Picture of No Weld Truck Roof Rack
I've always wanted a rack for my pickup buy didn't want to pay the high price and thought I could build my own out of electrical conduit. I've used this material before for lots of things and wanted to give it a shot. I don't own a welder so that was out of the question. I settled on a straight forward design with 2 horizontal rails, uprights and diagonals and a wood slat floor. I also wanted to keep the cost around $100. in materials. It took me several weeks of a few evenings in the shop to fabricate it. Let me know what you think.

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Step 1: Step 1 of 6 - Concept and Finished Rack

Picture of Step 1 of 6 - Concept and Finished Rack
I wanted a rack that would bolt to my existing roof rack. It's a Dodge accessory and just 2 horizontal bars that run in a track bolted to the roof so it's a good strong base to start with. If you don't have one, get one as your base. THIS RACK IS NOT MEANT FOR SUCTION CUPS.

Step 2: Step 2 of 6 - Making the Verticals

Picture of Step 2 of 6 - Making the Verticals
This step describes the fabrication process for all of the tubing connections involving cutting, bending and grinding. I used a 4" cutoff wheel on my hand held grinder because it was faster and easier than a hack saw. In terms of the vise, you'll need the biggest one you can get because smaller ones won't hold up, and use a length of pipe for leverage.

Step 3: Step 3 of 6 - Making the Horizontals

Picture of Step 3 of 6 - Making the Horizontals
On to the horizontal frame. When formulating the design, I wanted a clean corner that just wasn't some bent tubing and I found these cool pull through connectors that provided function and clean design.

Step 4: Step 4 of 6 - Joining the Frames with Verticals

Picture of Step 4 of 6 - Joining the Frames with Verticals
Here we see the horizontal frames joined using the vertical pieces. Again, 3 pop rivets to each connection. I found a deal at Harbor Freight on a box of 500 rivets for $3.

Step 5: Step 5 of 6 - Adding the Wood Floor

Picture of Step 5 of 6 - Adding the Wood Floor
The floor is made from redwood fence boards that I ripped in 2 pieces and planed down to 5/8" thick to minimize the weight. Each is attached with 4 1/4" bolts and special nuts that don't come loose. I found the hardware at the local home center.

AndreyP21 month ago

That's an ultimate roof rack :). What is the weight of that one? I'm looking for an idea of a good but lightweight rack and probably yours is going to be too heavy for my suzuki xl7 :)

You did a nice clean build. That took time with the recessed bolt heads and all. Your corners were ingenious. Very nice work.
thetoolman (author)  ScootersDenver3 months ago
Thanks I spent a ton of time on it. but you know these projects are labors of love.
ogmosic1 year ago
I'm finally getting around to doing this project and am wondering how the rack has weathered the last few years? Can you post a current pic?
thetoolman (author)  ogmosic1 year ago
It's been a while but the paint on the metal has faded quite a bit. Not much I can due but repaint.
thetoolman (author)  ogmosic1 year ago
cant send any photos just yet but the rack seems fine. The paint is peeling as it would on top of galvanized pipe.
dsmith1781 year ago
ok so I took the auto correct off lets try again I used 1/2 emt it cost $70 I used curved corners and nuts and bolts it took me and my son one day to build to curve the ends we used a hammer and the floor took awhile but we did it again thanks for the idea
thetoolman (author)  dsmith1781 year ago
Glad to hear you had a successful finish.
dsmith1781 year ago
By the way it only cost me 75 to build it
dsmith1781 year ago
so I used your idea and made one from emt I used 1/2 inch and curved corners but I did bend them to hit over the emt no choice hammer and the floor took awhile but me and my son knocked it out in one day very fun project thank you for the idea we used it to go camping and it held ask the weight I put up there awesome thanks again
Nice Rack! lol, all kidding aside my brother and I came across this conduit about a year ago and love it. I bought a conduit bender and the possibilities are endless. I do have a welder, it really opens up the amount of projects you can make. A real bonus is the fact the conduit is galvynized so it is very rust-resistant.

Just make sure you don't go welding any galvanized pipe - that's a sure way to poison yourself.

thetoolman (author)  ReverendSapp5 years ago
Yeah, I love conduit, I don't have a bender so this is the way for me. Thanks.
chuckr445 years ago
Neat idea. But the cheapest roof rack I found was $120 new 5 years ago. And they're cheaper if they are used. A $20 difference doesn't seem to be worth 10-15 hours of work.

nice ????

thetoolman (author)  chuckr445 years ago
It's not just about the cost but, for me, it's the challange of seeing if I can pull it off.
I'm thinking about making a ladder rack version of this. I'll have to post it here when I do.
jschultz103 years ago
I don't have an idea if this truck roof rack is better than my roof racks ( from roof racks Direct ). It is not really expensive compare to the quality of other roof racks.
MrChuck4 years ago
This is a really nice no nonsense roof rack, with excellent instruction. I have been looking for a no weld method I can use on my Jeep and will definately give this a go. Do you have a pic of the rack painted you could post? I give this finished project a 10! Great job and thanks for sharing.
nmh0105 MrChuck3 years ago
indeed, it is a really nice roof rack and great instructions. Mr Chuck as you used it already just wonder if it create any wind whistle at high speed. If not i will definitely build one for my VW BayWindows. Besides, i will consider your set-up to build a roof-top tent for camping. it will be really nice on my restoration project. I will share it with both of you soon as i completed it.
thetoolman (author)  MrChuck4 years ago
Thanks MrChuck, Just make sure that you use plenty of rivets. Sorry, no pics of it painted black but it really helps.

Thanks again, Graphicsman/Toolman
nmh01054 years ago
excellent work!!! but may i ask if it create load wind whistle and additional vibration when you are on road?
MrClin4 years ago
I'm going to make one of these very soon. Thanks graphicsman!
ogmosic5 years ago
I wonder which is better/easier/stronger? The welded pipe bent or the smashed riveted? Either way, yours look really great!
AronC08165 years ago
I have been looking for a good no weld roof rack build and I just found the best one so far! I am building a roof rack for my Datsun 1200 coupe and I think I will use this method.
inkblotz5 years ago
Very nice solid looking rack. 
Great job.
thetoolman (author)  inkblotz5 years ago
Thanks. Could you rate it?
carlos66ba5 years ago
Very well done, nice looking and seems better than most commercial racks.
thetoolman (author)  carlos66ba5 years ago
I wasn't going for taht but it took some of the design ques. Thanks
CaseyCase5 years ago
 Looks quite professional!
thetoolman (author)  CaseyCase5 years ago
SWV17875 years ago
I really like it...
thetoolman (author)  SWV17875 years ago
l8nite5 years ago
definately looks sturdy. Well thought out project and "ible" . I would think a couple of eyebolts would make tie downs easier but with all the tie off points they're probably not needed. Does it make any whistling noises when your on the hiway?
thetoolman (author)  l8nite5 years ago
I don't know, I'll get back to you when I use it more often. Thanks.