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Two types of very inexpensive driving obstacles: Lawn Darts and Pallets

 

I organize a couple of carriage driving competitions each year. I have to use and build driving obstacles that are:

 

  • Portable Compact for travel and storage

  • Easy to set up in differnt environments

  • Safe to drive 

  • Easy on the budget

  • Attractive for a show environment

Over the years I have come up with a few that seem to work.

The Basic Lawn Dart

  1. Cut the corners on the long edges at a 45 degree angle from a 4"x 4" x12" piece of lumber. This will allow it to slide inside of a 4" plastic drain pipe.

  2. Drill a 7/16" hole in one end about 4" deep

  3. Pour some basic wood glue into the hole and insert a 12" piece of 3/8" rebar into the hole and set aside to dry.

  4. Round off or sharpen the exposed end of the rebar with a grinder to make it easier to pound the dart into the ground.

  5. Pound the dart into the ground so that the bottom of the wood contacts the ground for stability.

  6. Slide the pipe over the dart.

Home Depot sells pre-cut rebar in 12" lengths and longer. Longer 4"x4"'s can be used for more stability if desired. A 12" piece is sufficient for most applications if used with 4" light drain pipe.

 

If you want to set up horizontal rails using lawn darts for support, use longer 4"x4"'s with a notch cut in the top and rest the plastic pipe in the notch, Minimum height of vertical supports bt ADS rules is 40 CM (16")

Painting the white plastic drain pipe is problematic as the paint does not stick well and scratches too easily to be long lasting. The blue you see in the photos below is blue painters tape. The red is colored duct tape. I am still using some that weres made 5+ years ago. Duct tape now comes in many colors. Have fun!

Occasionally, you will have footing that is impossible to pound darts into or you may a situation in which there is not enough time to pound them in to make an entire obstacle, like a demo presentation. For this, I used white plastic pails filled with a dense gravel or dirt. Just pound the darts into the dirt in the pail. And set them where you want them. Voila!

With six or eight posts you can create a reasonable obstacle that is easy to set up, safe to drive, cheap to make, lasts a long time and is virtually indestructible. Numbers, letters and directional signage can easily be screwed into the plastic pipe.

Corrugated plastic sheeting can be screwed to the pipes, set over lawn darts,  to create multi sided obstacles and add some color to obstacles.

 

There various types of 1/2 to 3/4" self tapping pan head screws can be easily used and re-used for attaching signage and plastic sheeting.

Pallet Obstacles

Wood pallets are cheap and ubiquitous. They are often free if you know who to ask. They are very durable and stackable for storage. Here's the fastest, cheapest, safest way I have found to quickly make simple driving obstacles out of them.

  1. Stand up 3 pallets in a triangle or 4 for a square.

  2. Wrap around them at the top and bottom with 5" stretch wrap used for packaging.

 

A 1000 foot roll of stretch wrap, complete with handle is only $8 at Amazon . It will make MANY obstacles. No need for nails or screws. It disassembles in second by cutting with a knife. It is amazing strong, sturdy and durable. 

 

For adding color, corrugated plastic sheeting can be easily incorporated into the wrapping on the outside of the pallets.

 

These are very easy to screw number, letter and directional signage to. It is fairly easy to add decorations, such as flowers, small evergreen trees, etc. Vertical elements, such as flags and posts, are simple to add to these pallet obstacles by attaching them with zip cable ties.

 
 

If you see errors on this page or you have additional comments and tips, please let me know