sunfish pvc dolly & handle [plans]

several years ago, I blogged about the Sunfish PVC dolly that I built for moving around my Sunfish.  I later drew up plans for building the dolly, and posted them here for free!
my sunfish PVC dolly
I have since then built a handle out of PVC that attaches to the axle of the PVC dolly, and makes it a little easier to pull the dolly with a Sunfish on it, particularly if you are trying to drag it through sand. the handle lets you pull on the dolly, instead of just pulling on the Sunfish bow handle, and having your Sunfish slide off the dolly and fall onto the beach (speaking from personal experience here…). here is a picture of my Minifish sitting on the PVC dolly with the PVC handle.

minifish on pvc dolly

I’ve had requests for details on the handle, so sketched up the approximate size and layout that I used.  it requires an additional approx 20 lineal feet of 1 1/4″ PVC pipe and a handful of PVC pipe fittings.

for my version of the handle, I used a reducer tee at the axle of the Sunfish dolly – so my handle swivels (the reducer tee had a larger diameter size at the “arms” of the tee so it is larger than the 1 1/4″ pipe at the dolly axle).  if you are building a dolly from scratch, you could consider just gluing the handle at that location.

at the upper part of the handle where you pull the dolly, I added a PVC tee and a PVC plug.  I screwed an eyelet into the plug, and you can use a carabiner or short length of rope to attach to the bow handle on your Sunfish.  full disclosure: I’m not sure it is necessary or even really helps any! I did also add a couple pieces of pipe insulation on the parts of the PVC dolly handle that will rub against the boat gunwales.

if any of you would like to create your own dolly out of PVC, the dimensions should give you a pretty good head start (download a copy of the .pdf plan here). and here is a drawing for the handle (download a copy of the PVC dolly handle drawing .pdf here).

so there you have it:  a bit more detail on my Sunfish PVC dolly and its new handle option.  if you have any more specific questions, please feel free to post it in the comments below, or you can send me an email: my2fish -at- gmail.com

best of luck, and let me know any comments or questions!

 

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10 Responses to “sunfish pvc dolly & handle [plans]”


  1. 1 lifeat6mph June 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    thanks for sharing! I like the design.. will modify it slightly for my kayaks…

  2. 2 danaannrogers August 25, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    this is so excellent. we have been struggling to move our snark sunfish using a kayak dolly. i think i will use your plans as inspiration to create a long handle to make it workable.

    in case i decide to start from scratch – do you have a rough estimate for the cost of all the ingredients? is there a cheap/easy set up for cutting the pvc?

    i really appreciate your sharing this. i aspire to be handy and with these detailed plans, i will be making a step i the right direction.

    • 3 Whitecap February 14, 2017 at 9:00 am

      I followed the design almost perfectly except: (I didnt want to drill through the 3/4 inch axel, so I used one nut, locking washer, then another nut, on EACH SIDE of the axel. In order to make room for the extra nut on each side of the axel, I made the axel 17 inches wide instead of 19 inches. It works perfectly – and needs no major tools or skills to make.)

      Cost for the dolly alone without the handle:
      Wheels: @ tractor supply 16 bucks per wheel = $32 (worth it – very beefy)
      Parts list: axel, washers&nuts, all PVC (all of it @ Lowes) = $64

      Out the door total = $96 bucks. (Buying on line from store new costs for manufactured dolly is $300-$800 bucks)

    • 5 Whitecap February 14, 2017 at 9:14 am

      Dont forget you will need (all can be bought at Lowes):

      PVC glue

      PVC primer

      2 1/2 inch PVC cutting tool – (an extravagance, but very worth it. Its a cross between hand held pliers and a heavy duty exacto knife, that cuts through pvc safely, exactly, and quickly. Allowed me to finish the job in under 2 hours from start to finish).

      • 6 my2fish February 14, 2017 at 9:18 am

        Whitecap – good list of extras. I don’t have a PVC cutting tool that large – but would agree that the small version I have is so handy and makes cutting PVC a snap!

  3. 7 Whitecap February 14, 2017 at 9:19 am

    My2 fish,
    Hey brother!
    Did you ever think that adding horizontal braces were necessary for the dolly construction? the dolly seems very very sturdy and seems like they are not needed If so, I will add them while I build the handle today. Thoughts?

  4. 9 Whitecap February 14, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Easy peasy! Ill follow the handle plans exactly. I also added this conversation to the sunfish forum.

    http://sailingforums.com/threads/el-cheapo-sunfish-dolly.31402/

    Let me send you my gratitude for these plans. You are saving my back, my time, and my MONEY! Beers on me if you ever make it to Lake Worth, in Lake Worth, Texas!


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