Instructions for my Eagle Scout project from 2012
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README.md

README.md

Eagle Project

I've been asked for the plans to my Eagle Scout Project many times, so I decided to just put them up on GitHub instead. Hopefully they are useful to anyone building their own firefighter training device.

Note that this is essentially a snapshot of how the project existed at its completion in 2012. I haven't tried to keep everything up to date, so your mileage may vary.

There are also a couple of YouTube videos for the project here. Also, there are photos in the images folder.

Details

I wrote the instructions before I actually built the project, so they leave out some parts that I added later like the access holes in the bottom corners of the main wall and the foothold braces underneath the inner parts of the footholds (I will explain this below). They are also rather hard to follow at times. You should use them only as guidelines. My recommendation is to double check all of the measurements before you cut to ensure they make sense. The better you know the project, the less chance that you will make a mistake. That is why I recommend looking at the model in detail.

Changes.pdf explains most of the changes I made. The model should include all of those changes as well (but with measurements). Where the instructions and the model differ, use the model. Also, SketchUp has a very useful tape measure tool that you can use to measure out anything on the model that you need. Feel free to move the plywood away from the main wall in the model so you can see what's inside. I also have a picture of the inside of the wall below.

These are the steps of the instructions that are not entirely valid:

  • Step 4 is also where you probably should add the two extra support studs that I mention in the Changes attachment. They should extend from just above the top set of footholds to 1-1/2" below the bottom of the window. They should be attached to the inside of the two inner studs to provide support for the sill plate. See the model or the picture below if you need to see what I'm talking about.
  • Main wall, steps 1 and 2: I forgot the 2x4 at the bottom of the wall. Adjust the measurements accordingly, and use the extra 4' 2x4 from step 1 to put on the bottom in step 2.
  • Main wall, step 4: You should make the window slightly taller to take into account the height of the maple sill plate. In my case, that would mean it needs to be 2' 10-1/4" instead of 2' 9-1/2" because I think I used 3/4" maple. If you don't use the same thickness for your sill plate, you can just make the window spacer blocks shorter. Either way works.
  • Main wall, step 7: I must have forgotten to include this in the instructions! This is when you attach the middle stud to the plywood. Put it between the middle footholds. It should reach just below the 2x4 under the window. This is also when you attach the foothold steps. See the note below for tips on how to attach them.
  • Main wall, step 9: I didn't use the large sill plate. You can scratch that from the instructions (but you still should use the small sill plate).
  • Extras, steps 1-3: I ended up just screwing the whole box together rather than bolting it. That means that one of the two plywood pieces will need to be shorter so that it just covers the 2x4s with no overhang. Then, simply screw it to the 2x4s. To attach this to the main wall in the future, you will need to screw it to the first set of window spacer blocks.
  • Extras, step 5: I didn't plan this correctly. I ended up deciding to have only one set of window spacer blocks be bolted to the wall. The bolt holes are countersunk. The most common use case of the wall is with one set of spacers. If more are necessary, they can be screwed in as needed to the first set of spacers. When the first set of spacers is too full of holes, you can just cut another 2x4 down to size to replace it.

Note: When attaching the small 2x4 steps in the footholds, you will not be able to attach them directly unless you screw them in at an angle. I recommend taking two small scrap 2x4s (of which you should have plenty by the time you've cut 2x4s for everything else) and attaching them to the step in an upside-down U like this:

______
|    |

That way you will be able to screw those bottom parts to the wall studs instead of the steps themselves. Then, for added support, you can screw the steps into the studs diagonally and to the plywood.

Here is a picture of the inside of the wall for reference. Notice the two support studs below the window.

Inside of the wall

My final cost was $580.28, but a few of my materials were donated. However, those are probably offset by the cost of some of the materials I didn't use (like paint thinner to clean the paintbrushes and the return shipping cost on the wrong size of lag screws that I ordered online). I've look through this parts list and updated it with what I think is the correct information. Some of the parts changed from planning to construction, but I think this is accurate.

Materials

  • 4 - 4' x 8' x 3/4" AC plywood. One of these needs to be cut down to 3' x 8'. I just had the lumber company do this because I didn't have a big enough table saw. However you want to do it is fine, just as long as you keep the 1' x 8' section for the sill riser block.
  • 2 - 4' x 8' x 1/2" AC plywood
  • 36 - 2x4 x 8' (36 is the minimum. You may want more in case you make a wrong cut.)
  • 2 - 2x6 x 8'
  • 1 - 4x4 x 10' (I used treated wood, if it matters.)
  • 1 - 5" x 24" x 3/4" maple board (You could substitute any hard wood. I used maple because I already had some scraps. Also, the height can differ if you already have some scraps available. You will need to adjust step 4 of the main wall depending on the height you use.)
  • 22 - 3/8" x 3-1/2" hex bolts (This might have been 24. I can't remember for sure. You might want to get 24 just in case.)
  • 2 - 3/8" x 7" hex bolts
  • 30 - 1/2" x 5" lag screws
  • 30 - 1/2" washers for the lag screws
  • 250 - 2-1/2" deck screws
  • 48 - 3/8" flat washers (If it's 24 hex bolts above, then this needs to be 52.)
  • 24 - 3/8" wing nuts (If it's 24 hex bolts above, then this needs to be 26.)
  • Dust masks (recommended if power sanding)
  • Ear plugs
  • 3 quarts - wood varnish (this was for 2 layers)
  • 1 - 3/8" x 3.7" x 4" square U bolt with hex nuts (or a different size/shape, as long as it can span the middle wall stud with some room to spare for the hex nuts. The one I got works well - I bought it at Ace Hardware.)
  • A ladder, approximately 75" long if I remember correctly. This is optional but highly useful. As Dale mentioned, you can use the top section of an old extension ladder.
  • Webbing or some other way to attach the ladder to the U-bolt.

Tools

  • Safety glasses - of course!
  • Measuring tape
  • Small square
  • Center punch (recommended but not required)
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Drill
  • Router
  • Table saw (if you are cutting the plywood sheets yourself)
  • Miter saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Electric sander or sandpaper
  • (Carpenter's) pencil
  • Paintbrushes for varnishing