How to build a Budget Circus Dumbbell
Article by Connor Robinson
NOTE From Starting Strongman do this at your own risk!! Make SURE all the propane is gone before cutting or welding on the tanks!! If this project seems outside your mechanical ability take this article to someone who can do it. These dumbbells will eventually break but the whole project should be able to be done for under $50 dollars and is a good start. Below you can see Kalle Beck press a dumbbell made the same way loaded to 150lbs for 9 reps.
Step one – Acquire two propane tanks, whether it be from friends, neighbors grill, side of the road, brand new, etc. If they have been filled with or still contain some gas, you will want to do your best at getting all of the gas out. I used water and soap. Rinsed them out several times. And on the last time I let it soak for about a couple of days. I also blew air in them for the majority of time when we were welding and grinding. Also you will need a 8″x2″ Black Pipe (Do NOT use galvanized as the author did) Lowes and Home Depot didn’t have many more options. And 2 3/4 threaded plugs for your filler holes
Step two – Opening the valve to release any left over gas (if previously filled) and removing the entire valve. They sell a tool that makes this easier called the Universal Propane Wrench. I on the other hand used a sledgehammer to break the seal. Don’t know if it was the best option but it got the job done.
Step three – Grind and prep your area/pieces
One on the left is what it started as. 8″ steel nipple. We cut if down to a 5″ piece and also grinded it at both ends to where we could get more of the weld in between the handle and tank.