Introduction: Quick and Easy Rafter Mounted Bicycle Wheel Storage

My shop has been out of control for a while, bike projects everywhere I had to step over bits and pieces here and there, I found myself having to scrounge and repurchase parts I knew I had but couldn't find in the clutter. I finally made the decision to stop drop and roll to put out the flames. First step on the journey was the big stuff. My spare frames and projects that weren't making traction had to be put somewhere that they would be out of the way but in sight so as to be a reminder of what needs done. A trip to the hardware store took care of that with some Crawford Rafter hooks. (model RH26) these are nothing more than some stout wire bent in the shape of a squared S with a plastic coating on one side. Very handy and can support a stripped mountain bike frame with no problem. Less than $3.00 a pair.
I bought a pair and went home and made another dozen using some 3/16" rod I had lying around and covered one end with heat shrink tubing. Take a trip to the hardware store and check them out.
Frames out of the way I moved on to the next big items, wheels, I got lots of them. mountain bike wheels, wheel chair wheels, road wheels and BMX wheels. I even have some 16 inch wheels that are put a side for a trailer I plan on building but all of them are in the way. How to get them out of the way but accessible?
Another trip to the hardware store and a look through the storage isle, hmmm what about some curtain rods? nah not robust enough. And then it came to me.

Step 1: A Stout Rafter Rack for My Bike Wheels

Materials for the rack

2, 1/2" right angle iron flats
1, 4 foot length of 1/2 conduit
Some 1" inch drywall screws (2 for the bracket, the rest as a sacrifice to the mighty floor god)
A mess of wire coat hangers (preferably stout, and hangers your mother / wife / significant other won't miss}

Tools needed:
A bench vise or a big hammer
A hacksaw
Screw gun or Screwdriver
Heavy duty wire cutters (I like using lineman's pliers for this task)

Step 2: Cut and Crush No Welding Required

Originally my plan was to slide one end of the right angle bracket into the conduit, stick the end in my bench vise and crush the conduit on the bracket and tack weld the angle to the conduit. However after compressing the conduit around the angle it didn't seem necessary and to be honest probably safer since conduit is galvanized and welding galvanized metal creates some toxic and very nasty fumes I decided I'd give it a try and if it starts raining wheels in my shop I'd weld the brackets in place. So as of this very second in time all is good you don't have to mess with welding brackets unless you just want to make some nasty stuff and then if you do, please make sure you've got plenty of ventilation.
I selected 4 feet as the length of the 1/2 inch conduit after many load calculations. (no not really) It was a seat of the pants decision that I didn't want to make it too long and have it sag and eventually have the angle brackets slip out of the conduit while making it long enough to get as many of those pesty wheels out of the way.
So off to the next step and actually make something happen

Step 3: Just Do It.

1) Cut conduit to length
2) Slip angle bracket into conduit. If you got the right stuff you'll have to compress the conduit slightly before the brackets will slip in.
3) Get the first side inserted into the conduit all the way in and place end in bench vise.
4) Compress about 1 to 2 inches of conduit until bracket is well secured in conduit.
5) Paying close attention to the first end you did, slip the other end into the vise so the second bracket is aligned with the first, (Eyeballing it within 10 degees should be good enough, more than that and you'll put stess on the rafter and the holder, so just take your time and everything will be alright)
For best results I suggest using a bench vise, You do have one right? If you don't you should get one they are very handy to have a round. If your not convinced you need a vise, this task can be done with the tried and true hammer. Place the conduit with the angle bracket in place and pound it until the tube starts to compress around the bracket rotate the conduit 180 degrees and pound some more, keep going back and forth tapping the conduit until the bracket is snuggly in place, then flip the tube around insert the second bracket, align and repeat until both ends are aligned and tight.

Step 4: Up the Ladder We Go

Ok take all your stuff (rack, screws and screwgun / screwdriver) locate a convenient place among the rafters and screw it all in place. This is where you will drop several dry walls screws to the ground where they will never be located again, or if you pissed off the floor gods bad enough you find while in your bare feet or with the tire of your bike when you're already late to go somewhere.
Screw the first end in place and you should be able to approximate the rack parallel to the floor, perfection isn't necessary, unless you are a perfectionist and then it is and you get to use a level to put it up, personally I don't want to juggle any more than I need when climbing a ladder, but maybe that's just me.
Climb down the ladder, step back and go wow, what a lovely towel rack bolted to the ceiling, quick run in the house and collect everyone that's home and show them at best you should be able to expect some one asking why did you put a home made towel rack on the ceiling, tell them thank you and get them out of your shop quickly.

Step 5: ONE MORE STep to Go, Ok I'll Stretch It Out to Two More Steps

Ok you got your rack up and you got some attention from friends and family, maybe even tweeted your success, now its time to bend some wire hooks so you can actually hang some wheels
I started out measuring a 6 inch piece of coat hanger wire and then bent one end around a scrap of 1/2 conduit mounted in my vise into the shape of a hook.
The other end I wrapped around a 1 1/2" piece of tubing in a larger hook, at a right angle to the small hook, the rest of them I just took a piece of coat hanger wire and fashioned it by hand, maybe I'm just that good, or maybe my standards for a hook that's 10 feet above me I'll never see, aren't all that high

Step 6: And in the End

OK not a Beatles song, but beautiful and functional in its own right, if you spent more than $5.00 bucks making this, your junk box isn't big enough yet. Get out there and scrounge my friends and enjoy your newly created storage.

Oh one more thought..... If you liked this Instructable and you know a job (preferably in the Portland Oregon area) that needs a really good electronic / mechanically experienced tech. Please share this with them. I've recently been laid off from Tektronix and I would greatly like to get back into the workforce quickly.

Thanks for looking