Pilates Reformer

A hack in the fullest sense. I’m looking to bring what is normally unaffordable Pilates exercise equipment to a much needed larger audience

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Pilates is an exercise methodology developed by Joseph Pilates (born 1883)
Pilates was a “Hacker” at heart!

The goal of the Pilates exercise to combat the force of gravity on the spine by enlisting all the muscles of the core to provide vertical lift in an effort of lessening the pressure on the passive disks that keep the vertebrae of the spine separated
Joseph Pilates not only developed a physical regime but designed, patented and built apparatus to accomplish this goal!

A large obstacle to the broader acceptance of Pilates is the cost of equipment
I have designed and built a “Pilates Reformer” that replicate the traditional feel of the original Pilates Reformer, while being both more affordable to purchase, manufacture and ship! This was accomplished though the use of off the shelf components
The goal of the design is to offer people the option to purchase a Reformer in kit form, or with to build their own with provided plans.


Creative: First “Classical” Reformer In 90 years departing from conventional design and manufacturing methods

Functional: Working model, tested and approved by established Instructors

Pushing Boundaries: Engineered to be shipped broken down, visually unique aesthetic/design

Benefits Society: A large number of people have back issues, much of the population need to exercise, exercise is recommended for recovery from surgery. Pilates is good for all of these situations. We’re making it more accessible to a larger number of people

Design Detail: 3D Modeling using the iPad app “Shapr 3D”, Rendering, multiple iterations of design and prototypes built

Base Level Planning: Parts List, Cut List, Jigs for cutting and templates for assembling   

User Friendly: From packaging to usage, ease of use has been a focus. Foot Bar Brace is designed as a safety feature, Strap Lock Redesign, Shoulder Blocks are adjustable for shorter people

Reproducible: Low level of skill for production, readily available materials, most parts are off the shelf 

Manufacturing Details: Jigs for cutting pipe, CNC routing for wood Carriage, Out sourcing of Casters, Spring Stop, Foot Bar Lock, Shoulder Stops (all of this can be done internally if more cost effective)

Scalability: No assembly is required in manufacturing, low level of skill for manufacturing, few specialty parts to inventory 

Viability: Working models are currently in use, interest has already been expressed on Social Media, conversation with multi facility Gym have been started for outfitting internal Pilates Studios

Realistic Costs: All material costs estimates are full retail “off the shelf” pricing. Casters, Spring Stop, Foot Bar Lock, Shoulder Blocks would have to be priced out by a “job shop” (all of this can be done internally if more cost effective)

Competitors: It is a simple and rather transparent design, it would be very easy to duplicate! But the uniqueness of design and my reputation in the community is of some value to protect us in the market. I have had conversations with some of the larger manufacturers and they have trouble meeting current demands of orders and have little interest of introducing a different line of Reformers

Final Round Requirements:

Documentation: Photos and drawings/renderings, video of project. Video of assembly. 

Open Design: It is being designed as a kit so “Open” is built into it

Marketable: Setting up website, taking promotional photos and video, getting feelers from the Pilates community. Cost comparison between current choices


If your body is betraying you very little else matters!

This is a simple fact, exercise, movement, discipline is vital to a healthy life

Joseph Pilates believed this and all of his exercise equipment try’s to fulfill this goal

There is a story that NASA had approached him on a few occasions

The first being that Mr. Pilates was one of the few that undertook a study of sleep mechanics photographing people while they sleep, he devised a bed that promised a better nights sleep!

The second was when NASA started investigating exercise in zero gravity

Joseph Palates exercise regime and equipment seemed to be very adaptable to use in zero gravity

I hold these examples up to give insight to the depth and value of this work and benefit...

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A conventional Reformer is on the left

JPEG Image - 1.53 MB - 05/23/2019 at 04:37


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Wheel and Caster

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 3.69 MB - 05/23/2019 at 04:29



Spring Bar Bracket This holds the bar that the springs are attached to

JPEG Image - 1.07 MB - 05/23/2019 at 02:28



Ended up designing a purpose built metal bender for the casters

JPEG Image - 649.65 kB - 05/23/2019 at 02:28


JPEG Image - 1.21 MB - 05/23/2019 at 02:28


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  • 40 × Kee Klamp Pipe Fittings Speed fittings used to assemble the frame. carriage and, foot bar
  • 50 × Galvanized Pipe Roughly 50' of schedule 40 pipe used for the frame, carriage foot bar
  • 4 × Urethane Round Rod Stock For caster wheels
  • 1 × Judo Jiu Jitsu Mat Padding for carriage
  • 1 × Plywood For carriage base

  • Assembly From Packing Tube

    joseph05/31/2019 at 21:39 0 comments

    This was the first time of packing it and then reassembling!

    Putting it together took just 45min start to finish!

  • Caster Wheels

    joseph05/23/2019 at 04:14 0 comments

    Wheels have been tricky

    All of the designing for the wheels as well as the whole project has been done using an iPad app called Shapr 3D (it has been a life saver)

    At 4" dia. they are a bit hard to cut square 

    This is of course without any real machining tools!

    Built a new jig for cutting the groove

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