Adjustable cups for holding cross-bars make constructing standard ju
mping obstacles a piece of cake. The secret to our cups is to raid the do-it-yourself irrigation section at Home Depot. Each cup will take just a few minutes to make and cost about $1.
The clip-on part of the cup is sold as a “1-inch Snap On Saddle” for irrigation systems and can be found (usually) sharing the same aisle as the pipe fittings. Making cups this way means that your cross-pieces need to be ¾” pipe (ideally). The smaller pipe for the cross pieces will be easier on your dog’s paws if they do strike the bar, too.
You will need your PVC cutter, a marker and a measuring tape or ruler.
Each cup will require one saddle piece and one 2″ section of 1″ diameter PVC pipe. You need two cups to hold up one bar.
Important Safety Note: When you use the PVC cutter to make the lengthwise cuts in the PVC pipe, you are using it in a way it was not designed for. It’s pretty safe but take your time and be very aware of where your fingers are when you’re making the lengthwise cuts. The cutter cuts as slowly as you squeeze, but it is sharp, so be careful!
Here are the (uncleaned) pieces you need to make one cup. On the left is the “Snap Saddle” as can be seen from its label, and on the right is a two inch section of 1″ diameter PVC pipe. Make a pen mark ¾” from the end of the pipe; this will guide you when making the cut partially through the pipe.
Using the mark you made, cut a little more than halfway through the pipe, as illustrated above. Certain professional organizations have precise measurements for the depth of the cup, but “a bit more than halfway” is fine for casual agility.
To remove the partially cut pipe from the cutter, open the jaws and use a rotating motion parallel to the blade .
This is what your pipe will look like when you remove it from the cutter.
I have made a mark on the pipe to guide me as I place the blade to make the long cut. I eyeballed it by looking at the cutter from above to ensure the mark was under the blade, but you could be more precise by extended the mark out to the end of the pipe.
As mentioned in the safety note above, I’m using the cutter for a purpose other than which it was designed. I have a firm grip on the pipe, my fingers are out of the way, and when I squeeze the cutter I am doing so very slowly.
Starting the cut is the only tricky part; the pipe will want to push away from the blade. Use your hand to hold the pipe firmly in place as you start the cut (see above illustration). Once it is started, the cutter will pretty much finish the cut itself, though keeping a bit of pressure on the pipe will make it easier. As you approach your previous cut, proceed very slowly for best results.
You cutter will probably not open wide enough in any case, but don’t be tempted to try both cuts at once. Do one side at a time, slowly and with awareness at all times of where your hand is in relation to the blade.
Here the cut is almost complete. You may wish to open the cutter and adjust the pipe so the blade is closer to perpendicular to the pipe for a neater finish.
The cut is complete. Repeat the process for the other side.
Both cuts are complete. The piece is almost done!
Dry fitted together, all this needs to be complete is some glue (see the top image of this post for a pair of completed cups). Note that this join is a pretty tight fit, so you will probably not be able to smoothly twist it into place. Use enough glue and press it firmly home using pressure on the inside of the saddle and the remaining “entire circle” section of the pipe. The cups will work fine even if they are a few degrees out of “perfect” when the glue sets.
You can make permanent jump cups out of “T” connectors. You do so by using a saw to mimic the cuts we made here on the “90 degree” side of the “T”. Cups made this way will use 1″ cross bars, assuming you use 1″ “T” connectors on 1″ uprights.
I’ve seen (on eBay) at least one enterprising person making clip-on cups out of “T” connectors by cutting them down, cutting out enough of the back side to allow them to slip over a section of pipe, and making the cup part. These are undoubtedly handsome, but would be a lot of work for the casual home enthusiast to construct.