Easy-to-Build, Portable, Cheap Target Stand
We needed a target stand up at a friend's cabin. With a little napkin scribbling, this is what we came up with.
The goal was to make something inexpensive, light, portable (i.e., folds to fit in a car trunk or small back seat), bug-resistant, fairly weatherproof, and easily repaired.
These are the materials we used, but certainly, there are a lot of potential substitutions to fit your circumstances.
7 - 2" x 2" x 36" cedar balusters
6 - 1/4" x 3" carriage bolts
6 - 1/4" wing nuts
6 - fender washers (1/4" ID)x1" OD
Some string or wire
Some wood glue
At least four 2 1/2" deck / drywall wood screws.
For tools you'll need a saw, a drill with a 1/4" drill bit, and a square (helpful but not strictly necessary)
Here's what ours looks like in operational position
Here it is folded
To fold the stand, loosen the top bolt, remove the bottom bolt and pivot the frame. Once folded, replace the bolt you removed to the top hole to keep it in folded position, and for storage.
Assembly is easy; it took us maybe a half hour, including the head scratching.
Cut one of the balusters in half. These will be the target frame cross-members.
Stack two balusters side-by-side and drill two ¼” holes through both, near one end. We drilled ours at 4"and 8" from one end. These will be the side members of the target frame.
Stack two balusters side-by-side and drill three ¼” holes on one end that are spaced 4", 8", and 12" from that end. These will be the target frame pivot.
Drill another ¼” hole 3/4" from the other end. All holes are drilled parallel (through the same sides). These will be the pivots on the foot pieces.
Finally, stack the last two balusters and drill through both 4" and 12" from one end, and 4" from the other end. The two 4" holes will be the attachment point for the support string that stretches to central pivot bolts. The hole at 12" will be the pivot on the foot rails.
Glue & screw the two short members to the target frame vertical members (with the two holes 4", 8"). Gluing the joint adds some additional rigidity, but is not strictly necessary.
Attach the side support rails (the verticals) to the foot rails (the hole ¾”from the end of the vertical to the hole located 12” from the front end of the foot rail) using the 3" carriage bolts, fender washers, and wing nuts.
Line up the target frame into the vertical supports such that the 4" hole of the target frame lines up with the 8" hole of the vertical, and insert the carriage bolts, fender washers, and wing nuts. This is the pivot point.
With the target frame in the operational position, the second carriage bolt goes into the 4" hole of the vertical into the 8” hole of the vertical. In the folded position, the 8" target frame hole lines up with the 4" holes of the verticals. This way, you have a secure folded unit, and it helps to prevent losing the second carriage bolt between uses.
With the verticals roughly 90 degrees to the foot rails, run a string loop through the foot holes located 4" from each end, to the central carriage bolts holding the target frame. You can use the fender washer and wing nuts to tighten the strings against the frame, or for the Boy Scouts in the crowd, tie a slip knot like the ones you were taught to tighten the tent poles against the extended ground stakes to form the backbone of the tent.
At this point, the basic stand is done. We ran a couple 2 1/2" deck screws from the back of the target frame to the front; the screw points make it easy to mount a replaceable cardboard piece to hang / tape /staple the target. With the stand folded for storage, the string can be wound around the central bolts.
We also drilled a vertical hole in the middle of the 18" cross-members so we could hang swinging targets (bowling pin, Barbasol (shaving cream) cans, water bottles, milk jugs ...).
The entire stand weighs a couple pounds, folds to about 48" in length, 21"-24" width, depending on whether you put the foot rails on the inside or outside of the verticals, and as much as 3" thick, depending on the depth of the cardboard you use for target mounting.
The cedar is bug-resistant, and weather resistant and holds up well if left out in the weather. If you intend to leave it out in the rain for long periods, choose your bolts, washers, and wing nuts accordingly.
If the frame gets shot up, it's easy enough to create another one from three balusters (~$6.00)
Around Chicago, the 2x2x36" cedar balusters are about $2.00 each at the big box hardware retailers, the bolts, nuts, and screws are another dollar or two.
Some of the suggestions in this post don't match the pictures, because some revelations did not occur until after the holes were drilled
A suggestion on a possibly even cheaper target stand that requires no wing nuts or bolts.
Build one out of PVC piping and pvc couplers. You can literally break it down into single pieces (I bought a backpack just for it) and if a stray shot shatters one, you have spares on hand.
I think one 1/2" thick 24" long piece cost about 50 cents at local hardware store. I built one that was 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall for well under $20.00 (for two targets, you could build it smaller for one if you want)
In the pieces you use at the bottom of the legs to keep it steady on the ground, simply buy a bag of $2.00 quickcrete and fill those (leave enough room though for couplers) and that way the wind doesn't blow them over. You could use a string tie out method to do the same, but filling once with concrete seemed a better idea to me.
Wood can be built cheap too, but unless you pre-cut extra pieces, one stray and your target is down for the count.
I used a pallet and 2 of those green garden fence posts with all of the pre drilled holes. 4 bolts an nuts and you are done. I staple fresh cardboard to the pallet whenever it gets shot up. It doesn't fold up but you can easily hammer the stakes into the ground. I think I spent $6 or something like that
do a search (title only) for target stand and you will find several
threads on PVC target stands.
If it does get shot through, it's easy to slap on a patch to hold it until the member can be replaced.
With the pivot and strong/wire system, it can be reconfigured easily as a table-top to shoot cans, jugs, bottles ...
This works good, try it.
Here is mine. There are 2 metal T fittings that the 1"x2" fit into and the cardboard is held on with clamps.
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