JD's Garage Micro
[ Thanks to Jeff Dalehite - Dallas, Texas USA ]
Earlier this month [Feb 2003] I created an online account of the construction of a mini half pipe I recently built in my garage intended to help others out there looking for tips and information on building ramps in general. I've been skating about 16 years and have built a few other ramps in the past, but really took my time on this one to plan out the best ramp I could pull off in the limited indoor space of my garage. The dimensions for this ramp are ~19' x 8' x 2-1/2'.
I found quite a few useful sites online with information on building ramps, but also thought many out there to be a little vague when it came to complete details. Special thanks to Todd Falcon, Miles Sims, Andrew Crooks over at freerampplans .cjb.net, Don B,. and of course the crew here at RampPlans.Org for some of the information and influence I took into consideration for the finished design. My account isn't a perfect guide for everyone, but I hope it helps someone out there.
The cost for the materials that went into this ramp (not including tools) was approximately $400-425.
My complete construction account is located at http://rampplans.dalehite.com. It's still a little rough design-wise, but I'm working on it as I have more time. [ As well as completely mirrored here on Ramp Plans Dot Org. ]
My plans called for creating 6 separate sections which I bolted together using 1/2" bolts to make up the completed frame for the ramp - 2 separate sections of transition framing for each side, and a ~6' flat bottom comprised of two sections. This makes it easily transportable once the skate layers are detached in case I choose to dissemble it at some point and move it to my back yard for example.
For my transition I used the string and compass method with a 6' radius. This makes for a more mellow transition which I like. I experimented with drawing 5' to 6 1/2' transitions before cutting out my template side piece (which I used for tracing the 8 side pieces I actually used in the ramp), but 6' looked like about what I wanted.
For my coping I decided to go with the method suggested by Miles Sims and Ramp Plans Dot Org. I used toggle bolts and it really was a great way to do it. Using this method prevents you from having to drill holes in the skating surface of the coping so your coping is smooth and pristine all the way across the width of the ramp for grinding. My coping size is 1 5/8" of galvanized steel pipe as opposed to the 2 3/8" that many people use. That was really just a matter of personal preference so it depends on what you're comfortable skating on.
My platforms measure 24" from the coping to the back of the ramp. I considered anywhere from 18" to 24" (If I would have gone with 18" I could have added a foot more of flat), but after speaking with Miles Sims he mentioned that if he had one thing to do different, he wished the 18" platforms he built on his ramp were a little bigger.
As I mentioned, my flat bottom is ~6'. I wish I could have gone longer to 8' or 10', but the space in my garage and desired size for my platforms forced me to keep it minimal. I say ~6' (approximately 6 feet) because I slightly modified the length to plan my surface so that when the first layer of ply was added, it would fit exactly 4 4x8 sheets of plywood without me having to even cut them to fit. The way I did this was to continue to measure down the transition with a rib support every 8 inches until the ramps center point in the middle of the flat bottom (96 inches from the top of the ramp's transition where the coping would meet).
As I added the second and third layers of skate surface I thought I'd be able to do the same with them, but (as I soon realized made sense) the surface area of the ramp changed due to the added thickness of each layer so I did have to cut the second two layers ever so slightly to fit exactly. If I had realized this before applying any of the plywood layers I might not have bothered being so precise, but I suppose that was just a little experimental planning on my part and the ramp definitely didn't end up any worse off for it.
For my final skate layer I considered many surfaces. For a mini-ramp like this one Skatelite, Rampskin, and polyboard were just too expensive and difficult to get a hold of for my tastes. I'm sure any one of them would have been great to skate on, but I would have spent more on the final layer (materials + shipping) than I did on the rest of the entire ramp. Don't get me wrong, if you can afford it, then by all means fork out the money and build the best quality possible, but my budget was not unlimited.
Another surface I considered was Masonite. I've built ramps before using Masonite and many people swear by it over plain wood, but I decided Masonite was a little too slippery for what I wanted to skate. In the end I chose to surface the last layer using 4 sheets of the best 1/4" sanded plywood I could find. Worth noting is the fact that I applied it so that when I skated I'd be skating with the grain and not against it since it generally rides smoother that way. I love skating ramps at parks that use Skatelite, but in the eighties almost every ramp I grew up skating was surfaced with wood and I just like the way wood feels.
I welcome you to visit my more detailed account [ in the following pages mirrored from ] http://rampplans.dalehite.com or email me at rampplans at dalehite.com with any questions you may have. Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps someone out there considering building a ramp of their own.