Having a skateboard ramp of your own means always having something to skate. There are nearly as many varieties of ramps as there are skateboards, so the first thing you need to do is to decide on what type of ramp you want. The first thing you need to know about how to build a skateboard ramp is that it is more complex than it may seem at first.
The easiest and most versatile ramp to start out is a quarter pipe. Once you learn how to build a small quarter, building larger ramps like half pipes becomes less of a challenge. The following simple instructions are for building a 2-foo-tall and 4-foot-wide quarter pipe.
For detailed set of plans, check out DIY Skate’s website. All the plans on this site are free. Remember: there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Skaters have been building ramps for generations, and all the trial and error has already been done.
Without the right tools, building any ramp will be next to impossible. You will need a tape measure and a pencil. It’s best to use a carpenter’s pencil for marking the wood, but a regular No. 2 pencil will suffice. Also, a chalk line will help ensure that all your screws are placed precisely where they need to be.
You will also need a drill with Phillips head bits. A rechargeable drill will be more convenient to use than an electric one. To make precise cuts, be sure that you have a circular saw and a jig saw. For safety’s sake, make sure the blades for both saws are new or in like-new condition.
A local hardware store should have most of what you need to build this ramp. The transitions will be made from 3/4-inch plywood, while the layers will be 3/8-inch plywood. You will also need six, 8-foot 2x4s, a 4-foot length of 2 3/8-inch schedule 80 steel pipe and an optional sheet of 3/16-inch steel, cut into a 1-foot by 4-foot rectangle. To fasten everything, you’ll need 1 pound of 1 5/8-inch screws and another box of 2 1/2-inch screws.
A good steel fabricator shop will gladly sell you the pipe and the sheet metal, and it should also be willing to cut these materials down to size. If the ramp will stay in the weather, treated lumber is a wise investment, as is another piece of sheet metal for the top layer — or the surface.
Follow the instructions on DIY Skate for cutting the wood. The 2x4s will serve as bracing, and the thicker plywood will be the walls of the ramp. They must be cut into a specific curve — called the transition. Transitions can be looser or tighter, depending on the radius of the curve.
Tight transitions can be dangerously fast, especially for a beginner. Loose transitions are easy to learn on, but become boring quickly. This Video shows how to draw and cut a transition template. Use the first one to trace out the second one so that they match perfectly.
You can use a 2×4 to draw the transitions on the plywood, but a piece of string will work equally well. Insert a nail where the 2X4 is shown affixed to the plywood. Then, simply tie a pencil to one end of the string and tie the other end to the nail. Be sure the string is 5.5 feet long, giving you loose, five and a half foot transitions.
It is critical that every brace be installed evenly separated and straight. This is the only time during construction when it will be necessary to have a helper. Have the helper hold the first brace and the first transition together, and use the longer screws to affix the wall to the end of the board. Start at the bottom, then move to the top. Watch this video to see how to frame your ramp. Once all your 2x4s are in place, you can install the pipe — called the coping.
After the coping is installed, you can surface your ramp. Do not cheap out and attempt to use a single layer. It will make your coping stick out too much, and holes will form in the surface. Multiple surface layers provide strength and will make your ramp last much longer.
The Roll Away
Street skating is a blast, but there is nothing quite like the best skateboard being able to step out your front door and skate whenever you feel like it. A homemade ramp can do that for you. After you have built your first one, other designs are much more doable. Just remember to always follow a set of plans. If you want to know how to build best skateboards by yourself as well, we also have instruction for you. There is nothing quite as frustrating as working hard to build an obstacle, only to find that it is un-skateable or dangerous.
Related post: What Size Skateboard Should I Get?