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Unread 28th November 2015, 11:09 AM
ResDead ResDead is offline
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Default DIY Behind the Grille Light Rack - SIMPLE

Just wanted to share my post from sf.org so some here may find it useful:

I'm sure you could use this technique for just about anything that doesn't need to be super strong... If you're like me and don't own a welder your fabrication options are pretty limited. Luckily there's a cheap and easy way to fabricate metal parts using brazed aluminum! If you've never brazed metal before it's pretty much the same as welding, but you're using a torch to heat the metal rather than an arc of electricity. You can't weld aluminum so this is the only way to fabricate parts from it. The other key difference is that brazing is only a mechanical bond from the brazing rod (think of it like flux in soldering) melting and bonding to the two metals, whereas welding is more of a "chemical" bond as the electrical current draws the welding material into the metal. That said, the most important step to brazing a quality part is making sure you prep the area really well with a wire brush.

You can find all sorts of awesome brazing tutorials online if you don't already know how to do it. Here's my build:

I needed a light rack for my behind-the-grille lights. I wanted to use existing hardware and mounting points and I wanted it to look as invisible as possible behind the grille, but also nice enough that if someone did see it, it would fit my "zombie apocalypse" theme. I measured out the holes used to mount the headlights and radiator to the frame, and also the bottom hole used to secure the hood latch to the frame - these would be my mounting points (sorry, you'll have to take your own measurements if you want to replicate this build). For the supports I used some thing sheet aluminum left over from my skid plate, and for the bar that would hold the lights I used a basic piece of aluminum corner trim. I attached the supports, measured out the bar and clamped it all together to be brazed:

20151126_122953 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151126_122938 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151126_123201 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr

Now remember, you need to prep the area well to get a strong part. Since this is only a mechanical bond, it' reliant on the bonding surfaces being very roughed up. Use a steel brush to get a good and ready surface. Failure to do this will result in the brazing material breaking off the un-prepped surface later down the road (pun intended).

20151126_123206 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr

Lay down your beads nice and thick - it's not like welding, it's hard to make it look nice and pretty so don't worry about straight lines... just make sure that you're heating the metal to melt the rod, not heating the rod with the torch - this is essential. Once you laid down your bead its good to go back over it with the torch and make sure you get out any wormholes or gaps.

20151126_125736 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151126_125832 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr

make sure you get every seam for a stronger part
20151126_125751 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr

even the back edge
20151126_125746 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
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  #2  
Unread 28th November 2015, 11:11 AM
ResDead ResDead is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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Default

Test fit and... the lights were too heavy to only have it mounted on the sides, so I added a center support.

20151126_134124 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151126_135346 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr

20151126_152725 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151126_153157 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr

MUCH BETTER - now I'm a little concerned that this is blocking too much of the radiator... better add some vent holes and paint it up so it blends in and:
20151126_200017 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151126_200033 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_091121 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_092609 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_100942 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_102535 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_122504 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_122524 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr


Pretty simple. You can do your own measurements and modify it however you like, and keep modifying it as you need to make the part you want. In the future I may beef it up a little more or make one with stronger aluminum, but for now this is perfect. Hope someone finds this helpful and inspirational!
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  #3  
Unread 28th November 2015, 11:11 AM
ResDead ResDead is offline
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Mancos, CO
Year: 2011
Model: Forester
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Posts: 47
ResDead is on a distinguished road
Default

Here's some close-ups of the mounting points if anyone is interested

20151127_102544 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_102601 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_102609 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
20151127_102626 by Jim Ferrigno, on Flickr
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