Saturday, October 15, 2016

DIY Target Stand (updated)


I have an SH-101 Swivel Hip target stand. It is a great target stand. It is a steel base that holds two wood uprights. The stand has three legs, and is adjustable for width, can be rotated 360 degrees if need be, and can be tilted to accommodate different shooting environments and scenarios (e.g., you could set it up so the target is "peeking" from behind a tree). However, it is heavy, bulky, and takes some time to set up. A lot of times, I just want something simple.

A basic steel target stand is probably the best for most situations, but at $40 to $60 dollars, the price adds up quickly if you want more than one, and then there is the problem of storage.

I've toyed with building a target stand out of PVC, having built a couple using PVC with split grooves as the uprights holding the targets, but been less than satisfied. I decided to build one that would instead hold the 1x2 wood uprights. I came up with a design, bought some parts, and then decided to try YouTube to see what others had done. I came across a video from Sparks Tactical which was similar to what I wanted to do, but with a slightly simplified set up that used the same number of t-junctions, but less PVC tubing.


Since it was only a slight modification to what I was doing, I decided to use their design, with the small addition of adding thumb screws to tighten down on the uprights and keep them from wobbling. After getting the parts, the actual construction took about 30 minutes.

Materials are as follows:

  • 1 (one) 10 foot section of 1-1/2-inch diameter PVC pipe.
  • 4 (four) T-connectors for 1-1/2-inch diameter PVC pipe.
  • 2 (two) thumb screws (I used a 1/4 inch diameter screw that was 1-1/2 inches long with a 20 thread).

I decided that I wanted the uprights to be 18 inches apart. Since each of the two T-sections add an inch on each side, that meant that I needed a 16 inch cross piece. I also decided to make the feet of the stand 18 inches each. Using a 10 foot section of pipe, this left 32 inches of pipe, allowing me to have two 16 inch long risers.

So, to recap, you want to cut the following length sections:

  • 3 (three) sections 16 inches long (one for a cross-member, two for risers).
  • 4 (four) sections 18 inches long (one each for a foot).
I sanded down the ends with a belt sander to clean up the cuts a bit. Since I want to be able to tear down the stand, I did not use any glues to hold the pieces in place. The fit is tight enough that a friction fit should hold the pieces together.

As for the thumb-screws, I used a 3/16 inch drill pit to drill a hole for each thumb screw. To hold the piece and not unnecessarily damage the PVC, I put a wood upright into each hole to act as a back stop to my drilling. Then I used a 1/4-20NC tap to cut the threads for the screws. Since I just need to tighten down the thumb screws enough to prevent a wobble, I think that the plastic threading will be sufficient. If not, my plan is to get a couple nuts of the correct size and thread, drill a bigger hole, and then epoxy them into place.

I bought all the materials at Home Depot. The 10 foot section of pipe was $6.04. Each of the T-sections was $2.23 (or $8.92 total). I can't find the receipt for the thumb screws (I bought them on a separate trip), but I believe that they were only about $1 each.

Obviously, one possible issue is keeping the stand upright in a wind. Most steel stands (including my Swivel Hip stand) just have a hole for putting a tent spike through. I can do that with this stand as well, and will probably do so. But I'm also considering getting some quick set concrete, and filling each foot about half-way with concrete, which should give me the weight I need to keep it from blowing over

(Update: corrected typo as to size of pipe and other typos).

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