Additional Pictures for building your own Gym Stuff Ė Lat pulldown machine

As developed and revised/re-designed by William Mastop

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The cable is aircraft cable.Home Depot sells it in bulk.Itís plastic coated and is 1/8th diameter cable.†† As noted earlier, it is absolutely essential that you remove the plastic from the area at which the ends are attached.†† I bought 10 feet of it to allow some room to play.Please note however that when you put it up, itís important to remove all the slack possible.Any extra cable that hangs down at the point at which you use the machine will reduce the amount of room you have to actually perform the movement.††† The ends and clamps are purchased as a set at home depot.

The cross bar, which is used for your knees when seated so you can hold yourself down, is a 2 x 4, 24 inches long, fastened to both 2 x 4 uprights with #10 by 2 Ĺ inch screws.†† I use a little stool to sit on, and specifically chose not to make a permanent seat so as to allow for more flexibility is using the machine.††

DSCF5621.JPGDSCF5622.JPGDSCF5623.JPGDSCF5624.JPGEach of the horizontal ďoutriggers is a page of 2/4ís double up, like a 4/4, being 20 inches long each.

DSCF5625.JPGThe picture to the left shows the basics of what holds the weights.This is from a plan that I found on the internet, but Iíve never been entirely happy with it.†† Itís a ĺ inch iron pipe that is 36 inches long, again purchased from Home Depot, attached to the loop at the end of the cable with a hose clamp.The loops at the end of the cable is the same kind that is at the other end of the cable.On that pipe are two pieces of 1 inch pvc pipe.These serve as collars so that the weights, which then go on the bar, donít pinch the wooden uprights as they go up and down.Itís important to have the machine on level ground to avoid extra friction from the weights.The PVC collars are 1.5 inches long each.†† I used walmat quick clamps on each bar (the blue things) to make sure the weights didnít slide off.††



After I had finished the machine, I stained it with Thompsons Weatherseal.This is really good stuff and prevents some of the beating that the rain and sun would otherwise give the machine.

The first shot below gives the best closeup I was able to get of the items that actually hold the weight.†† Thereís the looped end of the cable, to which is attached a U type link.That link is clamped with a hose clamp to the actual bar that holds the weights.On that bar are the PVC collars that I mention above.Iím really not sure what a hose clamp is rated to??†† Itís not what my first choice would have been but I was unable to find the items that I had in mind.Iíve had better than 150 pounds of weights on this, and the hose clamp has thus far survived, but I think itís an area that has room for improvement.


The Design changes as a result of failure

So after having used the machine for a week, I made some changes to it.I wanted to be able to do seated rows as well.†† I started off by putting another ceiling hook in, a bit lower than the knee brace, and then made a cable that would connect from the existing high connection (where the pulley is above my head in the picture above) down to the new hook.†† Iíll add in some further photoís below that will give a better idea of what I mean.In any case, having put the new hook in, and attached a pully to it, I sat down, and started to lift a bit of weight.What I had on the bar was 130 pounds, not a lot of weight, but enough that the ceiling hooks felt it.I started to take up the weight slowly.†† Iíve had commercial gym equipment fail in the past so Iím always careful on a first lift on any trip to the gym.†† I had just started leaning back, and the weights had started going up, when there was what seemed a loud bang.I say it seemed loud as it was hard to tell, as I had catapulted off of my stool, and now was relining on the ground.††† This happened really fast!†† My ever patient mate Claire (and thatís surely the first time sheís been called that) happened to be nearby and heard the noise, and called out to ask if I was alright.†† Frankly, I didnít know!†† After a few seconds, I determined that I was in fact alright, but that one of the ceiling hooks had failed.

DSCF5737.JPGThe hook had opened up, which allowed the pulley to pull right off, thereby launching me into next week, or what felt like it anyway!I then looked over the condition of the other hooks, and found that all exhibited various signs of strain.†† I took steps to get new hooks that were a little more serious in their design, being about ľ inch closed hooks, rather than open as the ceiling hooks were.As you will see below, the new hook is looking much better than the now removed old hooks:


I changed up not only the hooks, but as they are closed hooks and it was not possible to connect the pulleys directly to them, also added a closed chain connection to each.††
These are very similar to a link of chain, except that one side will screw and unscrew for relatively easy removal.These links are strong, not inclined to come undone, and not going to fail suddenly as the open ceiling hooks did.

.Each pulley now appears as:


I also took this rebuild opportunity to be address the connection between the cable and the bar that actually holds the weights.You will recall that I had used a hose clamp, which I did not think was really the most sturdy build idea.Instead of the hose clamp, I now have an open clamp, as shown below:


I believe that this clamp is a much stronger item than the hose clamp was going to be.I had noticed even at 130 pounds of weight that the hose clamp had suffered some stretch.Really, I donít hold this against the hose clamp makers, it is only meant to hold a hose!

In addition to the changes noted above, Iíve added a lower pulley, which allows me to do seated rows.It appears as:




So thatís the project for the DIY lat pulldown machine.††† Itís been fun to build, Iíve thus far had some good use out of it, and itís certainly been affordable.††† Iím William Mastop, that guy from British Columbia Canada, whoís probably now lifting in the snow.Good wishes to you!


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