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Need plans to construct an A-frame swingset

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I hope it's okay to post the question here for all you construction geniuses.  I've been wanting to make a basic sturdy wood A-frame swingset with at least 3 swings for my boys for a long time.  I have 5 4X4 posts that are 12' long and finally got some gift $$$ to buy the rest. 
I plan to order some metal brackets from Lowes, but don't know if I need the triangular ones or the little L-shaped ones.  Or both.
Also, I'm uncertain about how to connect it all together at the top.
And if I should use the 4X4 for the top bar, or use a couple of 2X6s on end & screwed together.
I guess a 2X4 can be used to make the cross bar for the A parts, but what is the best/safest angle?

I'd love to see photos of your projects, or get links to online plans to help.  I want this to last for as long as my boys want to swing, and then be used for a chicken coop.  Thank you for your help!

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post #2 of 7

I am not sure what exactly kind of metal brackets you mean -- but you would need ones *expressly designed* for constructing an A-frame swingset. You can't use off-the-shelf L-brackets (well, not very effectively).

The thing is, in order to make a strong stable swingset you need some rather exact and complex multiple angles where the legs meet each other and the top beam. It *can* be done with wood, but unless you are using quite large wood and serious wood joinery, honestly your best bet is to chase the pennies out of the sofa cushions and buy the specially-designed metal brackets. I got some as part of a precut kit (minus the big pieces of lumber) this summer for $199 canadian, but you should be able to buy the exact same kit in the states for at least fifty bucks less, and I am just SURE that there is somewhere you can order ONLY the metal brackets which would be a lot cheaper. (I did not explore that route too much b/c they didn't seem to be readily available in Canada, but the US is a whole nother story)

If you were wanting to build the whole thing out of wood, there are various different designs (plans available in better-stocked hardware stores, in books in your local library, in books through interlibrary loan, and presumably on the internet tho I cannot recommend any in particular). However you'd better have a REALLY ACCURATE eye for cutting exact angles, will need to do a fair bit of chiselling for some designs, and you may need to add additional bracing to what's in the plan since I've seen an awful lot of all-wood A-frame swingsets with inadequate bracing and thus flimsiness/collapse problems.

Whether to make the top beam a 4x4, 4x6, or doubled (or tripled) 2x lumber depends on what forces you're expecting the swingset to withstand, how long the unsupported part of the beam, and what kind of hardware you are intending to use for hanging the swings from.

I realize that does not exactly answer your original request FOR plans tongue but it's some things to think about.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat

post #3 of 7

This one looks pretty sturdy...It looks like the top bar rests on a few wood braces that are bolted in... I suppose the top bar must be secured somehow, but the wood braces look like adequate support...

http://www.jacksbackyard.com/JBY%203pos%20swings%20pic.jpg

Or as Pat suggested, look for specialized swing set brackets, such at this:

http://www.planitplay.com/v/images/A_Bracket.jpg


Edited by ColoradoMike - 11/12/09 at 12:33pm
post #4 of 7

The top illustration in Mike's post is an example of a design that would really benefit from further bracing. There is not very much keeping it from flexing from end to end (imagine a kid swinging *sideways* on a swing, as kids are wont to do, and the forces that exerts on the frame) - basically just one bolt in tension on each end, which is not a very strong arrangement. Of course to *make* diagonal bracing gets back into tricky angles or having specialized hardware...

(Not criticizing Mike at all, just commenting on the photo being linked to, you understand)

Pat


Edited by patandchickens - 11/12/09 at 2:48pm
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by patandchickens 

The top illustration in Mike's post is an example of a design that would really benefit from further bracing. There is not very much keeping it from flexing from end to end (imagine a kid swinging *sideways* on a swing, as kids are wont to do, and the forces that exerts on the frame) - basically just one bolt in tension on each end, which is not a very strong arrangement. Of course to *make* diagonal bracing gets back into tricky angles or having specialized hardware...

(Not criticizing Mike at all, just commenting on the photo being linked to, you understand)

Pat


hehe - as usual, Pat is more thorough than I. I spent all of 30 seconds Googling 'swingset plans' and 'swingset brackets'.

tongue

But as she says, some sort of diagonal braces should be added to the top configuration to add lateral support - an undertaking that will indeed require some higher mathmatics in determining the angles...

fl


Edited by ColoradoMike - 11/12/09 at 3:01pm
post #6 of 7

Oh My Gosh!!

I built one, and i thought i was the only one who thought it was good Idea. It worked perfectly, and the girls love it.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/36026_byc_019.jpg

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post #7 of 7

http://www.backyardcity.com/Swing-Set-Kits-Do-It-Yourself.htm

free
- http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement/custom-a-frame-childrens-swing-set/index.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_5344779_build-swing-set-frame.html

last
year i had a family friend make my sons, his is a fort type.  We found a book with different outdoor plans that had them in, like you find at Lowes.  It worked well.  We also bought the kit on ebay that included all the hardware, swings and rungs, it came with plans but we didnt use those.

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