DIY Wooden Olympic / Gymnastic / Crossfit Rings




Make a handy set of Olympic rings for your home gym or bring them with you while travelling to get a quick Crossfit WOD in anywhere.

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Step 1: You Will Need:

- Plywood ( I used 18mm Marine-ply and glued 2 sheets together to make 36mm. The finished thickness of the rings should be            28mm) To make 1 set of rings, you will need 2 sheets of 50cm x 25cm which you will glue together.
- Woodglue, any reputable brand
- A Jigsaw - to cut out the circular shape of the rings. Mine was a deWalt, anything decent will do.
- A Drill and drill-bit to make a hole for the jigsaw to cut out the inside circle. Something bigger than the width of the jigsaw blade.
- Clamps or a method of clamping the sheets of plywood while the glue sets. I used some Irwin Quick-Grip clamps aswell as a bench-mounted Vice, and also some regular vice-grips. You could probably get away with putting some heavy weights on the plywood on the ground.
- An Orbital Sander or Angle Grinder with Sanding attachment. I used a Hitachi G12SR3 Grinder with a sanding head. It needs to be pretty powerful to sand the plywood quickly. it's 730W, 11,000 rpm and weighs 1.4kg. I wouldn't go much heavier as a lot of the sanding I did with one hand while holding the wood.
- A Compass for drawing circles
- A Ruler
- A Pencil and a Marker (that's 'sharpie' for you yanks)

Step 2: Make Some Plywood!

So the finished rings should be 28mm thick and as I was using 18mm plywood I had to stick two sheets together. I sanded these down later to the required thickness..

So take your sheets of plywood minimum 50cm x 25cm x 18mm (they can be bigger because you'll cut off the excess with the jigsaw anyway) 

I actually found from making a couple of sets of rings that cutting these sheets in half  (to 25cm x 25cm) is handier when get better contact with the clamps all around the circles, but you also need more clamps, or have to to one at a time.

- Apply Glue liberally to one of the sheets, don't be shy, it's not expensive.
- Sandwich the other sheet to it and clamp the Bejeesus out of it. As you can see I use all the clamps I could get my hands on including Quick-Grips, Vice grips and an actual Vice.
-Just make sure there's no gap between the plywood sheets and leave it somewhere for the glue to dry overnight or however long it says on the bottle.

Note: The plywood in the photos is bigger than 50cm x 25 cm so don't worry if yours looks smaller. I also drew my circles on beforehand. it doesn't matter when you do this.

Step 3: Draw Some Circles!

So the official dimensions of Olympic gymnastic rings as stated by FIG are:
Internal radius: 90mm
Thickness of ring: 28mm

So when your glue is dry (or before you stick the sheets together) take your compass and draw 2 sets of circles as shown below, 1 set for each ring.

- The inside and outside lines show you where to cut and sand to and will be the dimensions of the rings AT THE WIDEST POINT.

- The Middle line is a guide for sanding so you know where the widest point of the ring will be. This is only on one side obviously but you get a good idea of the other side when you sand down to the lines.

I'd recommend going over these lines with a marker so they're easier to see, or if you can fit a marker in your compass, all the better! They'll all be sanded off eventually anyway!

Step 4: Jigsaw Them Circles!

When you have your circles drawn, it's time to cut the rough shape out. I'd cut a few millimetres outside the outside line for sanding and in case you make any mistakes with the jigsaw. The Blade can bend sometimes so watch out it doesn't bend inwards on the bottom side, cutting inside the circle.

Clamp the wood to something solid to make it easier to cut. The jigsaw might wanna shake around otherwise.
You should have 2 solid circles of plywood, looking like the photo below.

Step 5: Inside Circle!

For the inside circle, drill a hole to make room for the jigsaw and again cut a few millimetres away from the line.

When done, pop the middle out and you should have a rough pair of rings, like shown.

Now the easy bit's over, let's get stuck into the skill of sanding!

Step 6: Sand Them Baby's!

After Trial and error on the 2 pairs of rings I've made, I've learned that the lines help sooo much when sanding to a circle.
You can see from my photo below that the purple lines I drew on were done by hand over the pencil lines from the compass. They're a bit squiggly.
I recommend using a thin dark marker for these. Less room for error on the lines!

So clamp your ring to something..if you have a vice, perfect, otherwise just clamp it to a bench or other solid surface. 
Sand in sections, you can kinda do the top half before moving it in the vice, and then the bottom half.
You want the outside edge of the ring to be perpendicular to the side..i.e. a right-angle and as flat as you can make it.
This ensures the ring is as circular as you can make it at the widest point. 

Do Not Rush Any Of This. This part needs time and care to be taken. If you take a big chunk out of the side with the sander, you may have to start again.

Use one side of the sander as shown in the 3rd photo. I used the left side as I was sanding from left to right. Both for the inside and the outside of the rings. 

Keep your strokes smooth and keep checking the lines. Use your hand to feel if it's smooth and circular. If it doesn't look or feel circular, then fix it.

It's very hard to get a perfect circle by hand but I've made 2 sets so far and by 2nd set were WAY better than the first. Don't lose hope, be patient!

Step 7: Get Your Curve On!

So now you should have a nice ring with flat inside and outside as shown in photo 1. It's time to get curvy!

You want a circle cross-section when you're finished so remember this when sanding each 'corner'.

it's hard to explain but you should end up with a profie shape like in Photo 2.

Again, take it slow and keep feeling and looking at what you've done. Look down along the curve (the view in Photo 2) and see where needs extra sanding and shaping.

NOTE: Because the ring is now 36mm thick, you will need to sand the outside of both sides to reduce it to 28mm. I sanded the curve into it first and then sanded off a 'ply' of the timber on each'll need to re-sand the curve as the side will be flat.

Another option is to use a belt sander or something to sand the whole ring to 28mm thick before you start sanding the curves. It's pretty easy to know how much you've sanded off using the layers of ply as a guide.

When that's done, do the other side and you should have something like Photo 3. I've left a slight high-point in the middle, when I sand it off, it'll take the marker with it and it'll be round. Again to get it really circular, you'll need to look and feel.

After this, do the inside curves, these can be trickier, trying to fit the sander inside and be able to move it. I tried to curve the sanding head of my sander to help it fit easier. if it's flat you might accidentally sand grooves where you don't want em.

Step 8: DaDaa!

So hopefully you'll have something like this when you're finished!

Grab yourself some roofrack straps or ratchet straps and put them up anywhere...a tree, shed rafters, wherever!
try and find rated straps as the last thing you want when doing a muscle up is for your straps to break leaving you falling to the concrete on your back..Oww!

I don't know the forces exerted when doing muscle-ups etc but I'd be safe and guess 4 or 5 times bodyweight, so 5 x 80kg = 400kg
that's roughly 4kN but I'd get higher if available. Heavy duty ratchet straps will do too but they can be heavy and slow to adjust. Something quick and tidy work better if you're carrying them in yer bag!

Saying that, I've been using unrated straps without incident. Just be careful.


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    28 Discussions


    2 years ago

    After using your orbital sander, did you finish the rings further by hand sanding? If so, what grit did you use?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Andrew, i didn't hand sand my first set of rings but on my next sets i made a jig to spin the ring and held sandpaper against it giving g it a very smooth finish. I went to about 220 grit which seems to be smooth enough. Hope this helps


    2 years ago

    It may be easier to try to cut the ID/OD profile with a table router if you have one available, and sand the rings from there. Just a thought I had, it will save you time and give you the right dia. If you can find a 28mm bit.


    2 years ago

    Hi, how can we download the pdf?
    It say only premium

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi, are you logged in? It shouldn't be for premium only. I am logged in and i can download other instructable pdfs and i'm not premium. Sorry i can't help more.


    3 years ago

    Any advice for a list of options in terms of fixing these to a ceiling or where to look for such advice? I've a set of rings and want to fix them to the roof of a garage but I'm a bit concerned about wrecking the place!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi Nick! The rings can generally be attached to roof rafters as they're normally 6x2s. Just loop the straps over the horizontal beams.

    Otgerwise you could bolt a metal loop or something into the ceiling. What does your ceiling look like. Are the roof beams exposed?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi Marco,

    yeah bolting a metal loop is what I was going to go for, unfortunately the roof beams aren't exposed so going to need to find the plans or at least work out where the beams are!

    Thank you for your reply!




    3 years ago

    Does the wood need to be fished in dome way to completely smooth it? Polished or oild?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    No it doesn't need a finish except sanding with fine-art sandpaper. I use an 80 grit followed by 180 and then a flexible sanding pad that's probably around 250 grit. It actually comes up shiny!


    3 years ago

    Dose the wood need to be finished in some wa. Polised or oild?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Super cool. I made these about 5 months ago and they are still holding up great. I work out 5 times a week, avoid gluten, take crossfit supplements as you can see here, and I finally hit my first muscle up 2 days ago on these things. super stoked!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    What kind of weight is able to hang from the wood ring? The design is fantastic, but I'm not an engineer, and question the structural integrity of the loop of wood?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi there, thanks for the question.
    The rings in the instructable have not been tested. These were very cheap plywood but I used them for a couple of weeks without any signs of cracking.
    When I made Mk2 I load tested them to just under 300kg each. the quality of the plywood was still not satisfactory to me then so I upgraded to furniture quality Birch Ply and now my Mk3 rings (see pic) can take just under 600kg each.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Grip rings blue strap.jpg

    4 years ago

    So, what changes would you recommend for a child? I am a certified preschool gymnastics coach and now that I have my own baby (and stay home) I want to build her some basic equipment to save a little bit of money on baby gymnastics. Anyway. .. I used the rings a lot with my kids and I really like yours; my husband can totally make these.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Hi thanks for the reply!

    If I was to make these for kids I'd use a thinner plywood to start, maybe 20mm instead of the 30mm that I currently use, also making a smaller diameter ring to suit their hands better.

    I produce these commercially now for gyms( see GRIP Gymnastics) so have exactly the equipment I need. I do 95% of the work with a router and a circle jig so it would only be a matter of a thinner plywood and a different radius rounding bit for the router.

    Of course your husband could make a very basic set like my instructable with a jigsaw and a sander.
    Let me know how he gets on


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I make the rings by hand using templates and a router only. The sanding is what takes a while. Then a thin layer of finish to just seal the wood but not to much so that you loose the wood feel which is important. Would upload pictures but don't know how.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the plans. However I made mine using a router which made the entire project super easy and fast. Simply made a jig for both radius's so I had a perfect circle, then used a 1/2 round over bit. Add some stain I had laying around and voila!!

    Just wish I would have taken pictures of the processes.