For several reasons, some skaters don’t prefer crowding in skate parks. Often, they use spots like rails, stairs, and ledges as skating obstacles. Others create their own ramps in the comfort of their homes.
One of these creations is halfpipes. These structures are one of the most popular skating obstacles in parks. And with that, let me teach you how to build a halfpipe.
By the end of this tutorial, you can begin plotting the ramp’s location, construct it, and enjoy skating on it. So, keep an eye on this discussion to know how to make a mini ramp properly.
Table of Contents
What You Need
Building a half pipe requires precision, just as riding on it does. And to achieve that, we should be mindful of the following things to prepare.
Depending on the DIY mini ramp size you want, here are the pieces of wood you need.
- 2×4 lumber pieces
- 3/4” 4ft x 8ft Plywood Sheets
- 1/4” 4ft x 8ft Plywood Sheets
- 1/2” 4ft x 8ft Plywood Sheets
Of course, we should ensure the wooden and other parts hold firmly. So, prepare the following mounting tools.
- 1.5” Exterior Screws
- 8 ft long steel pipe
- 3” Exterior Screws
3. Hand tools
While primary home tools can drive screws once you build a mini ramp, such options may not be efficient. So, prepare a power drill. Moreover, have a jigsaw ready as well.
We will do a lot of measuring tasks in this tutorial. And for this purpose, a pencil will be necessary to draw lines and marks. You may also want to prepare a rope to outline the transition and a level to ensure both ends are aligned.
More often than not, halfpipes sit in the yard unroofed. So, as a finishing touch, we can prepare exterior paint to protect these structures.
Besides the paint, let’s not miss out on the steel coping to complete the ramp.
Steps to Building a Skateboard Halfpipe
Try to browse several sites for mini ramp plans, and most of them will give you 4ft. half pipe plans. Others might also serve you 6ft half pipe plans. But for this tutorial, we’ll go for the 3ft 5 in. high ramp.
Step 1: Draw the curve of the ramp
- Grab a sheet of 3/4”, 4’x8’ plywood, your thin rope, and a pencil. Draw a line along the plywood’s length 3.5” from the edge. Do this step on parallel sides of the wood.
- Place the sheet horizontally. On the upper left of the plywood, put a mark on the line drawn; the mark should be 16” away from the wood’s shorter edge.
- Tie a pencil to one end of the rope and lay it on the tick mark you drew. From there, run the string 6 feet away and over the plywood’s surface. The cord should be perpendicular to the first line drawn.
- Tie the other end of the string to a screwdriver stuck on the ground. It will serve as the pivoting point in drawing the curve.
- Now that you have both ends of the 6-foot cord pinned to the ground and the plywood, it’s time to draw a curve using the end tied to the pencil.
Keep the string stretched as you move the marker in a circular motion. Stop as soon as it reaches the line you drew on the other side of the plywood.
Step 2: Cutting the ramp walls
- After drawing the curve, you can probably visualize how the transition will look. In this step, you have two options: replicate the arc mirroring the one you drew or cut your first template.
- For a better illustration, let’s go for cutting your first layout. With the help of your jigsaw, begin cutting from the lowest point in the transition. In other words, start on the upper left corner of the plywood near the first line we drew in the previous step.
- Stop cutting once you reach the end of the curve. You’ll notice the arc will meet the line drawn on the other side of the plywood. Cut a short line here, which will serve as the ramp’s deck.
Now that you have your template, all you need is to trace it on other wood pieces and repeat the cutting until you complete the four ramp pieces you need.
Step 3: Framing
- Begin by putting tick marks on the transition part of the plywood you cut. These marks should have 8-inch intervals.
- Suppose we ended up with 12 tick marks on the transition. Prepare 12 2×4 lumber pieces (8 ft in length) plus two more for the base. Double this number to support all four halfpipe walls. Cut 1/8” off the lumber to square the entire ramp.
- Grab two halfpipe walls you cut. Position them mirroring each other and with a distance the same as the lumber’s length.
- Drill one stud on the lowest part of the transition, using three 1.5” screws at each end for firmness. Keep the lumber and curve leveled to ensure the ramp is connected at the right points.
- Next, drill another stud on the other bottom corner of the ramp or at the right angle facing the curve.
- Finally, drill the 12 remaining lumber studs on the transition part of the halfpipe. Begin from the lowest part of the ramp until you finish at the top or deck of the halfpipe.
- Make sure you drill with the board’s narrow side against the transition. Otherwise, the curve may not be as smooth as we originally planned.
Repeat this step with the other transition.
- The flat bottom connects the two transitions. Using 2×4 lumber, frame up two wooden boxes that are 4ft x 7.75ft each. Keep the narrow sides facing up to level with the lowest part of the transition.
- Put tick marks at 8-inch intervals on the longer sides of the boxes.
- Next, prepare 22 pieces of 2×4 lumber cut to 45” long. Each box for the flat bottom will use 11 of them.
- Grab three screws and drill along the first 8-inch-interval mark on the frame. And like the framing we installed, the narrow side of the 2×4 lumber should be flush against the box for the flat bottom. Line the lumber up to both sides of the wooden frame and drill its ends.
- Finish installing all the 22 45-inch lumber pieces you prepared.
- Press the two long sides of the wooden frames against each other and use screws to attach them. Subsequently, you’ll have a flat bottom with dimensions of 8ft x 7.75ft for your halfpipe.
Step 5: Assembly
You now have the three major parts of the homemade mini ramp: the two transitions and the flat bottom.
Before fixing these three structures together, ensure the leveling of the ground. Otherwise, we won’t achieve the perfect half pipe build we want.
- Start by placing one transition on your desired location. Most people lay the ramp’s deck against the yard’s fence or walls.
- Slide the flat bottom on the lowest point of the transition. The 7.75ft side of the frame should be pressing against the lumber at the bottom of the ramp. Push the two parts together firmly and attach them with 3-inch screws drilled 1ft apart.
- Put the other transition on the opposite side of the flat bottom’s frame and repeat the same attachment process.
- Tip: Tie the level on a rope. Have someone hold one string end at the deck of one transition, while you hold the other end at the opposite deck. That way, you ensure that the ramps line up.
Step 5: Covering the ramp
We are now down to the final touches to build a skate ramp.
- Begin by placing two 1/2” plywood pieces (4 x 8 ft in dimensions) over the flat bottom. Drill 1.5 inch screws on the sides of these plywood parts against the edges of the flat bottom. The screws should be 1ft apart.
- Press on a layer of 1/4” plywood, beginning at the bottom part of the ramp. Drill screws along the previous lumber with 1-foot gaps between them.
- Follow with another layer of plywood until you reach the highest point of the transition.
Step 6: Finishing
- Lay a sheet like Ramp Armor on the ramp. Drill it into place with 1.5-inch screws. These screws should fall 3-4 inches away from the first batch. That way, the pieces of hardware don’t interfere with each other.
- Keep covering the transition up. Place an 8 ft steel coping where the deck and the highest point of the ramp meet. Drill the setup with screws 2ft apart.
- Cover the deck portion of the halfpipe and install some more lumber to fortify the back. Others create another platform like the flat bottom for the deck, but that is up to you.
- Paint the entire surface of the ramp to protect it from water penetration.
Fun skate rides do not only happen on the streets and skate parks. Some of them are possible in your backyard.
Now that you know how to build a halfpipe, practicing tricks at home is finally possible. All you need is the right pieces of equipment, sufficient knowledge, and some help from friends or family members.
If there’s one tip I can share, it’s choosing high-quality pieces of wood. Be mindful of the measurements, and perform each step with precision.