For my main project I am planning on doing dark minimalist barbell and plates, as well as potentially an adjustable bench. I particularly like the dark minimalist aesthetic for this project because it matches the clothes I wear to the gym and the style resonates with me. I find many gym companies and athletic wear companies to either be too bright or too angsty. Here is a picture of a dark minimalist gym concept:

Dark Minimalist Gym

This aesthetic contains mostly simplistic shape and line form, not being too biased to sharp or smooth geometry. The color palette is primarily black, with greys and white highlights, with the occasional single colored accent.

I have a fairly well worked out plan for the assembly and manufacturing side of things.

For the bar, I plan on using a 1 inch inner diameter steel pipe from Home Depot. While this will definitely not be the same weight, strength, or size as a standard barbell, it will be close enough for my purposes. I have performed preliminary FEA and believe that the results are accurate and indicate that the bar will not permanently deform under the loads I plan to use with it. Here are some plots of it:

FEA Setup

FOS Plot
Displacement Plot (note the scale)
Stress plot (again note the scale)

I plan on making the ‘plates’ with a large mop bucket as a mold. I will mix concrete separately, then pour it into the bucket while weighing it. There will also be a PVC pipe in the middle of the bucket to act as a barbell sleeve. After pouring approximately half the intended weight, I may insert something like rebar in order to increase strength. After the concrete has set and is done drying, I will remove the plate, and spray it in a rubberized protective sealant like Flex Seal.

In contrast to my plan, some ideas I had for some radically different aesthetics include a ‘nature’ aesthetic, or woodland. In my mind, the barbell would be made of a thick stick, with the plates being made of thing but large diameter trunk slices with holes in the middle ith the bark still on. The bench would be made of 2×4 planks, with 4×4 posts as the legs. The wood would be left unfinished on the bark areas, but likely sanded and a stain applied to bare wood. This is my sketch of this concept:

Wood Barbell

Another concept I had for an alternative aesthetic was an industrial aesthetic barbell, plates, and benches. The bar would be a simple bar, probably similar to a standard barbell, with thick minimalist steel (potentially beginning to rust) plates, and the bench may simply be an exremely large I-beam. While I like this aesthetic, it would be extremely expensive.

Industrial Barbell
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Adlai White
    April 1, 2024 6:41 pm

    Hello Peter, as a gym rat I am super excited about this ideal! Honestly it seems like you have everything planned out and in depth. I am super excited to see how this goes!

  • John Bileschi
    March 17, 2024 1:48 pm

    Hello Peter, I really like you choice for this project and believe that your two alternative designs would be very unique in their own right. One aspect that really stuck out to me was your plan to use a mop bucket concrete and PVC to create the cast for your dumbbells. One question I have for you would be if you plan to use some sort of mold releasing agent prior to pouring the concrete so that removal from the bucket is easier.


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