Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Building My Car Ramp

It was brought to my attention (thanks Richard) that there were some discrepancies in my measurements. The correct steel dimensions are as follows:

Angle Iron: 2.000" by 2.000" by 0.250"
Square tubing: 1.500" by 1.500" by 0.125"

I couldn't stand squeezing into the tight space under the car when I had to do some repairs so I figured I'd build myself a nice heavy duty car ramp that stows away into a 4' x 8' x 3' work bench. The real reason that started this was that a few years back one of the brake lines of our car burst and within one week a break line on the other car burst because of rust. However, because I did not have the proper setup I ended up having to pay $180 TIMES TWO to get them fixed. That's when I decided that instead of letting this happen again, I'd invest some money into building a real car ramp, 20 feet long to fit any vehicle (an 8' up-ramp followed by a 12' horizontal ramp), 16" wide and 20" high. Needless to say aside from using it on many occasions for our own vehicles, I've even used it to replace one of my father in law's van's wheel bearings and my brother in law's truck's lower ball joint so the ramp has paid for itself probably almost (if not more than) 10 times.

The plan was to build a ramp in sections so that when it is not being used it can be stacked into a compact "box", place a sheet of MDF on top and use it as a 4' by 8' work island at a comfortable 36" height. The dimensions worked out so that I had two 8' sections, two 4' sections and four 4' up-ramp sections, each one 16" wide and 20" high



I just HAD to draw up a diagram in AutoCad even though I built the ramp over a year ago (October 2009)

The main section consists of an 8' piece and a 4' piece, the ramp consists of two 4' pieces

My guess is that the load capacity of these ramps is well over 5000 lbs.

Stacked up into a 4' by 8' by 36" high box

My goal was to end up with a 36" high table that I can simply put a 4'x8' sheet of MDF on as a work area and extension bench for my table saw

Here's a closer view of all the pieces stacked together on the 8' long pieces

The final shop island working surface

It's amazing how often I use this extra 32 square feet of work surface for my projects

Grinder, measuring tape, soap stone marker, bench grinder, clamps, welder, table saw, powder actuated fastener gun, hammer

94' of 1.500" x 1.500" x 1/8" square steel tubing
80' of 2"x2"x1/4" angle iron
67' of 1"x1"x1/8" angle iron
half a pack of welding electrodes
5 sheets of 3/8" OSB
1 sheet of 5/8" MDF
1 sheet of formica/arborite


Approximately 25 hrs

About $3200 so far (in car repairs I was able to do myself instead of having to pay someone $90 bucks/hr)


Veronique said...

You`re quite the Handyman Chris! :)

Crystal said...

Oh great, I am sure this is just another "must have" that Shawn will want.... Thanks bro!

Unknown said...

Looking at it, I think some diagonal bracing might be a useful addition... stop it collapsing along it's longitudinal length or even across the width...

Anonymous said...

great job man, i was looking to find some pics of some ramps to build, then bang ! i came across your blog and now i know how to design and build some. too good - thanks,

Anonymous said...

Chris nice job man! I have a question. If you wanted to make a one piece 12' center section supported only at the ends what material would you use?

Chris Eigenheer said...

@Anonymous, I'm not sure what size material you'd have to use to support that much weight over a 12' span. You'd probably need some pretty heavy duty I-beams or some square tubing or c-channels...

Unknown said...

looks like something I want to make, but some discrepancies in the specs:
1) the drawing specs 1.5x1.5x1/4" angle iron but the list of materials specs 1.5x1.5x1/8"
2) the drawing specs 2x2x1/8" square tubing but the list of materials specs 1.5.15.x.25"

Which did you actually make?

Chris Eigenheer said...

@Richard Mandel, thank you for pointing out the discrepancy. The angle iron is 2" by 2" by 1/4" and the square tubing is 1.500" by 1.500" by 1/8".

Unknown said...

Sorry, but looking at this, did you exchange the names? Shouldn't the angle be 1.5" x 1.5" x 1/8" and the square tubing be 2" x 2" x 1/4"?

Chris Eigenheer said...

@Richard Mandel, no, I actually double checked. The angle iron is 2x2x1/4 and the square tubing is 1.5x1.5x1/8

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm assuming that the (94') is the quantity of 1.500" x 1.500" x 1/8" square steel tubing ?

Chris Eigenheer said...

@Anonymous, yes, you're correct. 94' of 1.5x1.5x1/8 square steel tubing.

Unknown said...

Thanks mate. Now to convert everything to metric.

Anonymous said...

Hello Chris just a small doubt dont we need to add a cross beam to avoid any collapse of the system in case of swings when the vehicle loads up. Kind of a safety protections against swings even when the vehicle is being serviced they can be just small scissors like what they use for scafolding. or a cross brace
my two cent worth Sharad

Unknown said...

Is the wood necessary? I'm wondering if you could have mounted the support angle iron on top and just driven across the ridges?

Chris Eigenheer said...

i was considering doing that but I would have had to use a lot more angle iron across and the drive up/down would not be as smooth. I'd use the wood again if I was to rebuild it...

Unknown said...

Looks great, I love that it converts to a workbench when stowed away.

Anonymous said...

Been awhile, did you die under that thing yet? no cross bracing = death trap.

Carloito said...

I love your blog name and you are a smart guy

Unknown said...

I agree that omitting fore to aft diagonal bracing is a serious safety issue. Please consider adding it. It's basic engineering for strength and stability.

Unknown said...

This is a death trap. You should know better than to omit any kind of bracing. All you need to do is to add a section of angle or 1/4" X 2" flat stock to each corner and a section at a 45 degree angle on each end. Measure the center of each end then measure down on each leg the same amount. Cut the sections on a forty five on both ends and weld them in. Do the same on both sides on both ends with the long side of section to be around 18" and this will be a lot better than a cross brace and not in your way when getting under the vehicle. You said that you changed a wheel bearing. How in the heck did you jack up the wheel to do it? You need to fabricate a jack support that goes from one side to the other but make it out of 3/8" for the needed support. Anyway, nice job over all, just needs some fine tuning.

David said...

Please show us how you lift and remove a wheel to work in brakes or axle bearings.

Unknown said...

Don't want to poop on your parade but you would be wise to forget about used OSB/aspenite and go heavier.
/thicker with good plywood for stability and longevity. Much safer

E Dean Butler said...

Really should have some triangulation -- laterally weak without it.

John said...

This is great i have been trying to come up with something so simple but strong like this. Great job.

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