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Old 03-11-2017, 10:44 AM   #1
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1x1" 16-gauge galv-steel square-tubing for Deck frame?

Hi Friends,

I'm building a deck for the roof of my 1999 AmTran mid-size. I came across a really good deal on some 1" x 1" 16 gauge galvanized steel square tubing. Will this material be sturdy enough to create the frame for my deck?

Deck Requirements/ Specifications:

* Travel with approx 500lbs of gear on the deck.
* support 6 or so humans when parked.
* covers 60% of the roof. Approx 17'x7'.
* I want the side supports mounted on the roof and the width of the deck 4" in from the sides of the bus, for a more sleek design and less wind resistance.
* Steel tubing lateral supports running along every rib. Mounted along the centerline with 3/8" bolts. Custom brackets to mount the ends of the steel tubing to the arch of the roof, along the side. (Still working this one out, need advice)
* Deck material: Plank decking or maybe Trex or even Aluminum if I can find it.

I'm no engineer, but this steel tubing would seem to be sufficient. Thoughts?
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lowkee View Post
Hi Friends,

I'm building a deck for the roof of my 1999 AmTran mid-size. I came across a really good deal on some 1" x 1" 16 gauge galvanized steel square tubing. Will this material be sturdy enough to create the frame for my deck?

Deck Requirements/ Specifications:

* Travel with approx 500lbs of gear on the deck.
* support 6 or so humans when parked.
* covers 60% of the roof. Approx 17'x7'.
* I want the side supports mounted on the roof and the width of the deck 4" in from the sides of the bus, for a more sleek design and less wind resistance.
* Steel tubing lateral supports running along every rib. Mounted along the centerline with 3/8" bolts. Custom brackets to mount the ends of the steel tubing to the arch of the roof, along the side. (Still working this one out, need advice)
* Deck material: Plank decking or maybe Trex or even Aluminum if I can find it.

I'm no engineer, but this steel tubing would seem to be sufficient. Thoughts?
I believe it would. But if it is cheap enough and you decide you have to, you can allways add to what you built.
Be sure to check out this thread too:
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/ro...nt-3902-4.html

Also might consider extruded aluminum decking.
Or if you can find it cheap, used aluminum bleach planks.
Definitely stay away from trex or any other composite or non-metal decking. Other than maybe wood, the trex stuff and the ilk requires more support to prevent sagging.
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Old 03-11-2017, 04:03 PM   #3
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I am no engineer but i have used this calculator to size metal tubing before.

Deflection Calculator for Square Tubing

if your span is 96" your ends fixed, the gauge is .065 in, 1" tubing and 500lbs would give you a bit over 2" of deflection in the middle. i think you would want to keep deflection under .25" or stiffer.

hope that helps.
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:40 PM   #4
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I am no engineer but i have used this calculator to size metal tubing before.

Deflection Calculator for Square Tubing

if your span is 96" your ends fixed, the gauge is .065 in, 1" tubing and 500lbs would give you a bit over 2" of deflection in the middle. i think you would want to keep deflection under .25" or stiffer.

hope that helps.
Thanks Turf,

I think we can adjust the 96" span, as I plan to have the rails braced against the roof of the bus in the Center. So, roughly a 38" span. Is my thinking correct here? That would give me a .115" deflection.

Also, the weight of the gear will be distributed over the length of the deck. I think the most likely strain on it would be 3 or 4 people standing close together in one spot... which would be roughly 500lbs... So I think the numbers we're calculating with are reasonably accurate.
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:59 PM   #5
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shortening the span makes it stronger. i think you understand the calculator. the weight is per support, so technically, you could add all the joist up and multiply it by 500 lbs for your total weight capacity. maybe use 10% of that for a safe working weight. at more than 1/4" deflection the structure will feel springy.

good luck!
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:39 PM   #6
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short angle pieces

To connect your rack to the edge/curve of the roof perhaps you could run a length of 2in angle 20ft long front to back, bolt it to each rib,
This would be your hard point for the rack legs, then to connect your legs to the 20ft long angle you would take a few pieces of 2in angle cut into 2 inch long pieces, these short pieces would be bolted to the 20ft long angle piece.
These short pieces of angle would be tilted toward the center of the roof from one angle but from the other angle you would have one side of the 2in piece of angle pointed straight up so you could bolt the rack legs securely.
Just a thought...
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Old 03-14-2017, 09:21 PM   #7
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Keep in mind you can't weld galvanized. It's highly toxic if you do
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Old 03-14-2017, 09:27 PM   #8
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Keep in mind you can't weld galvanized. It's highly toxic if you do
Just weld it outside, and use a fan if necessary. You CAN weld galvanized.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:45 AM   #9
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Just weld it outside, and use a fan if necessary. You CAN weld galvanized.
That's the plan. We got a decent respirator and a fan.
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:04 PM   #10
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You can weld galvanized.
If your ventilation don't quite do it and you start getting a headache? That's the first sign and then your stomach starts feeling weird and you want to throw up?
Drink some whole milk and get some fresh air.
Fresh air at the headache and do short runs at a time will buy you some time.
Your welds will burn the galvanized off because it is only a coating so have some cold galvanizing spray paint on hand to cover the welds as soon as possible.
I like to spray them while they are still warm to kinda bake the paint on.
But not hot cause the stuff is very flammable.
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