No Weld Truck Roof Rack

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About: Alan Walker a.k.a. "The Toolman" has been creative and worked with his hands all of his life. He has been employed in a wide variety of industries including a museum, a major power tool manufacturer, a natio...

I've always wanted a rack for my pickup buy didn't want to pay the high price and thought I could build my own out of electrical conduit. I've used this material before for lots of things and wanted to give it a shot. I don't own a welder so that was out of the question. I settled on a straight forward design with 2 horizontal rails, uprights and diagonals and a wood slat floor. I also wanted to keep the cost around $100. in materials. It took me several weeks of a few evenings in the shop to fabricate it. Let me know what you think.

Step 1: Step 1 of 6 - Concept and Finished Rack

I wanted a rack that would bolt to my existing roof rack. It's a Dodge accessory and just 2 horizontal bars that run in a track bolted to the roof so it's a good strong base to start with. If you don't have one, get one as your base. THIS RACK IS NOT MEANT FOR SUCTION CUPS.



Step 2: Step 2 of 6 - Making the Verticals

This step describes the fabrication process for all of the tubing connections involving cutting, bending and grinding. I used a 4" cutoff wheel on my hand held grinder because it was faster and easier than a hack saw. In terms of the vise, you'll need the biggest one you can get because smaller ones won't hold up, and use a length of pipe for leverage.



Step 3: Step 3 of 6 - Making the Horizontals

On to the horizontal frame. When formulating the design, I wanted a clean corner that just wasn't some bent tubing and I found these cool pull through connectors that provided function and clean design.



Step 4: Step 4 of 6 - Joining the Frames With Verticals

Here we see the horizontal frames joined using the vertical pieces. Again, 3 pop rivets to each connection. I found a deal at Harbor Freight on a box of 500 rivets for $3.



Step 5: Step 5 of 6 - Adding the Wood Floor

The floor is made from redwood fence boards that I ripped in 2 pieces and planed down to 5/8" thick to minimize the weight. Each is attached with 4 1/4" bolts and special nuts that don't come loose. I found the hardware at the local home center.



Step 6: Step 6 of 6 - Completion and Mounting

Finally finished, it's time to mount it to the truck and test it out for weight. I drilled holes in the existing bars and bolted it down. If you look close, you can see a piece of 1/2"plywood that attaches to the bottom rack rails and the existing rack bars.



Several steps left to do like:

Disassemble the wood floor and give them another coat of exterior varnish.
Paint the rack black.
Remount the floor.
Remount the rack to the truck.

Let me know what you think.

emailthetoolmanshow@gmail.com  or emailthetoolman@gmail.com

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    39 Discussions

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    ReverendSapp

    8 years ago on Step 1

    Nice Rack! lol, all kidding aside my brother and I came across this conduit about a year ago and love it. I bought a conduit bender and the possibilities are endless. I do have a welder, it really opens up the amount of projects you can make. A real bonus is the fact the conduit is galvynized so it is very rust-resistant.

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    jeffReverendSapp

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Just make sure you don't go welding any galvanized pipe - that's a sure way to poison yourself.

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    DennisH45jeff

    Reply 2 years ago

    True, good point, as the zinc used with galvanized creates a toxic fume which results in a fever. Weld it outside and use a very good fan to direct the fume away. Otherwise, you'll feel like crude for a few days. I like using conduit, too, and am considering to fabricate a 38 foot truss bridge with the stuff.

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    jamesk891

    2 years ago

    What is its weight bearing capacity

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    AndreyP2

    3 years ago on Introduction

    That's an ultimate roof rack :). What is the weight of that one? I'm looking for an idea of a good but lightweight rack and probably yours is going to be too heavy for my suzuki xl7 :)

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    ScootersDenver

    3 years ago

    You did a nice clean build. That took time with the recessed bolt heads and all. Your corners were ingenious. Very nice work.

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    thetoolmanScootersDenver

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks I spent a ton of time on it. but you know these projects are labors of love.

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    ogmosic

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm finally getting around to doing this project and am wondering how the rack has weathered the last few years? Can you post a current pic?

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    thetoolmanogmosic

    Reply 4 years ago

    It's been a while but the paint on the metal has faded quite a bit. Not much I can due but repaint.

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    thetoolmanogmosic

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    cant send any photos just yet but the rack seems fine. The paint is peeling as it would on top of galvanized pipe.

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    dsmith178

    4 years ago

    ok so I took the auto correct off lets try again I used 1/2 emt it cost $70 I used curved corners and nuts and bolts it took me and my son one day to build to curve the ends we used a hammer and the floor took awhile but we did it again thanks for the idea

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    dsmith178

    4 years ago

    By the way it only cost me 75 to build it

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    dsmith178

    4 years ago

    so I used your idea and made one from emt I used 1/2 inch and curved corners but I did bend them to hit over the emt no choice hammer and the floor took awhile but me and my son knocked it out in one day very fun project thank you for the idea we used it to go camping and it held ask the weight I put up there awesome thanks again

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    chuckr44

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Neat idea. But the cheapest roof rack I found was $120 new 5 years ago. And they're cheaper if they are used. A $20 difference doesn't seem to be worth 10-15 hours of work.

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    thetoolmanchuckr44

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It's not just about the cost but, for me, it's the challange of seeing if I can pull it off.