A low-cost, hand-made PVC dummy
By popular demand, we decided to publish the assembly instructions (measurements, materials, montage, etc.) of the PVC version of the classic wooden dummy of Wing Chun (Muk Yan Jong or Mu Ren Zhuang). Before proceeding, it is important to underline a few premises (some of which have been already mentioned earlier, read A Wing Chun wooden dummy like in PVC):
- This is not a lasting and / or professional tool, under no circumstances, this version of the wooden dummy can replace the traditional / original version
- This is our version of this dummy, the measurements are indicative and must be adapted to our needs (practitioner’s height, body conformation, etc.)
- The general rule is that the wooden dummy simulates a human opponent so, its limbs must be at the same height of the practitioner who will use it (in a normal fighting stance, read for example )
- It is important to stress that the measures of this dummy are different from the ones of the original wooden version (the reason is that the two structures are completely different)
The component parts of the PVC dummy are building materials (plastic sewage / water pipes) and can be found:
- As yard waste materials (for free)
- In specialized shops (at a very low cost)
How to build a “wooden” dummy with PVC pipes: the materials
These are the materials that we need (the letters refer to the photo):
- A) 1-2 big cylindrical PVC pipes (the core part) – Length 140-180 cm, diameter 17-25 cm, at least 5-15 mm thick (or 2 pieces of half of the height with a central connector)
- B) 3 small cylindrical PVC pipes (the 3 arms) – Length 45-65 cm, diameter 4-5 cm, at least 3 mm thick
- C) 2 medium cylindrical PVC pipes (the lateral parts of the base) – Length 140-160 cm (or 70-80 cm for a square base), diameter 6-8 cm, at least 3 mm thick (or 4 pieces of half of the height with central connectors)
- D) 2-4 medium cylindrical PVC pipes (the inclined support structure) – Length 198-226 cm (or 99-113 cm if the base is a square), diameter 6-8 cm, at least 3 mm thick (or 2 pieces of half of the height with a central connector)
- E) 2 medium “T” PVC joints – To attach the pipes that passe through the core structure to the rear support
- F) 2 medium to small “L” PVC joints – To attach the back part of the base to the lateral parts and to the “T” joints
- G) 6 medium “L” PVC joints – To attach the remaining pipes of the base and the ones of the rear support
- H) 1 medium cylindrical PVC pipe (the front part of the base) – Length 70-80 cm, diameter 6-8 cm, at least 3 mm thick
- J) 2 medium cylindrical PVC pipes (the back part of the base and the top part of the inclined support) – The length depends on the size of the “T”, the “L” joints and the shape of the base (square or rectangle), diameter 6-8 cm, at least 3 mm thick
- K) 2 medium cylindrical PVC pipes (to lift the front of the base) – Length 20-30 cm, diameter 6-8 cm, at least 3 mm thick
- L) 1 medium “V” PVC joint (120°) – The “knee” of the frontal leg of the dummy
- M) 1 medium “C” PVC joint – The “foot” of the frontal leg of the dummy
- N) 1 small cylindrical PVC pipe (the lower support of the leg) – Length 80-90 cm, diameter 4-5 cm, at least 3 mm thick
- O) 1 small cylindrical PVC pipe (the leg) – Length 45-65 cm, diameter 4-5 cm, at least 3 mm thick
- P) 1 small cylindrical PVC pipe (the upper support of the leg) – Length 40-60 cm, diameter 4-5 cm, at least 3 mm thick
- Q) 60-70 metal screws (optionally) – To eventually fix each joint in 2 opposite points
A note by Master Kongling – 4-6 sacks of sand (50-60 Kg at least) are recommended to ballast the entire structure on the ground (they must be well closed if we are not outside).
The tools we need:
- A saw – To cut the plastic pipes
- A drill – To start creating the holes
- A compass – To draw the holes
- A washable marker – To set the cutting areas
- A ruler – To measure the pipes
- A goniometer – To measure the angles
How to build a “wooden” dummy with PVC pipes: the assembling
The assembly phases (the letters refer to the photo):
- Before starting let’s read the entire article and let’s make a project with all the specific measures
- Before starting to pierce and cut we should put the tubes in place to understand if the measures we have chosen fit together
- Let’s assemble and position the A pipes vertically on the ground
- The lower arm should be at the height of the practitioner’s elbow and it must be perfectly central
- The upper arm should be at the height of the practitioner’s shoulder and must create an angle of 15° with the lower arm
- The intermediate arm should be at the height of the end of the circumference of the upper arm and must create an angle of 30° with the upper arm
- Let’s mark and cut the arms
- Let’s do the 3 arms’ frontal holes (remembering that each hole must be the exact size of the pipes)
- Let’s cut the J and H pipes (not too high, not too low, for example at a distance of 5-10cm from the pipe’s extremities)
- Let’s do the top and bottom holes to allow the J and J pipes to fit in the A pipes (they must be perfectly parallel to the ground)
- The 2 leg’s holes must be aligned vertically to the center and to the lower arm (to make the leg perpendicular to the ground)
- The leg starts at the height of the practitioner’s knees (generally 70-75 cm from the ground)
- The N pipe completely touches the ground and enters in the A pipes (as a gallery)
- Let’s do the 2 leg’s frontal holes on the A pipes
- Following the figure and the given referring measures let’s adapt the base and the support of the structure
- Let’s attach each connector to one of the pipe involved (the longest one) and then let’s connect all the remaining parts
- Let’s create the small holes for the screws (with the already assembled dummy) and let’s fix them
The last touches:
- In theory, we should add sand sacks on the pipes (minimum 60 Kg)
- Optionally we could insert a sack of sand even inside the central body (at the base)
Variants and ideas:
- A rectangular base (facing his longer side backward) has greater stability than a square one
- To give greater stability to the central leg it would be advisable to pass its support through the central body to make it reach the back of the base (with a “T” joint)
- With the necessary changes (special connectors, etc.), the base structure instead of being a square / rectangle, it could be a triangle or a trapeze
- The limbs (the 3 arms and the leg) can be substituted with metal or wood elements (eg. preformed legs for tables)
- If we do not think to dismantle the structure it would not be wrong to wrap the joints with fabric tape to increase the structure resistance
- The extremities of the limbs can be covered with plastic grommets (for chairs or tables)
- The edge of the base of the central trunk can be covered with a strong but elastic plastic (to avoid scratching the floor)
- Let’s avoid to use glue that does not remain permanently elastic
A note by Master Kongling – Being inexpensive materials, do your experiments, test what works and what not, then send us the videos / photos of your results and discoveries at [email protected].
A few conclusive thoughts:
- The main advantage of this PVC dummy is that it is very economical (if one piece is broken it can be easily replaced)
- The second advantage is that the entire structure can be easily dismounted and transported (ballast can be replaced on site)
- Although assembly should be easy for everyone, it is a good idea to ask for expert’s help
- For the minors, it is essential to be assisted by parents (the tools involved can be dangerous)
- As soon as we are able to purchase a real wooden dummy we should abandon this replacement (in its basic version it is good only for beginners or special training, read How to start practicing 6DKF)
- The 6DKF’s PVC wooden dummy – Another training dummy (specific of 6 Dragons Kung Fu) made in PVC and other recycled materials
- 6DKF’s speed training with the wooden dummy – An exercise to develop speed, timing and spatial intelligence
A special thanks go to one of our subscribers (JKDWarrior) that with a free donation has requested this article (if you want to ask for specific articles read Learn Kung Fu online: request a specific article)
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Did you manage to assemble the pieces? Do you have any tips?
- Send your photos and videos at [email protected]
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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