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Garage Climbing Wall

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In this instructable I show how I designed and built a climbing wall in my garage for relatively cheap. To view this project and some other pretty cool ones I haven't had time to transcribe over to instructables visit my site mechanicallyinclined.net
Of course every garage varies so my design probably couldn't be copied exactly but hopefully showing how I did will show all the basic concepts behind building a wall and give you a good idea on how to go about this large undertaking should you choose to do so. The total cost of the project was under $400 (that includes holds so if you made your own holds it would be ~220$) and is well worth the investment. An added bonus is the wall has a door that can be opened so it doubles as extra storage space. (or if you dont need storage space but have kids (or you're a kid yourself) you could use the inside as a pretty awesome fort). It really is up to your imagination. But without further adieu we will delve into the finer details of climbing wall design & construction.
 
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Step 1: Brainstorm

This is the part that you sit down and decide what you want from your climbing wall and combine that with what you're capable of doing based on space limitations, cost, ability, etc.

After brainstorming I compiled a list of the things I NEEDED my wall to have:
-Large 45 degree overhang for the main climbing area, to be used for strength and endurance training.
-Smaller 90 degree overhang for super intense workouts.
-25 degree lead out from the 90 degree that i could mount a Jacobs ladder to for finger strength training
-A pull up bar
-Access to the inside

And a list of things i WANTED to have:
-A vertical wall just for fun
-A variable angle part
-Some sort of bulge
-Anchors at the top to belay small children

I also instituted a budget of $500 that I didn't want to exceed.

You take all your requirements then go on the the next step DESIGN where you put all this together to make the best wall possible that meets as many of your constraints as possible
Mave_Rick1 year ago
I was doing all my design work in photoshop cs6 3d animator. What software did you use in these pictures? It will sure come in handy when we begin designing volumes and our garage bouldering cave this fall.
mAjc02 years ago
Hey, I'm just wonder which program are you using for computer design of climbing wall?, Thank's! Have a nice day:),
ewilhelm6 years ago
Nice work! Did you consider finishing the surface of the plywood in any way?
I would not recommend worrying about surface roughness. You will find that home gyms work best with steeper walls (i.e. 30 degrees from vertical or more), and the texture is useless on walls that steep (unless you are Spider Man). Anyways, sticking to the route and not smearing will make you a stronger climber. Save the smearing for outdoors.
I agree that there's no need for texture as far as smearing goes. But I'm about to texture-paint my wall (much less extensive an operation than yours) because I keep spinning the holds. Mostly it's big buckets that have the problem...if I do a big reach sometimes I'll just spin them 180 degrees. I can't make them any tighter without pulling the t-nuts through the wall...

Anyway, ewilhelm, if you're looking to texture it the easy way is just to mix paint and sand.
If you are only having trouble with a couple of large holds spinning, I would suggest putting small screws in the wall to stop them from rotating. Some large holds have pre-allocated spaces for these screws. Adding a couple of screws is much easier than painting an entire wall. Of course, if your wall is only a couple of panels, the paint may be the easy way to go.
I used small ball-bearings to stop our bathroom cupboard handles from rotating. Being only held in by a (usually too-short) screw, they tend to unwind slightly thus allowing the screw to pull out. A bearing about midway between the screw and one corner sinks into both the handle and the door; tighten up the screw, and the handle no longer moves. Better than glue, 'cos you can still remove the handle.
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suckrpnch2 years ago
I love the idea. And it illustrates how doable it is to build a climbing wall at home, but at 6' 4", I would be hard to get anything out of this in a 10' space.

Nice idea.
Climb laterally and save cash on ropes.
what i like to do is first place 3 holds. after that i hang in it and make a movement. wherever my hand ends (or just doesn't :p), i place a hold.
james12142 years ago
Great intro to climbing comic book for kids is
Betty and the Silver Spider

And when im traveling I search for gyms on www.indoorclimbing.com
This is so awesome! Earmarked for when I have a garage! :-)
Biggsy2 years ago
I would LOVE to build one of these in my scout hut... but alas we don't have the space... welldone matey I love it

One of my coveted high fives for you
hi.jpg
As a momma I'm glad to see concerns about safety!

Do you recommend a book or site that teaches how to climb? My children are interested but we're in Ohio and....our "rock wall" was in the mall and they practically pulled the kids up instead of letting them climb. They love to climb trees and such so I was thinking this in our garage...

Thank you for sharing. This was a lovely instructible.
static3 years ago
I have seen video of one home in the State of LA, who's owners put in a "climbing wall" instead of a stairway to get to the second floor. The entire house is an out of the box off grid home.
I now know where I will live after my eventual graduation.
abcparkour5 years ago
good job i wud luv to make a wall like this do u know much about the concret walls my local center has all concret there are only like 4 screw on handholds in the hole place..
that's weird. as concrete can't be removed for cleaning (pressure washing out the old chalk and rubber) then they usually become glazed/polished pretty fast.
Makes it just like French limestone then !
yea one or two holds at the bottom are a bit slippy but it stays pretty rough i think they put sand in it or somthing i dono...but its scheduled for demolition which is a shame it was a rly good wall and ive never seen one like it.
quesoman4 years ago
When i get out of college im gonna build a house thats gonna have one central "tower" and two "wings" coming off. in the tower im gonna build a wall like this. GREAT IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
cool! i had a friend with a treehouse, but instead of a ladder they had a full climbing wall with climbing apparatus to get to the top, then a zipline to another platform across the yard. now i can have one, since i moved, but it will be costly. do u have any tips to lower the cost?
swighton (author)  fancypenguin8456 years ago
If you wanted to lower the cost you could -make your own holds -scavenge wood from dumpsters at construction sites (great source of 2x4's) -use less t-nuts or no t-nuts as well if your not planning on changing your holds around -My wall was a bit over designed, if you know what your doing you could get away with less support, and if you don't have an extreme overhang you can use 2x4's throughout which are much cheaper than the 2x6's i used for the overhang -buy wood from a lumber yard or wholesaler instead of home depot like I did (much cheaper I found out after I had bought my wood) -The biggest cost in building the wall was the plywood which cost about 120$ if you could get cheaper plywood or use lower quality you could cut costs ALOT -I calculated the costs of little things like nails and screws into my total cost and they really add up, so if you already have nails and screws for your treehouse that would save you about 20$ All in all if you really wanted to a wall similar to mine could be built for 120-150$ possibly even less. Mine was expensive because I didn't want to cut any corners and regret it later so i got the best of everything.
If you want to save money, DO NOT buy nuts/bolts/screws from a hardware store!! Go to an industrial nut and bolt supplier (search nut and bolt supply in the phone book) and buy everything in one trip. They will sometime give you %10 discount for buying $100, $200, whatever. I also don't suggest buying super-cheap or super-expensive T-nuts. I saw prices from 6-45 cents a piece when buying 1000. I bought some 6 cent units that had super shallow threads and tended to mess up the threads on the hold bolts if torqued too tightly. After messing up a dozen bolts (@ .50 ea.) I realized that these t-nuts were costing me more than i saved. I went to a different supplier and got some better T-nuts @ 0.12 ea that were great quality! Moral of the story is, expect to pay 0.15 ea for good T-nuts and make sure you get to inspect the product before laying down $150. I use Mack Nut and Bolt in Bryan, TX. They are worth a couple hour drive if you live close to them.
when searching nut and suppliers I've had more luck in the past searching fasteners. When I lived with my parents Suffolk Fasteners sold me all the bolts I ever needed for car and motorbike restoration and climbing stuff. Now my local one is Paramount Fasteners. Maybe this is just an English naming convention but thought it might help on your hunt for quality bolts for less  :)
calvindo4 years ago
 Very cool project.  Great use of space.  Very useful, especially taking the sheetrock out of the ceiling to expose the studs makes it easy.  I'm inspired to get started!
gingertech5 years ago
that is the most awesome thing i have seen in ages:) top banana! shame i dont own my own garage being 15 and all but when i get my own house this is what i shall do:)
swighton (author)  gingertech5 years ago
Thank you! I don't own my own garage either, I had to pay to have the camper that was stored on that side of the garage stored at a different location. Also never rule it out simply because your only 15. I built this wall when I was barely 16. :)
and i made mine when I was 12 : )
Not bad. I built a 20ft tall A-frame wall above the deep end of my pool a few years ago. No belay needed if you can swim. Great spectator sport watching people lose it and fall into the pool. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I easily built some nice holds out of TREX 2x6 decking scraps. Just saw or grind them into hold shapes and you can bolt them up and them feel nice and soft.
A good name5 years ago
Just a tip, it should be "Or if you're a kid"
swighton (author)  A good name5 years ago
I appreciate your grammatical prowess, but I have to ask - was that "tip" really necessary? Its not as if it detracts from the clarity of the instructable... I also have several missed commas and plenty of run on sentances. I think that 'negligible' describes these errors very well. The end.
Lol sowwy :(
bazookazuz6 years ago
Using OSB (the cheaper ply wood) is great, but the T-nuts will fall out all the time unless you glue them in with something like Liquid Nails. Not a big deal if the back is accessible, but a huge pain on a roof section.
Waaayyyyyy tooo expensive! It looks awsome but sure is costly!
While this wall is very cool and inspires creativity in your climbing, it is possible to build a pretty functional wall for less than $200. I've got a bare bones 45 degree woody that cost me $120 (without holds) and took me 7 hours to build, including the trip to the hardware store.
Still too expensive...
swighton (author)  PyroMaster0076 years ago
the 400 included the holds too btw and i have a goodly amount
swighton (author)  swighton6 years ago
also, this is my main work out tool. I use it daily, it could be done for less certainly, but i wanted a very good solid wall that would hold up to for years. also if you think about it its a good investment because this is how i work out my entire upper body - a treadmill alone is >$400 it is expensive to build on a whim but for me its well worth it
It's definitely a good investment especially when you afford yourself the convenience of being able to work out at home and not have a monthly membership fee at a gym. Taking into consideration the cost of getting to the gym, time in transit, my monthly dues I'd recover my $400 in about 6 or 7 months.
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