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Old 03-26-2007, 09:42 PM   #1
Twilightzero
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DIY Roof Rack - With Full Plans!

Ok, so I got to thinking. I want a roof rack. I don't want to pay whatever outrageous price someone charges me for injection-molded plastic and some cheap aluminum. I want something that'll LAST and that'll be able to hold up more than the roof. Soooooo...I gots me all these tools, why don't I MAKE one?

And there was the genesis of an entire weekend of time...


Difficulty: Cakewalk..........Medium......*..Expert
(rated expert for major tool usage/owning)

Things you will need:
Cut-off saw or Sawzall or hacksaw and some HUGE arms
Drill press
Rat tail file (for cleaning drilled holes)
Flat file
3/8" x 1" bolts, washers, lock washers, nuts
1/4" x 2" hex cap bolts, washers, lock washers, nuts
12 stainless steel (reccommended) 6mm x 16mm hex cap bolts and lock washers
One 4' piece of 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" angle iron
2 cross bars of your choosing (I used 5' slotted square steel tube sawed to 54")
Good drill bits (cobalt reccommended)
Paint of your choice
Other crap to attach to the rack

1. Download and print out 2 copies of this file:
RoofRackBracketLayout x 4 - modified.pdf

2. Cut out the 4 strips, leaving them connected the long way, fold on the dotted line, and tape them to the inside of the angle iron:
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3. Cut the angle iron into pieces the size of the double brackets:

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4. Drill through the paper and bracket at the spots marked. The larger holes are 3/8" and the smaller holes are 9/32". NOTE: You only make 2 sets with all of the smaller holes, these are for attaching to the roof. For the other 2 sets, only drill the middle small hole:

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5. Cut the brackets apart now into 2 equal-sized pieces. They should be 4 3/4" each.

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6. File out the holes to remove any excess metal using the rat tail file and file all edges with the flat file.

7. Paint the brackets with rust-resistant paint. I used black Plasti-Dip. Be sure to clean them with alcohol or mineral spirits first since the steel will be oiled prior to shipping.

8. Remove the small covers on the roof edging to expose 3 bolt holes each.

9. Attach one lower bracket to each mount point using the 6mm bolts and a lock washer, then attach the upper bracket to the lower one to form a Z shape with 2 3/8" x 1 bolts. It should look like this: (sorry no intermediate pics, I kinda got carried away...)

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10. Get your cross bars and attach them to the brackets. Since I used slotted square tube steel, I used 1/4" bolts to bolt through. If you want to use round pipe instead, use a U bolt and drill appropriate holes.

11. Get a beer, you're done!

**Pic Coming Soon!**

I chose the slotted tubing so that I can attach a lot of things to it by simple bolting. One thing I wanted on it was rope cleats for tiedown:

**Pic Coming Soon!**




Feel free to use and improve on the plans! I have some leftover angle iron and if someone wants a set of brackets to mount whatever but lacks the tools, I could make a set for probably $30 or so (painting extra, I hate painting...). Note these brackets can be used to mount just about anything you want, and can be customized for whatever bolt-on mounting you may need.

If anyone wants a copy of the master CAD file, just PM me for the file and a link to the software I made it in.

This is my first time attempting any fabrication with metal/steel so I'd really appreciate any comments or suggestions people could have! Please be kind though, I know my metal fab skillz are lacking...

Thanks to PaulJ for inspiration and "general look", I admit I kinda ripped him off. Please don't hurt me!



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Last edited by Twilightzero; 01-18-2008 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:06 PM   #2
Critical_level2
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I like the use of the slotted tubing, makes it even more versatile. Nice write up and looks good.
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:06 PM   #3
rogwild
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Twilightzero;
A simple and very versatile design that can be adapted to many loads. :wink: People could even 'spiff' it up a bit; end caps, maybe even paint to match. :) I bet many of the 'standard' accessories for bikes, skis, luggage, etc would work with it. Thanks for the info.
p.s. (don't worry about any 'negative' or 'ghetto' comments, there's always some who get their 'kicks' that way).
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Old 03-26-2007, 11:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twilightzero
looks vaguely familiar :)

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Old 03-27-2007, 12:12 AM   #5
Twilightzero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulj
looks vaguely familiar :)
Sorry :( You've been credited above, couldn't remember for the life of me whose plan I was originally looking at and I had to get it posted and get going to a meeting. Thanks for the inspiration! :D


Quote:
Originally Posted by rogwild
A simple and very versatile design that can be adapted to many loads. People could even 'spiff' it up a bit; end caps, maybe even paint to match.
I'm going to paint the crossbar eventually but I didn't want rubberized Plasti-Dip on it. I have a compound that will bond with rusty metal and make a black oxide coating that I can then paint black over again. The end product will be much tougher and more resistant than just painting it now, but the metal has to be actually rusty for the stuff to work, so I'm letting it "age and patina" a bit :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramblerdan
Arrr, manly! Nice low-cost solution. Someone willing to spend more $ for less weight should be able to use the same plans with aluminum.
I looked seriously at doing it in aluminum, but when I grabbed a piece of aluminum angle iron and could bend and twist it with my bare hands, I decided I wanted something a LOT tougher for the brackets. Especially if I haul plywood or LVL beams up there, it would kill the poor aluminum!

And why yes, it IS manly, thank you very much :D



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Last edited by Twilightzero; 03-27-2007 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 03-27-2007, 08:16 AM   #6
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Very ghetto fabulous!!! But I like it!

Maybe take it too a shop for some quick powder coating....should make it last much longer I would think.

I usefulness is an A+...the tie down cleats are genious
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Old 03-27-2007, 08:23 AM   #7
Twilightzero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwclancers
Very ghetto fabulous!!! But I like it!

Maybe take it too a shop for some quick powder coating....should make it last much longer I would think.

I usefulness is an A+...the tie down cleats are genious
I should get it gold plated for the blingness 8-) 8-) 8-)

Seriously though that's a great idea, hadn't thought of powder coating it at all. Where does one get that done...?



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Old 03-27-2007, 09:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twilightzero
I looked seriously at doing it in aluminum, but when I grabbed a piece of aluminum angle iron and could bend and twist it with my bare hands, I decided I wanted something a LOT tougher for the brackets. Especially if I haul plywood or LVL beams up there, it would kill the poor aluminum!
You must have been testing 1/8" aluminum angle. 1/4" is plenty strong.
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Last edited by ramblerdan; 04-04-2007 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:23 AM   #9
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I'm a little slow on my reply so now I'll just have to 'second' others suggestions: end caps and powder coating would really help. Looks good though.
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramblerdan
You must have been testing 1/8" angle. 1/4" is plenty strong, as PaulJ's bracket demonstrates.
Yup I was, don't have a convenient place here to get 1/4" aluminum :( A friend of mine suggested 6063 1/4" aluminum, almost as strong as steel, but the piece I need would cost me roughly $30 and I don't feel like paying more for this rack - I'm a cheapass!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.b
I'm a little slow on my reply so now I'll just have to 'second' others suggestions: end caps and powder coating would really help. Looks good though.
It's been suggested to me to fill the inside of the tube with that spray expanding foam stuff - will cut the whistling to zero, no end caps needed, and then I can just paint the outside easily with black rust-proof paint. Then if I want to bold something on, just push the foam out and Voila, another hole :D

I'd love to powder coat it but I'm trying to keep my cost down...



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