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DIY Laser Cut Bed Stiffeners - Hand Bendable (...but requires welding)

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by ekliptiko, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. Aug 2, 2020 at 12:24 AM
    #1
    ekliptiko

    ekliptiko [OP] Active Member

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    I know there are plenty of bed stiffeners out there - but I hadnt seen any that were laser cut, hand bend-able, with files, free and open for everyone. So...I went ahead and made my own and I wanted to share the design with you guys.

    [​IMG]

    These are designed to be laser cut from 3/16". I am sure they could be cut on a plasma table, too, but I have not tried let alone verified. They are designed to maintain precision even though they are bend-able with an adjustable wrench. This is achieved by a relief cut along the bends; leaving only 2 thin tabs per bend. After bending, re-welding the back of the bends strengthens the stiffener back to similar strength of a press brake formed design. I ordered them from sendcutsend.com and selected their hot rolled P&O steel in 0.188" thickness. In late July 2020, they cost me $83.18 for a pair shipped.

    These fit my 2015 Tacoma Short Bed. That is the only vehicle I have tested them on and can verify it fits on my vehicle. I believe the bed is the same across all lengths even including 3rd gen, but I am unable to verify at this time.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cut files are attached here. Provide your laser cutter with the attached DXF and PDF file.

    They can be bent with just an adjustable wrench, square and some elbow grease. Position the adjustable wrench near where the little tabs are.

    [​IMG]
    Note: the above image was taken on an old revision with multiple tabs on the long bend. Current revision only has 2: one at each end.

    [​IMG]

    I recommend starting with the long, vertical section bend first. Bend a little on each tab with the adjustable wrench. Go back and forth bending each a little at a time until you get to 90 deg. The shorter, horizontal, bend can be bent in one go - it appears to be short enough to bend without going back and forth between the two bend tabs.

    Adjust your bends until you are satisfied that everything is square. Weld up the back of the bends in the crook left by the relief cuts.

    DON'T FORGET TO BEND A LEFT SIDE AND RIGHT SIDE - THEY ARE OPPOSITES. Don't ask me how I know.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You decide how much of the bend length to weld. No recommendation provided.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    DXF, and sldprt file attached

    If anyone uses these models but makes improvements or changes, please post them here! Got a cool idea, but dont have the capability to modify the design? Post your idea - I might be able to incorporate your idea!

    Lastly, I have released these into the internet. The design is free for everyone. Feel free to take it, make a pair for yourself, modify it, improve it, make it yours. Maybe you have a plasma cutter and a welder and some time - feel free to make them to sell.

    My only condition for anyone to sell these for profit is that you give me credit and provide a link back to this post in your online store's product page for these.

    There's many more designs to come, guys! Im just getting started.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  2. Aug 2, 2020 at 5:57 AM
    #2
    Chris(NJ)

    Chris(NJ) Well-Known Member

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    Nice work making your own!
     
  3. Aug 2, 2020 at 6:25 AM
    #3
    cwadej

    cwadej Ballerina Award winner

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    For the time and money to get a similar product, you can buy a set already bent, welded, and powder coated, with hardware.

    I dont see the advantage to this.
     
  4. Aug 2, 2020 at 6:37 AM
    #4
    neatoneto

    neatoneto Well-Known Member

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    Many people like making their own and perhaps can benefit from a well thought out design like this.
     
  5. Aug 2, 2020 at 7:04 AM
    #5
    Chris(NJ)

    Chris(NJ) Well-Known Member

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    With that said, you could also argue for the time and money spent on an oil change, you could just go down to Jiffy Lube. Everyone has their own level of justification and learning. Having something YOU built will always be cooler than something you bought.

    I guess the people who don't see an advantage to creating or working on things themselves just don't get it. Which is fine. Really. It's not everyone's "thing". But those people who do, will always have a better understanding of how things work, how to make something work, fix things when they break and improve upon things. And by the looks of his post, I can guarantee you that this guy will always have a job and have work.

    A good quote thats loosely applicable here and that I always remembered was....Those who try and fail are infinitely better than those that do nothing and succeed.
     
  6. Aug 2, 2020 at 9:23 AM
    #6
    ekliptiko

    ekliptiko [OP] Active Member

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    Oh, I bought 4 iterations to get it right. So if we're talking cost here I could have bought probably 3 pairs of fully bent and welded brackets by now and mine still aren't painted and I don't have all the hardware, LOL.

    So... I failed 3x times before I got it right.

    Proto #1 - There were too many bend tabs on the long edge. My thought was to leave as much of the original material intact as possible by maximizing the bend tabs. Additionally, there was an outside chamfer at the top of the bracket. This caused the top bend tab to nearly break off in bending. Might have been fine after welding, but I didnt like it.

    Having multiple bend tabs and trying to make the bend by hand w/ adjustable wrench resulted in an out-of-plane bend making the bracket not square.

    Lastly, it was made out of 1/8". I had done some back envelope calculations and found that 1/8 would be sufficient for the force inputs I used to calculate. I didnt like that. They simply didnt LOOK strong enough.

    Proto #2 - Corrected some hole locations. Construction tape measure is only so accurate, lol. ±1/16" Made the long bend with only 2 bend tabs - one at either end. This relieved the strain along the length of the bend and helped to ensure that the bend stayed in plane to yield a square bracket. I also adjusted the outer profile of the upper most outer cut to help reduce weird bending stresses that occurred with the first proto.

    Proto #3 - the hole to receive the outer most bed bolt (the one with the D-ring) was still out of place. I also witnessed some variance in this hole position between L & R sides.

    Proto #4 - Current. I adjusted the position of the outer most bolt location and also slotted it to accommodate not only the L/R variance I saw on my truck, but hopefully to accommodate a wide(r) range of tolerances from the factory.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  7. Aug 2, 2020 at 9:24 AM
    #7
    Ryan2103a

    Ryan2103a Well-Known Member

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    Nice work. Wish I knew how to weld :bananadead:
     
  8. Aug 2, 2020 at 9:35 AM
    #8
    tonyl13

    tonyl13 Well-Known Member

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    Nice job like the design (tie down holes)
     
  9. Aug 2, 2020 at 9:53 AM
    #9
    ekliptiko

    ekliptiko [OP] Active Member

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    Craigslist services section has many welders looking for work. And they'll come to you!
     
  10. Aug 2, 2020 at 11:47 AM
    #10
    ekliptiko

    ekliptiko [OP] Active Member

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    Because the mods decided that the OP doesn't get a chance to respond to this, let's try it again.

    The advantage is that I have designed and released the complete design free and for anyone to use, modify or improve upon. I will even allow commercial use of the majority of my designs with the one condition that I receive credit for the design and this post is linked on any and all online store product pages for my designs. In my mind, I just opened up the market for competition.

    Yes, by the time I or anyone receive a single pair, bend them, Weld them, paint them and buy hardware, it is nearly the cost of a pair from one of many great vendors. In fact, I actually bought 4x sets each with iteration changes to get to the working design I have shown. I greatly enjoy the design process and feel far more proud about the parts I designed as opposed to purchased.

    Cali raised and victory 4x4 come to mind and offer basically equivalent products for ~$110.

    If you are not seeking to fabricate your own for whatever reason, please go purchase a pair from one of the great vendors here on the forum.

    Please feel free to contribute to the design. If you have any ideas for improvements that you feel would provide a better value than the existing commercial options, I would love to hear about it and I can try to incorporate it into a new revision.
     
    monkeyevil and hoffengineering like this.

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