So here begins my rear cargo rack epic saga...
In the beginning, I had no need so I pretty much ignored these cargo area things. Hey, with 3 dogs barely fitting back there already why would I want to make them all duck?
Then there was light. Well, at least a good long family trip with no real hope of bringing the dogs along for the ride.
So here I am, what now? My budget isn't zero, but as close as possible would be nice. Metal is cheap, labor at hobby rates is free, and most real products are not likely gonna come close.
I started out by trying to find out what's been done before. I don't like to purely copy anything but I will try and learn from somebody else's mistakes whenever I can get away with it.
So here's what I could dig up with my limited searching skill in as good of a timeline as I can manage:
- (9/22/09) @StrykerX Cargo Area Shelf (Earliest I could find. A good read and may influence my project.)
- (3/5/10) @dr_rick Olympic 4x4 Mountaineer Rack (Think I've seen this before. Hit a link recently and it looked familiar. Ah, yes, I have posted there near the end... )
- (6/17/10) @Surf and Snow Rear Cargo Rack (Pic Heavy) @Mr. Bills, your unanswered question near the end goes with #6 below. (Sorry, numbering scrwed up when I expanded the list...))
- (7/15/10) @Toy Man DIY rear cargo shelf (Interestingly one of the few not doing utilitrack mounting. Bonus points for the ceiliing zip ties.)
- (10/27/11) @XSilver XSilver's Rig & Expedition Trailer Build (First Harbor Freight based build I could find.)
- * (11/5/12) @BoonDox MPS: XTF Interior Cargo Rack
- (1/16/13) @Toro Cargo Shelf (Uniquely allows the cargo cover to still function. Best part for me was @Mr. Bills asking if it was done 2 years after it was finished. Gives me hope that I'm not the only one that can't find stuff here. )
- (5/28/13) @07Xterra_mcf Rear Cargo Shelf - Fits Utilitrack (This is the kind of thing that bothers me from old threads, all I get is a stupid yawning cat photo saying "photo not found".)
- (10/5/13) @Monster Cargo "Half" Rack Project EDIT: Finished w/Pics (This one gets credit for inspiration too. I like the single post cantilever and the small tray area for a few reasons. Just looking at pics of kneeling on concrete make my knees hurt...)
- (1/5/14) @ThePlasticOne TPO's Lazy Bones Fab: HF Interior Cargo Rack (Very funny thread, glad I eventually found it. Very helpful too. HF rack based conversion.)
- * (4/15/15) @krp8128 MPS: Cargo Area Utility Rack I think this is the guy that was making the stock bumper winch mounts but hasn't logged in for 4-5 months.
- * (10/20/15) @RockyMtnX Rear cargo rack/shelf This is what I could find as "OP" for the rack @KuanR posted pics of.
- (3/24/16) @JeffBett My take on Organizing the Cargo Space (PVC is not my style, but that is an amazing amount of storage while still being able to transform into bed mode.)
- (4/27/16) @Longboardr How-to: HF Cargo Rack : Linus Edition (Another entertaining and informative thread based on HF conversion.)
- (10/5/16) @TFin04 Discussion on Rear Cargo Storage Solutions (More of a discussion than a build, but also has good links to builds.)
- * (2/4/17) @jsexton jsexton's 07
(*) added to list after initial post
With my history lesson complete I'm still not sure I have all my design goals nailed down yet. Here's something worth quoting:
...I bought this same rack for $50 w/ a Super Coupon at HF for my hitch, but think about time vs. money. It would take me 3-4 hrs to fab up the basket. At $50 to buy the basket, it's a huge savings when considering what you make at work vs. paying...
True enough. But I also respect this guy:
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
The short version of that is... I enjoy making stuff, and in the end if you aren't making something worth making, what's the point? Might as well work on the old beer bottle cap collection instead. I already know that I could never sell this and cover what I could've made putting in more OT. (I'm already putting in way too much, but that's a rant for another day...)
My usual design rules include:
- Don't block driver's visibility if at all possible.
- Form should follow function, so clearly define what the functions need to be.
- Strength should match the need, all else is wasted money/effort/energy.
- Do I have the tools to make it well?
I admit breaking rules 2, 3, and 4. Hey, 1 out of 4 isn't... good?
Anyway, I don't have my desired functions decided, I only have certain materials available, and I may be hoping Santa drops a tube bender down my chimney but I don't have a chimney either. At this point in time I don't think there's really anything I could do better than anybody else already has. Except maybe one thing - release fully dimensioned build plans along with whatever it is I end up with. Even then it will require somebody willing to take up metal work as a hobby or profession. YMMV.
This initial model is 1/8" sheet, 1x1/8" round tube, and 1/8" tread plate. May cut the tubes to .06 wall, and maybe as light as 0.080" on the tread plate, if I can source em. It's about 25# as is and maybe 15# as light as I'm willing to go. I'm just guessing off @Mr. Bill's posted dimensions, and totally guessing the track spacing. Will measure up later since it's under the dog rug right now.
So with no further delay, here's what I came up with today anyway. (Hey @roguebuck
, I finally figured out how to turn on shiny stuff!
UPDATE: ZIP #2 contains the updated bent MOLLE floor, leg flange flat pattern, and tube gusset flat patterns.
Oh, and I made the MOLLE floor and tube gussets from 0.080" sheet, not 0.125". With the triple bends near the leg mounts it seems rigid enough for intended use and cuts about 4# off the total. 20.2# I think it was with that center top tube put back. That floor panel compromises a little on full width flat, but for now I'm ok with it. We've got at least 2 months to try it out before the big trip and I can make a new shelf if it's really bad.
Shiny stuff and shadows in SW stopped working, and I don't know why.