Introduction: Speed Campus Board

Speed Campus board!! The goal is to climb up as fast as you can and beat the best time on the leaderboard! Good luck.

Step 1: Watch a Youtube Video on Campusing.

Take some time to learn about Campus boards! Learn how the holds and the various exercises work before you jump right in. These boards can actually be harmful for new climbers who overwork their tendons, and this could be a terrible way to start your climbing career if you don't have the strength to work out on one.

Once you've done some research, start thinking about what you want, what you need, and how your campus board can most help you. For the most part, this tutorial of mine will focus on the tech side of this- there are far more helpful resources out there if you are looking to learn how to build your own master board. Google some pictures, read some articles, go to your local gym and try theirs out. See if this is even something you want to invest $80-$140 into.

Below is a Youtube video made by other folks which explains what a campus board is and demonstrates proper, basic use. If you are looking for more info, just type 'campus board' into Google.

Step 2: Materials I Used

Everything I needed came from Home Depot. Here is an itemized list of what I used, I will go into greater detail in later slides about what exactly it all was for.


1 - 4x8 sheet of 1" thick plywood

6 - 8' 2x4's

2 - 12' 2x4's

2 - 10' 2x4's

200 - 3" wood screws

50 - 2" wood screws

4 - sheets 400 grit sandpaper

4 alligator clips

1 makey makey

20' small gauge copper wire (your preference on the size, whatever is easiest to use and get)


a power drill and saw

tape measure


Wire nips

Finishing Hammer

Step 3: Building the Body of the Board

I began by taking two of my 8' 2x4's and cutting them into 4' lengths. These will the the vertical supports for your board.

Next, I took an 8' 2x4 and cut two 2' lengths off of it, and used my 3" screws to attach each 2' piece to the top and bottom pieces of my four 4' vertical supports. I spaced my four 4' vertical supports 6" apart along the top and bottom of the 2' horizontal pieces, using two screws per end per 4' board.

From here, I took my 4x8 sheet of plywood and measured out two 4'x2' rectangles, and used the power saw to cut them out.

Taking one of my 4'x2' rectangles, I laid it down on top of my frame made of two-by-fours, making sure that each corner is square to the edges of my frame. Using the 3" screws, I put 8 screws 6" apart along each of the vertical supports.

Next, I took the next rectangle of 4'x4' plywood and attached it in the same way, but this time I put 12 3" screws in along each vertical support spaced out 4" for each screw, so as not to hit the screws spaced out every 6".

Step 4: Shaping and Attaching the Holds

After your campus board research, you now know that the shape and size of the holds on your board essentially dictates what your board is going to be used for, and how it will be used. I recommend starting out big and easy, with incut or positive holds, and moving towards harder holds from there.

I chose to use 1 1/2" thick square pieces of wood, 20 inches wide as my holds. I attached my holds first to the wall, then I sanded them, but I would recommend sanding then screwing the holds to the board.

I wanted the front of the holds to be 1 1/2" high, with the board side of the hold being just under one inch thick to ensure that the holds were incut sufficiently. I would make tick marks on either end of the hold to show how far you need to sand, and do it with a machine such as a belt sander if available. I had to do it by hand, and it worked out fine.

Once the hold are to the dimensions you want, use 5-8 2" screws to attach the holds to the board. Space them evenly, or else one side of your hold will be sturdier than the other side!

Space the holds anywhere from 4"-8". I did 6". Start 8" from the top and leave at least that much between teh bottom of your last hold and the bottom of the board face

Finally, take a piece of scrap wood from your holds and cut a rough cube. Sand it evenly on all but one side, then attach it 2" from the bottom of your board

Step 5: Building the Stand

Now that your board is together, take one of you 12' boards and attach it with the top 4' laid flat on the side of the board. Make sure that the 12' board is perfectly parallel to the vertical support beam on the board, and place 3" screws 5" apart evenly along the 4' span of the board.

Do the same on the other side with another 12' board.

Take the 4' scrap from making the board, and cut a 2' section. Place this 2' piece at the bottom of the 12' 2x4's and attach it with 2 3" screws on each side.

At this point, you have to make the call as to how overhung the board is to be. To make setting the angle precise, screw one end of a 12' beam into the top of the greater campus board. Do the same on each side, and place the bottom of your board flat against a wall to make your setting even. Once you've set this where you want it, set 5 more screws into the top of the 12' support beams attached to the campus board.

Now, you'll want to create some supports from the campus board beams to the 12' support beams which are holding the board at your overhung angle. I cut two 4' sections from my 8' 2x4's, and used the level to insure that they are level and parallel with the ground. I placed some screws into either end, on both the main and support 12' beams to hold it up. This hold the triangles which support the board from expanding and collapsing.

Step 6: Coding the Makey-Makey

So, up until this point I have been talking about my physical board. Now, I am going to start talking about the apparatus I used to make my board unique. I wanted to make a timer, and build it onto the board and have it be very easy to use and impossible to use wrong. Making my code just right was a pain, and I do not recommend using scratch because making the logic of the block code line up was tough. However, I haven't done this project with any other text editor, so I have no recommendations. Here is my best help to make this easier.

Attached is a picture of my code. I used scratch, found at to write the code. Essentially, I made variables to count the time passing, and to build a line of logic which makes the timer start counting, stop counting when the top wire it touched, and then to compare various times to rank times in a leaderboard set up to show 1-3. The logic of it was complicated and finicky, and if you don't make sure that every comparison is made to order the leaderboard correctly, it will not work.

I also recommend having two different variables for start and stop. I had them on the same at first, and it was not good at all. If the climbers hung on the hold with the wire, it was a mess. The timer would start and stop erratically, and ruin the order of the leaderboard. Have two different variables. I labeled them start and finish. The easiest way for you to understand it is to look at my picture and practice in scratch. Good luck!!

Step 7: Placing the Copper Wire

So I chose a really thin gauge of wire, so I didn't have to cut a groove into the holds. All I had to do was get a wood drill bit, drill a hole 10" (middle of the hold) all the way through the hold. Then, drill a hole through the two pieces of plywood forming the backing of the board 1" below the halfway hole on the hold.

Cut a 30" piece of wire, and run it through the holes on the hold to the makey makey. Alligator clip the wire to the makey makey.

Here, I tapped a nail into the backside of the frame next to the drilled holes and wrapped the wire around it twice to hold the tension. I used a smooth finishing hammer to tap the wire into the soft wood of the hold. If the wire was tensioned on each end, tapping the wire in holds the wire in place very well.

Do this on the right side of the second hold from the bottom. This wire represents the start variable.

Repeat this process on the top hold. This wire represents the finish variable.

Place two nails on the left side of the frame of the board. Wrap the nails around the two nails twice each before running the wires to the makey makey, where you'll use the alligator clips to attach the end of the wire to your board. This piece of wire will be 70" long, 20" of which you'll form into a bracelet to be worn by the climber on their left wrist. See the photos above.

Here, that little piece of scrap hold wood at the bottom of the board comes into play. You'll want to take another 30" of wire and drill holes 1" from either side of the block. Place wires on the backside of the frame, and tense the wire over the block, and use your smooth hammer to tap the wire into the wood. Run the wire to the makey makey and alligator clip it in. This bottom block is used to zero the clock on your computer.

See my photo of my explanations are inadequate in any way.

Step 8: Finishing Up!

So! Your board is done. If you have any issues with the wiring, make sure that you aren't short circuiting anything, and that the alligator clips are secure. Make loops on the makey makey ends of your wires if the alligator clips aren't holding well at all.

If you wanted to, this could be improved by building into the system a screen, rather than just using your laptop. It should work well!! Good luck!

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