DIY Aluminium canopy build




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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Age
    32
    Posts
    91
    Thanked: 4

    Default DIY Aluminium canopy build

    I've recently started a project which I think is pretty cool and thought I'd share it here for others to either be jealous or use as part of their own ideal ideas.


    I bought myself a new Hilux and wanted to put a "canopy" on the back, also known as a "workbody" or "camper". It goes by a couple of names here... (Here is Australia, but let's leave that for another discussion)


    To do this, I had a loading tray installed by Toyota with drop down sides (another cool feature in Aus).
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    I was shocked when I got the quotes and they ranged from AUD5000 to AUD15000 for a canopy So I decided to use a few ideas from different manufacturers and build my own. (I will post total cost after completion)



    1. First, I needed a welder to weld Aluminium. After a few weeks research, I realised the best way to do this is with TIG welding. I looked around at a couple of welders and it came down to two options.
    1. WIA 200i AC/DC (Welding Industries Australia) (Around AUD2200 with all the extra bits and pieces. Welder, filler rods, gas bottle, new helmet etc.)
    2. Cigweld Weldskill 200A AC/DC Tig welder (Around the same price, AUD50 difference)

    Since the WIA was all they had in stock, and aparently sold way more of, I took this. I bought some offcuts and my first few attempts to weld ALU went terrible.
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    After struggling for two weeks, I decided to get an expert in to come show me how it is supposed to be done. (Not cheap at AUD70 per hour 8-0)


    Luckily, or unlucky, not sure which, the welder was stuffed. He also couldn't do any better. I returned the piece of rubbish and exchanged it for the Cigweld. (Cigweld is in bed with ESAB and Thermal Dynamics, Thermadyne in South Africa so I should've probably just gone with them in the first place)
    They had 4 other WIA in their repairs are when I took mine back.


    After trying this out for a few more days, my welds started looking way better and I was ready to weld on the canopy. (Ignore the crack)
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    2. To start off, I wanted the canopy to have 4 x jack-off points so I could lift it off the tray when not used. I don't like losing all functionality of a tub. This required a proper floor frame to support the full canopy weight when lifted off.
    I asked some of the guys I first got quotes from if they could box the frame with sheets top and bottom, so that I could use the cavities for water storage, but they weren't interested in customizing. I used 40 x 40 x 3mm sqr tubing for most of the frame.
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    I will eventually place plates over the top and bottom to be able to use it for water storage. I calculated around 100 - 110L of space in there.

    I will be moving my roof top tent to the canopy once done, so I needed a proper roofrack to support around 200 - 250 kg (static weight)
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    The lift-off legs seemed to complex to make myself, so I bought 4 brand new ones off a guy who never used his. ($350)



    3. After completing the frame, It is ready for skinning. I am a faithful believer of sika products, so I will be using sika and rivets for most of the frame. With the end of year rush, the sheet folding places are less keen to squeeze in my few sheets in between their other more profitable work, so now I am still waiting for the first sheet to arrive. I am buying and folding the sheets one by one (Don't want to mess something up and have repeated the mistake on all the sheets. It will take a little longer and cost a little more, but better that than making silly mistakes on round one).

    I will be posting more photos as I go along...
    I'll try catch you if I can on the road...
    You try catch me if you can off the road...

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Rhyno cj2 For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Age
    32
    Posts
    91
    Thanked: 4

    Default Re: DIY Aluminium canopy build

    I need to treat the aluminium before closing up my water tank.
    Any ideas on the best way to treat it apart from anodizing? It's pretty expensive so I'm hoping there is some alternative treatment like painting with rubber based paint of primer?
    I'll try catch you if I can on the road...
    You try catch me if you can off the road...

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