Introduction: All Steel Enclosed Batting Cage

So who doesn't love baseball?

This project was completed several years ago and it was a blast to design. A few contractors were hired to help the vision come true.

Step 1: Site Selection

I wanted to do this for a long time. When I purchased a house with 11 acres, I realized this was the time to do it. That, and my commercial business tanked. So I decided to build a steel barn on my property and continue to give private baseball lessons. That's me in the pic with the skid steer (a bob cat has wheels, not tracks).

Step 2: Level the Field

I actually originally started this project to build a Field of Dreams...

That's second base you're looking at.

Step 3: Deliver the Steel

I needed steel. A lot of it. At the time, prices were down so the timing was good. I also didn't want to deal with wood or termites. So, after much negotiation, found a supplier and I had a semi deliver the steel. I'll tell you the end cost in the final slide...

Step 4: Gravel

Find a contractor. A GOOD one. The first cement contractor took me for $3K and never finished the job. Lesson learned.The guy that did this pour was excellent. 3 trucks of gravel as a foundation after the dirt was compacted.

Step 5: Slipping and Sliding

An interesting thing happens when one attempts to deliver a full truck of cement on a slippery slope at 6 am. The truck began sliding and was about to tip when the driver stopped, called his buddy to off load half the cement into the bobcat and make several runs this way. Then another cement truck towed him out of his mud tracks. As a final solution so it wouldn't happen again. they made a gravel road through my front yard. Hmmmm.......

Step 6: Rebar & Mesh

I had to design where the J hooks would go to support the steel beams. I did this in AutoCAD and created a few wooden templates to suspend the hooks while the cement cured. Deeper holes had to be dug to support the vertical steel posts. Wire mesh was then added over a vapor barrier. As an afterthought, I sunk a 5' piece of grey PVC just inside the frame. This will be used later to snake the electrical through to a panel box.

Step 7: Cement

Finally, we were ready for the cement pour. Notice the only wood used on the project were the forms (and the template). This is crucial because the cement wants to push out, or expand. To cover the edge so rock gravel wouldn't be visible, turndowns were incorporated on all sides. Of course, we ran out of cement and had to order another truckload for a small portion. Can you see the large bolts protruding through the cement at the corner? These locations had a tolerance of less than 0.1".

Step 8: Frame It

Another contractor, or hired help in this case (I wouldn't call these two contractors) needed to be called in to assemble the structure after the foundation was prepped. I then had to rent a 4x4 fork lift for two weeks. These two guys travel around the county just putting together steel structures. In this order:

1. Vertical Posts

2. Horizontal Beams

3 Trusses

4. Lateral Support

5. Exterior Panels & Roof

Step 9: Insullation

My garage was full of rolled insulation for a couple of months. And roll up canister style doors. After the skeleton of the building is complete, the next step is to insulate it. You would think that the panels would go up first, but no. First the insulation, then the exterior panels.

Step 10: Exterior Panels and Roof

Attach the panels with self tapping screws. Pretty simple. Just a lot of them. The trick is to field locate the walk-in door way. I chose to go with roll up canister doors to preserve the volume on the interior. I didn't want the racks associated with those since I needed the volume for the nets I was planning on suspending. The roof was pretty simple, Just get your torque driver and screw down a bunch of self tapping screws with rubber washers. Color match it if possible.

Step 11: Add the Fun Stuff

Now it's time to stock up the inside. First, a generator. Honda 3000 is efficient and quiet. The building dimensions are 40'x80'. I specifically chose the length so I could have an indoor pitching mound of 60' 6" (high school, college and pro) and one cage. The two plates are for lessons. One is middle school and the the other is high school. The pitching mound was pretty simple. Just plywood and turf secured with adhesive spray and a staple gun, with the correct slope to stretch out on the pitch.

Step 12: Bats & Balls

Iron Mike pitching machines and a selection of bats to pass the the time away. That's my boys and me working on switch hitting. Take some swings and let some aggression out!

Step 13: Electrical

Well, have to have lights, right? I don't mess with electrical too much beyond your basic 110V. So I called in yet another contractor. Had to rent a ditch witch to dig a trench for the thick cable I ran from the house. I also had him install a 220V outlet for a welder to use out in the barn. Outlets were positioned on every horizontal post on the interior. Why didn't I just suspend them overhead? Too many trees I'd have to worry about falling. I ran the cable close to the back patio in case I want to put in a pool at some point.

Step 14: Final Touches & Lights On

Had some room to add a weight lifting area so why not, right?

As can be seen, the lights look good and bright. Hope you like it. Oh? The overall price?

Cement $12K

Electricity $5K

Steel and labor $65K

For a grand total of $82K....Might seem like a lot, right? But that all steel barn will last forever.

Cement floor, no center supports. It's just all space. All volume at 3200 square feet. That's the size of a house.

Now where can you get a house for that price? Of course, no water, but that's easy enough. Another contractor....

Metalworking Contest

Runner Up in the
Metalworking Contest