Building a hand held toolbox

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 1994klr250, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
    849
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    SE michigan
    Here's some pictures of the toolbox that I've been working on for about the last month. I'm an aircraft mechanic and I've always enjoyed building things out of steel. Some of you might ask why build a toolbox when you can just buy one? I've looked at many of tool boxes at many different places many of which now are either plastic or very thin sheet metal. The plastic ones just don't hold up to the abuse that I seem to put my box through. The steel ones aren't much different in terms of quality. That's mostly the reason why I decided to build my own box, build it with some quality. The bottom piece of steel is the thickest piece in the box. Its 14 gauge sheet metal since it will see most of the abuse getting dropped and slid across concrete. The rest of the box is all 18 gauge sheet metal. I could of gone thicker but I'm trying to keep the weight in check as well. The goals for this project are to build a box that is stronger, better quality, and to last longer than my previous tool boxes.

    So here's that it all started with some steel I had in my garage. The bottom and two sides.

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    Bend the two side panel at each corner.

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    Added the back and one of the top tray supports.

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    Front of the box, this piece has to be longer and bent to conform to the lid when it is closed.

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    Made the first two bends on the front piece to clear the lid. I don't have a sheet metal brake so all of this is done with 2 piece of 90 angle iron, hammers and c-clamps. You can see them on my work bench

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    Making one more 90 degree bend.

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    The last of four bends in the front panel. This was one of the hardest pieces to make with what I had available.

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    Test fitting panels, this is one of those measure four times cut and trim once.

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    All of the bottom of the box done. No welding had been done yet. I only tacked a few corners to hold things in place.

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    #1
  2. Laconic

    Laconic Hapless Rube

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    That looks nice, especially since you don't have a break. :nod
    #2
  3. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    Next I started on the top tray. I didn't get any pictures of this until I was half way into it. I got a little carried away and forgot to take pictures.

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    Here's how I've been bending all of the metal.

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    All of the top edges are folded over for extra strength and to prevent sharp edges.

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    The tray is made from one piece of steel and I later welded all four corners together.

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    #3
  4. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    Very cool.
    #4
  5. ScottFla

    ScottFla Been here awhile

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    I started reading this and as I looked at the first few pictures, I had a thought 'This must be from a KLR owner....'
    And I swear I didn't notice the poster's name :)
    #5
  6. Kevin K

    Kevin K Adventurer

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    how are you getting those bends ?
    I know you dont have a brake, but Im not following how you are doing it with clamps and a angle
    And especially the folds

    #6
  7. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    To get the 90 degree bend in the sheet metal I take one piece of 90 angle steel and lay it on the edge of my work bench. Then I lay the sheet metal on top of it. Next I put another piece of 90 angle steel on top of the sheet metal and clamp it all down to the work bench so it can't move. Once you do that you just hammer the part that is sticking out in the direction you want the bend to go. I generally use a rubber mallet to start out and make many small hits back and forth along the piece. Since all of my bends are 90 degrees the sheet metal takes the shape of the thicker 90 angle steel that is either above or below. I use the small c-clamps here in this picture to hold the top while I finish hammering the bottom edge with a steel hammer since the rubber mallet seems to leave it a little bumpy.

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    To continue with making a full 180 degree fold of the steel, you just make the 90 degree bend then undo the c-clamps holding it down. Flip the top 90 degree piece of angle steel around and move it back about 3/4 of an inch and proceed to finish hammering it over the rest of the way. Hope that helps. Its the best way I can describe it with the pictures I took, Fred.

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    #7
  8. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the comments glad someone is enjoying my work, even though its not bike related.

    Hey anonny, I've been reading your bike build thread, I'm only on page 6 but it looks good.

    ScottFla, I just can't get away from being a klr owner, even though its a 250. I just turned 30,000 miles on it the other day. :clap

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    I'll post more tomorrow on the box.
    #8
  9. VStromTom

    VStromTom Long timer

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    You will have something most of us would just go buy BUT sure as hell not have the pride of having made it ourself. Wish I had the wherewithal and place to try your projcet. Nice work.
    #9
  10. Ironhead

    Ironhead But Itsa Dry Heat

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    That's a nice job you're doing there.
    When you're done , you'll have very nice tool box that you can take a lot of pride in.

    Keep up the good work.:thumb
    #10
  11. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    Back to some more tool box building, work and the holidays kept me from posting, but here's some more.

    Now for the lid on the box. I wanted it too look like a regular hand held toolbox that has the curved front and back, so I got a piece of 1 1/4 pipe. Slid the sheet metal under it and welded the pipe to the 90 degree angle iron. Clamped it all to the work bench and it made a nice curve that I was looking for.

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    Hey its starting to look like something.

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    Bending the back of the lid. I always made my panels a bit bigger than need be so I could trim off the excess. I wasn't sure how much the bend would take up.

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    Making the end caps for the lid.

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    Test fitting

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    Getting the hinge for the lid test fitted. I was able to get a 36 inch long bare steel hinge at grainger for this project. Perfect for welding it on since I had no way to make my own.

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    I used whatever I had laying around to try and hold everything together before welding. Magnets, vice grips, and tape

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    #11
  12. Wylie

    Wylie Back in the saddle again

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    Great work and I'm very impressed with the fact that this was done without a metal break.

    I now have more inspiration for the smoker box I'd like to build for the bottom of my BBQ.
    #12
  13. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

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    VERY nice work. :clap:clap
    #13
  14. DELTATANGO

    DELTATANGO Motorcyclist and Dog Walk

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    Beautiful.
    #14
  15. Dano 407

    Dano 407 One Man Wolfpack

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    I've tried this. It is harder than it looks.

    Very nice!!!
    #15
  16. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    hey! how you get from
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    to this


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    #16
  17. Laconic

    Laconic Hapless Rube

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    It looks like he welded in some fillers and smoothed things out.

    Coming along very nicely.
    #17
  18. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    Yep your right, just added in a little curved piece and smoothed it out.
    #18
  19. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    Top tray fits perfectly in the top of the box.

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    Clamping the side panels together for final welding.

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    Hinge going on. Most of the welds are all spot welds.

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    Lid all welded up

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    Welding the bottom seams up, before.

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    After grinding them smooth.

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    #19
  20. kirkster70

    kirkster70 moto junkie

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    flux core MIG?

    Very nice workmanship!

    I'm a KLR fan myself. Keep up the good work! :clap
    #20