Trampoline equipment shelter

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I am big on re-purposing things and will always try to figure out how to make something out of what I have on hand or can get cheap and make work for may purpose. When my children wore out their 14’ trampoline I used the frame to make a shelter for our camp so we could sit outside our trailer and keep dry in the winter or keep out of the sun in the summer. DSCN0448

More recently I put together five trampoline frames to make a farm equipment shelter for my tractor, riding lawnmower, ATVs, motorcycles and brush-hog. Most people are happy to have someone haul away their “useless” trampoline frames or they will sell them for very cheap. I acquired all five frames for less than $40.00.Photo399

The structure ended up being about 14’ wide, 28’ long and 10’ tall. I welded the half arches together to give them strength, but bolting also works. Most of the arches slipped easily into the trampoline leg sections. The leg sections were bolted together and anchored to the ground with rebar stakes and wire. I covered the frame with a heavy-duty, 12-mil tarp and used trampoline springs to keep the tarp tight. Photo402

The same frame could also be used for making a green house, animal shelter or just use your imagination.

It is important to use trampoline frames that are all the same; all 14’ and all use either springs or use elastic tension bands. The two types of frames are slightly different sizes.

I also used one trampoline to make a cover for my lumber. I bolted the circle in four sections and made a lean-to of sorts against the back of the garage over my lumber rack. (See photo)

Note that the lumber rack is two wrought iron railings, standing on end and secured with cross supports. I got the railing free several years ago. I used the same railing to make two stalls in my barn.

I know that as these popular trampoline’s mats wear out there will be hundred or even thousands of frames and parts available for other uses. I have used a pair of legs, turned upside down, on my boat trailer as guides to keep my boat in the center of the trailer when loading it. I’ve used the springs for a dozen projects and the net wall enclosure that came with one frame to net fish out of my stock pond. I have plans to use part of the net to make a hammock for camp. I’ve sold some of the springs to people who needed them for their trampolines and even sold two jumping mats that came with the frames and weren’t in too bad of shape to people how had ripped mats. All and all, I think I have come out ahead dollar wise, and may have made enough money on selling the parts to pay for the tarp that covers the frame.

If you have any questions or need more information on how I constructed the frame, please let me know.

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Gazebo Satellite Project

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I’ve always thought those big satellite dishes were so cool. I figured with the proper tweaking you could probably pick up just about any transmission, including signals sent from outer space. One day as I was driving by my neighbors I noticed that he had one in his scrap pile. Well with a little expert negotiating and $20, it was mine.

The first thing I did was mount it to the front end loader on my tractor so I could adjust the angle and height easily. Then I soldered some old ear phones to it so I could hear any signal it might pick up.14

After several hours of driving around my field with the satellite dish mounted to my tractor I realized that all I was doing was burning diesel. I got off my tractor and sat in the shade of the dish to try to decide what I was going to do with the useless 10 round hunk of aluminum. Clearly my expectations of the dish were over estimated. As I sat in the cool shade of the dish it occurred to me that if I turned the dish over it would form a dome type roof that would offer very good shade.

That thought stuck with me for several days until my wife, Tibby, said, “We should grow some table grapes.” And I thought, why not. We grow ten different types of fruit trees, three types of berries, avocados, grass hay, two types of fish, goats, donkeys, a dog, a cat and our own beef, why not table grapes?

I told her we would need a trellis or gazebo to grow them on and she said, “I’m sure you’ll figure something out.” I thought…”That’s odd, she is leaving it up to me on how to build something?” It was almost alien to our usual conversations. She usually thinks I need a lot of supervision. Then that word alien reminded me of trolling for signals from outer space and that reminded me of the dome of the satellite dish and what good shade it was. Then my mind, working like it does, though about sex, but after that I started to formulate a plan to use the 10 dome as the roof of a grape trellis/gazebo.gazebo finished 012

So here is how I built the grape gazebo. I bought, from the same neighbor, some big metal warehouse rack legs for $20.00 and mounted them to the dome. Using some ¾ conduit, I made some bracing to keep the legs and dome stable. I went to the farm store and bought some cattle panel fencing to use for the railing around the gazebo. Topped the railing with some 1” black poly pipe and used some 11/2” ABS sewer pipe, slightly used, for trim and to attach the cattle panel to the legs. I had to cut the 4’ cattle panels down to 3’ to make the rail the right height, so I used the left over 12” for a trellis around the bottom of the dome for the grapes to hang on as they grow around the dome. Some black paint, Tibby’s choice of color, and it was done.

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Call me brilliant or call me a red neck, either way… I’m good with that.