There are a lot of instructions for making bar jumps for dog agility courses, usually from PVC pipe. However, most of them are glued and screwed together, making for a bulky storage problem. I wanted to make one that I could take apart and store easily, as well as being inexpensive as possible, consistent with my other dog agility apparatus instructables. This one is made from PVC, but uses less materials and comes apart for tidy storage. I used 1" pipe, but 3/4" will work just about as well.
10' schedule 40 1" PVC pipe (one)
1" PVC Tees, two (though one would do)
1" PVC end caps, two
1" x 2" PVC bushings, two
2" x 3" PVC bushings, two
Plastic dinner plates, two
Electrical tape, various colors
Label maker or permanent marker
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Cut Pipe
I measured and marked the PVC pipe at 36" and 72". I secured in a vice and cut through with a hack saw, though another type of saw, or a PVC pipecutter would work if you have one. If the ends are not perfectly square, a quick touch-up with the bench grinder will take care of that. Also, I filed the burrs off (with a regular flat file for the outside, rat-tail for the inside) to make it nice, especially for the jump bar. The other ends will be covered and do not matter so much. These cuts should produce two 36" lengths for regulation-height uprights and one 48" piece for the cross bar.
Step 2: Make Cross Bar Holding Cups
Cups are needed to hold the ends of the cross bar to the uprights but still allow the cross bar to be knocked down if the dog hits it. I made the cups from 1" PVC Tees by making two cuts (actually three, as one was done in two parts. Each T provides two cups. I made one cut half way down the long axis, reversed the Tee in my vise, and made another from the opposite side. If you are highly skilled, unlike myself, you can make the long axis cuts connect perfectly. I made another cut perpendicular to these down the shorter axis as shown in the illustration. I filed the edges until they were as smooth as I needed them to be.
Normally, the cups are screwed onto the upright, but I discovered that by grinding the inside of the cups I could get them to snap onto the uprights. The Tees have shoulders in them to stop the pipe at a certain depth. When I ground the edges off of these a bit, using a bench grinder, that increased their inner diameter to the point where they could snap onto a 1" PVC pipe. I ground and tried the fit repeatedly until it worked. In this way, the cups are easily removable, making the jump more portable. They may pop off when a dog hits the bar, which could be considered a safety feature. Also, they allow for infinite height adjustment, rather than fixed positions, and you can get away with just two cups for one bar if you like.
Step 3: Stabilize Uprights
Often the uprights are stabilized with a T-, C- or S-shaped array of PVC pipe and a low cross bar is glued in for good measure. Though quite stable, these types of bases make the whole thing bulky. First, I put the caps on the top ends of the 36" uprights. I bought the bushings to create a base for each upright. I put the 1" x 2" bushings on the bottom ends of the uprights, followed by the 2" x 3" bushings. To add weight and improve stability, I poured sand into the rims of the 2" x 3" bushings and covered it with white wood glue to hold it in place. These alone work fine on a level surface such as concrete, but I wanted to use them outdoors on my decidedly non-level lawn. I got some old plastic picnic plates (easily obtained at a thrift store) and glued those to the bottom to increase the surface area. I had to trim away a bit of the center of each plate in my case, but afterward the 2" x 3" bushing happened to fit perfectly. I glued them in (not permanently) with silicone glue. You could purchase a toilet flange with 3" diameter for each side rather than use the plates.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
Once the bases were finished, I measured and marked the uprights for several jump heights. Standard heights are 8, 12, 16, 20, 25 and 26 inches. I have this nifty, old-school, Dymo label maker, and made labels for 12" and 16" heights. I used colored electrical tape to mark the cross bar in a contrasting fashion.
If the bar is set high, some dogs will attempt to sneak underneath rather than jump over it. A second bar can be added to block this type of cheating by simply making a second pair of cups and a cross bar.
Note that none of the pieces are glued together. I made it this way so that I could decide at any point how I wanted to take it apart for travel or storage. Nonetheless, it might be easier if some of the parts were glued, such as the end caps, which need never come off. PVC adhesive is very permanent. Tighter joints will add to the rigidity and stability of the apparatus. I like to use a dab of silicone sealant or similar adhesive, which will hold pieces together under normal use, but allow them to come apart cleanly with a modest amount of force if needed. Hence, if you wanted to scavenge parts from this project in the future, you could.
This step is basically the end of the instructable. If you'd like to see some adorable dogs jumping the bar, continue to the next step.
Step 5: Use It!
The infinitely adjustable height makes it perfect for dogs of all sizes and abilities. Hope you like schnauzers!