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What section steel to use?


Peaklander
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Morning all,

I am moving into a refit of my 110 CSW which is used as a camper with lifting roof. We have used it for a few years now, partially kitted out using wood with a couple of flip down seats on one side, a platform for a fridge behind the driver and another platform for storage boxes and then a cooking / food prep. area on the other side. There are various lockers too. It was all made with square section timber and plywood faces and has been very successful.

Now though we want to re-do this a little more permanently and by moving to SHS steel tube I feel that I can gain a lot of space by reducing the material section. The question is that I am about to order some steel but am not sure what section to buy. Initially I thought 19.05mm (3/4") with 1.2mm wall but now I'm thinking that it will be too big and that 15.9mm (5/8") would be enough. It's to be used to sit on, to carry a fridge, and for a worktop with hob and cupboards underneath. So there's nothing heavier than a human bean really.

The plan is to use a recently purchased an Alfra saw that needed a new blade and a bit of fettling, buy a couple of magnet clamps to help assemble the corners and get my MIG out. I had considered using those steel reinforce plastic joint pieces but when I look at my sketches there will be many and the cost will go silly with them I feel. As a rough guide, from my pencil sketches there's at least 30m running length of steel needed.

So what advice do you have about the metal work, especially the SHS 5/8" section I'm proposing? Are there any other things to consider, even the size of the mag clamps?

Thanks

 

 

 

 

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Bosch Rexroth aluminium extrusion or any of the many many copies is another option - there's a whole world of fixings and whatnot for it, it's surprisingly strong, easy to add/adjust bits, and you can get rounded-front profiles that make for very neat finishes - and you don't have to paint it!

I made the enclosure for my mill from it;

20190201_165955.jpg

 

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The extrusion stuff ends up very heavy very quickly if you're not careful.... the costs also spiral!

It might be worthwhile looking at something out of sheet metal instead. JasonG4110's build was pretty neat and plenty strong enough with folds in it. It depends how proficient you are (or got access to) design software.

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I have spent a while reading about this aluminium T slot profile stuff and convinced myself that if the small section stuff is strong enough then it might be the way to go. There is a great series of videos by "ourkaravan" on Youtube and one gets the idea. He uses home made brackets to form the angles so really just needed to buy the extrusion.

Interestingly the "on-line" sellers don't provide prices "on-line", unlike those for steel. So I picked-up the phone and rang a company and asked for the price of their 20x20 profile with one smooth side. It is £7.30 +VAT per metre. So I have gulped and wondered about steel again. The 15.9mm SHS steel is about 1.46+VAT per metre. It's a heck of a risk buying the pricey stuff when I feel it's going to be a bit of a design and build project.

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I used KJN for mine, it does cost a bit more than plain old box steel but IMHO for some stuff it's a much nicer / easier / cleaner solution - and I've welded plenty of stuff together from SHS.

https://www.aluminium-profile.co.uk/br-range-compatible-with-bosch-rexroth/br-aluminium-profile

Their 6mm slot (20x20) looks like about £4.40/m, the plain-fronted stuff is a little more but having had the joy of welding up SHS, having to add brackets / drill holes for stuff, grinding back, wiping all the protective gunk off, doing coats of paint etc. to get it looking smart the anodised extruded aluminium starts to look mighty attractive for a fair few jobs... if we ever re-do the camper kitchen area I'll be looking closely at BR extrusion.

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I missed that website. Yes thanks that is useful - cheaper and also I can see the price on-line. I'd almost given up as even the Chinesium on eBay is ££.

I'll continue to think about it and wring my hands and then will probably take your advice regarding avoiding welding and cleaning up etc. Only problem is I have a lovely shiney 355mm blade for steel and not one for Aluminium.

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I'd suggest that you make up a wooden corner jig - possibly with a 5/8 guide for welding up the corners.  You can use magnets - but I find them fiddly and awkward - hence slow - and everything moves when you clamp the earth on - which has by now fallen off and you've got to align it all again.  With the wooden jig - simply fit the rails,  butt them up and clamp in place.  Guide rails on the jig might help get everything flat.  Wood will do especially if you only use it for tacking up.

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1 hour ago, secondjeremy said:

I'd suggest that you make up a wooden corner jig - possibly with a 5/8 guide for welding up the corners.  You can use magnets - but I find them fiddly and awkward - hence slow - and everything moves when you clamp the earth on - which has by now fallen off and you've got to align it all again.  With the wooden jig - simply fit the rails,  butt them up and clamp in place.  Guide rails on the jig might help get everything flat.  Wood will do especially if you only use it for tacking up.

Mag clamps are so much easier, but just put part of the job in the vice and put the Earth clamp on the mounting bolt. That, or the little mitre clamps. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

When I built the seat frame and side storage bays for the rear of the 110 I got in a load of 20x20mm box (might have been 2mm wall) from https://www.themetalstore.co.uk/products/6-metre-lengths-box-section-2mm

They actually had an option to leave by the side of the house when booking delivery. I think I just ordered 10 lengths of 3m at the time and was incredibly useful having a stock of 20x20 box around. You can go thinner if you drop to imperial sizes.

More than strong enough - I built a "temporary" wheeled trolley to shift a hydraulic press around and that lasted surprisingly well in fact it only suffered when I dropped a 20" OD, 20mm 900mm long pipe onto (probably >300kg worth of steel) onto it...

6 metres of 20x20mm works out at £2.66 / m which is probably more palatable.

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Yes I have looked at their website and spoke to them. They seem to be a very good outfit and deliver in a couple of days. To compare, I gave a local steel supplier a chance to quote. I had to wait three days for a reply and when I saw the price I thought they were taking the proverbial. They even followed up with a “where do we stand” kind of question a few days later. So I told them to look at prices on wwe.themetalstore.co.uk and let me know what they could do. No reply.

The pressure is off now as the trip is postponed. I still haven’t got the new floor in anyway due to jobs-that-need-doing creep. This morning I changed the rear spring seats for example. I may even refit the wood version and modify that to check the proposed changes. Steel will probably be the way but I am also looking at the flightcase extrusions too. They are also expensive. 

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I started an account with ParkerSteel and as long as you order a decent lump of stuff they'll deliver by lorry for free and the prices are pretty much trade (obviously small fry don't get much discount!) - only issue is all the lengths are 6+m and any properly heavy stuff you need to be able to handle it when the lorry arrives.

I chuck a generous extra portion of 25x25 box/angle and 6mm & 8mm rod into any order just for random jobs and to bump the order up.

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