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Ironic Dumbbells

Despite their popularity, the importance of dumbbells is often over-looked. With them you can perform basic exercises that will strengthen and tone most major muscle groups. Gym instructors advise you to start with a light-weight pair, then gradually work upwards.
A pair of 1Kg dumbbells will cost you around £6.00, depending where you buy them. My dumbbells cost about 30p. (that’s £0.30 for readers outside the UK)

I made a set of dumbbells whose finished weight was 0.7Kg  (~1.5lbs),  these would be suitable for the slightly-built female or adolescent male.

Completed 750gm Dumbbell

Completed 750gm Dumbbell

To make the Dumbbells you will need:

  • 4 empty/cleaned medium-size plastic bottles with screw-cap. I used pill-bottles that had a child-defeat screw-cap – these are excellent because the cap is much more substantial than ordinary screw-caps. The dimensions of my bottles were: Diameter: 54.8mm (2.15 inches); Height including cap: 11.13mm (4.38 inches). Naturally, if your bottles are bigger, then you will be able to make the ‘bells heavier.
  • 4 M6 pan-head screws/nuts. The screws should be long enough to bolt the caps together top-to-top. (M6 screws have a diameter of approx 0.23 inches)
  • A small quantity of sand, cement, muck from your garden – anything as long as it’s heavy, to fill each dumbbell.

 

Here are two of the pill-bottles I used:
Pill Bottles

Pill Bottles

Drill 2 holes in each cap (make sure they match up top-to-top) to accomodate the M6 screws, and bolt the caps together.
Caps Bolted Together

Caps Bolted Together

Caps Bolted Together - showing nuts

Caps Bolted Together - showing nuts

I opted to fill my ‘bells with cement – simply because I had some (quick-setting). If you do the same, read the instructions.
Cement Instructions

Cement Instructions

Cement

Cement

I’ve found this cement to be very useful. It absorbs apparently unfeasibly large quantities of water and makes a strong, dense cast.
Plan to upset your significant other

Plan to upset your significant other

Rapidly gain yourself some negative Brownie-points by mixing up the cement on the kitchen work-surface. This is worth at least 2 headaches and/or a night on the couch.
Fill each bottle just short of the rim, to allow space for the bolt/nuts, and wait for the cement to set. (about 20 minutes)
Now screw the caps on each bottle and you are done!
You could tart them up by painting them gold, but this is not in the spirit of the exercise!
Pill-bottle sticky labels can be stubborn to remove. I soak them in warm soapy water, then remove most of the softened paper manually. I then remove the (usually latex-based) remaining glue with cellulose thinners. Please read the relevant entry on the ‘Consumables’ page before using this awful stuff!
Cellulose Thinners - Use with Caution

Cellulose Thinners - Use with Caution

Well, that’s it – enjoy the path to good health with your 30p Ironic Dumbbells. Oh, I forgot to tell you, but you probably worked it out anyway – the drug ‘Robaxin‘ is a muscle relaxant.

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2 comments to Ironic Dumbbells

  • Rob Axin

    I would like to point out that I have nothing to do with the name on the pill bottles used in making these dumb bells you keep ranting on about.

    Rob Axin,
    Much Chortling,
    Essex.

  • Hans Neese

    Hey, what a great idea. Try partially filling each bottle with rice (uncooked), dry beans etc for a great-sounding pair of maraccas. Making these is so cheap, you can make yourself several sets, each with a different sound.

    Keep up the good work,
    H.

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