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post #1 of 8 Old 03-29-2015, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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Question about custom fab work

My girlfriend and I both are engineers but have minimal metal work experience. How difficult would it be to build a quality front and rear bumper that holds up to a good amount of trail abuse? And do you think it could be done at a cost noticeably below that of buying one pre-fab?

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post #2 of 8 Old 03-29-2015, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoNative View Post
My girlfriend and I both are engineers but have minimal metal work experience. How difficult would it be to build a quality front and rear bumper that holds up to a good amount of trail abuse? And do you think it could be done at a cost noticeably below that of buying one pre-fab?
Simple bumpers are pretty easy. Only 8 bolts hold on the front and 12 for the rear. Cost all depends on how much of the work you can do yourself. If you have a fabricator do it for you the labor alone is going to make it more than buying off the shelf. If you can weld Ive seen some decent ones made with a chop saw and a welder. For my front bumper I CADed out all my parts and had them plasma cut and then did all the welding myself.
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-29-2015, 08:28 PM
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if you can weld and use an angle grinder, its a good DIY project and it should save you some money. currently i have $70 into mine (but i found some material for free), and its already "trail ready", i think i can make it a stubby for $30 more or so....

as already mentioned, only 8 bolts hold the bumper to the frame. here you have the dimensions for the plate that will bolt the bumper to the frame. the rest is up to you.

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post #4 of 8 Old 03-29-2015, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Nice! Thanks for the CAD draft.

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post #5 of 8 Old 03-30-2015, 01:41 AM
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Absolutely depends on how creative you are and how much time you're willing to invest, without considering that a part of the cost.

I fabbed up my own Poison Spyder clone bumpers in my garage and driveway. You can see pics of the bumpers and the process in my build thread. I do have a plasma cutter, and a 20 ton Harbor Freight shop press I made a 90* press brake die for, but you could make the same bumpers with absolutely zero bends -- all cut and welded joints. You could also do all your cuts with a cutoff wheel in a 4.5" angle grinder, or for that matter, with a sawzall.

The three tools you'll absolutely need are a drill, a grinder, and a welder. With those, you can do just about anything you set your mind to. Of course, you can do something much simpler, much easier, but I'm just trying to illustrate that it doesn't HAVE to be simple if you're willing to invest the time.

Both front and rear bumpers (plus the lower front skid) came from a single sheet of 3/16" A36 plate, with about a third of a sheet left. I bought the shackle mounting points and the stinger from TMR Customs, but you can find them other places as well. For the mounting flanges, I used some 1/4" A36 I had laying around, but you could also get a short piece of 1/4 x 4" bar stock. I used exhaust tubing from a local shop for the fog light buckets (front and rear), and I reused the OEM mounting studs for the front bumper. All together, I have less in materials than the front bumper would've cost me.

Now for the labor. I have no idea how many hours I have in these, but I can guarantee you that if I was charging out my time to sell these to someone, I could buy a set of Poison Spyder bumpers, resell them to my customer, and come out with a healthy profit for what I would have to charge. There is just no question but that a production facility can turn these out more quickly, efficiently, and with greater consistency and precision than anyone can producing one-offs by hand.

So why go to all the trouble and spend the countless hours in design, mockup, and fabrication? 1) because I enjoy it. 2) because in terms of cash outlay, I did come out way ahead (but I already had my tools) 3) because I can say, "I built those." You can't buy that. 4) because I was able to incorporate some design changes I preferred over the stock PSC design.

Feel free to PM me if you want any further info.

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post #6 of 8 Old 03-30-2015, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the in depth response. The amount of time it takes doesn't matter to us... it's a hobby, not a job. It would be fun and we have access to a shop that has all the tools, we would just need to get ahold of the raw materials and know what we're doing. The creativity and design would be easy for us. The fabrication will be a fun thing to learn probably by trial and error.

It might not be in the immediate future but I'll be sure to contact you if we have questions, I really do appreciate it.

Ian

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post #7 of 8 Old 03-30-2015, 08:59 AM
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Two engineers building a bumper. This thing is going to weigh 50 tons. Sorry, had to take the shot. Bumpers are easy to design and build. They do need quality welds holding them together though. Also, if you plan to install a winch, it has to hold the rated pull of the winch with a safety factor.

It will be fun and you'll have a feeling of accomplishment as opposed to pulling one out of a box and installing it.


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post #8 of 8 Old 03-30-2015, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Hell, maybe we'll do it out of carbon fiber

Ian

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