Build Your Own PVC EP Stand

by Ananda Ranasinghe, Los Angeles O Club

Punch stands are available from various O vendors. For example, Scarborough Orienteering offers a lightweight aluminum stand complete with SI unit holder at a low cost. However, if you wish to build your own, these instructions can offer you some guidance. If you have suggestions to improve the design, please contact the webmaster, who will add your comments to this page.

Note that these instructions refer to, and the photos show, the older-style control unit holders (for BS7 and earlier SI units), but the instructions can be adapted to the newer control holders (bracket for BS4-7 or plate holder for BS8) using a little ingenuity.

Parts List (for each stand)

1/2" diameter PVC pipe
     30" long
     5" long
     6.5" long

Pin-punch support (see note below)
Control unit holder support
Hardware store
1/2" PVC T-jointJoins upright, holder support and pin-punch support (see note below)Hardware store
SI control unit holderHolds control unitOrienteering supplier or SportIdent
Two 1/2" #6 flat head slotted wood screwsAttaches control unit holder to 6.5" PVC supportHardware store
#12 screw eyeAttaches control flag using lanyard hookHardware store
Lanyard hookHooks control flag to screw eyeCraft store
Pin punchUsed as backup in case SI unit failsOrienteering supplier
Control flag Orienteering supplier
One 1/2" #6 slotted pan head machine screwAttaches pin punch to shorter PVC pipe (see note below)Hardware store
Cable tieStabilizes pin punch on PVC pipeHardware store
10" long tent stakeUse tent stake with a narrow head that fits in 1/2" PVC pipeSport Chalet is one vendor of narrow stakes
2-3" piece of fuel lineKeeps head of tent stake 2" above ground surfaceAuto parts store
PVC glueAffix support pipes to uprightHardware store



The tent stake is inserted in the fuel line piece, which keeps the head of the tent stake 3-4" above the ground, then inserted into the ground.

The PVC upright slips over the head of the tent stake. A cross piece holding a pin punch, control unit holder, and a screw eye is placed on top of the upright.

The control flag attaches to the screw eye by a lanyard hook. The SI unit is clipped into the control unit holder when in use. The pin punch is a back-up device in case of failure of the SI unit.

NOTE: The original design with the pin punch on 5" PVC pipe can be subject to breaking in the case of too much force used to press the punch. Though many such stands have survived without breakage, you may want to attach the pin punch directly to the T-joint that sits on top of the upright, or design some other way to strengthen the pin punch support piece.


  • Cut the 1/2" PVC pipe to the correct lengths.  Note that four 30" uprights can be cut from a standard 10-foot length of pipe.
  • Attach a control unit holder to the 6.5" length of pipe using two wood screws.  Be sure to align the holder so that the end that releases the control unit is towards the outside end of the pipe for easier disassembly.  Start the screws by drilling the pipe with a slightly smaller drill bit than the screw.
  • Screw the hook-eye below the holder.
  • Attach a pin punch to the 5" length of pipe using one machine screw. Stabilize the pin punch at the hinge end using a plastic cable tie (some punch designs may require a second cable tie).
  • Using PVC glue, attach supports into T-joint so that the holder and pin punches are opposite the foot of the T.


All the parts
All the parts

Cross piece
Cross piece detail

Flag attachment detail
Flag attachment detail

Top view
Top view

Side view
Side view

Last update: March 27, 2007