I designed and built a climbing frame for my kids. We weren’t able to find something commercially that fitted the bill, so I realised that the only way to get what we wanted was to design and build our own.
The design was completed using Fusion 360, which is my favourite CAD package for home (and professional) use. I based the design on 6 vertical uprights, which are 2.4m x Dia 100mm fence posts. These are driven into the ground to form the base of the structure. The platform is supported by two cross-pieces that sit on ledges cut into the uprights, and are pinned in place using coach bolts.
Joists sit in the cross-pieces at ~300mm pitch and then deck boards are screwed to the joists.
The climbing wall and the two side walls are formed with 18mm plywood that’s held in place with coach bolts.
The monkey bars are 27mm diameter steel scaffolding/handrails, and are supported on mounting plates into the wood using M6 coach screws. I did some FEA on the scaffold poles themselves, and the safety factor for an 80kg adult hanging on them at a single point is about 6, so no worries about the kids hanging on them.
To try to ensure safety, I followed the recommendations in BS EN 1176-1, which include
- avoiding gaps between 8 and 25mm wide (to protect against finger traps)
- no v-shaped gaps
- No gaps 89 - 230mm wide (to protect against head entrapments)
- Gripping diameters less than 45mm and greater than 16mm
- Railings around the edges of the platform are 700mm above the platform height.
Other design features
The platform has some 35mm wide gaps at either side to provide a grip when climbing over that edge, something that was needed the first time my son climbed onto it and slipped, catching himself on the way down using the handhold I’d just finished.
The climbing wall provides a challenging climb to the top, but also has some easier features if required. We added a steering wheel to the top platform to provide some additional scope for imaginative play, and there is a table in the lower kiosk so that it can be a shop, house, or other room.