Airmapper's Custom Roof Rack Build

Airmapper Jun 6, 2014

  1. Airmapper

    Airmapper First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Bowling Green, KY
    In my last thread I was excited about getting a welder and finally joining the world of fabrication. I can now say my first project is nearing completion.

    While my primary reason for needing a welder is Bronco projects, I decided the X would get the first attention, as it would give me a chance to practice on something a little easier, clean metal and lots of welding in more comfortable positions. For the most part though the welding was much easier than I anticipated. I did make a few messes, but considering the thin walled material and some less than superb cuts I worked with, I'm fairly happy. It warped slightly, but I'm a perfectionist, so I can get anal about such things quickly.

    About the first of the year, before I knew I'd get a welder even, I started to design what I wanted, and incorporated design features I liked.

    Since shipping was not a consideration, I could design for full roof coverage without attachments. Basically it is a hybrid of a Dephep and a Garvin, with some unique touches that make it not exactly like either. My favorite features are I managed to keep the hardware hidden, and keep the entire rack inside the stock bars. It's much less visible from the sides, to the point you may not even notice it, it also does not obstruct the stock bars except where it has to mount.

    More photos will come when I permanently install it. I did a test fit today and it was good to go. I even hopped up there and stood on it (I'm a shave over 200lbs) and it was solid, even without the fasteners fully tightened. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to take it to the powder coat shop or work on it some more. It could have more features, but at this point I don't want to detract from the clean looks. I initially planed for optional raised and extended cross bars, but have found they may be unnecessary, as my Kayak J bars will mount directly to the insert rack. If I really want more doo dads, now I know I can always design and build a version 2.0

    I also haven't figured out what to do with my CB antenna. I'm not liking it very well anyway as it's always in the trees or I'm trying to get in the garage with it up, so I don't really want it on the rack. I may have to start from scratch on that.

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    chuckamazuk likes this.
  2. mudchet

    mudchet Got Mud?<br><img src="http://i164.photobucket.com/ Founding Member

    Messages:
    639
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Nice! Cant wait to see the finished product.
     
  3. drbandkgb

    drbandkgb Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

    Messages:
    11,186
    Very cool
     
  4. metzican

    metzican Suspension Lift

    Messages:
    2,729
    Location:
    Lafaytte, la
    nice clean looking rack
     
  5. Airmapper

    Airmapper First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Bowling Green, KY
    Thanks guys, now for the rest of the story...

    Got my rack back from the Powder coat shop this afternoon. They did a great job. It's the first time I've had anything coated, I love the smooth finish, and the fact it's not scratching up from the least little thing.

    And here is the finished project. Maybe a few more tweaks on the mounts, but I'm calling it done. I'm pretty happy with it, of course since I built it I can spot it's flaws, a bit out of square here and there, and a few rough corners, but you can't really tell if your not nit picking.

    I included some details on the mounting arrangement because I'm sure you all are curious, and I didn't show it before. This setup is pretty tedious and required some fairly close tolerances, which is probably why I've only seen something like it used on the manufactured Garvin rack. I actually was surprised I held it close enough to work given this is after all my first full on fab project, but I favored this method because it was cleaner looking, I could buy the mounts instead of make them, and it hides exposed hardware.

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  6. KBC

    KBC Bought an X

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    BC
    That's sweet, where do you order those mounts from? I've been thinking of making something similar but haven't figured out how I want to mount it.
     
  7. slantyshanty

    slantyshanty Bought an X

    Messages:
    197
    Location:
    'Merica (DFW)
    Man, that is seriously cool! I would totally have something like that, if I only had a need for it. Seems like I haven't been camping in ages... Hopefully that will change soon.
     
  8. Timrich

    Timrich Super Duper Moderator Founding Member

    Messages:
    2,429
    Location:
    Central FL
    Very nice work!

    Sent from my SPH-L720T using Tapatalk
     
  9. drbandkgb

    drbandkgb Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

    Messages:
    11,186
    Pretty cool sir
     
  10. Rammer'sX

    Rammer'sX First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Sylvan Lake, MI
    Yes, very cool man!

    Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Tapatalk
     
  11. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    36,883
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    Really digging those mounts. That's a nice rack!
     
  12. J Everett

    J Everett Suspension Lift Founding Member

    Messages:
    2,660
    Location:
    Houma, LA
    The mounts are so slick. I want one now. Guess I need to get a welder. And learn to weld.

    Excellent work.
     
  13. JayAre

    JayAre First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    Nashville
  14. chuckamazuk

    chuckamazuk First Fill-Up (of many) Founding Member

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Bloomington, IN
    Real nice man! Rep given. Those mounts are sweet! Will you share where you got them or is it a design secret?
     
  15. Airmapper

    Airmapper First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Bowling Green, KY
    Thanks guys, I'm really glad it turned out well. Although I think I'll keep it to myself that folks think I have a nice rack.....

    Ha ha, well I admit I thought about keeping it a design secret, but they are not exactly proprietary or secret. These mounts could be used for so many rack related mounting jobs. Heck during my research on them I found FJ Cruiser guys are using them on their racks. Besides anyone capable of making something like this on their own I encourage to do so, it's been very satisfying to make this and say "I built that" and not just write a check. It was a fun project.

    I got the mounts from McMaster Carr, they are called vibration dampening U bolts. (LINK) Note you can get them in stainless as well, if you want to pay $20 each. Zinc coated will hold up well.

    The trick to using these is using a strip of padding to compensate for the size difference, as they don't make those U-bolts in Xterra rack tube size. (Which is about 2-1/4"OD) I actually ordered one ahead to make sure it would fit, and for a while used the one by itself to mount my CB antenna. It's a bit loose without a lining to fill it in a little.

    Soon I hope I'll have photos of the rack in use. I bought some universal J bars for my Kayak, and found they will mount directly to the rack without needing extra cross bars, so I'm anxious to see how that setup works.
     
  16. TomsRedX

    TomsRedX Bought an X Founding Member

    Messages:
    180
    Location:
    Lancaster, Pa
    Nice design, I'm diggin it. Well done.
     

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