We love this question! Basically, that would be like using a homemade camera; it might be cheaper on the front end, but the results will more than likely be sub-par (and that is an understatement). When weighing total cost, don’t forget to consider what your time is worth (consider that closely before answering). It takes far longer to construct a cyc out of typical construction materials than to assemble a made-to-order Pro Cyc system. Believe us – we’ve been there! (see About Pro Cyc to read more about our early days).
Seriously, in most cases, buying and installing Pro Cyc is less expensive than hiring a skilled carpenter to make one by hand. Frequently we are told this exact thing by those who have thought they could get it done cheaper by hiring out “skilled” carpenters. Moreover, the end result will be far superior by using Pro Cyc, since all Pro Cyc parts are made on precision molds; every part is shaped to exact measurements and matches every other part. What’s more, Pro Cyc studios can be used, moved, and re-installed as often as you move or change your mind, and the parts are virtually indestructible. Another bonus for you environmentally minded folks: it is recyclable.
If you think we are biased (of course we are), just ask around in your trade. It is rife with war stories about the ‘cyc from hell’ that was warped, fell apart, was stepped through, melted when it got damp or wet, or far exceeded the original cost estimate. Usually it is a combination of those. And that doesn’t even take into consideration maintenance, which is basically zero with a Pro Cyc system.
Another potential factor to consider is that the cost to build your studio can be either a capital expense (Pro Cyc), or a materials cost (standard construction). A capital expense can be depreciated over time on your taxes.