PennyTech - Has anyone made their own panniers?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by ag_streak, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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    Mermites - ammo cans - Pelican cases, lots of people have started with those, and modded & bolted 'em up to a rack. But has anybody MADE their own cans?

    Sheet aluminum? Welded or riveted? Shop-made or done 'em yourself?

    Pictures? Links? Instructions? Warnings?

    Who's got the most ultimately-unique, custom, home-made, one-off panniers on this board?
    #1
  2. R_W

    R_W wannabe

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    seen them here, but can't find them in a search now....
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  3. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    I've seen 'em also, but for the life of me couldn't tell you where. It would seem that negligible sheet metal skills and a bucket o'rivets could yield some workable boxes. Better still, build some mockups in styrofoam, fiberglass/kevlar a shell. :deal That's one more medium I've always wanted to play with but haven't had time.. :cry
    #3
  4. Twin headlight Ernie

    Twin headlight Ernie Custom fabricated dual sport accessories

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    I made my own. Like any project I found some ways to make the next set better. I have a press break and a TIG welder. They took a while to make. Longer than I'd like to admit to. I'm much happier with the bag mounts than the bags themselves. I have a picture of the bike floating around somewhere. Do a search on Twin headlight Ernie's KLR. Happy fabricating.
    2HE
    #4
  5. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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    Ah yes! I see those are built with the extruded edges and stamped or cast corners, the kind that come on many commercial equipment cases.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230805&highlight=2he's

    They're usually made of thin plywood sides, laminated to metal for appearance, then slid into the slots on the extruded metal edges.

    Did you replace the sides, bottom, and top with thicker aluminum? Did you start with cases already built with the extrusions cut to that size? or did you find a source for the extrusions by the foot and create a custom size?




    #5
  6. clang

    clang Not lost, Exploring!

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  7. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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  8. clang

    clang Not lost, Exploring!

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    :doh! My bad, missread the post :lol3
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  9. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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    This is what I'm thinking...

    I have a welding shop nearby that specializes in custom aluminum fuel tanks for boats.

    I'll give 'em my dimensions (about 10"w x 18"l x 14"h) and some drawings, and maybe a cardboard mockup, and tell them to build this out of .080" aluminum sheet...

    Bags1.jpg
    #9
  10. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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    ... then cut them like this...

    Bags2.jpg
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  11. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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    ... so they open like this ...

    Bags3.jpg
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  12. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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    ... and then add a lip like this ...

    Bags4.jpg


    What do you think?
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  13. toolfan

    toolfan Broken Hearted

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    Do it.

    I'd be very interested in the cost, and the shop probably will have suggestions for any bracing you may or may not need.

    Keep us updated.
    #13
  14. TreeFarmer

    TreeFarmer Tree Farmer Adventurer

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    Oh how I do love a good project :lurk
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  15. liking4biken

    liking4biken Adventurer

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    imho,
    the lip that you have devised would not be sufficient to create a seal. During rain/inclement condition water would track through the gap via cappilary atraction. You need some type of rubber seal and a catch that forces the lid to the seal.
    cheers
    pete
    #15
  16. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    If I had access to a shop like that, I'd be real tempted to show them some of the popular designs out there and let them give it some thought. You might be nudging another vender with a better design into the marketplace, and you could be their proof-of-concept tester! :deal

    Don't tell them how much these things go for until you've got your first set though! :lol3
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  17. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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    Absolutely true! Good point. I was just showing the bag construction. Hinges, mounting, seals, all not detailed out yet.


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  18. R_W

    R_W wannabe

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    OK, I have given some thought to this too.

    I would put the equivalent of the canyon cut on the front as well, for aerodynamics. That big square edge catches a lot of air.

    While you are at it, have them make canteens/fuel cells that are a perfect fit for the front or back of the boxes.
    #18
  19. Beowolf

    Beowolf ..thanks for all the fish

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    AG,
    I've tried a few sets, and will keep trying until I get it down.
    I used 5052 aluminum sheet. To keep it real simple, the lower the number (2021) of aluminum sheet, the easier it is to bend and shape but the easier it is to damage. If you were wheeling a fuel tank, hubcap, or something with a compound curve in it, this might be the way to go. If you were building an airliner, you might want something a bit stronger (but harder to shape) like 7000 series. For panniers you'll get opinions for an against anything from 4000 - 6000 series. It's all good.
    I used .080" material on my first couple of sets. It is strong and resists damage very well. The better commercial sets use this. It is heavier, and my next set will be .063"material. About 25% lighter and not likely to affect the performance unless I really go TU somewhere.
    I have welded my bags. Either MIG or TIG will do fine for these as the structural needs aren't real high. I did TIG because I could only afford one welder and it is more versitile, but MIG would be faster. I didn't think about rivets but I don't see any problems with that. Much easier to do at home!
    I made the shape of my bags fit the bike. Instead of an actual rectangle, they are more of a trapazoid. The inner panels parallel the bike frame while the outside panels parallel each other. I've been able to make these bags hold nearly 20 gallons each and still keep them narrower than the handlebars on my 1150 GS. I inset the taillights to increase the volume. I rounded the corners of the bags by simply bending them around the corner of a large peice of metal I set in a press. Rounded corners are less likely to break than a sharp corner, and if dented, they are easier to pound back into shape. An added benny is they don't dent your knee when you walk into them in a dark camp.
    I hinged the lids in the front to minimize the footprint of the bike when they are open. With the lids folded up next to the seat, there is nothing hanging out to the rear or the side for a passerby to snag. By hinging the lids I only needed one lock or latch per bag, minimizing the expense. Hinging the lids is handy in that you don't need to balance the lid on your seat while using the bags, and when open, you have an extra surface to set things.
    Hinges, latches, seals, and much more can be bought on-line. I used www.allegiscorp.com . They were good to work with, specifically the Seattle branch.
    I angled the bottom of the bags to keep them from dragging when cornering hard. With the bike loaded, I took a string from the bottom of the tire and ran it by the footpeg. I lined this onto the bags and cut them about an inch or two above it. By doing this the pegs will drag before the bags, at least on pavement.
    I didn't angle the fronts of the bags but maybe I should have. I have bit my calf a time or two when paddling through heavy sand or dirt.
    #19
  20. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

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    Beowolf, thanks for the info and the link! Most handy!

    Here's the cardboard mock-up so far...

    bags4.jpg
    #20