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DIY Smith machine: Consider these 5 factors before building homemade gym equipment

By Henry Wilson
Last Updated on 7th November 2020

Building the best home Smith machine gym possible is, quite frankly, a mammoth undertaking. While the process is bound to feel rewarding, there are many downsides that you need to consider before ordering the supplies.

This article addresses those very downsides.

And while I haven't personally built a Smith machine before, I have successfully designed various other home gym equipment (barbells, dumbbells, etc.).

So, here's what you need to consider before embarking on your grand Smith machine plans...

DIY Smith machine cost

Brunette looking worried over bills in kitchen

I'm not going to sugar coat it. Home gym equipment is bloody expensive these days—and Smith machines are no exception. However, creating DIY fitness equipment is a great (albeit highly challenging) money-saving alternative.

Learning how to make your own Smith machine is a rewarding endeavour that can also save you hundreds of pounds. How? Simple. When you buy the raw materials, you're not paying for someone else's design or branding.

Companies can charge such high prices for their equipment because they know that the average consumer isn't an engineer or a designer. It sounds a bit unfair, but that's just the reality of the market. And it's the same in virtually any industry.

DIY Smith machine safety

man with finger injury sustained from tools

I'm all for making DIY gym equipment (especially simple items like barbells and dumbbells).

However, when it comes to Smith machines, I'm not as fond of the idea purely because the injury risk is so high. Unless you have mechanical expertise, you could easily put a part in the wrong place and compromise your safety.

And for what? A few hundred extra quid in the Bank? Not worth the risk if you ask me.

Plus, do you really want to have to question the safety of your contraption every time your work out?

Smith machines are supposed to be safe by design. So by building one yourself, you're defeating their original purpose. There's no way that I could push myself while knowing that my handiwork could be potentially putting me in danger—my peace of mind is too important. But each to their own. Maybe you have a higher risk tolerance than I do?

DIY Smith machine time

clock and a calander

If you want to convert a Smith machine into a squat rack or build a wooden Smith machine from scratch, then you're going to need a lot of time—especially if you're not a seasoned DIY'er.

As I'm sure you know, there's a vast difference between assembling pretty IKEA furniture and building your own fitness equipment. You can put together a desk in an afternoon. But it could take you weeks of labour to make a homemade Smith machine.

Obviously, you're going to save money by building it yourself. But I think that I speak for most people when I say that I'd much rather just pay the extra couple of hundred quid and order my gym equipment from a reputable manufacturer.

Related Post: Smith machine training

DIY Smith machine knowledge

nuilder holding a plank of wood

If you've already designed home gym equipment in the past, then you might well have the knowledge and experience that's necessary to build your own DIY Smith machine.

However, most people don't.

I hate to be pessimistic, but most folk like the idea of building a home gym. But when push comes to shove, they generally realise that the sheer labour isn't worth the end result. So they just order online instead.

And I don't blame them. Heck, even building a barbell took me a week initially.

DIY Smith machine fun

builder holding a support

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

I sure do. And it's even more exciting when the end result is a brilliant piece of home gym equipment [1].

Ah yes! There's no denying that seeing your Smith machine plans come to fruition is a rewarding experience. And it definitely does make a fun project for evenings and weekends—that's for sure.

But the question is, is the juice worth the squeeze? Is the labour, the learning—and the inevitable failure—really worth it for a wooden Smith machine? I'm not so sure [2].

How to build a Smith machine: The bottom line

I know that I've been quite negative regarding DIY Smith machines. But it's only because I'd hate to see someone get hurt. By all means, make your own weights. But I think it's sensible to give the whole DIY Smith machine idea a miss.

That said, this is just my opinion. There's a fella over at Home Gym Bed that'll teach you how to make a Smith machine (and a full home gym). So it might be worth a look if you're serious about building a home gym.

Anyway, I hope my article gave you some fresh perspective on homemade gym equipment [3]. And definitely let me know how you get on if you do decide to make your own DIY Smith machine.

Until next time.

Henry Wilson
I'm an experienced research assistant who's responsible for the scientific accuracy of the information provided by Smith Machine UK. When I'm not analysing the latest studies from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and advising university physiology departments, you'll find me cycling in the great British countryside.
At Smith Machine UK, we create in-depth tests of the latest and greatest gym equipment on the British market so that you can create your dream home gym.
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