I built this play gym for our pet Blue Front Amazon during the fall of 1996. Since then, I have been his favorite person. In constructing this play gym, I took several existing concepts and merged them together. These concepts are as follows:
The grate on the bottom is a personal preference and not necessarily required. It does provide a good separation between your bird and his waste products. The challenge in putting all these things together is to make it easy for disassembly and cleaning. I made three base attachments to which the ladder walkway and the post attach with wooden dowels. This approach allows the assembly to be dismantled with relative ease. These three bases are properly spaced and grooved as necessary for the grate to fit over them. I purchased my grate from a local pet shop that had it lying around in the back room. This particular grate is 3/16" wire with a 1 1/4" spacing. When the ladder walkway and post are attached, the grill is locked in place. The ladder walkway and post are attached to each other with a removable dowel that penetrates the mid section of the post and the top of the ladder walkway. This dowel provides added support to the post. I off-set the post to the right side in order to provide a clear area for a bathing bowl. The only set back to using a design with dowl attachments is when you wash it, the wood and dowels will swell, therefore, you will have to wait until it dries before you reinstall the dowels, or do as I do and get a hammer and smash the dowels back in place. Other than this, it is an assembly that will keep your bird(s) amused and active.
During the summer of 1997, I constructed several more of these play gyms. This was also a good opportunity for me to verify the drawings I originally posted to this page. I made a couple of minor corrections, as well as, additions to these drawings and added a drawing for the perch post by itself. This perch post drawing should make it easier to figure out where to drill the holes. I also tracked the amount of time it took on average to build one of these play gyms. It is approximately 25 hours of effort not counting trips to the hardware store, coffee breaks, pulling splinters out of your fingers, etc.
Trying to get inexpensive grates for this project is a problem. Most cage manufacturers are reluctant to do a special order. A local welding shop could probably make you one; however, you can expect to pay between $100-$200. This type of task is a challenge for a welder since the metal wire, when heated, will flex. So the welder needs to try to keep it straight as he goes. Whan you get it back from the welder, you will need to clean it with an abrasive pad or wire brush, and then powder coat it. If you go with stainless steel wire you will not need to bother with the powder coating. The other materials required for this project will cost about $80.
After almost five year of use as of 10/01, the original play gym still looks great and our Amazon, Rasta, lives on it. It was becoming quite difficult each evening trying to get him into his cage so for the past 5 years, with the exception of the 5 days he decided to cruise the neighborhood, he has remained on his play gym and is very content.