Introduction: Scenic Metal Snowboard Rack

This project is a great way to get your snowboards out of closets and corners where they are gathering dust and display them beautifully on the wall.  My brother and I designed and created this rack.  It mounts on the wall and holds four snowboards with a mountain snowboarding scene on top.  It uses materials that are easy to purchase.  The total cost of materials is about $50.

Material list:
4' 8'' of 3/16'' X 1'' steel flat bar
8' 8'' of 3/16'' X 3'' steel flat bar
3' X 1.5' square of 14 GA. steel
7.5'' of 1/4'' steel rod 
one can of primer spray paint
one can of black spray paint
one can of clear coat spray paint

fabric glue (that works on metal)
2 sq. ft. of black felt

To build the rack you will use several tools including a bandsaw, plasma cutter, mig welder and grinders.  If you are not familiar with using any of these tools get help from someone who is.  It is important to use proper safety equipment and remember that the metal will be hot after you weld or grind it.

(This will be entered in the Metal Challenge that has a welder and other tools as prizes, so I thought I would note that I do not own the tools used in this project, but borrowed them.) 

Thanks for reading.  Please give feed back and suggestions.

Step 1: Sketching the Scene

Hand sketch your mountains.  The bottom edge of the mountains will need to be a straight edge.  It is easiest to see what you will be cutting out if you shade in what will stay.  You also want to sketch three trees.

When drawing the snowboarder, unless you are an artist, it is easiest to start by printing out a picture of a snowboarder that you like. Trace the edges of the snowboarder with a sharpie.  This creates a sketch of the snowboarder from the back.  Remember that any details and small lines will be hard to cut out.

Step 2: Cutting Out Stencil and Tracing on to Sheet Metal

Cut out the sketches of the trees, snowboarder and mountain.  You may need to use an exacto blade to cut out the inside sections of the mountain and boarder.

Use masking tape to tape down the paper stencils so they won't move when tracing it out.  Make sure they lay flat on the 14 GA. sheet metal and that they are arranged on the sheet metal so all the sketches fit.  The Mountain stencil 's bottom edge needs to be square on the edge of the sheet metal.

Use a sharpie to trace the stencil onto the sheet metal.  On spots where the tape covers part of the stencil you can move the tape over slightly to where you have already traced.  You can also hand sketch those small spots back in after removing the stencil.  When you remove the stencil don't throw it away.  You may need it if you mess up when cutting the sheet metal.

Step 3: Cutting Out and Cleaning Up the Metal

Once you have traced and removed the stencil, you can cut them out with a plasma cutter.

When using the plasma cutter you want to use a constant speed and cut at a constant distant from the line traced on the metal.  Try to cut the shapes out in one movement, but if you have to stop in the middle of a cut, move away from the line making a cut into the extra metal.  This will make it easier to make the cuts lineup when you start cutting on the line again.  Cutting out details will be hard so you  may want to leave a little extra space around the detailed sections.

You will probably want to practice on some of the extra space on the metal to get the right speed and distance from the line.

Once you have your object cut out you can restore details and clean it up by filing and grinding.  Small files and air or dremel type grinders work great for creating detail.  You also want to remove the slag that is built up on the back with a flapper wheel or grinder.

Step 4: Prepping the Flatbar

Now the flat bar needs to be cut into correct lengths using a bandsaw.  Make sure the edges are square.  You may need to grind them slightly to ensure this.  The 3'' flat bar will be cut into 2 pieces with lengths of 4'4''.  The 1'' flat bar needs to be cut into 8 pieces that are 7''.  On the 1'' pieces, grind one edge to remove sharp edges and miter the corners.

Where the 1'' flat bar will be welded onto the 3'' flat bar needs to be marked out.  Draw a line all the way across the 3'' flat bar two inches from the bottom.  Make sure you draw this line parallel to the bottom edge of the 3" flat bar.  A combination or speed square will help to insure this.  Draw this line three more times with each one spaced a foot above the previous. Do the same thing to the other section of 3" flat bar.

To locate our 1'' flat bar in the center of the 3'' flat bar we need to draw a line one inch from the edge of the 3'' flat bar. This vertical line is parallel to the side of the 3'' flat bar starting at each of the lines we created in the previous step.  It should be several inches tall.

If you have a hard time visualizing the horizontal and vertical lines look at the last picture of the next step. This picture shows the lines and how they are used to place the 1'' flat bar.

Step 5: Welding the Structure of the Rack

On a flat surface, lay the mountain cutout and the two sections of 3'' flat bar.  The sections of flat bar should be lined up square to the bottom of the mountain with their outside edges lined to the outside of the mountain edges.  A framing square is helpful in this step.  Tack the flat bar into place then double check to see if it is square.  Finish welding the Flat bar to the mountain cutout.

The 1'' flat bar will be welded onto the 3'' flat bar at a 15 degree angle. The easiest way to brace the 1'' flat bar at about a 15 degree angle is to place a spacer that is approximately 1.5'' tall under the 1'' flat bar.  A section of square tubing works good as a spacer.

Line up the bottom of one of the 1'' flat bar sections with the horizontal line that runs across the 3'' flat bar and lineup the side of the 1'' flat bar with the vertical line so that it is centered in the 3'' flat bar.  Place the 1.5'' spacer under the top edge of the 1'' flat bar. Now you can tack the 1'' flat bar in place.  The last two photos on this page shows what this setup should look like.

 If everything is in place and looks good you can weld a complete bead across.  Remove the spacer and repeat these steps for the other seven 1'' sections of flat bar.  When you do this make sure the spacer is placed under the 1'' flat bar close to the same distance from the top or the angles may very.

Step 6: Making It 3D

Using the bandsaw, cut off sections of the 1/4'' rod with lengths of 1'', 1.5'',2'' , and 3''.  These rods will space the trees and snowboarder off the mountain to make the scene 3d.  You want the snowboarder to appear closer so the 3'' section rod should be used for him.  It doesn’t matter which tree uses which rod.

To attach the rods to the trees and snowboarder, drill a 9/32 hole in the snowboarder at the center and in the center of the tree's trunks.  Now fit the rods into this hole from the back, leaving a slight gap between the rod and front.  Weld the rod to the cut out from the front, completely filling in the gap.

Placement of the snowboarder and trees are important.  The snowboarder should be welded to the center of the mountain with the trees on the outsides so that the focus is on the snowboarder.  To weld the snowboarder and trees to the mountain, tack the rods of the trees and snowboarder to the mountain making sure that the trees and snowboarder are flat.  While the tack is hot you can slightly adjust it so it is flat.

Now use a grinder or flapper wheel to grind the front of the snowboarder and trees to make the rod's weld flush with the front face. Use the flapper wheel to grind the whole front of the snowboarder in the same direction to get a constant shine on the face.  Do not cool the snowboarder with water or touch it after it has cooled because this will cause the shinny face to rust.

Step 7: Priming and Painting

Wrap and tape the snowboarder with paper towels or newspaper to protect the shine that you created and prevent it from getting painted on.  Now spray a constant layer of primer on the entire rack.  Make sure you also get the sides and back. To do this you may have to let the front dry and flip the rack over.

Once all the primer is dry do the same thing with the black paint.  Make sure that you stay a constant distance away from the rack and don't over paint it or the paint will run.  You can apply multiple layers if you want.

Remove the paper towels and newspaper from the snowboarder still making sure not to touch it. To protect the snowboarders shine from moisture spray it with a layer of clear coat paint.  When doing this make sure the rest of the rack is covered with newspaper to prevent overspray from getting on the rack.

Step 8: Adding Felt

Adding felt to the rack will prevent your boards from getting scratched.  Cut 8 strips of 1''x7'' and 8 strips of 6''x3'' sections of felt.  Compare each of the 1'' strips to the 1'' flat bar that they will be attached to and see if you will need to remove any more felt.  If so cut that little bit of extra felt off.

Coat each of the 1'' strips of felt with fabric glue making sure there is glue close to the edges.  Place them on the 1'' flat bar that they were fit for and press them down.  Try to center them so that no felt hangs over the side.  For the 6''x3'' section of felt place and press them on the 3'' flat bar behind the 1'' flat bar after coating them with glue.  These also need centered.  Wipe off and remove any extra glue.

Step 9: Finished Snowboard Rack

The snowboard rack is now finished.

You have now made your own piece of art easily and cheaply.  Your snowboards can now be displayed proudly and safely with your very practical piece of art.

Thanks for reading, Please ask questions and comment.

Metal Challenge

Finalist in the
Metal Challenge