This is the custom steel front bumper that I made for my truck, to replace the stock bumper, which is made mostly of plastic.  Instead of merely giving specific directions for my 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser, I will outline some useful and somewhat more generalized guidelines for those interested in making a custom front bumper for any make and model of 4x4 truck, for the purpose of four-wheeling and off-road recreation. 

After a last-minute decision to take a week-long trip to Moab, Utah, for some epic four-wheeling with a group of friends, I realized that the stock bumper of my Toyota FJ Cruiser just wasn’t going to cut it. But I wasn't up for spending $1000++ on an existing after-market bumper. As a product designer and former metal fabricator, I figured I could design and build a highly functional one with all of the features that I desired, while infusing the design with my own personal aesthetic.  I collaborated with a friend who also drives an FJC and has plenty of metal fabrication experience -- and a water jet cutting machine.

This project was a significant undertaking on a very short schedule -- 2 weeks from beginning to end, including design time.  The difficulty of your project will depend upon your specific bumper design, skills, and fabrication processes.  You can tailor your design to your skill level, access to tools and fabrication processes, functional needs, aesthetics and budget.

Why on earth would I need a bumper THIS beefy on the front of my truck?  Check out the video to see the kind of extreme challenges I had in mind when I designed it.  A friend posted a video on YouTube of some of my rock-crawling stunts on a recent trail run which reveal just how much abuse this solidly built bumper can withstand.

Step 1: Tools, materials, and safety equipment

The tools needed for this project will vary based on your specific design, as well as the make and model of your truck. 

MIG welder
TIG welder
cold cutting metal saw or chop saw
water jet cutting machine
tube bender (external vendor)
tube roller
1.75" diameter hole saw
drill press, drill bits and countersink bit
angle grinder with grinding disc, sanding discs and scotch brite pads
tape measure
dial calipers
combination square
protractor or angle measure
thread gauge (for measuring existing tapped holes in frame)
long straight edge
socket wrench set
box wrenches
vise grips
various C-clamps
long furniture clamp
dead blow hammer
Philips screwdriver (for removing existing bumper trim)
3D modeling software
spray paint
a couple of strong friends for the installation

plasma cutter
band saw
press brake
milling machine
powder coating

3/4" steel plate [(2x) shackle mounts] -- 5" x 8"
3/8" steel plate [(2x) plate uprights, (2x) frame horn mount plates] – 16" x 30", and 8" x 12"
3/16" steel plate [(2x) cheek plates, bash plate mount tabs] – 16” x 24”
1/4" steel plate (winch mount plate and stiffeners) – 36” x 10”
1/8" steel plate [deck plate, bash plate, (4x) winch plate gussets] – 33” x 10”, 33” x 30”, 20” x 10”
1.75" OD steel tube, 0.120" wall – 15’ approx.
1.5" OD steel tube, 0.120" wall – 15’ approx.
1.25" OD steel tube, 0.120" wall – 32.5" [reinforcing cross-member]
high strength bolts and nuts

Safety glasses
Earplugs or other hearing protection
Welding helmet
Welding gloves
Long sleeves or welding jacket
<p>I have advice, an instructable is when you explain how you built it, how you designed it.. how you welded it together,, not why you needed it,,, it cool and all, but, I realy wish people would make instructables,,, explaining how to do something,,, thats what this site is all about........</p>
Looking for the exact project deets, for the bumper pictured here. Any advice?
Wow, well done. Please share dfx. files
I would like the measurements for an off road front bumper for my 1971 ford f250 highboy. One that can fit a winch . my email is justinhorn89@gmail.com would like pics of the bumper with the measurements. Thank you much
very nice, please share your dfx. files
Me gusta, chica. I have wanted to do the same to my truck for a while now, I think I'll start in the morning. Can't wait to see the rear.
I might be designing a front bumper for a Ford F350 this summer. Will post an addendum to this 'ible if I do.
<p>Did you design that F350 Bumper? If so, what year?</p>
<p>Great work! I want something similar for my Frontera, but in my country it is not legal to use &quot;homemade&quot; parts on car, everything have to have certificate. What a shame. If You know, what are You doing, it can be better and more safe than aftermarket parts with certification.. Thanks for sharing!</p>
This is great! Would you share the dxf files? I would live to make one for my fj!
Great design. Very well designed and executed! Looks better then the ones I've seen on the market.
Bumper, that is, the rear bumper. <br>
Ha! - nice one.
Wow, excellent design and execution! Kind of makes me want to go buy a off road vehicle just so I can build a bumper. Thanks for posting.
Thanks! Next on the list is a rear bumper. I kinda messed up the stock rear bumper in Moab... oops!
Thanks, blkhawk! I submitted it for the Metal Challenge contest--or rather, attempted to--but after encountering an issue with the website entry submission process, it didn't post my entry until 12:00am last night--about 10 seconds after the cutoff. I'm petitioning to have it allowed into the contest! :)
This is a cool project!

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Bio: I've been making things since I was a little kid, starting with furniture for my stuffed animals. I love power tools and wrenches and ... More »
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