Introduction: Build an Awesome Custom Ladder for Your Truck/mobile Work Station
EXCITING! We're putting this Instructable in the Mobile Work Spaces contest, if you like it please vote in the upper right hand corner! Holy cow, those prizes are awesome!!! :)
OK, so, our shop often rents trucks for several months at a time and we turn them into mobile work stations. We will occasionally will outfit them with custom fittings that are relevant to the job. For the next few months we'll be living out of a three ton 26' Penske and we've built a workshop and a heated 8'x8' lunch room (the meat locker) inside. We'll be traveling and working out of the truck and one thing that was noticeably absent was a staircase. The back of the truck is almost five feet above the ground and we didn't want to try finagling the ramp out every time we set up shop in some cramped parking lot. So, we built a ladder/staircase. This is how we did it. (NOTE: a couple of the peeps in the shop are outstanding photographers - Nate and Michelle - so there may be a gratuitous amount of awesome photos of giant sprays of sparks and stuff). Finally; I am not a professional welder; just picking things up from colleagues as we go along. If you spot us doing something totally bass ackwards please let me know in the comments section - appreciated!!!
Please attempt this build at your own risk. It is advised to have someone familiar with MIG welding and with cutting metal around to help. And please wear all the proper safety equipment; any step in this process could injure you insanely for the rest of your life, so always pay attention to all safety procedures and try to familiarize yourself with all equipment before using it.
TOOLS & MATERIALS:
Some 1"x2" rectangular bar stock
a bunch of angle iron
a MIG welder
a metal chop saw
a metal scribe
safety gloves, glasses, ears
a lot of expanded metal mesh
Step 1: Make an Angle Iron Leveling Jig
We are using a metal chop saw to try to get our 45 degree angles and the clamp and fence on the saw don't take kindly to the odd geometry of angle iron. For this reason we're cutting up some 2"x4" stock to fill out the negative space. This helps us lock the metal into the saw and gives us more repeatable cuts.
Step 2: Cut Out the Mesh, Make the Frames, Weld'em Together
Now that we have all the frame pieces cut, Tina and Nate attack the expanded mesh and cut out rectangles. The next step is to weld the frames together and insert the mesh rectangles. These get welded to the angle iron. The final step is to grind off all the spatter and bulgy welds.
Step 3: Weld the Stairs to the Rectangular Stock
We used our hydraulic lift to replicate the height of the truck and stacked the rectangular stock up against it. Tina measured the stair angle and scribed it into the stock, she and Nate and I took turns welding the stairs on.
Step 4: Hook Your Ladder in and Try It Out!
And that's it. We welded some ramp hooks on the top and primed and painted the ladder black. Now it ratchet straps to the wall to travel and comes out when we're using it. Done!