Introduction: Overhead Pipe Clamp Rack
My garage is tight. I keep a lot of stuff in it, and hate wasted space. This rack fills a tiny space on the ceiling between a heating duct and a light fixture. It costs about a $1.40 in materials to make. You can store all kinds of stuff in it. I made mine 5" high, and 9" wide, but you can change the dimensions to match your space. You can go as low as you like, but I would not go a lot wider than 18", or I think it will start to sag.
- Metal pipe strapping
- 3/4" PVC pipe (or any sturdy tubular material)
- A few sheetrock screws ( 1 3/4" or longer)
- Something to cut the PVC and metal strapping
- Something to drive the screws in
Step 1: Step 1: Measure and Cut the PVC
First measure the space you have available. Mine was about 10" wide and 6" deep, so I sized the rack 9" wide and 5" deep (When I try to size things EXACTLY to the space, it usually turns into an epic fail, so I went a little smaller). For each rack, I measured, and marked two 5" "riser" posts (the vertical legs) and one 9" "support" post (the horizontal part). It will come out closer to level if the two riser posts are the same height. So...when you measure and mark them, measure off 5" from each end of the PVC pipe. If you try to measure and mark them all in a row, the saw blade kerf will make one leg slightly shorter than the other. That said, if you are using a hacksaw to cut the PVC, the saw blade is so narrow it doesn't really matter if you measure them all at once and cut them. I got lazy and used a chop saw to cut them faster. Pro tip: Don't get all rushy and sloppy and bring the chop saw down on the PVC really fast, because the PVC will explode/fly (and you may wet yourself).
Step 2: Measure and Cut the Pipe Strap
Take your three pieces of PVC and line them up. Unwind some metal pipe strap to match the length of the PVC pieces. The pipe strap will have small and big holes in it. cut a long enough piece that you have at least one small hole exposed past either end of the pipe. In my case this results in a metal strap 5"+9"+5"+3/4"+3/4" = 20.5" long.
Shorter will not work, and you will feel foolish at installation time. Way longer will look sloppy, and it will wiggle a lot - totally non-pro. If you leave just enough pipe strap sticking out to get a screw into it, your final install looks like it is part of the ceiling - and people think you are really smart.
Step 3: Start Putting It Up
Find a stud. In my garage that's easy - I look for popped nail heads. If you are not familiar with how to find a stud, get a stud finder. They cost about $25, and you can pretend you are Dr. McCoy checking what is wrong with the ceiling.
Once you find a stud, run a screw through one end of the strap and into the stud. If you are having trouble remembering which way to turn the screw to tighten it, you are probably in way over your head, and should probably back away slowly, lest you injure yourself.
Step 4: Thread on the Pieces of Pipe and Secure to Ceiling
Go over to the pipe strap that is now hanging from the ceiling, and thread on the three pieces of pipe - short piece, longer piece, then short piece. Put a screw through the loose end of the pipe strap, and secure it to the ceiling. I put mine up parallel to the way the beams run, so I just made sure to line the second screw up with the first.
You can see from the picture I only left a short bit of strap to screw in to. More strap will not make it any stronger.
DO NOT use sheet rock plugs for this project. If you cannot screw into a beam (or can;t find a beam), STOP. Going with "I'll just screw into the sheetrock and hope for the best" will end poorly. The stuff you put on it will make it either A) fall on your head or B) Fall in the middle of the night thereby spooking you and possibly making you wet the bed. Nobody likes a bed wetter (or a wet bed for that matter).
Step 5: Observe, Admire, Repeat
OK. You now have one bracket up. Temping to try a chin up, but resist the temptation. Admire your handiwork, then get to work repeating steps 1-4 to make and put up a second bracket.
How far will you mount the second bracket from the first? It depends what you are storing on the bracket. In my case, the pipe clamps are a bit over 5' long. Since I mounted the first bracket on a beam, I must come over intervals of 16" (in order to catch a beam). I went 48" and mounted my second one.
After they were up, I fiddled with them a bit, so the bottom support sat fairly level, and the supports went close to the ceiling (so it looked all custom and fancy)
Step 6: Load It Up (but Not Too Much)
Now the fun part of loading it up. Be mindful - this is basically some sheet metal and PVC. I put some light 1/2" pipe clamps on it. I plan to put a bit of molding and plastic trim on it as well. Much more weight than that, and it will probably fail. If your's goes up all loosie goosie, and you keep bending it back and forth, it will eventually fail (metal fatigue from working the material - google it...).
It's a quick and dirty (and cheap) setup to get some stuff off the floor and out of the corner. Hope it helps you!
Sidenote: Props to April Wilkerson - her ladder hanging video (https://youtu.be/bLa8ZrifxSs) gave me the idea. Her design is far more robust - but involves more materials (and work). She makes some decent woodworking projects - very resourceful.