Introduction: Bamboo Swing

Hello everybody,

I' am a student IPO on Howest in Kortrijk. This is a project I made in an Industrial design center (IDC) and at home.

The project had the following requirements:

- explore different materials

- look for lightweight structures (bamboo)

- portability

- The ropes had to be thrown over the branches ( ± 7m - 8m high)

For the people who love nature, I have the perfect swing for you: the bamboo swing. This is a swing made of bamboo, a cord and a few metal washers.

I had chosen for bamboo because it's a natural, light and strong material.

I hope you enjoy this manual, see you next time.

Step 1: Materials

You need:

- Bamboo ( you can buy this stuff online at )

1X Ø4,5 x 240 cm

1X Ø7 x 270 cm

- Cord ( you can buy this stuff at )

2X Ø10 mm x 15 m

- washers ( you can buy this stuff at )

2X metal washers

Step 2: Tools

You need hand tools and electric tools. The numbers are linked to the images.

Hand tools:

1. pencil

2. measuring tape

3. wrench (6-7)

4. sliding calipers

5. try-square

6. metal saw

7. clip

Electric tools:

8. multitool for sanding

9. multitool for polishing

10. sanding machine (including sandpaper)

11. column drill

12. drills itself

13. drill chuck

Step 3: !!Precautions!!

Well, you are working with bamboo. It's a natural product so nothing is perfect. Watch out for the following things:

- most of the bamboo poles do not have the same diameter over its entire length. In picture 14a and 14b, you see the two measurements of the diameter and it's from the same pole. The ends have not the same diameter.

- Bamboo is not perfectly straight but curved. If you look over the entire length, you see de difference (see picture 15).

- Don't use an electric saw otherwise the bamboo is going to split.

- Be aware that bamboo can splits suddenly when the temperature or humidity changes if there is enough moisture in it. So dry it before you start.

- When the swing hangs in the tree, put the ropes on the left side together in a triangle and do this also with on the right side. With a wrench you attach the clips on the ropes. They keep the swing balanced.

Step 4: Let It Begin

Depending on the bamboo, you can change the measurements.

Take the bamboo pole with Ø 7 cm and cut with a metal saw two pieces of 35 cm (see pict. 16, 17) . Note that over this distance you must have one closed bamboo chamber. Otherwise you make the construction inside the bamboo very weak.

Then you take a bamboo pole with Ø 4,5 cm and cut with a metal saw four pieces of 50 cm (see picture 18, 19).

Watch out for cracks in the bamboo otherwise you can hurt yourself if you sit on it.

Make also replacement parts, just in case. That's why you see 8 pieces of bamboo with Ø 4,5 cm in picture 20.

Picture 21 shows an overview of the parts that you need when you are done with these steps.

Step 5: Making Holes

If you want to sit with comfort, you must make some space between the small bamboo poles. In my prototype I choose for a space of ± 1,5 cm, just like picture 22 and 23. You must consider that the four bamboo poles (the small ones) must fit in the chamber of the thick bamboo poles so that the constructions stays strong.

The centerpoints of the holes must be in a line with each other. The line in the middle must be parallel with the bamboo pole. In my case, the diameter is Ø 7 cm so I took a pencil and a clip so that my line is straight 3,5 cm above the table (see pict. 24, 25, 26).

Set the centerpoints and intersection points on this line so you don't make a mistake about the dimensions.

(see pict. 27a, b)

Make some centerholes where the centerpoints are. (see pict. 28)

Now use the column drill and place a saw drill on it. The diameter must be a littlebit smaller than the diameter of the hole that you need. (see pict. 11, 13a, 29)

So from one hole two 4 holes (see pict. 30, 31)

Step 6: !!Precaution!!

First of all, we talk here about small bamboo poles

Sometimes the diameter on the outside of bamboo can be bigger then the rest (especially at a boundry of a bamboochamber). So scuff the diameter on the outside that's equal to the inner diameter. Otherwise you're hole is too big so that the bamboo poles doesn't fit secured.

You use the sanding machine (see pict. 10) for this step. Picture 32 is before sanding, picture 33 is after sanding.

Step 7: Sanding Diameters

When you have done the previous step, than the poles don´t fit in the holes because the holes are to small. What you have to do is to scuff the diameters a little bit so that the poles fit in the holes. Don´t make a perfect circle, look at the bamboo poles. They must fit in these holes.

Like I said, bamboo is a natural product so nothing is perfect, that includes also the diameters.

Make symbols so that you know which pole fits in which hole. When your finish your swing, you can better erase those symbols.

In my case, I choose for the left and right bamboo poles (thick ones) and wrote this also on the four poles that must fit in here. I gave the small bamboo poles a number from 1 to 4 and wrote also those numbers on the thick bamboo poles (picture 34a, b, c).

Draw also lines at the end of the small bamboo poles and on the thick poles so your small bamboo poles will fit in the perfect position with the thick poles. (see pict. 35)

You see on picture 8a that you must use a mutitool for sanding. Picture 36a shows the differents if you do it or not. In picture 36b, all the holes are done and de poles fit (pict. 37).

Step 8: Round of the Edges

Round off the edges so that the forces inside the swing are evenly spread out over the hole area.

In the following pictures, you see how a flat area becomes a curved one (pict. 38a, b, c).

You do this with a sanding machine.

Step 9: The Outer Slots

Make 4 holes (Ø 11 mm) that are in line with the giant holes (see picture 39a, b, c, d).

Make two slits in the thick bamboo poles. They are needed for the rope that must fit in it.

The lenght on the outside is 21mm and the width is 11 à 12 mm . These slots must be approximately in alignment with the major outer holes (the tick ones). So write this first on the bamboo and than scuff it (pict. 40, 41, 42).

From the four small bamboo poles, you must take the two who are placed on the outside of the swing. Next drill in the bamboo poles so they are completly hole. This is nessesary because the ropes must go true these poles. I used a butterfly drill (pict. 43).

Step 10: To Finish

Sand all edges with sanding paper. Start with rough sandpaper and finish with a fine paper.

Look if you forgot anything (example: saw edges, appropriate rope, shove clips on ropes, ...)

When the swing hangs in the tree, put the ropes on the left side together in a triangle and do this also with on the right side. With a wrench you attach the clips on the ropes.

Here you see a short movie how the swing works

(movie 1: URL:

Enjoy you swing.