If you have a pond or even a paved patio or basketball court, you are fully equipped to create the perfect skating rink or hockey court for your friends and family to enjoy. The key is to have a smooth, icy surface.
Doug Westlake of Indianola, Iowa, created his ideal family skating rink in his backyard, but wasn’t satisfied with the texture of the ice. To solve the problem and save money, he built his own ice resurfacer using copper tubing, an on/off valve for the water hose, and piece of Plexiglas. He saw the models available online and modified the designs to better serve his rink.
“I use the Plexiglas to scrape the ice and get all the small filings and ice chunks off, make it smooth as I can, then I take the Zamboni and flip it over,” says Westlake. “It looks like a rake, basically, made out of copper tubing.”
The parts cost $12, and it only took Westlake an hour to solder the pieces together and drill holes for the water to run through. He suggests watching the size of the holes closely since larger ones are less effective. His ice resurfacer is about three feet wide, which Westlake believes is perfect for the small basketball court that was transformed into a skating rink.
Westlake uses his invention every time the ice rink is skated on. He says it’s convenient to have the hose hooked right up to his house where he can access hot water, which freezes faster.
“The water sprays through the handle and into the bottom part where the rake fingers would be and sprays up onto the sheet of Plexiglas and then runs down the Plexiglas,” says Westlake. “And the Plexiglas slides over the ice and creates a real thin film of water that freezes almost instantly.”
You don’t need to be too crafty to create your own ice resurfacer and you get the added benefit of customizing its size to accommodate your skating rink. There’s no need to splurge on a pricey machine when you can do it yourself!