This instructable will show you how to make a simple kicker / launch style ramp that can be used for a variety of wheeled hobbies, including but not limited to:
Skateboarding / Rollerblading
BMX / Biking
RC Cars & Trucks
I'll be using this ramp for BMX and RC cars so it needs to be strong enough for the heavy BMX
This instructable doesn't include diagrams or direct plans because I designed it as I went along, you will be able to do this to make the ramp specific to your needs.
I made this ramp over 2 days, it doesn't take that long but I spread it out, you'll notice the pictures get darker as the first day progresses.
This is my first instructable, so be nice :D
Step 1: Making the Shape
You can use any wood or thickness you like, though I've found most of these small ramps are made of plywood, for the sides.
I'm using 18mm plywood that I had lying around, you can use thicker or thinner, though I wouldn't go less than 18mm if you plan on using a bike or board on it, rc cars can cope with a lot thinner.
After you've found some wood, cut it into a rectangle, make one side the length you want the ramp and make the other side as high as you want it.
Step 2: Working Out the Curve
More of a curve will allow you to roll on to the ramp smoother and will give you more air.
Less of a curve will result in a harder transition from the ground to the ramp, but will launch you further.
Simply draw the curve you want the ramp to be from corner to corner on the ramp.
I used a piece of string to help me get it just right.
If you want a non-curved ramp, skip this part and move onto the second pic
After you've drawn the curve, draw a straight line directly from one corner to the opposite one, this is what you're ramp will be line if it's a non-curved ramp
Cut along the diagonal line, not the curved one, this doesn't need to be perfect, so I used a jigsaw because it's faster.
Step 3: Trimming
Awesome! It's starting to look like a ramp now, you can see what it would look like if you were make a non-curved ramp.
You will need to clamp the 2 piece together, with the one with your drawn lines on top.
Line up the bottom of the pieces so they're perfectly matched, and then line it up by the front tip, the transition of the ramp, don't worry about the top or the back
You can see that the 2 pieces, in my case, don't exactly line up, no problem though.
It is very important, if using a jigsaw, that the blade is long enough to clear both pieces of wood at the same time, otherwise the jigsaw could cause injury.
Now you should cut along the curved line you drew, though both pieces of wood, make sure it's clamped tight so the 2 pieces don't judder against eachother
If the curve is looking rough you can plane it or sand it or trim it with the jigsaw
You should now have a smooth looking ramp, the back may not be lined up if you're using poor quality wood or didn't measure 100%, but I didn't worry about trimming it down.
Step 4: Neatening Up
If you want, you can cut the back in the same way as the last step, to make it flush, I didn't bother doing this however.
Because the tips at either end of the ramp are weaker than the rest of the ramp, I, and a lot of others, have chopped off the top of the ramp, just a couple of inches.
The front of the ramp can be trimmed too, though it is less likely to break as it's lying on the floor, also, trimming it may give you a poor transition from the ground to the ramp
Step 5: Giving It Shape
So you should now have 2 sides that should look pretty much identical.
Now you need to decide how wide you want the ramp.
I have some nice 9mm plywood that I'll be using for the top, and it's cut to 2 ft, so that's how wide I'll make it, saving me having to do more sawing.
For the top you should use something reasonably bendy, the thinner the wood is, the bendier, but it's weaker too.
9mm plywood seems a fairly standard thickness for ramps though.
To work out how long you want the 'struts', subtract the width of both side pieces from the width of your top piece.
For this ramp: 60cm top - 2cm side - 2cm side = 56cm
I used 2.5*5cm lengths of wood, and cut 7 of them, how many you'll need depends on how big your ramp is, you can never have too many, though it will start getting heavy. Just make sure it's sturdy
For the top I don't think you should have spaces of more than 15cm if using a bike or board.
Step 6: Adding the Other Side
The easiest way to add the other side on, if you are doing it solo, is to put it on the top of the struts (as seen in last step)
It is important to line up the struts and make sure you screw the other ends in the right place to avoid a wonky or warped ramp.
You can use more than one screw if you're using big pieces of wood, this will stop them turning.
I used a bit of wood-glue as well as the screws.
Step 7: Adding the Top
At the end of the first day I painted the hidden part of the frame that the top will be sitting on with a wood-preservative paint, the whole thing will need to be painted, but I did this because I won't be able to get to it once the top is on.
With the frame now complete, it's time for the top.
You can see in the pic the top piece is the right width, but a little too long, it's also not bent.
I used 9mm ply, which turns out, could bend ok without any special methods, if you're using thicker wood, the easiest thing to do is to bend it with steam, from a kettle or boiling water or something.
Get steam to go all over the bend as you make it to help it out.
To get it to bend I lined up the bottom of the top piece, stood one foot on it to get it bend and then at the same time, drilled holes and screwed it in place.
Make sure you drill into the struts, not the sides, as they're just rip out under the bending force.
Put in a few more screws, working from the bottom toward the top, once the top is down, you can mark off the top and then cut it down to size, I removed the top to do this to make sure I got a nice straight line.
Step 8: Finishing
I coated the entire ramp with wood-preservative paint to protect it from the elements.
Where you store your ramp will make a difference to how you treat it.
If it's living outside it will need to be well protected, I would recommend leaving it under a tarp, but allow for breathing space to avoid moisture.
If it's always going to be used in the sun and will never be exposed to rain and is living inside, I suppose you don't need to treat it.
With this British weather though, you never can tell when it's going to start raining, though this ramp will be living in a shed when not being used.
When using paint, make sure you paint the bottom, the part where it touches the ground, have it upside-down when you do this, the paint will then soak in, because if you're using it on something wet like grass, the water from the ground will try and creep up the wood (osmosis?).
Thanks for reading my instructable
See the ramp in action here: