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Kid's Play Fort Project

treeless play fort
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How to build a Kid's Play Fort

Page Contents
1: Introduction and about the wood sizes
2: Required wood and alternative sizes
3: Cutting list and hardware requirements
4: Plan - Footprint (looking down view)
5: Plan - Front and rear wall-frame
6: Plan - Front elevation (looking to the front)
7: Plan - Rear elevation (looking to the rear)
8: Plan - Left side elevation (left side view)
9: Plan - Right side elevation (right side view)
10: Plan - Floor (floor plan and detail)

11: Step-by-step images (pictorial summary)
12: Instructions step 1
13: Instructions step 2 - 4
14: Instructions step 5 - 8
15: Instructions step 9 - 11
16: Instructions step 12 - 13 and safety note
17: Photos - other peoples handiwork
18: User Photos/Comments
Appendage: Counterbalance for the trapdoor  you are on this page
Appendage: Guide to adding a slide

Note: This complete plan-set with all of the pages in one handy pdf file (ad free) can be purchased online and downloaded immediately to your computer for only $5. Grab here.

To view all available downloadable pdf files click here.

How to make a trapdoor counterbalance for the Kid's Play Fort.

This will help stop the trapdoor accidentally falling shut and reducing the possibility of a mishap such as the trapdoor falling on heads or fingers while kids are climbing up the ladder. fort trapdoor counterbalance plan

The following is in reference to the drawing on the right.

[a] The trapdoor. There are instructions on how to make the trapdoor in "How to build a Kid's Play Fort" , however, there will need to be an additional piece of 45mm x 45mm (1 1/2" x 1 1/2") wood added to the underside of the trapdoor to give the rope something strong to tie around.

[b] The pulley. The pulley must be able to swing freely and be big enough to take the rope. The pulley must be positioned directly above the casing so the weight will hang vertical. The pulley must not have any parts that a kid can dismantle or undo with hands.

[c] The bolt. The bolt goes through the rafter above the case and supports the pulley. A number of washers and/or shackle/s may be needed to serve the purpose.

[d] The steel weight. The weight used for this project is a piece of steel 50mm x 50mm x 200mm (2" x 2" x 8") with an eye welded to the top. The weight is about 4 kilo (9lb). Most engineering shops will have a bit of scrap steel lying around that you can generally obtain at a reasonable cost and if you're willing to pay a bit extra, you should also be able get an eye welded on the top or at very least, a hole drilled through the top. Any shape steel weight will suffice as long as the case is tailor-made to suit the weight.

[e] The rope. The rope must be of a strong and lasting quality. Thread the rope through holes drilled in the trapdoor and around the piece of 45mm x 45mm (1 1/2" x 1 1/2") wood underneath, positioned (as shown in the drawings) approximately central lengthwise and about 25mm (1") in from the edge of the trapdoor on the ladder side. Tie well at both the trapdoor end and the steel weight end and then cover the knots with a PVC adhesive tape so kids cannot undo the knots.

[f] The case. The case is the wood structure made to house the weight. When making the case ensure the cavity is larger than the thickness and width of the steel weight. Bolt the case to the wall directly below the pulley.

[g] Top metal strap. Screw a metal strap (or similar type bracket) across the top opening of the case so that the steel weight cannot be pulled out. Kids will be kids, you know!

[h] Bottom metal strap. Screw a metal strap (or similar type bracket) across the bottom opening of the case so that the steel weight cannot fall out should the rope break or knots come undone.

counterbalance case
The case
counterbalance pulley
The pulley
counterbalance weight
The counter-weight
play fort casing
Metal strap
play fort pulley and rope
What's all the fuss