Introduction: PVC Dish Rack

About: I'm a refugee from Los Angeles, living in backwoods Puerto Rico for about 35 years now and loving it. I built my own home from discarded nylon fishnet and cement.

This is a drying rack for plates.  It is made of 6 inch diameter PVC pipe.  It is a simple and perhaps elegant solution to holding plates.  All it takes is a few saw cuts. 

Step 1: Marking Parallel Lines

You need to find and mark center lines and side edge lines for the half-cylinder you are going to cut out of the pipe.  The easiest way I have found to mark the pipe is to find a convenient door frame with a straight edge one can mark against as the pipe is held in an angle of the frame. 

Step 2: The Paper Pattern

Below is the paper pattern that I used in the evolution of my dish rack.  In retrospect, it would have been simpler to just sketch the pattern on the pipe, if I knew what I was doing.  I didn't.  You do.  Now that you see what has to be done, you can sketch it directly on the pipe and forget about a paper pattern, unless you want to mass produce these.   See the photo below for how to find the plate slot depth. 

To mark a circle around the pipe, for cutting it at 90 degrees, use a piece of paper with a straight edge and a pencil.  Wrap the paper around the pipe and line up the ends of the straight edge.  Mark the pipe along the edge of the paper. 

By marking and folding the paper you can get half-circumference distances, etc. 

I put the plates 2 1/2 inches apart, center to center and cut the plate holding slots 7/8 inch wide at their widest part. 

At the stage of the paper pattern, I suspected I wanted a crescent-shaped hole, but didn't know how to draw it at that point, so I did the pattern with rectangular holes and penciled in the crescent shapes later by eye.   After botching one hole, I got it right and copied it for the other holes.   The point at the bottom of the crescent shape helps hold the bottom of the plate firmly.  If the cut was rectangle shape, the bottom of the plate could shift, changing the angle at which it is held.  I wanted the holding angle to be the same on all the plates. 

Not all plates are the same shape, so you will have to customize your holes to fit the plates you will be using. 

Keep in mind that the plates lean forward some.  Because of that shift of center of gravity, I made the front of the plate holder a little longer than the back to avoid possible tip-overs if there was only one plate in front. 

Step 3: Tape the Pattern, Trace and Cut

Use center line marks on the pattern to line the pattern up with center line marks on the pipe.  Tape the pattern in place so that it doesn't shift while tracing.   (If you did your sketching layout directly on the pipe, you are that much ahead of the game.)

Trace the pattern.  I marked the curved line on the back side of the rectangles by eye.  You could, theoretically make that curved line cut with one straight saw cut, but I did most of them with two cuts.   The straight line side was easier to cut. 

A rigid back saw (miter box saw) is my favorite saw for this kind of cutting.   See the one I use in the photos below. 

Step 4: Side Cuts

I cut all of the plate holding holes while the pipe was still a full cylinder.  After the plate holes are cut, cut the section to length and do the side cuts.  File and scrape the rough edges and you are ready to load it up. 

PVC pipe always seems to come with manufacturer's information printed on it.  Sometimes, lacquer thinner and a little piece of toilet paper will clean the printing off.  Sometimes, it doesn't, depending on what inks are used.  I wish they would standardize the writing with easy to remove ink.  Not everybody uses this stuff for plumbing. 

To see how to make the glasses and silverware drying rack, see my other instructable: