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Home Member Build Ups Technical How To: Make Your Own Side Awning!

How To: Make Your Own Side Awning!

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I have made my own Side awning, and this is how I did it!  I made it myself as I couldn't buyone that was large enough :!:

I made this in December 2009, I have made a few adjustments since then, but this is what I did......

It measures about 3mx3m and assembles in about 1 minute.  Pack-up takes about 2 minutes!

From this.......

to this (in less than a minute!!)

And this is how it looks from the back - all packed away again!

It was not necessarily a "cheap" awning, but certainly cheaper than a simmilar one would be to buy.  It is also bigger than you can buy off the shelf, and with 6x Amigos (in the family) we can all get into the shade or out of the rain quite quickly!

The awning will "free-stand" in a moderate breeze without guy ropes, however I would put the ropes down if it were at all windy as a safety precaution.

The only thing that does not pack up into the bag is the 2x pegs that hold the guy-ropes, all else just rolls up and tucks away.

Hope it gives you guys some ideas.  It wasn't terribly difficult just had to think a bit 1st.

I will eventually change the canvas sheet to some of that "rip-stop" stuff, but just used a piece of an old tarp that I had at home for starters.

How To: build a roll-away awning

Once designed (in my head) I found the construction of this awning to be of moderate to little difficulty.  The main tools required are a hacksaw, drill, rivets and a few small spanners.  It does require you to be comfortable with a sewing machine to sew a hem or two, some velcro straps, and a zipper onto the cover bag.  I am sorry I don't have too many photos of the procedure as I did not plan it as a how toat the beginning, but due to requests on Delicaclub, I have done it with sketches.  If you wish to ask any questions, please feel free  I will try and answer them as best I can.

Purchased:-
:) Rays Outdoors - 2x 3m (3 stage) Twist and lock aluminium poles (used for horizontal arms) ($28.99 each)
:) Aluminium twist and lock legs (I had these from the previous awning but can be bought from Rays/BCF and the like)
:) Aluminium rivets
:) Aluminium angle (Unequal) 50x 25x 3mm  (3m length) Used for end beam to attach legs)  ($50.30)
:) Aluminium angle (Equal) 50x 50x 3mm  (3m Length) Used for main beam to attach to vehicle and horizontal arms  ($60.25)
:) Aluminium flat bar 20x 3mm (3m length) x2 (to affix tarp sheet to end beams)  ($12.82ea)
:) Aluminium angle (Equal) 40x 40x 3mm  (1m length)   ($17.96)
:) Aluminium square section box tube, 25.4x 25.4 x 1.2mm (1m length)  ($7.50) [I have sine removed these!]
:) Few screws/Bolts and bits/pieces to join it together
:) Tarp for top sheet - I cut it down from an old large tarp that I had, but will replace it in the future with rip-stop canvas (I just want to make sure there are no more mods I want to do to it before finalizing!!)
:) Heavy canvas (Left-overs I had at home from a previous project) originally bought from Clark Rubber used for the protective cover.
:) Heavy duty zip (also left-over from a previous project) Originally purchase from Spotlight
:) Upholstery thread to stitch it together!
:) 2x Guy ropes, make your own or ready made from Rays Outdoors for about $5.00
:) 3x angle brackets (and matching bolts) to attach to standard roof racks (Bunnings $=not much)
:) 2x rubber stoppers for the bottom of the legs
:) Velcro for straps (approx 4cm with and 2cm width)

These bits and pieces will make the awning up to 3m x3m.  That is the maximum length of the materials.  It may be possible to make it a little longer if you wish to extend the 3 stage, 3m aluminium arms.  I find 3m is a very generous size.

On a shorter vehicle, 3m may be a little long, this length can be shortened in construction quite easily if you wish.


I started with the end beam and the legs.

:)  Cut 2x 25mm length of the box tube and rivet to the end beam as shown.  Be careful to rivet at the outer edges of the box section to allow the arms to locate into the box tubes without hindrance from the back of the rivet.

:)  I cut approx 30mm off the 1m 40x40 equal bar for each leg support and riveted to the end beam as shown in the diagram.  (One on each end for the legs!)

:) Now drill a hole in the leg - straight through the stopper as the stopper acts as a spacer.  If you wish to avoid needing a spacer, you may like to shorten one side of the 40x40 bracke to the width of the leg section.
Drill a matching hole in the bracket and end beam, and pass an appropriate bolt through for a hinge pin. (Note the legs get used upside-down and have the end-plug removed in favour of a simple stopper from Clark Rubber.

:)  It would be a good time to drill a hole for the guy rope at this point, where it will not interfere with the closing of the leg.  I also attached a small piece of the square tube as a limiter to the opening of the leg.  Having set-up the tarp several times, it is not strictly necessary.

and with arm located in square lug....

:)  The main beam is simply made by attaching half of the remaining length of the 40x40 angle to each side and a hole drilled for the arm hinges.  I needed to use a small plastic spacer.  A piece of tongue from a yellow tongue compressed particle board flooring (same as what sparkys use to feed electrical wires) did the job quite nicely once a small curved section is shaved off as seen in the diagram

:) The end stoppers on these 3 stage  arms are removed, on both ends.  The big end is attached to the main beam with an appropriate bolt to the holes drilled in the above step.

:)  Now you will be able to lay the framework out on a flat surface, with the arms engaged into the end beam and get an idea of the actual size of the annex.

:) Cut an appropriate size tarp sheet/canvas to suit the frame.  The width at this point is critical that is width as determined by the end beams If you are cutting down an existing tarp, it will pay to sew a length of string into the edge to re-enforce it and prevent it from tearing.  Leave the length long, as we can cut that back later.

:)  Now sew on some velcro loops (x4) to stop the edges flapping in excessive wind (optional using 2cm width velcro - see picture below)

:)  With the tarp laid over the frame, wind the flat bar on the edge of the tarp (ensuring that you keep it square) approximately 6 turns.  Now drill and rivet attach to end beam using small washers on the rivets to add strength. (I used 12x rivets along the 3m length)

I have since also added an aluminium "Sail Track" along this edge to enable it to be coupled/connected with a tent etc...

:) To assist in the tensioning of the final annex, it is best to "shorten" the arms by approx 30mm (using twist/lock mechanism). The tarp will stretch  especially in the heat.

:) Now approximate the length of tarp sheet needed on the main beam side and cut tarp to length.  Again roll approx 6 turns around remaining flat bar, so that there is moderate tension on the tarp and rivet to main beam as you did the other side.

:woohoo:  You are nearly there!!

:)  It would be good to measure up and secure some velcro straps (similar to a watch band but longer and a bit wider) to secure the whole annex when rolled away.  I made up 4x straps and secured them to the main beam so that they were always there when rolled away.

:) Making the cover is like making a LARGE pencil case to cover the whole annex.  Measure up a piece of heavy duty canvas as a cover, and fold in half, sewing an appropriate length of zipper to each side.  If you cut the bottom corners ROUNDED it will be easier to attach the zip and run the zip when open/closing.

:)  Position the roof racks on the car in an appropriate position so that the annex will sit level with the back of the car and not interfere with the tailgate, and the front roof rack so that the forward section is not too long (say up to about 750mm) so it does not vibrate at speed.  You will need to ensure the roof racks are aligned so that there edges are even.

:)  Attach angle brackets to the ends of the roof racks with appropriate bolts by drilling through the end of the racks and securing tightly.

:)  Now sit the annex alongside the brackets that are attached to the roof racks (with cover removed) and use 2 pairs of vice grips to temporarily hold the awning in place.  Roll out the awning and check its position.  If all good, drill through the holes to attach main beam of annex to the brackets on the roof racks one at a time.

:)  Once you are happy with the operation of the annex etc, roll away the annex, and throw the cover over the whole lot.  Undo 1x of these last attaching bolts to enable you to pass the cover between the annex and the roof racks once happy with its position, drill through the canvas, replace the bolt, and move on and repeat with the other two brackets

:)  Now zip it up and you are all done! :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

If you have not yet attached the guy ropes, it would be wise to do so.  My guy ropes interlock with each other and fold back on themselves so that they will sit on the outer edge, ready for deployment if necessary.

When the tarp is extended, and tensioned correctly, the tension in the tarp provides a good solid frame and triangular bracing.  This will stop it from swinging forward and backwards.  With the weight of the legs and the end beam, along with the tension in the tarp, it will hold in a light breeze without flipping up and down.  However, I would not recommend leaving it unattended without guy ropes as the breeze may suddenly change and ruin all of your hard work!

Good luck, and let me know how you go!!


Cheers,
Daz

Venga-Bus Captain!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2011 22:26  

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