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.


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