Materials for practice net frame

I want to make a simple frame for a backyard practice net for golf shots. My design, which I am trying to model in SketchUp, will have a back frame, two side frames, and a top frame.
The back frame will need to be at least 10' wide by 8' tall. The side frames will be the same height as the back and about 4-5 feet wide. The top frame will be whatever it takes close the 4-sided cage.
I went to a couple of hardware stores and tested the weight and strength of several types of plastic pipe, a couple of types of metal pipes, and wood rails and poles. I was surprised how well the wook compared. I had been planning on using PVC, but the wood was as strong or stronger and roughly as light and it was almost as strong as the lighter metal pipes and migh lighter than the heavier ones.
I also called a PVC manufacturer, who told me that PVC is not a good choice because of UV damage and it could be shattered by a golf ball.
I have some woodworking experience, but I could use some help with the final design. Here are the basic questions:
1. What size stock will be needed for the 10' top/bottom rails for the back frame? The only weight it will need to support is a net (probably less than 10 pounds) plus its own weight.
At the hardware store, I took a 12' piece of 1x2 or 1x3, put one end on a counter, and pushed down in the middle. It seemed strong enough. I did the same with a pole about 1" in diameter. It also seemed strong enough. I am inclined to use the 1x3, rather than the pole, because I think it will be easier to join.
I want to avoid using any additional vertical rails in the back frame. This is where the balls will hit and the net needs to be free of anything hard, which would make it wear out much faster.
2. The whole thing needs to come apart for long-term storage. If this can be done without the need for tools, that would be a plus. If not, then just a screwdriver or a wrench. What type of joinery can I use at the corners that would be strong enough and still coem apart easily?
One thought I had was a rabbet joint secured by a couple of wing nuts. I'd cut a dado half way into the end of each rail the width of the rail. They'd overlap at a right angle. Two wing nuts should hold them. If it is too wobbly, I could add diagonal pieces at each corner also secured by wing nuts.
3. The unit needs to fold flat for short-term storage, such as leaning up against the house or the side of the garage.
The sides could fold in against the back. The top could fold back or forward or be removeable.
I can use a couple of standard door/gate hinges for the sides, but they would require a screw driver to disassemble for long-term storage. Is there some type of hinge that doesn't require tools to disassemble? Would the pin-type hinge used on inside doors work?
4. It would be better if the longer rails could come apart or fold up. It would be a lot easier to store a 5-foot bundle than a 10-foot bundle. What's the best way to do that?
One idea I had was a metal plate across the cut with wing nuts to secure it to both rails. I guess I'd need a plate on both sides.
Another thought was a hinge on the bottom edge on the rail.
I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions.
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Suggest you also consider some type of padding to prevent balls bouncing back from posts. Never had a golf ball hit me in the eye, but I can imagine it would be fairly painful.
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wrote:

That is a problem to be solved. A richochet at 200 mph would not be good. My plan was to have the net suspended inside the frame so the balls can't hit anything solid.
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I've built a few hockey nets in my time, and the theory's mostly the same. The latest one was built out of 1" galvanized pipe, as I figured it wouldn't rust through as fast as the black iron. In my case, mass was important. A light net won't stay put.
Wind, and not the impact of a golf ball, will be one of your largest factors. The net exposes most of its surface area to the wind, so even a heavy net (that stands up to a shot) will blow in strong winds.
My suggestion would be to try an inverted T style of net. Brace the upper part so you form two triangles on each side.
What are you going to use for netting? A good netting WILL most likely weigh more than 10 lbs.
Have you looked at commercial options? You might find a quality commercial product is as good as you can build for equal money. My latest hockey net cost $74, and that's not including the netting. A decent commercial net was about $100.
Puckdropper
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On 25 May 2009 12:00:58 GMT, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

...snip...
This will be for my backyard which is fairly well protected from wind.

Not sure I understand this. Are you suggesting 2 T-structures for the sides of the back frame with the bottom (top) of the T parallel to the flight of the ball?
I think I will need side frames to snag shanks, so I'm planning a 3-sided cage with a top, so 4-sided in all.

Something like this:
http://www.sportnetting.com/products/practice.html
I don't know how much these weigh, but the one I bought (see below) is very light.

I bought this one a few weeks ago:
http://www.birdieball.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct%5
It works very well. I don't think the whole thing weighs 20 pounds.
The only problem is that the thing is very difficult to setup and take down. I looked at a lot of products before buying this one. Many of them claimed easy setup and take-down (10 minutes). I bought this one because of the double net and a few other factors. I didn't notice that they do not say how long it takes to set up.
The first time, it took over 2 hours. Now I can do it in about 30 minutes, but that's way too long. I don't have a place to leave it up and the instructions say it shouldn't be left up anyway because the sub will destroy the net and the fiberglass poles don't like constant tension.
So, I'll use it until it breaks or wears out. In the meantime, I'll be working on my own design. ;-)
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Well, just keep it in mind while you design. We've gotten occasional strong gusts on an otherwise calm day around here (weather change). The net usually stays put through breezes and the like, but strong winds tend to blow it over.

Yes, that's what I suggested. The lack of side frames gives you incentive to not shank the ball. ;-)

I certainly understand the 30 minute set up being an annoyance. When I decide to practice, I want to practice and not build things.
Puckdropper
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If you want something that can be moved about (self-supporting), there are fittings that you can purchase to make a canopy (like these: http://www.creativeshelters.com/Fittings/Canopy-Fitting.aspx ). For a fixed location, you could make holes in your back yard to fit uprights for a simple lean-to shelter (half tent).
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are fittings that you can purchase to make a canopy (like these: http://www.creativeshelters.com/Fittings/Canopy-Fitting.aspx ). ====================================Add some 10 ft lengths of 1" EMT (Thin Wall Conduit) and the rest is history.
Use the 8" shock cord loops with a plastic ball to attach net to tubing.
I used one with a silver tarpmas a sunshade at the boat yard in SoCal.
Simple to set up and/or knock down for storage.
Lew
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Gee, Lew, in a boat yard I would have figured you'd have laid a boat hull on it's side and let the curves return the ball to you automatically. Of course you'd need some pretty quick reflexes, but it is training after all.
R
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Prof Wonmug wrote:

My suggestion would be to simply get two posts as high as the net, then, stake them down with ropes and tent pegs, then, stretch a rope across the top and hang the net from the rope.
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wrote:

I considered something along those lines. There are a couple of problem:
1. I really need the sides and the top. Golf balls are dangerous projectiles. I need to be able to stop shanks and other wild shots. Without the sides & top, the net would have to be much larger. I thought about using 4 posts, but now it's getting a lot more complicated.
2. The staking and hanging makes setup and take-down less than convenient. I cannot leave it setup for more than a few days at a time and will often have to take it down immediately. I have a net that was advertised as "quick setup". They said 10 minutes. It's closer to 30. I'm going to use it until it wears out. In the meantime, I'm working on a design for something that I can fold up in 5 minutes.
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Prof Wonmug Have you considered something like these folding soccer goals? http://www.soccersupplies.com/prod/goalsnetsaccessories/goalsportablecoaching/GP-ALUM24 Kerry
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On Tue, 2 Jun 2009 15:24:22 -0700, "Kerry Montgomery"

I hadn't seen that particular goal. Thanks for the link.
Unfortunately, even the largest one at 5x9 is too short by quite a bit and it costs $415. My golf net was only $90. It's about the same width, but almost twice as tall and protrudes forward.
Nice design, though.
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So use three or four poles, set in three or four sockets that stay in the ground, use a couple of guy wires, keep the net attached to the poles and just roll up the whole shebang. I don't think you have to worry about the ball shooting straight up in the air unless you are strong enough to plow a humongous divot out of the turf.
You're one of those theoretical builders, aren't you? You build it in your mind a bunch of times, and a lot of times they just stay there. :)
R
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The only thing I can think of that would be safe and quick to set up is some type of inflatable frame with a net suspended in it. The inflated part would eliminate dangerous golf ball bounce back and the inflatable part enables the quick set up part.
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Me, even if this _is_ a woodworking group, I'd use "EMT" aka electrical conduit.
It's _incredibly_ inexpensive, lightwieght, and plenty rigid. You can build the entire thing with off-the-shelf parts from the big-box store, in about 10 minutes of shopping and a similar amount of time for assembly. Needs a hammer and screwdriver to put together the first time, comes apart, and re-assembles, with bare hands. spend an extra few bucks, and put joiners in the 10' sections, and the whole thing collapses down to a 3"x4"x5' package (excluding the net).

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On Wed, 03 Jun 2009 19:59:15 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote:

If we can discuss PVC, then EMT ought to be OK. ;-)

Do you know how 1/2" EMT compares to 1/2" PVC or 1/2" x 1/2" wood for weight and strength?
A golf ball could not shatter EMT or wood,

Well, maybe you can. I've never built anything in 10 minutes and I've never gotten out of a hardware store in 10 minutes either.

What sort of connectors need no tools? I'll need T's and 3-way corner connectors.

I have in mind a 2-stage dis-assembly design. In Stage 1, the top and sides fold flat against the back so it can be leaned against the side of the house or garage. In Stage 2, it will completely disassemble as you suggest for longer storage.
So, I'll need some sort of hinge for the Stage 1 dis-assembly. They make a "slip T" for PVC. Is ther something like that for EMT?

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"Prof Wonmug" wrote:

As mentioned earlier, it's 1" EMT, not 1/2" EMT, end of report.
Lew
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1/2" EMT is relatively lightweight. a 10' section will flex a fair bit.
I'd go 3/4". 10' of it will be comparitively rigid.
3/4" EMT is _a lot_ stronger than say, pine 3/4" square stock.

lessee, 10 pieces of 3/4" EMT, 8 single-gang junction boxes, and a box of compression fittings (25/box, usually, you need 24).
A pipe cutter if you don't have one, or get the store to cut 2 of the 10' sections in to 4 5' pieces.

Seriously, it's practically as simple as tinker-toys. almost all the pieces are already cut to size, and evrything else is just assembly.
Knock out the knockouts in the junction boxes, put the compression fitting on, screw the lock washer onto the back side, and force it a little with a screwdriver to lock it down.
Stick a piece of pipe in the compression fitting, tighten by hand, and repeat.
Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. it might take 20 minutes.

Hand-tightened EMT 'compression' fittings. You can use an adjustable wrench if you need really tight, or get the 'el cheapo' ones that use a phillips-head 'set screw' instead of the compression fitting.
seeL <http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/productIndex.shtml?search_type=keyword&QueryString=3%2F4%22&x=0&y=0&operator=refineSearchResults&originalValue=Conduit+Fittings&searchIndexId=1&typeOf=>
for the kind of fittings I'm talking about.
A 5XC07 (about the middle of the page) is the basic compression fitting a 5XC10 is the 'coupling' -- used to join 5' sections to make a 10' one a 5XC13 and 5XC16 are the equivalent 'setscrew' versions.     this would require a screwdriver for all set-up teardown.

Wrong. you use an electrical junction box at each corner, with a standard conduit "compression" fitting in 2 adjacent sides and the back.
Voila, 'instant' 3-way corner.

Consider it as a front square, and a back square. With 4 'longerons' connecting the front/back corners.
for a 'stage 1' dissassemble, you simply loosen the joints at each end of each of the 4 longerons, and you've got 2 flat sections to lean aginst the building, and 4 poles on the ground.

Loosen _any_ EMT fitting, and the EMt will slide in/out or turn in it. :)

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On Sat, 06 Jun 2009 17:28:15 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote:

Thanks. Those look like instructions that even I could follow. I'll give it a go.
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