How to Build a Three-Foot Quarter Pipe Ramp for Skateboarding
A quarter pipe ramp is a must-have ramp for skateboarding. You can also easily use this quarter pipe ramp for bikes, or anything else that you might want a ramp for! The 3′ quarter pipe is a medium difficulty project, but not too hard. These instructions are for a ramp that is 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The transition is a little less steep at a 6′-0 radius.
3′ Quarter Pipe Materials
Most of the building materials can be bought at a home improvement store like Lowes or Home Depot. For the piece of steel, you might find it at a store like Home Depot, but if not, look for “Steel” in your local businesses.
Here are the necessary building materials:
- Two 4×8, 3/8″ plywood sheets
- One 4×8, 3/4″ plywood sheet
- One 4×8, 1/4″ masonite sheet
- Seven 2×4 boards, 8′ each long
- One 1′ 6″ × 4′, 3/16″ steel piece
- One 2 3/8″ × 4′ steel pipe
- One 1lb box of 1 5/8″ screws
- One 1lb box of 2 1/2″ screws
Here’s a list of the tools that you’ll be using for this project:
- Tape Measure & Pencil
- Circular saw
- Drill w/ Philips bit
- Various drill bits
Cutting the Boards and Sides
After you’ve gathered the materials, the next step is to start cutting. Start with the 2×4’s. Cut 13 pieces at 3′-10 1/2 in length (you will get 2 out of each 8′ long 2×4). Set them aside.
The other piece of plywood should be cut in the shape shown in the picture here (click the picture for a larger view).
These sizes can all be adjusted, and you can make a larger or smaller quarter pipe ramp if you want. If you want to change things, however, make sure that you know what you’re doing! You don’t want to mess up your entire project and have to start over, or worse yet, get someone hurt.
Drawing the Transition
There are a few different ways to do this, I’m going to explain it the way I do it. Grab an 8″ long 2×4. On one end, drill a hole the diameter of a pencil (about 3/8″). Then measure from the hole you just drilled, out the distance of the transition radius. In this case, 6′-0. Place a screw there but don’t go all the way through the 2×4 yet.
Drawing the Transition, and Cutting It
Take your 3/4″ plywood and lay it on a fairly level surface. Grab another sheet of plywood, your 3/8″ sheet should do, you might have to place some scrap wood under it to bring it up to the level of the 3/4″. Place it next to the 3/4″ plywood, long end to long end, touching.
With the 2×4 you made earlier, screw the screw into the 3/8″ plywood where shown above. Now you want to draw a radius using the 2×4 to guide your pencil until you have the transition radius clearly visible on the 3/4″ sheet of plywood. Once done, measure up 2′-11 1/4 and out 5′-10 3/4 from the bottom left side to complete drawing the transition.
Very carefully cut on the lines you drew for the transition. The top layer for the deck comes out of this 3/4″ ply also, so try not to get too crazy with the jigsaw. Once cut, use this transition as your template to trace onto the plywood and cut out the other side.
You are done with the hardest part, now it’s time to frame the quarter pipe. Start by attaching the bottom and top 2×4’s as shown.
Framing the Center
Take the remaining 2×4’s and frame the deck and riding surface portion by placing the 2×4’s 8″ on center except where noted.
Buying the Coping
To find the steel, look up “steel yards”, “structural steel” or “steel fabricators” and so on in the phone book.
The actual size of the pipe you are looking for will be 2 3/8″ outside diameter with a 1/4″ wall thickness. This pipe is known by steel shops as…
2″ OD, Schedule 80, black steel pipe.
Some steel shops are picky about what it’s called so use the above name if they seem confused.
Drilling the Coping
Drill a 3/8″ hole on the outside of the steel coping. Now drill a 3/16″ hole on the inside of the coping making sure they line up.
Attach the Coping
Once drilled, place the coping in the notch you cut out earlier. By feeding a screw through the outside 3/8″ hole, place it into the 3/16″ inner hole. This can be tricky but with a little patience, you’ll get it.
With a drill or screwdriver, screw it down and move on to the next pre-drilled hole. You should have a screw on each end and one in the middle.
By the way, don’t worry about the holes interfering with your skating. Unless they are larger than 3/8,” you’ll never feel them.
Attaching the Deck
Take the remaining 3/4″ plywood, cut two pieces at 4′ by 11 1/4″ and screw them to the top of the ramp putting screws about a foot apart in each 2×4.
Covering the Ramp
At this time get your 3/8″ plywood and cut out a piece 5′-6 by 4′-0. Start at the top and place the screws about a foot apart working your way down the ramp. Make sure you hit the studs when you’re attaching it. You can use a chalk line or a 2×4 to mark a line across the ramp to be sure.
Once the bottom layer is attached, cut another piece of 3/8″ plywood to 5′-9 by 4′-0. This will be your second layer and you will want to attach it in the same way as the first making sure you hit the studs and the screws about 8″ apart.
Attaching the Masonite
With both of the 3/8″ sheets fully screwed down, cut a piece of masonite 4′-6 by 4′-0 and attach it the same way you did the last two layers. Only this time you will want to countersink your screws a little bit using a countersink bit or a 3/8″ drill bit. This allows the surface to be as smooth as possible and keeps your body from being ripped to shreds during a fall.
With the masonite on, you will be able to check the coping placement. I prefer the coping to stick out 3/8″. If you want to change it, remove the coping and place wood shims where it meets the 2×4’s.
Attaching the Threshold
If constructed properly, you should have about 1′-6 between the Masonite and the ground. This is where you place the 4′ x 1′-6, 3/16″ thick sheet metal or 1/4″ plastic.
Drill a 3/16″ hole about 2 inches in from each end on both sides and one in the middle. After the holes are drilled, countersink each by using the 3/8″ drill bit to drill down just enough so the screw heads are flush.
The steel threshold is also available at steel fabrication shops. You may be able to find the steel at home improvement stores too. They don’t have the best selection, but it might be enough to get you by.
And it’s done!
Caring for your Home Made 3′ Quarter Pipe
Once you have the entire ramp built, go back over it and make sure you don’t have any screws sticking out at all. You’ll probably want to do this again after a few days of skating on the ramp, and then every once in a while after that! Nothing will ruin your day more than catching a screw while dropping in.
For better mobility, attach an old pair of trucks with wheels to the back of the ramp. Then you could just lift it from the front steel plate, tilt it up until those wheels touch the ground, and then wheel it around easier.
If you leave your 3′ Quarter Pipe outside, then you’ll need to protect it somehow or the elements will start to tear it down before you even have a chance to wreck going off of it.
Some other suggestions:
- You can build the entire ramp out of pressure treated lumber. This will help it last longer, but it will cost more to buy. Also, as you cut it, don’t breathe in the sawdust – the chemicals they treat the wood with is harsh.
- You can paint it. Did you know that paint does more than just look nice – it protects surfaces.
- You can cover it with a tarp. This one is pretty obvious, especially if it rains. Don’t just leave your ramp out in the weather, and then expect it not to warp and get weak.
Building your own 3′ Quarter Pipe is easy, won’t take too much time, and should cost you less than a hundred bucks when you’re all through.