Has anyone made their own Pulley Block?

Has anyone made their own Pulley Block?
I don’t feel like paying the $10 or so per block. Looking for a cheep way to make them.

I have. Tried it for surface/deck mount horizontal at each end of double arm for winch.

After fooling with them, and yes, they worked, I know I had well over an hour in shopping, buying, fabricating and re-fabricating to finally get them to work. I calculate the value of my time at well over $10/hour - even if I enjoy it - so future will be purchased blocks.

You can do it, but would suggest you spend your time saving money elsewhere. In the grand scheme of things - how much is a $40 savings for 4 blocks compared to the total cost/time/labor of the entire boat?

If the entire boat, when done is only worth $400 value to sell - you have only saved 10%. And - if you were to use screw eyes as simple fairleads without blocks, heck you could save even more time and money. All depends on what you want when you are ultimately done building.

Good luck - you’ll need stainless to contain the lines to the pulley. Nylon spacer of proper size to be used as the pulley. Stainless bolts to go through the center of the pulley as the center shaft - and some more to bolt to deck, winch arm, or some other way to attach it, and some method to both turn the nylon as well as cut a groove into it for the sheet to run. Then you will need a piece of brass or stainless to act as a “cheek” on each side of the pulley. OK - let’s say you have now saved $6.00 in direct cost. Add in time, errors, setup and … well, I think you get the picture.

Dick Lemke
F-48 #US-06
MultiONE #US-06
Class 3 Landyacht #US-196

i just use screw eyes most of the time. Or wire loops. As long as its not chafing whatever runs through it it seems to work fine.


There have been a couple of instances where new sailors complain about high cost to buy, and I can rattle off the costs to make. In the long run, like a “mystery Army jeep or confiscated Porsche” you can buy for $99 - the $100 r/c sailboat rarely exists.

Building the hull, scavaging for mast and booms, making sails, using screw eyes and bits of brass for hardware, all are satisfaction. Some work out, some don’t. In the overall picture, one should really look at the purchase cost and calculate the percent of total cost it plays into a completed boat. I suppose, if one were very frugal, they would buy components and build their own radio gear as well. Perhaps it is an exercise that is needed… list major boat components and their costs - and then determine the percent of total cost they impact.

Take a $1500 IOM as an example and begin breaking out costs and what you can make and what you must purchase.

Radio Gear - let’s just say $200
Sail & Mast - about $ 175
keel & rudder - $400 - $500
Hull … ???

Well - you can proceed on your own with costs. Keeping in mind you can buy a plastic one meter from Victor products for less that the cost of the IOM keel. Go figure ! [:D]

Dick Lemke
F-48 #US-06
MultiONE #US-06
Class 3 Landyacht #US-196

Satisfaction is a key reason for building/fabricating. But Dick is right about the cost savings (or absence of the same).

Most of my boat is home built, and it’s predecessor had even more home built components. But if I put a cost on my time it would be SOOOO uneconomical - not to mention the number of “failures” one expereinces along the way.

Nope - cost saving (except perhaps for the hull) is not a reason for home building/fabricating. I exclude the hull because I can still home build a (IOM) hull down to weight and strength for less than USD$100 in materials - but I’m fortunate in having the tools and a good stock of consumables in my garage.

If I didn’t enjoy the building in itself, there is no way I’d justify it on cost.


i’ve tried using rollers from an old cassette tape, rollers used for curtain rod track and even mini bearings for tamiya mini 4 x 4. the idea is to come up with a good way to prevent the sheets from jumping the groove.

The first time I used the brass or plastic pulleys from a string type radio tuning system. File and saw a piece of aluminum for the shackle, then use a piece of brass tubing for the bearing. A screw and a nut from the same radio to hold it together. About 3 hours fabrication time. Now I use “no snag” pulleys from Pop Up Manufacturing (now Loyal Hanna Dockyard (585) 494 0027 or LHDockyard@AOL.COM

Yes, I made one using an r/c car ball bearing assembly mounted into a r/c pushrod threaded clevis. Cost: $3.00 for the bearing, $1.50 for clevis. Works great as a low friction pulley block. Connects with all kinds of r/c stuff. ABut not worth the time. Just timkering.

Check AMYA site(http://www.amya.org/us1mpt3.pdf).
Scroll down to Homemade ? Turning Blocks? By Jim Linville, US ONE METER.
I made a set for my Talon II , it seams to work good but I?m still building and have not
done much testing.

Howdy Shipmate , Quite a good little discussion goin’ on. You can make just about what ever you like on your R/C yacht , including the nuts and bolts but you can’t beat good pulley blocks. save in another area of you model but buy the best in blocks for you winch will go better, your boat will certainly go better, you will use less battery, etc,etc. All in all good pulleys mean happier R/C sailing.

mm, use that turning block on my infinitusMD, it is alright, but couldn’t get teflon tube, so had to use some plastic tube, its easy & quick to make (apart from the drying time of the glue).