My take on a bed rack - now finished

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Contributor III

Well.. getting a couple steps closer.

I finally got the right die set


Then then found out that I got the wrong tube the steel yard gave me 2" instead of the 1.75".. minor delay while they order in the right stuff this time.
Expensive stuff... there was a couple of.short pieces that will be used to practice bending the tube and probably get cut up to get some.pra rice welding tube. Along with slicing some off to get the right angle for the mounting of the bed brackets.


A test bend to verify angles and to help calculate the length of tube needed


During all.of this the cheap harbor freight ram blew a seal. So it will need to be replaced.

I am going to wait until the brain fog from the covid infection clears up before bending tube for real. Just to expensive to mess up and I rather not slug it if I can avoid it.


Rank IV

Contributor III

Made some progress this afternoon.. FINALLY!!!

First bed bar...

I spent part of the afternoon laying out the bed bars. Ran some numbers double checked numbers. And then ran the layout with a couple different versions of the numbers just to confirm I did in fact understand what was going on.

Once I confirmed my numbers for the layout . I broke the saw out and made the cut of no return. Layed out my reference lines and placed the tube into the bender and made the first bend.


The new "invisi-bender 9000" is so smooth like it’s not even there...

Took the picture after setting up the second bend. Since the tube was removed from the die to flip it around. You have to reset the tube to the same plane as the die.


Second bend complete and ready to remove to tube from the bender


The moment of truth... does the tube lay flat.. or was it bent on a different plane.. and it is flat..

After confirming the tube was bent properly. I then placed it on the truck just to see. Now keep in mind the bar needs to be faced off at the proper angle to.match the brackets


As it sits, the RTT i am planning on using will ride even with the top of the awning cover.

It is actually a bit higher than I like. I may decide to trim the bar a bit to lower to overall height. For now though, I am pleased overall and where the top of the bar landed. Nearly dead on from my original design where I wanted it even with the top of the rear window.
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Rank IV

Contributor III

Still getting my butt kick from the aftereffects of the recent visit from the covid19 .

But I did manage to get the bars bent sadly I messed up the 2nd one and had to redo it.

Considering I have never bent tube before this project, I am pretty pleased with how close they ended up to each other. Once they trimmed to final.length I think I can adjust each one to make it all work out .


Rank IV

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Spent the day cutting the 60 degree angle.qhere the bars mate to the brackets.

Bit more involved than I first expected. The hardest part was matching the 3rd bard to the first ., and getting all 3 to the same height. All with out the best tools.for.the job.

Since my saw has a max angle of 45 I ended up using a Sawzall to make the cuts my hand. And then clean them up with the grinder.
I started with a paper template that was glued to some thin card stock


After it was cut out, I wrapped the flat pattern around the tube


I marked the center line of the tube amd line up the center line of the template. After double checking it was time to make.the cut..


After getting the first bar cut I put it on the truck to see what the height was going to be20210124_103804.jpg

I am much happier with the height it is now sitting a bit lower and will drop then future rtt a bit lower.

Now I have to match the next 2 bars to this one as close as I can. This took a bit of creative clamping. Since I want the top of the bars to be even I used the bed brackets as an angle block to clamp the stack bars together.



Working with a small table took some work around. I clamp a piece of angle to the corner to help support one end and use a.ratchet strap to help hold it all down along with some other clamps.

While a bit of a kludge it did what I needed...


I was able to get the first 2 bars to match up really well, when it came time to do the 3rd bar... well it did not go as well, itnis really close bit the height is off just enough to be annoying. By this time it was getting late, and I was running out steam.and patience so I knew it was time to.step away for the evening.

I am.going to take another look at it after a good night's sleep and see if it really is as bad as I thought and do some more grinding to improve the fit. Worse case see how I can order the bars in the final assembly to minimize the slight difference in height.


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Well. After a bunch of work trimming the ends 0f the bed bars I finly reached a point where all 3 bars appeared to be running level with each other. Which in the end is the important thing.... I may end up making another set taking into account what I learned on this first set. Which was alot.

I reached my goal of getting the bars tacked before I return to work.


Since I was tackong the bars on the truck, I

ed up a fire blanket to protect the paint. And I also slip a piece of sheet .metal between the brackets and the plastic bed cap to help act as a heat sink. It worked since there was no signs of heat damage to the bed caps.



My bemds where not exact and they where off .slightly. but I was adjust the bars to kinda hide the mistake at a casual glance.


Getting close now... first stage tacked up.

So let's see what stage 2 looks like. A.rough mockup just to see what it looks like.


I need to adjust the spacing of the bars and tack in the panel tabs. But that is for an upcoming weekend off. Been over a year since the design was done. And I can finally see what it looks like in real life.



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For now it will be painted. Satin black to match the sliders...I am wanting to build a powder coat oven big enough to handle the bars and a future project. When that is done it will get sandblasted and powdercoated.


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Some serious.progress was made this weekend.

We are planning a trip at the end of the month and if things go well. The rooftop tent should be here just in time. And that gave a hard deadline to finish the rack.

Took a bit of experimenting to find a way to clamp everything. By the last panel mount things started to work out much faster.

The panels are flush to each other


The gear tabs all tacked up. And you can start to see how the final product will look.

time to remove the gear panels and finish welding this up. The gear panel tabs are something I really like the appearance of even though you will never really see them.


Primer and a couple coats of semi gloss black, and now we wait for it to cure. In the meantime I need to confirm I ordered enough hardware to assemble. It seems sometime over the last year some small hardware went missing. So it either needs to be found or reordered.
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