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Thread: Unconventional service bed

  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Lightbulb Unconventional service bed

    Yet another little truck project. Something built up from various odds and ends. One of the main goals is to keep the weight to a minimum. Here is what I started with.

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    To check the fit and figure out materials I started with a 3D model of the truck. Then I added the frame, floor, boxes, bumper, rig, and accessories.

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    One of the best things about the model was figuring out how this was going to fit around the suspension, even though these boxes were notched for a different truck. The clearances are less than a half inch in places.

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    I had to relocate the batteries forward, and lower the fuel tank, so the bed could sit low on the truck. I built the front deck first, with a mixture of TIG and MIG. Tube frame and steel tread plate.

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    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  2. #2
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    Next up I started framing out the service boxes. The truck frame required that some concessions be made as to the best way to layout the crossmembers. Since there was no front wall to hold things together, a lightbar was added to tie the two boxes together. A plate across the rear holds the back.

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    Here is the first trial fit before the frame was shortened. It lined up great with the front deck and steps.

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    I had enough scraps left over from the floor to make up a bumper. Since I didn’t have access to a large brake, the pieces were cut and welded. TIG the outside corners, and stitch MIG the insides. Even so, it required a little heat straightening for the piece that was only welded along one side, to take out a slight curve. You can see the discoloration along the edge. I have never been very good at that, but this time it worked like a charm.

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    And here is the mostly finished product. All painted and with a couple of coats of Monstaliner on the bumper, steps, and floor. I still need to get some aluminum diamond plate to cover the sides above the steps. Also need to build a tailgate once we get some other parts worked out.

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    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Chandler, Arizona, USA
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    Default

    Very cool project - both the end product, and the execution.

    For a 3D model like this, how much did you have to create from scratch measurements? How long did that CAD part of it take you?

    Do you use a simple tool like Google's, or a commercial package?

    Cheers,
    Richard
    210EXT (2013 USA)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardH View Post
    Very cool project - both the end product, and the execution.

    For a 3D model like this, how much did you have to create from scratch measurements? How long did that CAD part of it take you?

    Do you use a simple tool like Google's, or a commercial package?
    It was all done in Sketchup. I started with a Ford ambulance model from the 3D warehouse then stripped off all the parts I didn't need, and tweaked it to better match my truck. I measured the boxes I had, and had a few other models from previous projects I could reuse. The boxes are very basic, just so I could move things around and check fits. Some bits and pieces were available from manufacturers, like the Arrowstik model, and the federal signal beacons, others I did myself like the rest of the lighting. The level of detail varies depending on what I was trying to do. All the new steel was just simple geometry, so none of the corner radii and fillets and such was modeled, unless I was using something I already had in my library.

    The initial CAD was about a day or two, but much of that was modeling another service bed that I wanted to use. Unfortunately that bed was sold with the truck, so I had to start over. Then as I was working I would work out new things in the model, then build them, or occasionally create a part in steel then update the model.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  5. #5

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    I haven't tried Sketchup... is this the free or pay version ?
    2013 250EX : SSC Pedal : I-MIG 250P 20' Profax gun : Power Plasma 60 p80 torch : 3M Speedglas 9100XX : Evolution Rage 3 DB cold saw

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoama585 View Post
    I haven't tried Sketchup... is this the free or pay version ?
    You should try it. I did almost all of it with the free version. I do have a few paid plugins, but there are also a ton of free ones out there, too. I also worked on it a little in another location using the pay version where you can add and subtract solids, something not included with the free version, but still doable manually with intersecting faces. Keeping work in progress on Google Drive really helps. I've probably worked on this from half a dozen computers. One thing that really helps is having a 3D controller, not required, but once you use one, you will really miss not having it.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  7. #7
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    Finished up the tailgate, but forgot to add it here. Decided not to put in a latch access plate for now. I can always do that later, if the latch fails. Just keeps things cleaner for now, and with everything lubed up, it will probably last the life of the truck.
    As always, cheaper to buy one, but when I asked about a 56" wide one the truck body place said no way. At least they sold me some nice latches.

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    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

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