About: I'm a 28 year old brazilian guy, with major in applied mathematics (licensed in animal health). I was that type of kid who would tear everything apart and then put it back together (working) and have spare ...

Hello you guys, second ible and non english speaker here so still bare with me please.

It all started when my wife got pregnant... As happy and amazed as I am with our little miracle (Catarina is her name) i couldn't stop thinking about all the adjustments i had to do in our life and most of them involves spending money. In this ible i will only focus on the car adjustments part.

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Step 1: PVC Roof Rack

First i had to buy a different car, i ended up deciding it would be for the best to buy a brand new yet smaller car with all the proper garantees e frills (AC, electric windows/steering wheel ..and so on).

This decision was made thinking basically in 2 things

1 most of the time i will drive it empty with only the driver so it had to be small efficient and cheap to maintain

2 when travelling, now the trunk would not suffice so it had to have some kind of option to carry more luggage than it would fit in the trunk (kids have enormous quantity of stuff to carry around, trust me specially a little girl)

The choice was made and i ended up buying a FIAT NOVO UNO WAY ( i think its called PANDA overseas) and the version (WAY) had a more offroad look with something that suggested a roof rack was a possibility.

You can see in the pictures that the car looks a little like a shrunken SUV that i love!

Basic "material" acquired now comes the mods.

Step 2: Concept Idea

The idea was to buy a luggage rack that would hold against any type of weather.

Searching the web it became clear that this would be quite expensive, most models runs around $400 bucks or more here in Brazil (R$1000).(eg:Thule Pulse Cargo Box).

That also had a problem, it would be a real pain to keep it once it is not in use because of its volume and would have quite a limited use. With that in mind i had to take a different approach. I bought a water resistant luggage bag with roughly the size of the roof of the car and with a capacity of around 120 liters (almost 50% the size of my trunk) (http://www.gama4x4.com.br -... for roughly 50 bucks brand new (R$100) besides the price factor it had the advantage of being quite easy to store but now i had to tie it the roof somehow.

The search for a basket roof rack started and all the models that were suited were quite expensive also $300(R$750), ok it had the added factor that now my idea is more versatile (basket + bag) providing me more combinations and easier to storage but now due to the cost I would have to make my own basket roof rack

Instructables was the first place to look for ideas and it did not fail me. Great ideas on racks and how to work with pvc were provided to me here and so i began the design process with 3 thing in mind

1 Cost

2 Usability (versatile)

3 Easy to make

I ended up choosing the "half-basket" desgin because in my opinion it would the perfect balance. Versatile because i could fit longer itens since the front will not be "closed" , cost factor reduced (less material than the full basket) but it would still have a guard to protect smaller item from rolling ( advantage against the simple plain base). and i have to confess i like the aesthetics more !

the ppt file shows the conception exercise

Step 3: Materials

Design already made now parts needed:

I ended up using electrical pvc tubing, quite cheap here ($ 2 each 3m long tube) and it can be screwed together, glue for pvc tubing($2) and the white panels i had laying around from pvc ceiling clad .


3- 1/2 inch tubes (3m each)

6- 1/2 inch elbows

12-1/2 inch union (gloves)

4- 5/8 inch tube (3m each)

all black as you can see

1- 3m white pvc ceiling clad

8- screws

8- washers

8- lock nuts


hot blower

steel tap







measuring tool (any type will do)


acetone (if you want to clean the prints in the tubing)

rags (to use with acetone)

Step 4: Measuring and Cutting

First of all decide all the measures of the rack
I based all the measures on the bag that i bought and made the rack a little bigger just in case, it can hold 2 bags side by side (i only bought one but take your time and plan the future you know)

you can see the measures in the pics below

Pay attention with the measure, keep in mind the that some of tubing will be inserted in the union (we called it gloves) so your measures have to consider that when cutting..Please Please Please Please Please measure once, twice thrice..haha ! But seriously be careful with that part, after you are more than sure proceed with cutting everything.

Step 5: Pre Assembling (test Fitting)

Highly recommended, this step is to check if everything is as planned.

Assemble all the parts together and place it in the roof, check if it doesn't interfere with anything ( antenna, trunk lid, etc) . Locate possible anchor points to attached the rack to the roof and take measures. The goal here is to find a place were it is easy to load things into the rack with a good weight distribution and that doesn't affect any other aspects of the car. Check if you are pleased with the height of the guard rail and if the new height of the car is not a problem for your garage.

you can see in the last pics straps made out of inner tube, helped me keep everything in place for glueing and later on will be used to secure things in the rack ( i made a dozen of them in different sizes)

Step 6: Attaching to the Car

I made theses attachments using scrap tubing that i heated to overlap the main tube, drilled (actually its a squared hole so the screw stays locked and can only be removed if you remove the original rack first ) i made 4 of these, later i plan to edit this ible and give proper instructions..

I wanted a easier way to install and remove the rack but i havent come up with any idea that is cheap, easy and really secure ( for the rack to stay put and also not easy to be stolen)

Step 7: Final

So everything done and installed i am quite pleased with the result, the basic idea works, its is quite sturdy but if i were to do it again i would probably use metal galvanized tubing that have te same fittings.

Maybe fill it with expansible foams.

I have made a couple of straps to help secure itens in it out of bike innertubes (visible in a couple of photos) i am planning on posting an ible on that later ..

As i mentioned before due to a quite happy coincidence it is the exctaly size to fit my dunne buggy as well!

Please do forgive the fact that this is not a complete ible yet but i decided to post it as sson as possible and i will be editing it later for propper instructions

Don't hesitate to ask!


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    18 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Looks like it has a resilient overlay on the body side, like the Citroen Cactus, so who copied whom?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    yes a little hard to tell .the citroen really appals me too the only thing i know is that this trend of design is called round square and this particular model has being sold since late 2010 in Brazil


    4 years ago on Step 7

    Show de bola brother! Acho que esse é o primeiro instructable de um brasileiro, apesar de estar em inglês, esse uninho aí não engana! Gostei muito do projeto.. mas não fica frágil?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 7

    Não é super resistente para pesos mas o objetivo aqui é limitar o jogo da malas pequenas e principalmente brinquedos da minha filha. Preciso pegar uma foto com a mala impermeável colocada também. Fica bem melhor. Tem um apelo estético bacana e serve também como protótipo para a criação de um de metal se eu tiver a coragem de refazer he he. Já carreguei carinho de bebê piscina e caixa de peças automotivas sem problema claro que encostadas mais para a traseira dado que a frente não tem sustentação ainda.


    5 years ago

    So you put a roof rack on top of your existing roof rack? why?

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago

    basically as i mentioned i an going to use a kind of bag as the actual closed rack (will post pictures later) that has no structure at all but it's water proof so i have to have a kind of support for that bag wich will carry mainly clothes and kids toys. i can see the irony in it but this is also kind of safer than just laying things on the original rack an tieyng due to the guard rails. did i mentioned that i liked the aesthetics too? i now it is kind of foggy to understand but i will try to add the pics asap


    Reply 5 years ago

    also i forgot to mention it increased the tostão area that i can use comparing to using only the original


    Reply 5 years ago

    i beg your pardon but i think materials are in the step 3. measurements i decided not to include since it can vary a lot due to the size of your car roof or pessoal preferences / needs so i rather based it relatively to the parts of the car. in step 6 i will be posting more details but basically i made this kind of U bolts using scrap pieces of the pvc and 2 bolts its is attached to the car drilling holes in the main body of the roof rack and"clamping" onto the transversal bar on the roof ...ps more to come with pics soon sorry


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Just an FYI, PVC will get brittle with exposure to UV over time. It will also break into sharp pieces on impact if very cold and deform in the heat. So be very careful with what you are have in the rack. You can get paints that will help block the UV but that will not help with the cold or heat. Good idea just be careful using non-structural materials in a structural application.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago

    thanks for the tips. yes they are all true but as mentioned it is to be used for large but light cargos this pvc in particular is already treated to endure outdoors (uv)and it is fire resistant so it can endure higher temperatures besides where i live (São Paulo-Brazil) the temperature is not really an issue ( not that cold or hot).
    as a possible improvement i considered filing the tubes with expansive foambecause it would make them a little bit sturdier. thanks for the comment

    1024 Web Solutions

    5 years ago

    I feel you did an amazing job. Thanx for the post. I'm also considering doing something similar, soon. I have not thought of the steel tubing as a good option, but the junctions would make it much more solid, imo.

    1 reply

    Thanks !! i will update this ible as soon as possible. i decided not to use the steel tubing because it would requiere paiting and i reeeeeeaaally hate painting anything. it would be sturdier thou.. I have considered filling the tubing with expansible foam to avoid ratteling and help build strength but i got lazy after i test fitted it in the car .. sorry lol.... also it is a good measure to seal the holes and joints with silicone or something similar to avoid infiltration of water.imho thanks again