DIY Rowing machine:
Rowing machines are great, unfortunately the good ones are ridiculously expensive and they take up a lot of space. A quick look online brings up people like Jim Flood and his open ergo
project - a DIY option for anyone to have a go at (contact him directly for his plans).
Mine differs slightly as I dropped the flywheel under the seat to try and save a bit of space, it now takes up pretty much the same space as a folding bike, which isn't bad if you're short on storage.
I see a lot of stuff dumped in the streets round my way, so I made use of it. Your materials may be different, but if you want to have a go at this here's what you need.
- Palette - Standard palettes are 1.2m x 1m, try to find one with lots of cross planks on both sides and in reasonable condition. Separating the planks is tricky, you'll do well if you get half of them off in one piece, but these are handy as they give you both thicker structural timber and thinner planks for pieces with lighter load.
- Bicycle wheels - Look for a cartridge type freehub from a back wheel with multiple gears. You can also use the hubs from front wheels for the various axles that you thread the rope over, get the wheel nuts too, they come in handy. I'm using 3 in total but this isn't totally necessary.
- Non stretch rope - at least 3 metres, more is better.
- Casters for the seat - check what weight they can take.
- Brackets (or scrap metal to make your own)
- Screws of various lengths.
- Various sundries - seat padding & covering, washing line pulley, paint, card to cover the spokes (I used an estate agent sign..), guttering for the impeller vanes.
My total parts cost was £19.56
, everything else was scavenged.
The important measurements are marked and will vary according to whatever materials you have to hand, don't forget to take into account how big you are too!
Everything else stems from these so be prepared to make adjustments - I'd recommend making a drawing.
The rigging again is dependent on how far your pull length is. Running over the front two axles, the rope is wound 1.5 times round the freehub for grip, loops back around the lower front axle and then ties directly to the bungee cord near the back of the frame. This then loops around a pulley and attaches at the front of the frame. As my bungee has approximately 150% stretch this works out just about right (around 75cm of exposed bungee gives me 1.5m of pull).
The impeller vanes (pieces of guttering) are taken directly from Jim's Mk6 plans - I don't feel they provide enough resistance for me so I may end up changing them at some point. If you've come this far, then I reckon you're pretty capable of having a go at your own design for these.
Hope that's of some use.