Build an Awesome Custom Ladder for Your Truck/mobile Work Station




About: My girlfriend and I run a company called Deville's Workshop in Toronto, Canada. We build weird props for film and television and love this website - such a great resource for inspiration and discussion!

EXCITING! We're putting this Instructable in the Mobile Work Spaces contest, if you like it please vote in the upper right hand corner! Holy cow, those prizes are awesome!!! :)

OK, so, our shop often rents trucks for several months at a time and we turn them into mobile work stations. We will occasionally will outfit them with custom fittings that are relevant to the job. For the next few months we'll be living out of a three ton 26' Penske and we've built a workshop and a heated 8'x8' lunch room (the meat locker) inside. We'll be traveling and working out of the truck and one thing that was noticeably absent was a staircase. The back of the truck is almost five feet above the ground and we didn't want to try finagling the ramp out every time we set up shop in some cramped parking lot. So, we built a ladder/staircase. This is how we did it. (NOTE: a couple of the peeps in the shop are outstanding photographers - Nate and Michelle - so there may be a gratuitous amount of awesome photos of giant sprays of sparks and stuff). Finally; I am not a professional welder; just picking things up from colleagues as we go along. If you spot us doing something totally bass ackwards please let me know in the comments section - appreciated!!!


Please attempt this build at your own risk. It is advised to have someone familiar with MIG welding and with cutting metal around to help. And please wear all the proper safety equipment; any step in this process could injure you insanely for the rest of your life, so always pay attention to all safety procedures and try to familiarize yourself with all equipment before using it.


Some 1"x2" rectangular bar stock
a bunch of angle iron
a MIG welder
a metal chop saw
a hammer
a square
a metal scribe
safety gloves, glasses, ears
a lot of expanded metal mesh

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Step 1: Make an Angle Iron Leveling Jig

We are using a metal chop saw to try to get our 45 degree angles and the clamp and fence on the saw don't take kindly to the odd geometry of angle iron. For this reason we're cutting up some 2"x4" stock to fill out the negative space. This helps us lock the metal into the saw and gives us more repeatable cuts.

Step 2: Cut Out the Mesh, Make the Frames, Weld'em Together

Now that we have all the frame pieces cut, Tina and Nate attack the expanded mesh and cut out rectangles. The next step is to weld the frames together and insert the mesh rectangles. These get welded to the angle iron. The final step is to grind off all the spatter and bulgy welds.

Step 3: Weld the Stairs to the Rectangular Stock

We used our hydraulic lift to replicate the height of the truck and stacked the rectangular stock up against it. Tina measured the stair angle and scribed it into the stock, she and Nate and I took turns welding the stairs on.

Step 4: Hook Your Ladder in and Try It Out!

And that's it. We welded some ramp hooks on the top and primed and painted the ladder black. Now it ratchet straps to the wall to travel and comes out when we're using it. Done!

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    7 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    original file: (1440x1080) 667 KB

    Dude, what are you doing over a pit with just a sheet metal thing supporting you and your work. You are a clever person. Do yourself and every body else a favor and be safe. Make your work space the safest. It is a good example for others. Nice steps...


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I weigh 130Kgs and nobody can make me go up this ladder. Show me some convincing supports then I'll dare. I would weld the mesh atop the steps with reinforcement underneath, otherwise my feet will go through. Your ladder is only good for smart doods.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hiya Mihsin, interesting! We were a bit concerned about the strength of the stringer, having never applied live weight to it before (the concern is with it wanting to buckle sideways). We haven't had any issues yet with the welds giving out on the expanded mesh of the stairs, they are fairly evenly welded and we followed the same style we've seen on many othe stairs. I agree with you about adding extra support though; we added a center support bar afterwards and it takes the spring out of the step.


    5 years ago

    Not sure what's hotter, the sparks or the hot ladies ;-) excellent ible, really nicely done. Question please, where did you get the boiler suit in piccie 15, I may like one too. Cheers.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Do like the photography. The black and white's are reminiscent of dieselpunk industrial days.


    5 years ago

    refreshing photography


    What an awesome idea for a Jig! Great job, thank you for sharing this with us.