Repairing a Broken Instant Canopy

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Introduction: Repairing a Broken Instant Canopy

About: Jack-of-all trades, master of some. I would probably be much more modest if it wasn't for these delusions of granduer that I suffer from.

I was in goodwill and found a Coleman 13'x13' instant canopy for only a few dollars because one of the support tubes was broken in half.  The support tube ran diagonally from one of the corner legs to the middle of the side of the tent.  The tube broke right at the point where the screw passed through to attach it to a second tube so that the tent folds up scissor style to close .

looking at the tent, it seemed like it could be easily repaired.  I felt up to the challenge so I got the tent and headed home.

I did call the manufacturer to see if replacement parts were available, but all they had to offer was a replacement canopy.  They don't have any of the support structure available.

with that avenue closed I was off to the hardware store to get some parts to play Mr. Fixit.


Step 1: Things That Seemed Like a Good Idea But Weren't

I went to the local "big box" store to get some 3/4" oval tube steel to replace the broken support.  As it turns out they don't stock oval tube steel. 
So i grabbed some 1/2" round conduit tubing.  I figured it could flatten it into the oval shape that I needed. 

Lacking a vise to use to compress the tubing I tried to improvise one using a few boards and a series of clamps. 

yeah .. about that ... not so much. 

1) conduit tubing is a lot sturdier than it looks.
2) A vise has certain mechanical advantages that a few clamps and some boards fail miserably at duplicating. 

On to plan 2 .. the 3 lb sledge hammer.

That worked alot better at whacking the tube out of round and towards the oval shape I wanted.  The problem was that the tube was not only flattening out, but it was starting to curl up.  Flipping it over and hammering the other side of the tube straightened out the curl.  As you can see from the last picture The tube was slowly starting to take shape, but it was getting a bit lumpy from all the hammer marks. 

Step 2: Back to the Drawing Board

Fabricating a new support tube without the proper tools was proving harder than I thought. 

So I stopped what I was doing an took a step back.  Looked at it from a different angle.  Realized I was doing things the hard way, and started over. 

Rather than trying to make a whole new part, I decided it would be easier to patch up the existing support tube.  The point where the break occurred would actually stay together when the canopy is set up, but putting it up and taking it down would cause the both broken halves of the tube to flop around.  All that was needed was something with enough material to securely hold both halves in place while moving, and strong enough to hold the original screw in place.

I got a piece of 3/4" flat stock steel and cut it to length. 
Grabbed the trusty angle grinder and shaved a bit off each side so it would fit snugly inside the oval tubing.
Slapped on a few coats of rust curb spay paint.
Grabbed ye olde sharpie & tape measure combo to mark out where to drill the holes I would need.
Fitted the flat steel and tube together and pop riveted it all together.

TA-DA


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    11 Comments

    0
    jim36
    jim36

    9 months ago

    I’ve run into the same problem, and have a slightly better solution. First, you could replace the whole strut with a flat bar. It wouldn’t look the same, but would be ok if you painted it white.

    Second, drilling any more holes in the flimsy strut is just making it weaker, so I think the pop rivet/screws are not ideal.

    I used a price of flat bar just the right size to fit snugly within the tube, about 4-6 inches long; 3 inches are probably adequate, but felt too short. I drilled a hole in the middle, where the adjoining screw for the neighboring strut would be.

    Then you can use either epoxy or polyurethane glue to hold the bar inside the strut. In theory, if the bar was the perfect size, it would fit tightly, and you wouldn’t need any glue. You could use any number of adhesives, like a Liquid Nails caulk, the bond doesn’t need to be that strong, and you have a lot of surface area to work with. Maybe you could just use foaming insulation in a can, but that might not be strong enough.

    I used the foaming poly glue. Usually it’s a woodworking glue, that you dampen the wood before applying the glue thinly, to make it foam to fill any voids and cure. Epoxy seemed overkill, you don’t need that strong a glue, and you want to fill the space, so the foaming poly glue was perfect; I just added a few drops of water to the glue, and coated the bar, and slid it inside the middle of the strut, and waited to cure. You could put the glue in the strut first, but I felt coating the bar would be a more uniform application.

    Then just assemble the strut into framework.

    For our next trick, we replace the cloth covering part of their canopy!

    0
    DeamonS
    DeamonS

    3 years ago

    Thanks, I've been working on a broken canopy myself. I may use this method for one of the pieces if I can't find a replacemnt.

    0
    Lorddrake
    Lorddrake

    Reply 3 years ago

    were you able to find a replacement or did you repair the part?

    0
    brainedchild
    brainedchild

    4 years ago

    How did you get the rivets inside for side 1?

    0
    Lorddrake
    Lorddrake

    Reply 4 years ago

    i predrilled the holes in the tubing and the piece of flat bat that went inside the tubing. Then it was just a matter of sliding the flat bar into the tubing and lining up holes to put the rivets in. Alternating what side of the tubing i put the rivets into so it held onto the flat bar from both sides of the tubing.

    0
    StvenP
    StvenP

    5 years ago

    This is pretty ironic as the day before i saw this,i repaired mine from wind damage. The wind bent up the piping along the top. I removed the bent bolts,drilled out the holes slightly bigger and installed new hardware.

    0
    Lorddrake
    Lorddrake

    Reply 5 years ago

    I had originally planned on replacing the broken piece but I wasn't able to find replacement tubing sold individually .. I would have had to buy a whole frame (kind of defeats the purpose) .. so I fixed the broken spar the best way I could think of :)

    0
    ElizabethR6
    ElizabethR6

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I guess my comment didn't go through. To repeat, I also have a Coleman canopy. When a support broke and I was unable to purchase repair parts, I did buy the flat bar for about $4. I drilled 3 holes and sandwiched the flat bar between sets of washers to make up the thickness. It appears to be holding up well. A 2nd support broke and I replaced it today. I am prepared to replace them all if necessary as it will be less expensive that purchasing another canpoy.

    0
    lobodawg
    lobodawg

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea! I happen to have a couple of busted ez-ups that I refuse to throw away and was planning on re-purposing them. Now it looks like I can get it back in service. Thanks!

    0
    lobodawg
    lobodawg

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea! I happen to have a couple of busted ez-ups that I refuse to throw away and was planning on re-purposing them. Now it looks like I can get it back in service. Thanks!