Introduction: Make Olympic Plates From Small Standard Plates

Olympic weight plates are quite expensive, and it can be bothersome to purchase more when the time comes. If, like many weightlifting enthusiasts, you started out with a set of standard (1") plates, or have accumulated some along the way, you can re-purpose them and make yourself some useful plates that will fit your olympic bar. Standard plates can also be found for sale second-hand much more often than olympic plates, and they're usually much cheaper.

The design is extremely simple and you can probably get the idea from the main picture below. More details and photographs are provided in the subsequent steps.

To make something similar to these you will need:

> Spare standard plates
> Thick plywood - I consumed two lots of 250mm x 250mm, approx 12mm thick.
> Eight bolts (I used 12mm, but thinner would be fine), with nuts and washers. Length approx 40-80mm, depending on what plates you'll use.

> Hand saw
> Drill
> Wood drill bits (up to the gauge of your bolts)
> 25mm hole saw
> Spanner, file, sandpaper (optional)

Step 1: Disregard Old Weights...

Firstly, I pulled apart an old fixed dumbbell and a home-made kettlebell that I rarely used, to retrieve four 2.5kg plates (the black ones). The only reason for this step in the instructable is to show you a nice picture, and perhaps present the idea for the kettlebell if you haven't encountered it before. It's basically just the end of a tricep/hammer curl bar, sawn off, and the plates secured on the end with a couple of hose clamps. The bar was padded with bicycle inner tube rubber so that the plates, and clamps, would grip it better.

Step 2: ...acquire Useful Plates.

In the first picture:
The plates along the top are six 2.5kg (black) and two 2kg (blue). Additionally, I found eight 0.5kg plates, along with a few others. This is plenty - even if you had only four 2.5kg plates, you could make a pair of 5kg olympic plates, which is certainly still useful.

In the second picture:
You can see that I arranged the plates in stacks of roughly equal weights. The right hand four are destined for one plate, and the left set of four will go to the other plate. So long as in each set of four you have at least two stacks of one weight and two of another, the final plates will balance alright.

Step 3: Measure Twice...

Lay out the plates on the plywood and decide how they're going to fit. I used a square cut of plywood to make more efficient use of the wood, and of course it's much simpler to cut straight lines than a circle. I ended up with a square of 250mm x 250mm. The main constraint is that the diagonal plus any overlap of plates beyond the edge must be smaller than the diameter of your 20kg/45lb plates, or these ones will hit the floor.

Mark out your cut lines, and also draw around inside the plates where their centres will be.

Remove all the plates and measure to, then mark, the centre of your piece of wood. Place a small olympic plate over the mark and draw around inside its centre hole. You can see this on the wood in the next step.

Step 4: ...cut Once.

Saw your piece of wood out of the stock, and drill pilot holes in the centre of each of the four (in this case) centres of where your plates will rest. Follow up with a hole to accommodate your bolts - I used 12mm but pretty much anything should be strong enough.

Note also the 25mm circle, with centre marking, in the middle of the piece of wood. As mentioned in the previous step, an olympic plate was used as a template for this.

In the second picture:
Use a 25mm hole saw to cut this large centre hole. If you don't have one then you could probably just drill many smaller holes, and then file it out or use a jigsaw. But a set of holesaw blades is pretty cheap and they're very useful for this sort of thing.

Step 5: The Cut and Drilled Blanks.

The cut and drilled blanks. File down the edges if you want to, but I didn't bother.

Check they slide onto your olympic bar at this stage, and enlarge the centre hole if required.

Step 6: Bolting on the Plates.

Bolt the plates onto the wood.

In the first picture:
I chose bolts with very wide flanges, but you could also get some washers that are of at least 32mm outside diameter.

In the second picture:
Use washers on the back between the nut and the wood, since it will be prone to cracking when you tighten them up.

Step 7: Completed Plates.

The finished plates. Weigh them when complete and note the result, perhaps write it on the wood. Mine came out as 14kg each, giving me 28kg more to put on my olympic bar.

Step 8: Another Idea.

Another design - I made these years ago, quite quickly. The plates are merely cable-tied and duct-taped onto the wood, which is nailed into a hash shape. I wouldn't use more than four 1.25kg plates on this sort of thing.