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DIY Luggage Rack (pics)

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' at netrider.net.au started by jack_1313, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Hi guys, just thought I’d share my endeavour to fabricate a luggage rack for my baby Hornet. It’s a work in progress, so this is part one.

    Since Ventura racks cost upwards of $400, it didn’t really make sense to buy one for the 250. I’ve been meaning to make a luggage rack as long as I’ve had the bike and finally got around to doing it. Its main purpose is to hold my tent on camping expeditions so that I don’t have to spend forty minutes building a tower of luggage on the back seat.

    I’ve done a little bit of metal work before but, to all intents and purposes, let’s say that I’m a newcomer.

    Here’s a shot of the back of a Hornet – you can see that there isn’t a lot to work with. Rather than removing the grab rail, I decided to make life easier and use it as part of the rack assembly. The grab rail is secured by two bolts on either side – the rack would mount at these points, as well as to the grab rail itself. Most of the luggage weight would centre on top of the rail.

    I hunted around online and ordered an offcut of 3mm aluminium sheet online for about $25. I chose 3mm to try to keep the weight minimal but, in retrospect, would probably have gone for 4 or 5mm for a bit more sturdiness. Aluminium was a must because I didn’t want to worry about rusting.

    The quality of the metal was what you’d expect – it’s pretty scratched up. I’ll have to use some sort of metal filler to make the final product look a bit nicer.

    I started cutting and drilling a rough design of the mounting area out of a cheap plastic chopping board. By doing so, I could establish a shape that would allow me to still take the seat on and off with the rack mounted. As it was important to get the mounting holes in the correct position, I sorted these out first and then worked out the design around them.

    Apologies for the bad picture quality – these shots were all taken at night with my laptop’s webcam.

    I then began working with the aluminium sheet. Again, I drilled the holes first because they were the most important thing to get right. That was a good choice because my first attempt was a few millimetres crooked – I thought I could get away using a single clamp, but alas I clearly needed to buy a second one. Once the holes were drilled, I stencilled the cut in the plastic board onto the aluminium and then redrew it with mathematical precision. I triangulated the curve on one side so that I could duplicate it exactly on the other.

    Here’s the sheet marked with pencil and ready for cutting.

    I cut out design around the mounting points using a hacksaw and cheapo jigsaw, and then mounted it on the bike so that I could get a better idea about size and design the rest of the rack.

    Here’s the assembly after I marked out the rest of the design. I’ve cut down some Bunnings threaded rod to connect the plate to the bike temporarily. You can see how rough the cut in the plate is.

    I used the hacksaw for the outer edges as I lacked a better alternative. I then filed and sanded all edges and bevelled the corners to create a much nicer finish. Unfortunately the edges aren’t dead straight, but I think they’re about as good as you could get with a hacksaw and file – they deviate less than a millimetre, which was good enough for me.

    Here’s a shot of the rack in its current form, as well as some other crap lying around on my desk.

    Next time:
    A bit more metal cutting in order to create the brackets that will secure the rack to the grab rail.
    Filling in the scratches and giving it a few coats of black engine paint.
    Anyone know a good source for high tensile threaded rod?

    Thanks for reading!
  2. Nice idea. I will be watching this thread with interest
  3. If you're worried about corrosion then be sure to use plenty of grease (or some other sealant) between the threaded rod and the alloy plate.
  4. That's the plan. Here's how the fastening mechanisms should work once done:


    I toyed between using brackets to secure the rack to the grab rail and the much neater option of just drilling into the grab rail itself, but settled for the former because I couldn't bring myself to make permanent modifications to the bike.

    Maybe. Since the rack will slope forward a little to keep the weight of the luggage over the grab rail, the place where a rail would be most needed is the inside edge. However, it would block the seat from coming off. Might put one on the back edge, but it's difficult because I don't have welding equipment. It would be very helpful for securing luggage straps.

    Yep, thought about that, but it might not be worth the cost. Any idea how much it might be?

  5. Heres something else that works too :)

    • Like Like x 1
  6. Backpacks are good, but sometimes you need extra space. This rack is for when the backpack and the seat bag are already full. :)