I was driving around my neighborhood when I came across a futon bed frame someone had thrown out on the street, so I decided to bring it home and make it into some kind of shelving unit for the junk I had accumulated in my back yard. I immediately liked the fact that it would save me the trouble of much assembly since it was already screwed together. Just add legs and voila: instant industrial size shelving rack. This project is completely improvised, using whatever I could find for free in the vicinity of my home.
Here are the tools and materials I used, though one could surely do it with less:
90 amp mig welder and peanut grinder
hammer and 16 penny galvanized nails
cordless drill and drill bit
4 equal length metal pipes (I used 1 3/8" thick stock I had saved from a dumpster dive)
4 logs from a neighbor's newly cut down tree (though I'd rather have used pressure treated 4X4's if I'd had them)
pieces of bendable scrap steel to make straps out of
pieces of angle iron (found for free on Craig's List last year).
a few screws.
old fence boards.
Rust inhibiting spray paint.
Step 1: Clean Up Your Space and Cut Logs
First I eye balled a straight line cut on each log, so I could set one on each corner on the slab where the larger futon piece would rest, and then used my 4 foot level to make my base at an even height on the sloped surface. I cut everything with my chainsaw. It didn't have to be perfect, and came out plenty close enough for my needs.
Step 2: Rip Fence Wood and Nail It to Corners
I ripped down some left over redwood fence boards into pieces I then nailed onto each corner log, to act as a frame to lay one futon half on.
Step 3: Nail Down First Futon Frame
I used sixteen penny galvanized nails to tack down each corner. Nothing fancy here.
Step 4: Drill Pipes and Nail to Each Corner
I rested my pipes on each corner so they touched both the logs and futon frame wood, and after marking them, drilled holes through which I could hammer in nails.
Step 5: Make Straps and Nail Them On
Since the nails alone made my pipes a bit too wobbly, I made some straps out of scrap metal pieces from an old computer and a dismantled electric motor. This was a bit awkward, but worked well enough, after drilling nail holes into the metal pieces. I just needed my poles to stand up fairly straight and steady until I welded on cross members and braces that would make everything more solid later.
Step 6: Mark Level Lines and Weld Upper Cross Members On
I marked one pipe at 36" above the first frame and made level lines on the other pipes. After grinding each metal connection area clean, I then clamped the already correctly sized angle iron sections before welding them onto the pipes to create a platform for the second level. I made sure my welds were strong and used maximum power for adequate penetration from my entry level welding rig, staying on each joint area for a long time.
Step 7: Add Diagonal Braces to Back Area
I made two quick diagonal braces out of angle iron, cutting some of the end and folding it flat to leave bendable tongues I could drill a hole through on one end to screw into the bottom frame wood, and clamp onto the pipe on the other end for welding. These made the whole assembly sturdier.
Step 8: Screw on the Top Shelf
I drilled holes in the angle iron to drill into the top shelf frame, placed my top frame onto the cross braces, and screwed it in place. After loading up the shelves I noticed an added benefit of having spaces between boards was that I could hang shovels, rakes, bicycle forks, or whatever else in the slots. I sprayed a bit of left over silver Rustoleum paint onto the metal to add protection. Simple, functional, and a vast improvement for the pile of parts I had sitting in the rain.