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Thread: Ideas for a DIY Skeleton Rail Sled

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    Moderator glaeser's Avatar
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    Ideas for a DIY Skeleton Rail Sled

    The photos below show how to build an inexpensive video dolly that moves on rails. Perhaps these photos will spur ideas on how to build a practice skeleton sled.

    This dolly is 36" square and is smooth gliding, even when supporting a person. The wheel truck assemblies are inexpensive and easy to construct. Two pieces of angled metal are attached to a sheet of plywood, and roller blade wheels are attached at right angles on each corner, as shown on the photos. More wheels can easily be added if needed to support more weight.

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    The rails can be made from 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC. The PVC can be coupled using pieces of wood doweling on the side (the usual PVC couplings can not be used because the PVC rail must be smooth on the outside for the entire length).


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    Comments and additional ideas welcomed.

    Best,
    Christopher
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    How smooth does it slide on the rails? Can the sled go pretty fast on it?

    What needs to be done now is just putting some handles on it, and putting some cushion on the board so it can be comfortable to land your torso on (probably just throw some towels or a pillow on it). Other than that, it would still be a challenge to connect a downhill surface of PVC piping from a horizontal flat surface of PVC pipe. I'm sure its possible somehow.

    Even if I was only able to practice on it horizontally, I could still see myself being able to train for speed using this sled and railing. At the push champs, we were pushing the sled about 15m before going another 5-10m downhill and hopping on it. Another idea you could implement as a training effect would make it possible to add resistance to the sled maybe? A quick solution to that for me would be just putting a 40lb weightvest on there. Or maybe just put some thinner standard weight plates on the dolly and then throw the pillow, towels, or other cushion surface on top of it.

  3. #3
    Why not just work on running 6.6-7 60m first then spend a month practicing on pushing the sled? Seems a lot more useful than suboptimal speed training with a sled when you need large advances in speed to make the practice worth while.

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    Moderator glaeser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaman View Post
    Why not just work on running 6.6-7 60m first then spend a month practicing on pushing the sled?
    Right. That is Kyle's objective. A month of practice on the sled before the combine would be ideal. Now the question is, how does he do that?

    Best,
    Christopher

  5. #5
    You need to get fast enough for it to matter first. There are plenty of ways you could get a little bit of practice here and there throughout the year (weekend trips to a track) if you are super serious about it and have some cash to spend (book flights in advance and stay at cheap hotels). The bigger question that needs to be answered is how you're going to drop 3-5tenths off of a 60m time to make it worthwhile to do any of it. I say that in great seriousness because I think that'll be a much bigger challenge and more worthy of focus.

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    Moderator glaeser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ku2u#1 View Post
    How smooth does it slide on the rails? Can the sled go pretty fast on it?
    One key factor is the rigidity of the rails. I tested with PVC Shed 20 and it is so-so, and that's why I suggested Schedule 40. It's still relatively cheap and readily available. You might test a length of Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 and see if there is a noticeable difference.

    Another key factor is the number of trucks. I purchased a large pack of new rollerblade wheels on eBay for cheap. Just drill a few more holes and add a few more wheels to distribute the weight and reduce deformation of the PVC. The rails will not have any turns, so you can evenly distribute the trucks down the length; no need to gang the trucks at the four corners.

    What needs to be done now is just putting some handles on it, and putting some cushion on the board so it can be comfortable to land your torso on (probably just throw some towels or a pillow on it).
    Yes, just get a piece of foam and staple some fabric around the edges.

    Other than that, it would still be a challenge to connect a downhill surface of PVC piping from a horizontal flat surface of PVC pipe. I'm sure its possible somehow.
    That's the hard part, and why I would also consider a rail-less design. Perhaps just build a really fast sled with rollerblade wheels fixed in a straight line that is the right height and weight and practice in a parking lot. Would be even better if you could find a lot with a suitable slope. Of course, you would also need a simple braking mechanism.

    Best,
    Christopher

    Ridin' on the City of New Orleans
    Illinois Central, Monday mornin' rail
    15 cars & 15 restless riders
    Three conductors, 25 sacks of mail

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    Quote Originally Posted by glaeser View Post
    One key factor is the rigidity of the rails. I tested with PVC Shed 20 and it is so-so, and that's why I suggested Schedule 40. It's still relatively cheap and readily available. You might test a length of Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 and see if there is a noticeable difference.

    Another key factor is the number of trucks. I purchased a large pack of new rollerblade wheels on eBay for cheap. Just drill a few more holes and add a few more wheels to distribute the weight and reduce deformation of the PVC. The rails will not have any turns, so you can evenly distribute the trucks down the length; no need to gang the trucks at the four corners.

    Yes, just get a piece of foam and staple some fabric around the edges.

    That's the hard part, and why I would also consider a rail-less design. Perhaps just build a really fast sled with rollerblade wheels fixed in a straight line that is the right height and weight and practice in a parking lot. Would be even better if you could find a lot with a suitable slope. Of course, you would also need a simple braking mechanism.

    Best,
    Christopher

    Ridin' on the City of New Orleans
    Illinois Central, Monday mornin' rail
    15 cars & 15 restless riders
    Three conductors, 25 sacks of mail
    Christopher, I think that I could probably do without hopping on the sled actually. It would be hard to slow down by going downhill with the sled, but I think I could probably just stand up and try to decelerate as much as possible. Sure it wouldn't be as legit, but if this was the best access to sled pushing that I had, then I'd be fine with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaman View Post
    You need to get fast enough for it to matter first. There are plenty of ways you could get a little bit of practice here and there throughout the year (weekend trips to a track) if you are super serious about it and have some cash to spend (book flights in advance and stay at cheap hotels). The bigger question that needs to be answered is how you're going to drop 3-5tenths off of a 60m time to make it worthwhile to do any of it. I say that in great seriousness because I think that'll be a much bigger challenge and more worthy of focus.
    Sounds like you don't know much about the sport of skeleton... Ya having a blazing 60m would help out your combine scores, but those numbers mean nothing in the sport of skeleton (Bobsled is a different story). Hell, the 60m would be a poor indicator of determining a skeleton athlete, and thats why they don't use it as one of their tests! I mean there's probably maybe 2 guys on the team (national and developmental) who could run 6.6-6.7 FAT. Being strong and fast over shorter distances would be a lot more important because you're in a crouched position the entire time (also a lot more quad dominant).

    I just got back from the push champs last week. There were several guys who I could crush anyday of the week at the track yet they were able to have a push time that was .2-.3 times faster than mine. If I could have more time pushing the sled, there's no doubt that I could become a top 10-15 pusher next year. The hardest thing to replicate is being able to run downhill with the sled. Its like doing overspeed training in a crouched position without being able to see what lies in front of you.

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    I some what agree with your comment - similar to CF speed reserve. Take someone who can run 6.5-6.6 60m they could transfer over pretty quickly or someone like twhite whose speed/power numbers are fairly high. Thoughts KU?


    Quote Originally Posted by shaman View Post
    You need to get fast enough for it to matter first. There are plenty of ways you could get a little bit of practice here and there throughout the year (weekend trips to a track) if you are super serious about it and have some cash to spend (book flights in advance and stay at cheap hotels). The bigger question that needs to be answered is how you're going to drop 3-5tenths off of a 60m time to make it worthwhile to do any of it. I say that in great seriousness because I think that'll be a much bigger challenge and more worthy of focus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RB34 View Post
    I some what agree with your comment - similar to CF speed reserve. Take someone who can run 6.5-6.6 60m they could transfer over pretty quickly or someone like twhite whose speed/power numbers are fairly high. Thoughts KU?

    6.5 is blazing, twhite is probably good for 6.7-6.8, maybe faster if he trained for it. That would probably be at least a 3.4 30m done bobsled style. There aren't too many guys who come in running that fast though, probably because they'd rather do track and avoid the -20 degree weather lol. The top pusher ran 3.68 for 30m and beat a guy who runs 3.56 last week. So I'd say that the 6.5 guy could definitely come in at least a top 3-5 finish.

    But for most guys out there like me, it probably isn't possible that our genetics will allow us to even break 7 in the 60m. I understand that there is a necessity to get faster, but I don't see how training for the 60m/upright running will help guys like us transfer a whole lot to the push track. There needs to be a greater emphasis on strength/power and more push track reps.

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