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How to Build a Launch Ramp

Launch Ramps instructions for Skateboarding, Bikes and More

By

For skaters and bikers who really want to hurt themselves, I give you instructions for how to make a launch ramp! Want to sail through the air, look awesome, and impress everyone in the world? Then a launch ramp is for you! A launch ramp is similar to a quarter pipe but made so that you can fly off the end (so no coping or deck). These instructions are for a launch ramp six feet long, two and a half feet wide and two and a half feet tall.

Photos and instructions are thanks to Jason over at DIYskate.com. Also, check out Owning Your Own Ramps 101 for more help and instructions on the care for and legality of ramp ownership.

1. How to Build a Launch Ramp: Materials Needed

Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
Jason, from DIYskate.com
To build your home made skateboard launch ramp, you're going to need some building materials. Most of this stuff 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 building materials used for making this skateboard launch ramp:
  • One 4×8, 3/4" plywood sheet
  • One 4×8, 3/8" plywood sheet
  • One 4×8, 1/4" masonite sheet
  • Four 2×4's, 8' long
  • One 1 pound box of 1 5/8" screws
  • One 1 pound box of 2 1/2" screws
  • One 1' × 2'-6, 3/16" steel piece
Here's a list of the tools that you'll be using for this project:
  • Tape Measure & Pencil
  • Circular or jig saw
  • Drill w/ philips bit
  • Assorted drill bits
  • Combination Square

2. How to Build a Launch Ramp: Cutting the 3/4" Plywood

Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
Jason, from DIYskate.com
Cutting the plywood in the correct shape is a little tricky. Jason has set up a diagram that shows you how to measure and mark the plywood in the right shape. Check out the picture to the side (click on it to enlarge it), and then follow these steps:
  • Using a 2×4 with a screw and pencil as your compass, clearly draw the radius on the 3/4" plywood.
  • After the radius has been drawn, carefully cut along the line using a jigsaw.
  • Once cut, use this side as your template to draw and cut the other side. Both sides are identical.
  • 3. How to Build a Launch Ramp: Build the Ramp

    Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
    Jason, from DIYskate.com
    This part will be a little bit easier if you get someone to help you do it. Attach the top and two bottom 2x4s to the sides, using two screws on each end. Follow the pattern that you see in the picture.

    4. How to Build a Launch Ramp: Frame Up the Sides

    Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
    Jason, from DIYskate.com
    You should have seven more 2x4's. Screw them in spacing them each 8" apart from each other. Attach them as seen in the picture to the side. Double up on the 2x4's where you see you should (this is where the 3/8" plywood sheets will meet, and so you double up on the 2x4's to give you more area to attach those sheets to).

    5. How to Build a Launch Ramp: Cutting the 3/8" Plywood

    Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
    Jason, from DIYskate.com
    Follow the picture to the side, and cut the 3/8" plywood. Jason explains, "By following this cut list illustration and by making the launch ramp at 2'-6 in width allows you to get away with only one 3/8" sheet of plywood."

    6. How to Build a Launch Ramp: Plywood Bottom Layer

    Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
    Jason, from DIYskate.com
    Attach the 1'4 1/4" x 2'6" sheet that you just cut out of the 3/8" plywood. Start at the top of the framed launch ramp, putting a screw down about every 8" into the 2x4's.

    Once that sheet is done, grab the 4' x 2'6" sheet of the 3/8" plywood. Put it on the frame, pushing it up flush against the the 3/8" sheet that you just attached. Just like before, start screwing it in from the top, putting a screw in about every 8". Make sure that the screws go into the 2x4's.

    7. How to Build a Launch Ramp: Plywood Middle Layer

    Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
    Jason, from DIYskate.com
    Next take the other 4' × 2'6" sheet of 3/8" plywood, and screw it in place starting at the top. Be careful not to screw into the same spots as the lower level.

    Then place the last 1'5" 3/8 × 2'6" sheet of 3/8" using the same screw pattern as before.

    Now lay a 2'6" × 4'6" 3/4 sheet of masonite on top of the 3/8" ply surface. Unlike the 3/8", you'll need to countersink the masonite with a 3/8" drill bit or a countersink bit. Then, just like the screws in the previous plys, you want to start at the top and work your way down.

    8. How to Build a Launch Ramp: Finish the Ramp

    Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
    Jason, from DIYskate.com
    Finally, the last step is to attach the 1' wide × 2'6" × 3/16" thick sheet metal to the launch ramp. Drill three, 3/16" evenly spaced holes and then countersink the screw locations with a 3/8" drill bit.

    After the holes are drilled, countersink each by using the 3/8" drill bit or countersink bit to ensure the screw heads are flush with the steel. You will need shorter screws here too, about 1 1/2" will do. Make CERTAIN you hit the 2×4's underneath as well.

    9. Caring for your Launch Ramp

    Free Home Made Launch Ramp Instructions
    Jason, from DIYskate.com
    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 using the ramp, and then every once in a while after that!

    If you leave your ramp 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! There are several things DIYskate.com suggests:

    • 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 stuff!
    • 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!
    So there you go! Building your own ramps isn't too tough, won't take too much time, and should cost you less than a hundred bucks when you're all through. Enjoy! Check out Owning Your Own Ramps for more help and advice for owning ramps, and to make sure you are safe and covered legally.

    For other building projects, check out How to Build a Kicker Ramp, or How to Build a Grind Rail, and How to Build a Quarter Pipe.

    For some good trick ideas with your new launch ramp, check out How to Indy Grab.

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