Sunday, January 1, 2017

UTV Rack

 Every so often I am asked to build something at work. I like these light fabrication projects even though the other guys in the shop will give me shit about how long they take, even if they don't take long at all. I know this because I am just receiving some of what I dish out. If I do take a little extra time it's to over analyze every scenario and try to get it done right the first time and avoid down time in the future.
 This project is a simple rack that will allow us to haul a bigger load of wood in the back of this utility vehicle.

 Like most of these projects, the material used is based mostly on what is in the steel storage rack at the time of the build. We had most everything I wanted to use except for the expanded metal. That came the next day on a semi trailer along with an assload of other material to stock the storage rack.

 Some angle iron and 1" square tube welded together and we have a rack. I wanted the section above the tailgate to have no pins to get lost or hinges to rust or bend. It also needed to hold the sides from bowing out. What I came up with worked ok as seen in this top view.

 I cut a slot in a piece of tube that would be welded to the far rearward edge of the sides of the rack. A piece of flat stock was welded to a round rod. This assembly would be welded to a tailgate frame and then slide into the square tube.

 I said it worked ok. Ok wasn't good enough because it did bind a bit where the 3/4" rod was welded to the flat plate. Version two was a piece of flat stock with two pieces of 1/4" rod welded just to the side away from the groove in the tube. This fit a little sloppy in the tube and made it easier to move the gate up and down. I suppose if you zoomed in on this pic you'd see what I did. The tailgate also got a pair of handles to allow for easier removal.

 I know it looks simple but one thing you don't see is some of the thought that goes into one of these projects. When deciding what we wanted to accomplish, consideration was given to how much material would be used. I wanted to protect the back window but only use one sheet of expanded metal and that expanded metal does have a pattern to it. That accounts for the shape of the rack. Aaron helped me measure and cut that metal and even saved the day when I almost fouled up the project by welding one piece in the wrong spot.  This pic is the finished project except for paint. Troy was painting it Friday with some oil based flat black. I know this machine will be on an upcoming tree job and I suspect it may get scratched up. Maybe after that it will need a little camo touchup paint.