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How to Make a Gym Dog Sled

Daniel Brady | December 7, 2013 in Equipment

Building a gym dog sled is not particularly hard if you or your friend knows how to cut steel and weld. A good dog sled will cost you about $200-300 plus shipping. Building it yourself should cost between $50 and $100, or possibly up to $150 if there is a minimum order quantity for the steel, say 3 meters per piece, but you’ll end up with lots of spare steel (maybe to build another 1 or 2 sleds). Read on to see how I built mine in an hour of steel shopping and an afternoon of building (as a true beginner at building), with my friend’s help.

Gym Dog Sled Finished Using a Gym Dog Sled

Tools List

  • Metal Cutting Saw + Earplugs
  • Welding Machine + Plus Safety Sunglasses and Gloves
  • Tape Measure + Chalk/Pencil
  • Angle Grinder (optional)
  • Electric Drill + Jigsaw (optional)

Parts List

  • 1/4″ plate: 4″ x 80″ (for skis)
  • 1/4″ plate: 20″ x 24″ (for center plate)
  • 2″ x 3″ tube (3mm thickness): 78″ (for skis)
  • 1 3/4″ pipe: 16″ (for center pole)
  • 1 1/2″ pipe: 2″ (for center pole base)
  • 1 3/4″ pipe: 20″ (for 4x handle bases, reasonable thickness)
  • 2″ pipe: 72″ (for 2x handles, reasonable thickness)
  • 2-3 cans of acrylic spray paint

Note: The final 2 pipes in the list should fit snugly into each other. The 2″ pipe can either fit outside a 1 3/4″ pipe, or inside a larger pipe. The center pole and center pole base also have to be able to fit inside one another.

Weaknesses in My Build

  • My acrylic spray paint came off of the center pole after little use. Acrylic spray paint is an imperfect option, but I don’t know a better one.
  • My sled gets bogged down in weeds in our grass even with little weight. More curved skis might fare better, but I would love to test it on artificial grass with a smooth and consistent surface.
  • I haven’t tested it with heavy weight because of the bogging issue. I expect the strength will depend on the skill of your welder.
  • It’s really loud on cement. I don’t know how to do special plastic skis.
  • The oval holes in my center plate are badly cut with an angle grinder and drill. Maybe a drill for pilot holes and a jigsaw would be make more clean holes.


  1. Cut your 78″ of 2″ x 3″ tube into 2 equal pieces. Cut the ends off as angles, the more obtuse the better to avoid bogging.
  2. Cut your 80″ of 1/4″ thick 4″ plate into 2 equal pieces. Check it alongside your already cut tubes to see where you need to cut the end pieces off. Chalk the marks on. Cut each of the 2 pieces into 1 middle part and 2 small end parts.
  3. Weld the middle part of the plate to the tube. Weld the 2 end pieces of plate to the tube. Do this for both skis. Note: My friend and I didn’t do this, we instead cut a half thickness cut on the chalk lines and tried to hammer the plate into the angle. I expect cutting and welding is better.
  4. Weld your middle plate to the 2 skis.
  5. Weld your 2″ of 1 1/2″ pipe to the center of the plate.
  6. Your 16″ of 1 3/4″ pipe should slide on and off the welded center pipe, so it’s removable.
  7. Cut your 20″ of 1 3/4″ pipe into 4x 5″ parts and weld them strongly towards the ends of the skis. This is the point where your force is transferred to the dog sled.
  8. Cut your 72″ of 2″ pipe into 2 pieces for handles. They should slide onto the 4 handle bases so they are removable.
  9. Cut 2 ovals into your center plate so you can attach a rope and carabiner. A drill and jigsaw would probably work well, but we did it badly with a drill and angle grinder.
  10. Use your angle grinder to clean up any sharp shards/edges bits from your cuts.
  11. Use your acrylic spray paint on every part.
  12. Acquire some attachments like a strong carabiner, a car tow rope or another rope, some plastic end caps to put in the ends of the pipes, a sticker with your logo, a piece of rubber to put down on the center plate, a chest harness. Without attachments you can only really push it by the handles.


Considering that I have never build with steel before, and my friend had never seen a gym dog sled before but we still build a pretty good dog sled (with several minor issues that I hope you can improve upon), I think it’s a pretty easy project to complete.

I’d give mine a score of 75-80%. The biggest weakness is the paint job flaking off, if not for that it would be near a salable quality. Mine cost about 80% less than if I bought it from a shop, and the quality I guess is about 80%, so I’m happy enough.

I hope the write-up is helpful for some people.

Daniel has a strong interest in evidence supported fitness training, preparation and supplementation. His goal is to provide clear information that simply works. He's currently 16 kg of muscle above his starting weight (7kg in the past 12 months), and targeting a continued growth rate of 5kg+ per year.
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