able to get the screws in correctly.
Step 5: Assembly Part 4
Now the final step!
Depending where you purchase the metal bar it could be a different measurement on the side. The one we purchased from Home Depot was just about 2". Regardless, you should install the metal piece first and then measure the proper width for the masonite piece.
Important: make sure that you countersink all the holes for the metal bar (the ones on top and on the side) AND all holes in the masonite that border the metal bar. You want to make sure that the heads of the screws do not stick up above the surface. Nothing sucks more than having your board chipped away by screws.
"Important #2:" most metal bars have a bit of a curve on the inside corner and ours was no exception. We cut away the edge of the plywood facing that inside corner to allow the metal bar to sit perfectly flat and secure (see pic below).
Step 6: Go Skate!
Self explanatory, really...
Thanks for checking this out and I look forward to suggestions/criticism.