Build your Own Hurdles
Easy fold-away and flatpack
No screws, nails or glue required
Easy to put up and fold down
Mike Freda from Flyballequipment.com has put together a fantastic set of plans to build a variety of shapes of hurdles. We have used these plans below with slight modifications. Mr Freda's plans are available on his site along with a link to contact him to purchase pre-made hurdles. Below we have built the hurdles out of left-over timber from a built in wardrobe. This is made of chipboard which is not great for this sort of item but it is useful for an initial prototype. Mr Freda's plans show the best layout to cut directly from sheet wood.
Step 1 - Make a TemplateWe all know errors will compound if you try to measure out every single hurdle separately. We built up a cardboard template to then reuse for all the cutouts. We used this same method for the cross beams also. These cutouts are over 80cm tall and the wood we were using was 2cm thick. These 2cm defines the slit thickness we have in the middle of the hurdle.
When making this hurdle it is important to keep the slit high up in the hurdle (at 7.5cm in ours) so that we can ensure the lowest bar locks into place and it will help define the lowest setting. This lowest setting is set in flyball contests and is not overly relevant for flygility.
We added a curved top and a curved handle. These curves were more easily made with the jigsaw than the hard square edges. Given that we just had a jigsaw we cut a single slit from the base into the slit so that we could easily cut out the slit. There is a slight advantage to this also in that if the slits are slightly too tight this extra cut will allow a small amount of stretch.
With this kind of cardboard straight cut edges were very difficult given the pockets of air in the cardboard. An alternative is to use flatter cardboard or paper. We were luck to have some left-over packaging from a spare room bed to use for this.
The round wooden pot on the top right was used to create the curve for the top edge of the hurdle and for the handle.
To create this template we just used the items in the image, a spirit level as a long straight edge, a tape measure for obvious reasons, the pot for the curve and a right-angle to make sure all my angles were closer to exact. Again, the use of this cardboard, a thick sharpie and transfer errors do combine as we go through so there were a few further measurements and tweaks along the way.
Step 2 - Apply the TemplateWe were just doing a prototype so we just did the side arms and a few bars, the lower bar with the cutouts and a couple of extras of different thickness to help adjust later if we need more height. This will not be necessary for what we are doing but if you want to get into flyball it is. The base board is 15cm tall, the rest are 7cm, 4cm, and 3cm.
For flyball we can go to a max height of 40cm with the given slit dimensions however this is not the defined max. Have a look through the flyball rules for what heights are allowd.
Step 3 - Cut Out the PiecesWe used a jigsaw to cut out our pieces so the picture is showing the 'pretty' side. Ideally when completed the edges should all be smoothed (sanded) and painted to avoid moisture getting in and also to avoid any damage to your dog if they skim over the edge.
The last thing we want is for your dog to scrape or catch themselves off the rough edges.