Step 1: Parts
For my purposes, it sufficed to have 1/2" steel pipes as the main structure. Make sure that you get galvanized pipes so that they don't rust from being outside!
Five 36" long 1/2" steel pipes with threaded ends
Four 9" long 1/2" steel pipes with threaded ends
Five 1/2" 90 degree threaded elbow joints
Three 1/2" threaded tee joints
7 bags of Quick-crete Cement
total ~ $50
gravel smoothing paddle (i'm sure it has a real name..)
a few spare bricks
In addition, I had played around with cement before, and it was a PAIN to mix by hand. For this project, I went ahead and rented an electric cement mixer. It came to about $40 for the whole day, and that was well worth the saved time and energy.
Step 2: Assembling the Rack
To make the top, connect the pipes in this following order: elbow, 9"pipe, tee, 9" pipe, tee, 9" pipe, tee, 9" pipe, elbow. So there are Two elbows, three tees, and 4 pieces of pipe. From there connect the five long pieces of pipe to the openings and that's it!
The great thing about this design is that it is expandable. For myself, I only wanted to make a rack that holds four bikes. You can quite easily make it bigger or smaller to suit your needs.
To tighten the threads, It helps to get a few people to lend a hand. One person holds the contraption, while two people rotate each leg until they are all tightened. It's kind of a pain, but you only have to do it 5 times!
In the drawing, you will also notice that I put 3 elbows on the bottom of the pipes. This is to add extra support and anchoring in the cement.
Step 3: Setup
I added a pole on the side to stabilize the rack, and then used a level with a magnet on it (neat!) to ensure the rack was straight.
Then I created a border around the area to be cemented with some spare bricks I had lying around. This will ensure smooth, straight sides when you're done.
Step 4: Mix the Cement!
A shovel here REALLY helps out. It allows you to have more control over what you're doing. Once you've got a good consistency going, let it mix for about 5 to 10 minutes. When you're ready, turn off the motor, and while one person tilts the mixer over, scoop out the cement and distribute it evenly throughout the setting area.
Since you're putting this straight onto dirt, the first layer doesn't really matter. Our area is about 4' by 2', and the depth was about 3 inches.
After the first layer is poured, subsequent layers should be smoothed using the paddle. You can do this while you're mixing the cement. It will give you a better idea of how much more cement you need. In our case, the pouring area was more or less flat, so we didn't have to worry about angling. But if you're doing this on a slope, this is the time to get the cement the right shape/angle for your particular application.
Step 5: Stop Splatter!
Step 6: Smooth Me Out Baby
Step 7: Sign Er'
Step 8: She's All Done!
In addition, I planted some palm trees on either side of the bike rack to make it even more pretty. It was really easy. The instructions for this are as follows: buy a tree, dig hole, put the tree in the hole, fill in the hole, and then water it. Repeat.
Enjoy the summer!!!
Step 9: Optional Paint Job
First i used some sandpaper to smooth out all the poles, cracks & corners.
Then i used a can of Glossy White Rust-Oleum spray paint.
I ended up using the entire can. Now she'll never rust! Ani't she pretty in white?!