Introduction: DIY Floating Pool Volleyball Net

Summer is coming (well, it's always summer here in Tampa) and it's time to get outdoors. I'm a volleyball player and was about to throw a pool party. Of course, I needed to have a water volleyball net. The only problem was that there was nothing available that suited me or my pool. So in DIY fashion, I made one out of PVC pipe. I had to make it hastilly, so there are a few places for improvement. I didn't fully photograph the build procedures, but it's easy enough to follow. Enjoy my first instructable.

Step 1: Design It

You'll have to figure out what you need before assembly, otherwise, you'll end up making a dozen trips to Lowes like I did. I used 1/2" PVC pipes to make it small and lightweight. You can use thicker pipes to make it sturdier. This is the first time I've worked with PVC pipe, so there were things I learned during and after I made the frame.

My pool is about 11 feet wide. I used a total of 10 feet of pipe. The additional tees make the entire width about 10 feet and 6 inches wide.

Here's the equipment I used:

PVC Equipment
10 1/2" slip caps (0.25c each)
2 1/2" 4-way cross ($1.00 each)
2 1/2" 3-way tee ($0.80 each)
4 1/2" top threaded tee ($0.80)
4 1/2" threaded male adapter ($0.60 each)
3 10ft 1/2" PVC pipe ($2.00 each)

Other Equipment
Net (use an old badminton net or this one from Walmart for $20 and cut to size )
50' nylon string ($3)
Plastic spray paint ($5 optional)
2 Foam Noodles ($3 each)
Beach Ball ($3)

Total Cost: ~$45

PVC cutter ($14)
Face Mask ($1)
PVC cement ($5)
Acetone ($4)
You'll also need something to debur the PVC after it's cut. I used a dremel. You can use sandpaper, but that'll be tiring.

Step 2: Build It: Cutting the Pipes

Using your blueprint, start cutting your PVC pipe to the sizes you need. For my 10' frame, I used the following:
1 60"
2 30"
2 24"
4 12"
8 8"

Once you're done cutting, you'll need to debur the cut ends. You can use sandpaper or a dremel. Wear a mask while while you're doing this as the PVC particles can be hazardous.

Cut the noodles to size. Make them a little longer than the pipe that you plan on putting them on. You can always cut more off later.

Step 3: Build It: Assemble It

Now, this is the part that I missed. Whip out the Acetone and rub the bar codes and text off the PVC pipe. Remember to wear a mask.

Dry Assembly
Assemble the frame. Make sure you have all the pieces and everything fits. Once you're sure that everything is ready to be permantly fixed, disassemble everything.

Permanent Assembly
Put on the mask again and apply the PVC pipe cement to the inner ring of the tee and connect the the PVC pipe. Don't waste time because the cement starts drying quickly and the pipe may be hard to position. Of course, do not cement the threaded ends.
Once you have everything assembled, you can paint it with plastic enamel spray paint (optional). Leave it out to dry for a day.

Step 4: Build It: the Net

Now that you've built the frame and are waiting for the cement to cure, you can setup the net. You can use an old badminton net that you have lying around. Most likely, you'll have to cut it to length. I hastily bought some netting from a local shop. I think I got ripped off, but I wasn't in a position to haggle since I only had 2 days left to assemble it.
I used nylon string to make the top, bottom, and sides more ridged and cable ties to tie the string to the net.
On the top PVC caps, I drilled a small hole to run the string through. The top PVC caps are not glued to the frame to allow easy removal of the net when necessary.

Step 5: Putting It All Together

Once the cement has cured and the paint has dried, you can finish the assembly. Slide the foam onto the legs and mount the net onto the frame.

Tighten the net. Now, just find some way to tie it down in the pool so it doesn't float away. I have a string running to a pipe in the spa and a string running to the filter trap on the opposite side. It worked quite well.

That's it! Enjoy! It's pretty stable and only tipped over two or 3x during our games.

Things to improve it:
1. Find a better way to fix it's position so it doesn't float around. I thought about creating a spring loaded device to press against the side walls, I just didn't have the time. It should be pretty simple to make.
2. Prevent flex from the tight net. I have three possible solutions.
a. The preferred way would probably be to use parellel pipes for the 10 foot span. That should make it more ridged and lower it's center of gravity to prevent tip overs.
b. Use a solid bar through the middle of the pipe and through the verticals. This will also lower the center of gravity, though it'll make it unnecessarily heavier.
c. Use a thicker pipe for the verticals and 10 foot span.