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My first "big" project

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  • My first "big" project

    I am pretty much a self taught neccessity-turned-hobby welder. Started out with an old Lincoln buzz box and a can of 6011/6013 rods doing repair/fabbing on old equipment growing up on a ranch. Done all kinds of stuff, but this is my first "big" project to make a refined finished product.

    I wanted a full size roof rack for our Hummer H2. We goo off roading and camping with it, and we are a family of 6 with a 100 lb Lab, so we have lots of gear.

    After looking at the industry standard, Gobi racks, I decided I did not want to spend $2500 on a roof rack, so I decided to try and make my own. I thought about many different options, and chose to go with square tubing instead of round. I think it suits the truck better, since the Hummer is a very square, angular design. It took about 6 months of working mornings before work and weekends.

    Oh yeah! I used a Hobart Handler 140 with gas.

    Warning! Lots of pictures!

    I built a quick jig for assembling the corners. It worked well, as the frame came out dead on square. Here is the corner jig in action:

    Here is the last corner going together:

    Last edited by Scarsman; 10-19-2011, 08:58 PM.

  • #2
    I used 3/4" tubing to go all around the cargo area. This will add more strength to the frame, and also makes a shelf for the grating to sit on. Then I put in the cross pieces and added bracing in between them. Here it is with the 3/4" in around the cargo area and the cross bars:

    Here it is with the other bracing added:

    Last edited by Scarsman; 10-19-2011, 09:03 PM.


    • #3
      I finished the grating, ( had to weld the bottom side of the seam ) built the side rail frame, put on the tab for mounting lights on the front, and welded the strapping around the edge of the cargo area to cover the edge of the grating.

      Here are a couple shots of the strapping around the edge to show how it went together:


      • #4
        Here it is with the rail frame built and mocked in place. I mocked it up with a few blocks of wood to decide on the height. It will be 6" overall height. If you look close you will see the light mounting tab at the front of the moon roof opening.

        Now I just need to cut all the uprights for the rail and assemble it. I am going to change the front of the rail, but not till after it is mounted. I also need to make the mount brackets. I have a special plan for those, but that's going to be a suprise.
        I got the rail on it, and it is almost completely welded. I have a few more joints to weld up and then another round of grinding.

        The front of the rail is going to change. I'm going to cut it and angle it it up for more space for lights. I'm also going to add two bars around the moon roof to match the lower part. Then I'll start working on some boxes for the front corners.


        • #5
          I mocked it up on the roof to figure out positioning and height for some brackets. I took some pictures of it sitting on the roof. I had it mocked up with some wood blocks. You'll just have to pretend it has a nice textured black powder coat finish.


          • #6
            I decided to go with storage boxes in the front corners, but thought for a long time on how or what to make them with. I wanted them water tight. Then I looked around in my shop and came up with great idea. I had an old 20MM ammo can. They have rubber seals in the lid and are water tight. It was the perfect width and length, but too tall. I went and picked up two new ones in good shape. I cut the stiffeners off the side and cut the bottoms off. Then I cut about 5" off the sides, and welded the bottoms back on. I personaly think this was a really cool idea. Being military ammo cans, they kind of pay homage to the Hummer ancestry. I think they suit it well.
            I also made and installed tie-down points around the edge of the cargo area. They are made from 5/16" round stock, but in keeping with the design theme, I made them square.
            The pre-mod can:

            Stiffener removed:

            Bottom cut off:


            • #7
              Welded back together:

              Modded can next to the old cruddy one that inspired the idea:


              • #8
                Here is how they will sit. This one is just suspended with wire at the moment for looks:


                • #9
                  After much thinking and rethinking, I came up with what I think is a pretty good way to secure the boxes and yet easily remove them if needed. I welded an angle bracket on each end of the box, drilled two holes in each one, and made little alignment pins from 1/4" round stock and welded them into the holes.
                  It looks kind of crappy right now with the paint ground off the box and all, but you'll have to look past all that. It will all be sand blasted and powder coated and pretty when it's done!

                  I drilled two 1/2" holes in the cross bars that the angles sit on that line up with the alignment pins. I cut a length of 1/2" OD 3/8" ID tubing and welded them into the holes. Now the square tubing is still sealed up. Plus, with the holes going all the way through, they will never get plugged up with ice, dirt, etc.

                  I got some bronze bushings that were 3/8" OD and 1/4" ID, and put them in the holes in the cross bars:

                  The box now sits with the pins inside the bushings:


                  • #10
                    After much searching, I was able to find a place to order some rotary draw latches. I mounted them to the sides of the box:

                    I made keepers for the latches and welded them to the frame:

                    And now the box sets down on the frame into the alignment holes. Then you just give the latches a half turn and it is cinched down tight. The box feels like it is welded on it is so solid when it's latched down. But it can be removed in about 5-10 seconds.


                    • #11

                      Now I just need to do the other box, modify the top rail at the front for the lights I decided on, and make the brackets to mount it on the truck. Here it is on the roof on wood blocks so I could get the measurments for the brackets:


                      • #12


                        • #13


                          • #14
                            And now, the final product. Here it is unloaded from the trailer. If you remember, I mentioned a suprise on the mounting brackets. Now you can see what it was:

                            Lights mounted:

                            Setting it in place with my professional crew:


                            • #15
                              And done!


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