Introduction: Rack for Storing and Organizing Long Pieces of Material
This short instuctable shows a rack I made for storing and organizing long pieces of material like pipes, tubing, angle iron, dowels, and rods. This type of rack is a very compact and effective way for storing this type of material. It sure beats just leaning them all in a corner.
I can’t claim that this is entirely my own idea. I got the inspiration from a display in a hardware store that was constructed this way. It was used to hold the long, thin bracket pieces used with adjustable shelving. I took the basic idea, but added wheels to make it portable.
As you can see from the pictures, it is basically a plywood box containing individual square tubes that function as compartments to keep your material in. I made three tiers to the rack, one with 24 inch long tubes, one with 18 inch long tubes, and one with 12 inch long tubes. There are a total of 10 tubes of each height.
I also added two wheels in the back, along with a handle on the front, to allow the rack to be moved around. This comes in very handy when you need to relocate the rack for cleaning, etc.
Step 1: Construction Details
The two wheels are 6 inch diameter lawn mower wheels. The wheels are attached to short axels on the side of each box The axels are ½” diameter bolts. Refer to the diagram below for the details fo the axel and wheel arrangement.
The box needs to be fairly sturdy, as there can be a fair amount of weight put on the sides once you fill the compartments with material. I used ¾” plywood for the sides of the box, and ½” plywood for the bottom.
The bottom of the box needs to sit up off the ground a little bit to give clearance, so that it doesn’t scrape along the floor when you move it. I chose to have it sit ¾” off the ground, and so the holes for the axels are drilled 2 ¼” above the bottom edge of the box. I used large washers where the bolt and nut tighten down on the sides of the box, to distribute the pressure. The wheels are then placed on the axels, and then locknuts with nylon insets are threaded on, to keep the wheels from ever working the nut loose. Refer to the diagram for the axel assembly.
The compartment tubes that are along the sides where the axels are will need to have a portion cut out at the bottom, to allow clearance for the head of the bolt and the washer.
The bottom of the box has a strip of ¾” plywood attached to it on the front edge (opposite the wheels) to allow the box to sit level once the wheels are attached.
The box is painted with a few coats of oil base paint.
I also added a handle on the front side of the box, to make lifting easier.
The square tubes used for the compartments that hold the material are made from down spout tubes. These are usually sold in 10 foot lengths at hardware or home improvement stores. The rack shown in the pictures required five 10 foot lengths of down spout (10 compartments each, of lengths 24 inches, 18 inches, and 12 inches). This is the most expensive part of the project. These tubes were $3 or $4 when I purchased them a few years back.
The compartment tubes just fit into the box via friction, without any other means of attachment. So, be careful when constructing the box to ensure that the tubes will have a snug fit, but not so tight that undue force is needed to get them into the box. Construct the box such that you have a little extra space in each dimension, perhaps about 1/8 inch, and use thin cardboard or other material to shim if the fit is not tight enough once all tubes are in the box.
Step 2: Conclusion
Well, that’s about all there is too it. One tip I would add is to be careful when moving the unit, especially if you have loaded it up with heavier material. If you lift it up too high with the handle when trying to move it, the whole thing can tip over backwards, depending on how the weight of the stock is distributed. The rack is not designed to contain hundreds of pounds of material, so keep that in mind.