This jump is based off of an AKC broad jump design by Jo Ann Mather that appeared in the November 1998 issue of Clean Run with a few changes and adjustments. My design loosely follows the USDAA long jump specifications, but isn’t exact. The pieces nest for easy storage, so each one is about 2.5″ shorter than the one before. I decided not to make the four posts that stand at the corners. I’m just going to use jump stanchions I already have.
All of the materials were bought at Home Depot and cost about $39 (not including the PVC glue, screws, or contact paper). You could make this broad jump with only four parts (or if you have a small dog, even less) and then it would only cost $28-32 to make.
- Three 10′ 1/2″ PVC poles
- Ten 90 degree 1/2″ PVC fittings
- Ten 45 degree 1/2″ PVC fittings
- Ten 1/2″ tee PVC fittings
- Five 4 ft. vinyl gutter covers (Originally I was planning on using vinyl planking, but ultimately went with the gutter covers because they’re waterproof and slightly lighter and cheaper. They’re also sold individually, so it’ll be easier to replace a panel if one breaks. Jo Ann’s plans use double 4.5″ vinyl siding.)
- Ten screws
- Contact paper (You can also use paint or electrical tape for the stripes. Technically you can use duct tape, but I wouldn’t recommend it because it disintegrates in the sun.)
Making the Frames
Cutting the PVC Pieces
I cut the following size PVC for the five frames. The length is followed by the number of pieces needed in parenthesis–Length of the PVC piece (Number of pieces to cut).
Frame 1: 46″ (1), 11″ (2), 8″ (2), 1″(4)
Frame 2: 43.5″ (1), 9.5″ (2), 6.5″ (2), 1″ (4)
Frame 3: 41″ (1), 8″ (2), 5″ (2), 1″ (4)
Frame 4: 38.5″ (1), 6.5″ (2), 3.5″ (2), 1″ (4)
Frame 5: 36″ (1), 5″ (2), 2″ (2), 1″ (4)
Assembling the PVC Pieces
Each frame has a long piece that goes in the middle with two end pieces that attaches two of the four legs. The fittings are connected by 1″ pieces of PVC. When they’re pushed together all the way, you shouldn’t see the any of the 1″ pieces. The two shorter legs are attached to the 45 degree PVC fittings in the front and the longer legs are attached to the 90 degree PVC fittings in the back. Jo Ann’s version of this broad jump used all 90 degree PVC fittings for the legs, but with the extra height of the USDAA long jump pieces, it needed some extra width at the base to be stable.
After assembling the pieces, I glued everything together with PVC glue. It’s important to quickly get the frame on a flat surface to check that everything is even and all four legs touch the ground before the glue dries (you only have a few seconds before it becomes impossible to move the PVC).
Cutting and Attaching the Gutter Covers
I measured the length of each frame and marked the gutter covers accordingly with a pencil. My measurements came out to be: 48.5″, 45.5″, 43.25″, 40.75″, and 38.25″. The covers came 48″ long, so I left one as is. The ridge on the back of the gutter cover rests perfectly on the frame’s 90 degree PVC fittings. Before cutting, I rested each cover on the corresponding frame to double check the measurements (except for the long one since I won’t be cutting it). When I did this, I noticed some of the lines looked slanted. I think the sides of the gutter covers aren’t exactly perpendicular, so I adjusted the line by eye to fix it.
Next, I cut the gutter covers with a tin snip and smoothed out the ends with a metal file. The tin snips worked well, but the covers are pretty thin and I imagine a heavy duty scissor might work too. The box cutter I tried first didn’t work so well.
Finally, I attached the gutter covers to the PVC frames with two screws, about 5″ in from each side (the screws go through the gutter cover and the long PVC pole).
Applying the Contact Paper
I added contact paper tape for the lines, but this is optional for a practice broad jump. You can also use electrical tape or paint (although the paint might scratch off). I used two 8″x9″ and two 8″x1″ pieces on each gutter cover. The smaller piece is for the part of the gutter cover on the top, behind the lip. The contact paper actually works nicely for this purpose and is cheaper than electrical tape. However, contact paper doesn’t come in many nice designs or colors. Apparently it’s a requirement for contact paper to be in old looking patterns with fruits and vegetables. In hindsight, I should’ve put the contact paper on before the screws, because the screws make it impossible for the contact paper to be completely flat.
Changes for Next Time
- Use three screws per piece or glue to reinforce. So far the two screws have been fine, but I’ve been carrying the pieces by the gutter cover, so it would probably help to add a screw in the middle or PVC glue to better secure the cover to the PVC frame.
- Increase the height of the two largest legs on each frame by one inch. This doesn’t really bother me, but I wanted to note that the pieces ended up about 1″ shorter than true USDAA height. None of the measurements on this broad jump are exact, and it’s just a practice jump, so it’s not a big deal.
- Maybe change the construction of the frame. If I did this again, I might build the frame similar to Max 200’s practice broad jump (although this design uses more PVC pipe), but maybe I wouldn’t bother. The current design is working out fine. Originally I was using 90-degree PVC fittings (not 45-degree PVC fittings), but each piece was unstable. Jo Ann’s broad jump was constructed with all 90-degree fittings, but hers were AKC plans and the heights were lower and needed less support. I switched out one side for 45-degree fittings, but this makes all of the pieces really wide at the bottom, but not really a big deal.
- Avoid gluing the long pole to the PVC tee fitting if possible. Next time I would maybe not glue the long pole until the end or perhaps glue the end pieces to the gutter cover (or two extra nails in the fittings to keep everything together). Despite my best efforts to make everything even, not all four legs on each frame touch the ground. The stability is still fine, but it bothers the perfectionist in me! Not gluing the long pole allows you to make adjustments after gluing so that all four legs touch the ground. But eventually something needs to keep the jump from coming apart if the gutter cover is only nailed to the middle piece.
- Shorten all poles (and gutter covers, except the largest one) by 0.5″. Since the gutter covers are 48″ long, the longest cover was .5″ shorter than I needed it to be based on my PVC frames. It was fine as it, so this is really more of a barely noticeable aesthetic change.
- Increase the size difference between pieces from 2.5″ to 3″. My pieces just nest one on top of another, but it’s close.
- Apply the contact paper on the gutter covers before the screws. It’s not a huge deal, but putting on the contact paper after the screws creates a big air bubble in the middle and makes it harder to apply.