DIY Monkey Bars Using Conduit Pipe
We have a small side yard we turned into a kids’ play area several years ago when our oldest was a toddler. Now that our children have grown up a little, they needed more than a basic swing set. We came up with our own play set design to fit our space, one part being the monkey bars.
In addition to the basic frame needed (4x4 vertical posts, 2x6 horizontal rails, and 2x4s for ladder rungs), we also used 3/4 inch metal conduit pipe for the bars, and 2x4s to hold the pipe. Exterior wood screws were also used.
Conduit pipes come in 10’ lengths, and most monkey bars are around 2’ wide, so you can get 5 bars from each conduit pipe. They are also already rust resistant, so great for use outside!
Being a small space, we decided on 6 foot long monkey bars, so one conduit pipe was enough for us. We used a 12’ 2x4 and 2x6, and cut them each in half to 6’. Decide how long you want your monkey bars and plan accordingly.
Make marks every foot down each 2x4 rail, centered in the board. Drill holes through the boards, centered on the marks that are size of the conduit pipe. You want the pipes to fit tightly, so do not make the holes larger than the pipes.
After holes are drilled, push the pipes into the holes, making the outside edges of the boards flush with the ends of the pipe.
Attach the 2x4s and pipes to the 2x6s, and then both to the 4x4 posts. Make sure you check for level in all directions. You will need to either put the base of the posts in concrete, or secure another way. Our monkey bars are not free standing, and will get most stability from the attached play set, so we did not concrete in the posts.
You may also want to add diagonal braces at each end.
Use 2 more 2x4s to build ladder rungs at each end.
Enjoy your new monkey bars, the joy they bring your children, and hopefully the peace they bring you when your kids wear themselves out!
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Bryan on Jan 07, 2021
Yes! Already inspired and even more so when I see others take on these DIY projects as well. Thanks for sharing!
Sindigo on Feb 04, 2021
Thanks for this. I'm planning a build like this soon - have been for a while but beginning to draw up plans, etc now. I love this design because it's nice and compact and once they've grown out of the slide, it can be modified for an outside gym, too.
I'll be using galvanised pipe work as it's going outside in the UK weather - and we're on the coast, so salty air to contend with, too. I've found an ebay store which can supply the pipes for about £4 each - not too bad. I'll also add a 100cm pull up bar for me and my wife somewhere.
I'm going to bed the pipes in with some silicone or maybe even chemfix to stop them spinning. The expansion and contraction of the wood over the seasons might make spin a bit otherwise.
Just renovating the lawn first and can't seed until end Feb, really so will start the build March, I think.
Did you use a forstner bit to drill the holes for the rungs? Or is a spade bit adequate?
I'm considering the following options for my own indoor monkey bars:
galvanized steel pipe (chainlink fence posts)
metal EMT conduit pipe (least expensive)
Rigid metal EMT conduit pipe (threaded)
closet dowel - wood
closet dowel - chrome (steel inside?) (cleanest)
closet dowel - nickel (steel inside?)
iron plumbers pipe
galvanized steel plumbers pipe
copper pipe (looks great, super expensive)
Comparing strengths (weight limit), pros, cons and cost for each material
Hello. Looks great! How did you cut the pipe?