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Wanting to build a custom bed rack

Discussion in 'Recovery & Gear' started by KissMyAxe1, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. Feb 18, 2020 at 10:33 PM
    #1
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    I have a roof top tent that'd I'd like to use, just a matter of getting a rack to put it on. Problem is, I'd also like a cover as well. I purchased an Access Lorado Tonneau Cover, which will leave the stake pockets accessible. Going to put that in this weekend when I get some time. The other thing I want with a bed rack, is the ability to raise and lower the tent. So while I'm driving, the tent can be sitting about even with the cab, but when I get to the camping spot, I can raise the rack up to above the cab height so that I can more effectively use the Annex room with the tent. I've only seen a few setups similar to that, but they all have the rack mounted in the bed of the truck, vs on the bed sides like I want to do.

    Truck Bed.jpg

    This is the rough sketch of what I was thinking. (looking at the "rear drivers side" in this angle, so the back left corner of the bed/rack) Bed rails that mount in the stake pockets, 4 support arms that act like pistons for the support, mounted with Heim Joints. Still not sure exactly how to lock them in place, but it could be a pin that goes through both the outer and inner bars. What's not in the picture is the lifting mechanism, which I was thinking of going with some gas lifts, like what lifts the hood up or tailgates. These arms would only have to extend about 6", from roughly 19" to 25" to get the heights I want. (this would put the rack at 6" above the bed sides at the low position, and about 16" at the high position.) I'm wanting to get this started in the next 2 or 3 weeks, just trying to figure out all the details.

    What do you guys think?
     
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  2. Feb 19, 2020 at 4:09 AM
    #2
    Slayer

    Slayer Member

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    interesting concept.

    in for the final pictures
     
  3. Feb 20, 2020 at 10:33 PM
    #3
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    This gives a better idea of what I was imagining. This concept in every corner, where the gas struts are there to help lift the rack up, but all the weight should be on the telescoping legs. For locking the legs down, I was thinking of using a pin similar to what holds aluminum trussing together, a tapered pin that can be hammered into place and held in with friction and a cotter pin. Should keep the rack from moving around while driving and keep it lifted while sleeping/crawling around up there. Still a couple things to work out, like how exactly the gas struts would be mounted, getting the tubes attached to the heim joints, etc. But it's coming along.


    Truck Bed 2.jpg
     
  4. Feb 21, 2020 at 9:09 PM
    #4
    wandering_boy

    wandering_boy Junior Tech Wizard

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    Don't let a kid out smart you.
    That strut idea is super cool. obviously pricier than solid mounts but it does allow for areo when the beds empty and plenty of room when you need it. The only real issue I see is making sure the angle doesn't change and becomes a massive wing when ur doing 60 down the highway without some sort of mechanical locking system.
     
  5. Feb 21, 2020 at 9:15 PM
    #5
    sf319

    sf319 New Member

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    This is a cool idea. Would the telescoping legs slide front to back as well as up and down when lifting or dropping the platform?
     
  6. Feb 21, 2020 at 9:18 PM
    #6
    wandering_boy

    wandering_boy Junior Tech Wizard

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    Don't let a kid out smart you.
    They wouldn't have too because as the top moves down and the struts compress and the distances get shorter. if that makes any sense.
     
  7. Feb 21, 2020 at 9:42 PM
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    sf319

    sf319 New Member

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    OK, I see it now, for some reason I wasn't visualizing the telescoping legs moving... I think I still had the first drawing in my head. :thumbsup: You'll have to post pics when you get this all fabricated.
     
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  8. Feb 21, 2020 at 9:49 PM
    #8
    saybng

    saybng Just a member.

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  9. Feb 21, 2020 at 11:14 PM
    #9
    wandering_boy

    wandering_boy Junior Tech Wizard

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    Don't let a kid out smart you.
    wish it was my idea. but cant wait so see
    if it ever gets built
     
  10. Feb 21, 2020 at 11:35 PM
    #10
    55kcement

    55kcement New Member

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    What if you used only one gas strut per side and push the uprights apart at the top in-between at the top one on each side ? Am I making any sense ?
     
  11. Feb 21, 2020 at 11:35 PM
    #11
    55kcement

    55kcement New Member

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    Then they would not need to telescope.
     
  12. Feb 21, 2020 at 11:36 PM
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    55kcement

    55kcement New Member

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    More like a scissor lift .
     
  13. Feb 22, 2020 at 8:33 AM
    #13
    Brown Bear

    Brown Bear New Member

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    I made a rack for my 10 ft Jon Boat. I also want to get a tent for it one day. It's a low profile side lift rack. I made it out of Unistrut and some scrape steel from my wife's old treadmill. It has two 150 lb gas struts to help lift it out of the way to access the whole bed. 20191029_144242.jpg 20191028_172952.jpg 20191029_144139.jpg 20191029_144122.jpg 20200211_163322.jpg 2020-02-17 15.47.07.jpg 20191129_091924.jpg 20191129_092212.jpg 20191023_074829.jpg

    20191129_092212.jpg
     
  14. Feb 22, 2020 at 10:04 AM
    #14
    jordan0317

    jordan0317 Just hoodrat things...

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    That's pretty freakin cool man
     
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  15. Feb 22, 2020 at 3:13 PM
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    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    That's awesome!
     
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  16. Feb 22, 2020 at 3:16 PM
    #16
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    I thought about doing something more like a scissor lift. But this seems simpler. Cost wise, I'm not sure on steel, but I'm guessing it can all be done for less than 500. 32 feet of steel up top for this design, the base plates which run down the sides of the bed, the stake post inserts, and then the pistons and gas struts.
     
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  17. Feb 25, 2020 at 2:50 AM
    #17
    KarmaKannon

    KarmaKannon Master of None

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    Some junk
    You can get telescoping tubing from McMaster that might work for the raising and lowering portion. We had a prototype thing similar to what you want at work that we had specd to use some of the square stuff with holes in it because we wanted the raise and lower feature with a positive pinout. Linear actuators or struts could be used to help lifting also.
    https://www.mcmaster.com/telescoping-tube-structural-framing
     
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  18. Feb 25, 2020 at 6:51 AM
    #18
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    Oh awesome! That helps out a bunch! There's another guy I saw who has done something similar, but his rack mounts in the bed, which I was wanting to avoid. But he used linear actuators to lift the rack.

    https://www.tundratalk.net/threads/rtt-rack.505993/
     
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  19. Mar 5, 2020 at 10:32 PM
    #19
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    Got the metal this morning. Probably should've paid the shop to make most of the major cuts so I just had to worry about grinding the edges down to spec. Probably would've saved a bit of time doing that. Ended up bending my blade, so I called it quits for the night.
    20200305_222733.jpg 20200305_222804.jpg
     
  20. Mar 7, 2020 at 4:12 PM
    #20
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    Gonna be working on this all weekend. But it's coming along! This is the base of the rack. The arms and stake mounts will attach to this.
    20200307_170138-01.jpg
     
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  21. Mar 8, 2020 at 8:17 PM
    #21
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    The rack part is ready to be welded! I dont think I'll have time to get to it this week, and next week I'm on vacation! So hopefully I can get it all welded and off to get powder coated the last week of March.
    20200308_205922-02.jpg

    I just saw at home depot the 14 gauge galvanized steel tubing. That should work perfect for the legs. I can possibly use the steel end caps that screw on those, drill a hole and weld a nut on each side to attach them to the heim joints. Bit of grease, and a pin to lock those in position and they should be all ready to go.
     
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  22. Apr 20, 2020 at 4:42 AM
    #22
    abomb

    abomb New Member

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    @KissMyAxe1 - any updates on this? Was watching your progress - looks like an awesome design!
     
  23. Apr 20, 2020 at 7:24 AM
    #23
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    I have galvanized steel pipe for the arms, the gas struts (I'm hoping 4x 60lb struts will do the job), and all the rest of the hardware. The spacers for the hiem joints are a little too wide for the strut mounts I'm using, so I need to grind those down a bit. The plan is to get all three holes drilled in the next couple of days, then get the welding done, and then I'll be able to test fit everything together.

    I'll get some pictures up later this evening.

    I've been slacking due to everything being closed and plans being canceled.
     
  24. Apr 22, 2020 at 8:45 PM
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    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    Alright, here's some more pictures. I got the mounts done, the pipes for the arms still need to be cut down, but this is the basic design for the arms. Gas struts are 60lbs of lift and there will be one on each corner, so that should in theory work. Haha we'll find out.

    20200422_205416.jpg
    20200422_204434.jpg
    20200422_204804.jpg
    20200422_205008.jpg
     
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  25. Apr 22, 2020 at 9:32 PM
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    gosolo

    gosolo “The .com stands for communist”, Dale Gribble

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    Quick question: will you be able to raise each corner independently and freeze the position at any point along the lift?
     
  26. Apr 22, 2020 at 9:46 PM
    #26
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    That would be cool, but no, I'm not planning on it. Just a simple up or down position. I was thinking of drilling a couple holes in the pipes and putting a pin through to lock things down. There's the possibility of using some kind of clamp system to lock the arms in place, and then at that point each corner would be able to move independently. Probably would want done high clearance spacers though for that idea.
     
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  27. Apr 22, 2020 at 10:27 PM
    #27
    gosolo

    gosolo “The .com stands for communist”, Dale Gribble

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    If I were to have a RTT I would want to have the adjustment ability. Having to level up the truck to go to bed could get old quick, especially if setting camp after dark.
    Have you considered adding stiffeners to the back corners of your bed?
     
  28. Apr 22, 2020 at 10:49 PM
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    SC_TRD

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  29. Apr 22, 2020 at 11:00 PM
    #29
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    I definitely should get bed stiffeners, but I probably won't for a little while.
     
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  30. May 2, 2020 at 9:46 PM
    #30
    KissMyAxe1

    KissMyAxe1 [OP] New Member

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    Made some good progress on this today!! Here's how the day went:

    20200502_125158.jpg
    Here's a preview of this base plate on the truck, and how it will look. Got the holes drilled, and then went to my buddies place to get some welding done, finally!

    20200502_171502.jpg
    He taught me the basics of welding, and I went to work on getting all the weld done. He took a grinder and polished them down so everything has a nice finish on it. Should look really good once it's all powder coated!

    20200502_200908.jpg
    My welds! I'm pretty happy with them, considering this is day one of welding for me! :)

    20200502_213846.jpg
    Here's what we've all been waiting for! The test fit! Unfortunately, it's extremely wobbly. So back to the drawing board I go. The arm mounts are pretty well pointed at each other, so I could probably get away with not using the heim joints, and that will really help with the movement issue. If I redesign how the arms mount to the base plates, I could leave the heim joints on the upper part (attached to the rack) and essentially have the capability to have a leveling rack, as long as I can secure the arms at different points.
    So my thought is, instead of the heim joints on the bottom, I need some kind of hinge or T bolt configuration. I could get some square tubing, drill holes through it to act as the hinge. Then drill a hole through a plate and weld that on as a cap, essentially forming a cube with one open end. Attach a bolt (probably weld it in place) to the cap part, run a bolt through the sides, attach the arms to this new hinge and bam, no unnecessary movement. So that will be the next step, then if that holds better, I'll mount it to the truck and see what happens! Hopefully it works out and I can go get it powder coated and be done! Lots of progress!
     
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