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Steerable Plumbing Tube Sledge (sled)

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This is a steerable sledge for hard-packed snow made out of plumbing parts. We recently had several inches of snow in Southern England, and as usual, everything ground to a halt. I know some of you are used to a regular several FEET of snow and everything goes on as normal, but we do things differently here, OK. We have several good sledging hills around, and I decided to make a fast steerable sledge to take advantage of the conditions.

We have a couple of the cheap plastic sledges which are pretty fast, but not at all steerable and break easily. I wanted a sledge which was strong, steerable and fast. I chose the waste pipe to give a minimal contact area on hard snow but a larger area as the snow deepens. The tube is also slightly flexible to allow bending for the steering.

UPDATE - This sledge works best in hard-packed snow.  To make it work in deeper snow, follow BugsyandSpike's suggestion below and put a 2" x 1" piece of wood (with accordingly longer bolts) between the platform and the tube to give it better ground clearance.  (There's a few other worthwhile mods in that comment too.)

It has been mentioned that PVC gets brittle and can splinter in the cold.  I've given my sledge some pretty rough treatment in a couple of degrees below with no ill effects, but it's one to be aware of.
 
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Hey Andy, Great project!
jeff-o5 years ago
I'd send you every last snowflake if I could... ;)
lilrou15 jeff-o3 years ago
ok......
I lived in a small mountain town in Colorado. We had a second hand proshop for everything mountain sport related. (skiing, rock climbing, kyaking, etc...) they would often get donations of OLD skis. They had no way of reselling these for any profit worth the space they took up, SO they put them out back in the alley for free. The point of this story is; many people used these to make Ski chairs or benches. WE used these skis to build a few sleds. The first attempt was a success except for the Fragile plastic body. The next was an open air using wood, this took away clearance. After seeing your design i feel that someone could attach (with the help of Craigs list) a set of skis to the bottom of your PVC runners with Carriage bolts WAX UP and reenact the scene from "National Lampoon's Christmas"
JohnMichael3 years ago
PVC becomes more brittle when frozen. It also breaks with sharp points. This is dangerous.
The whole point is to ride this on hard packed snow therefore there should be no rocks or gravel to contend with.
lemonie5 years ago
Aye maybe in ten years time you'll get another chance... L
AndyGadget (author)  lemonie4 years ago
What was that you said, Lemonie? ;¬)
AndyGadget (author)  AndyGadget3 years ago
You were saying? ;¬)
I waited a long time for decent snow, it's like buses?
Global warming....?

L
 Excellent instructable.
It only took a couple of hours to make and is now the sledge of choice in our family. steerable, fast and stable. top stuff.
We made a few mods...
a) added some 2x1" wood between the runners and the platform to increase the clearance.
b) sanded off the protruding edges at the pipe joints to make the pipes into continuously smooth runners. don't do this all the way round as it will weaken the joint, just the bit which contacts the ground.
c) waxed the pipes. it really does make it go faster.
d) changed the dimensions just a bit.
e) final thing which isn't shown on the picture, i added 45degree pipe couplers to the pipes at the back to stop the back edge scraping when going over bumps. not forgetting to sand the joint smooth.

AndyGadget (author)  bugsyandspike4 years ago
Brilliant ! ! !
I'd totally agree with you on the mods.  I had ours out yesterday and it does tend to throw up a LOT of snow on the driver on anything but shallow snow.  I put in a 2nd deflector to try and stop it, but it will slow down as snow builds up in front.
Increasing the clearance between the runners and the deck is something I'll do next.  It works best on hard packed snow, so the more people sledging, the better it gets #;¬)

chiok5 years ago
When the *whole world* ground to a halt. Marvellous. I had a good look around my garage to see what I could fashion together to make a sled(ge) but came up empty handed. This design is perfect though, didn't think of using waste pipe.

Exactly how does it steer? Not that there's gonna be anymore snow until next year.
AndyGadget (author)  chiok5 years ago
I made another sledge too, a more traditional design, with wood from the sides of an old bunk bed which I knew 'would come in useful one day'. I'll add pictures of this in a day or two. The pipe sledge steers by foot-pressure on the foot pegs - those things which stick out at the front. You're not going to be able to do a slalom with it, but it deforms enough to guide you in roughly the right direction.
I've built one of these for this years round of snow, it works fabulously  :)
AndyGadget (author)  zogworth4 years ago
Great! - I haven't had a chance to use mine yet this year, but I'll be out on it tomorrow.
Emsaid5 years ago
Great idea
How fast does it actually go? I am going to make one before the snow melts here.
IdahoDavid5 years ago
Have a care with PVC. When it gets cold it tends to crack and break rather easily, often with sharp splinters. Given the dynamics of downhill sledding I would be concerned about pieces puncturing the rider.
LawnBoy19915 years ago
I live in Canada where indeed we are used to several feet of snow and everything works out relatively well. I have never heard of a sledge. what in the world is it for? How do you use it?
LawnBoy: Sledge = Sled (I live in Syracuse, New York, the snow capital of the state, but I know many guys from the UK).
AndyGadget: This is a nice, simple design, quite elegant for being built of common, cheap materials. The only modification I think would help - if the sledge is to last without rotting - is to prime/seal the plywood board with several heavy coats and coat the PVC connectors and wood screws with silicon (silicone) glue or caulk, to seal any moisture that could rot the wood and rip fittings apart. How well would you say this would stand up to heavy use? In my area, kids burn through the flimsy plastic sledges they sell around here.
AndyGadget (author)  valhallas_end5 years ago
Yes, they're usually called sledges in the UK, although we use 'sled' as well. I used exterior ply, and totally agree about the priming / sealing but in southern England we don't get that much snow and by the time the sealant had dried the snow would likely be gone. I was suprised how strong this felt and it fared well after several goes over a 2 foot high ski-jump. (I fared less well with a bruised rib from a heavy landing ;¬) Unfortunately, no video of any of this.