T Nation

Build Your Own Kettlebells

#1

KBs are a fun way to mix up your workout. I've found em to be really good for high rep cardio work and building grip strength(see my avatar). But the damn things just cost too much- a 36 pounder ends up costing something like $120. I guess if you're really into them this isn't a lot, and they'll last forever. But I just use KBs from time to time for fun- I'd rather spend my $$$ on steel to bend.

Here's how to build your own.

Parts:
1-1"x6" steel nipple (handle, external diameter is 1 and 1/4")
1-3/4"x6" steel nipple (through plates, external diameter is 1")
2-1" 90 degree elbows
2-1" to 3/4" reducing elbows
2-1" unions
4-1"xshort nipple (don't remember exactly what they call the length on these, it's not a numbered length, but it is the shortest nipple I could find)
6-5 pound standard barbell plates (make sure the 3/4" pipe goes through all of these, the hole in some of my 5 pound plates are too small to use)

This configuration gives a 2 and 1/2" space between the handle and the top of the plates. Make sure everything is tight. I used a wrench to get things tight. And I check everything for tightness before every workout with it.

You might want to get all of the joints welded, or put some kind of lock tight on the joints. The plates are loose on mine and rattle, so I stuff a piece of foam rubber between them. Dragon Door kettlebells have a curved handle which keeps your hand in the same place. This handle is straight and my hand tends to slide to the side, and I have to re-adjust my grip. I plan on buying a DD kettlebell eventually (eventually I'd like to have a complete set or 2). This will do until I can afford it.

I'm not going to give detailed instructions on putting it together. You should be able to figure that out from the picture (the bottom picture), but put the top half together, including half of the 2 unions, put the bottom half together, including the other half of the unions, then attach the halves of the unions together.

I can't guarantee that this won't fly apart when you use it, all I know is that mine is solid. Don't use it around anyone or anything that you don't want to hit with it.

#2

Are you the one who came up with this design? I built one of these awhile ago, and it works pretty good.

#3

[quote]deanec wrote:
Are you the one who came up with this design? I built one of these awhile ago, and it works pretty good. [/quote]

I didn’t come up with the design. There’s no need to spend a fortune on KBs! If you really love them then you can buy the real thing- the real ones look a lot cooler.

#4

[quote]Hog Ear wrote:
If you really love them then you can buy the real thing- the real ones look a lot cooler.[/quote]

I think these ones look a whole lot cooler!

#5

Would there be enough room to throw some ten pound plates on that beast?

#6

http://images.t-nation.com/forum_images/./1/.1120619535913.kettlebell1.jpg

Another homemade version can be found here:
http://www.kettlebell.tv/homemadekb.html

Scroll down for the one that looks like a “T” handle.

#7

http://images.t-nation.com/forum_images/./1/.1120619615743.kettlebell2.jpg

and the “after” pic with plates…(Text from that site below.)

“I used 1” nipples & elbows for the handle. The weights are loaded on a 3/4" nipple and held in place with a 3/4" floor flange. The tee is a 1" with 3/4" fitting in the side. The 1"x5" nipple on top must be cut in half in order to assemble it. Tighten up everything else first then tighten in the nipple halves. The elbows that those halves thread into will have to be offset while you tighten them. You will have about an inch of overlap that can be cut out with a hacksaw. Then line everything up and take it down to a muffler shop or metal fabricaters and get that cut welded back together.

The shop I went to didn’t even charge for it. After it’s welded you can’t take the handle assembly apart without cutting it. Use different length 3/4" nipples for different amounts of weight. Add in some 1" washers to get your weights tight but make sure you get it threaded in as far as it will go. I ground the wide part of the elbows on top off but it’s not really necessary. The tapered stack is easier on the forearms. The trip to Lowes, putting it together, and taking it down to get it welded took about three hours. Parts cost about $12.00. Add another $12.00 if you have to buy a hacksaw. Modify, reword, and post this info however you like. I hope it helps. ACL"

#8

OH…and one more thing, you can get KBs MUCH cheaper than DD here:
http://www.everythingtrackandfield.com/detail.aspx_Q_ID_E_4277_A_CategoryID_E_283

They also have free shipping on certain orders, so that’d help out quite a bit.

Matthew

#9

[quote]Matthew9v9 wrote:
OH…and one more thing, you can get KBs MUCH cheaper than DD here:
http://www.everythingtrackandfield.com/detail.aspx_Q_ID_E_4277_A_CategoryID_E_283

They also have free shipping on certain orders, so that’d help out quite a bit.

Matthew[/quote]

Here is another place I’ve found with cheap kettlebells with solid deals on shipping:

http://www.vaultworld.com/prsport/medicine_balls.html

#10

[quote]Sasage wrote:
Would there be enough room to throw some ten pound plates on that beast?[/quote]

Yes, just make your niples a little longer. I did this and made a 72 pounder, great to do snatches and overhead squats with.

#11

If you’re going to go through the effort of buying and putting together pieces of pipe to get a plate-loaded handle, you might as well buy a Kettlestack and load plates on it.

#12

[quote]MikeTheBear wrote:
If you’re going to go through the effort of buying and putting together pieces of pipe to get a plate-loaded handle, you might as well buy a Kettlestack and load plates on it.[/quote]

Did you miss this in the original post:
“But the damn things just cost too much- a 36 pounder ends up costing something like $120. I guess if you’re really into them this isn’t a lot, and they’ll last forever. But I just use KBs from time to time for fun- I’d rather spend my $$$ on steel to bend.”

This is why both making and buying from other than DD were presented.