Homemade Ironmaster Dumbbell Locking Screw Holder article and photos by jtaliani
I always like to do my little touches to make my equipment more customized and better suited to my needs. IronMaster does a very nice job with putting deep "V" notches on the locking screws and dumbbell handles to assist in locating the unlock position. I still found myself occasionally wishing there was something a bit bolder to easily locate the notch without having to twist the dumbbell in my hand. Accordingly, I decided to use some red Testor's enamel paint (like used for models) and paint the inside of the notches on the locking screws and the notches and inside of the dumbbell handle.
Another thing I noticed was the importance of having the dumbbells always centered on the stand. It's an annoyance to have one side closer to the edge than the other when doing larger weight changes as the weights must be supported by the stand when the locking screw isn't in place.
While it is generally easy enough to eyeball the dumbbell into place, at certain times I'm not at an ideal angle (particularly when setting them down from the skinny side after a heavy lift). As a simplistic solution, I made two red blocks on the lip of each side of the stand so that I can easily and immediately center the dumbbells when setting them down. Finally, as just a little cosmetic touch and to also aid in seeing the position of the locking screws, I took an ultra fine point sharpie and "colored" in the text and arrows on the ends of the screws.
The main modification I wanted to mention was building a stand for the locking screws. Especially with having two sets of the dumbbells and an add-on kit, I frequently found myself looking for a place to set down the locking screws while doing weight changes. Since it works best to have the IronMaster stand pulled away from the wall (otherwise there can be issues with having enough length to remove the screws) I had some wasted space behind the stand. Off to the hardware store to get some supplies.
The stand is quite basic and easy to create and all in only costs around $20. I picked up two 1"x12"x4' pine boards, one 2'x1" section of schedule 40 PVC pipe, a bottle of gorilla glue, some wood putty, a can of Rustoleum Dark Gray Gloss spray paint, and a pack of felt pads.
Tools used (some can be substituted or avoided by having the hardware store do the cuts): a circular saw, a miter saw or pipe cutter, a spade bit, some clamps, and a drill/driver. All you need to do is cut the boards each into 23" and 21" pieces (will leave a little bit left over). With the top and bottom pieces sandwiching the vertical boards, this will yield a stand with overall dimensions of 24.5" high and 21" wide.
I attached the boards together using a small bead of gorilla glue and screws. Then after measuring and marking the spaces for the locking screws on the top shelf, I drilled out the holes with a 1 3/8" spade bit. Next, cut the pvc pipe down to eight 3/4" pieces. (I took a dremel with a stone polishing bit and chamfered the edges of the pipe to remove any burs and make insertion of the locking screws easier, but this step is optional).
Next, I clamped a piece of cardboard to the underside of the top shelf (this will prevent the pvc pieces from falling through the holes). After spreading some gorilla glue onto the outside of the pvc pieces, I slid them into place in the holes. After the glue has dried, fill in the small gap around the pvc pipe with the wood putty. Once dry, apply the paint. As a final touch, add the felt pads and you are all set. Obviously this can all be done differently, but this was how I built mine. The PVC pipe inserts add some extra work but make insertion of the locking screws much smoother and prevent erosion of the hole and splinters in the threads.
Hope this helps anyone looking to add some organization to your Ironmaster dumbbell set!
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