Rktpwrd’s Skunkworks side project

Rktpwrd

Builder of Cool Shjt
Supporting Member
Feb 2, 2015
3,892
113
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Hey, what’s up fellas.

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet with any updates on my threads lately, and there’s a good reason for it.

I’ve had my hands full the last few weeks laying the groundwork for a little side project, I’ve decided to build my own automotive rotisserie. “Yeah, so what? Lots of people build their own rotisseries, what’s the big deal??”

Well, the big deal is that this is going to be a huge game changer for me, that and I’ve never attempted to build anything on this scale. Not to mention that it also has to be built 100% right for obvious reasons. Some of you that follow the Juggernaut thread may remember me inquiring about pre-built turnkey rotisseries, but after pricing out my options I decided to go the DIY route (with a little convincing from my buddy Mike).

A little backstory on the pricing and motivations for building my own, pre-Covid there was a really nice one from a local tool store that would go on sale roughly once a year for around $1000 plus tax. Reasonable IMO, but I was no where near ready for one at the time, and would’ve had no where to store it either.

Now, post Covid, that same rotisserie no longer goes on sale, and the price has shot up to $2500 plus tax for the exact same thing. That’s an increase of 150% for no reason other than inflation. (Which in itself is ridiculous, it likely didn’t get built post Covid so the price of materials at the time wouldn’t have been any more costly). Similar options from other sources are the same story: obscene cost increases for the same product post-Covid for no justifiable reason.

So, taking matters into my own hands, I located and bought some plans for a proper engineered rotisserie off the internet. This is purportedly able to support up to 3000lbs, which I estimate is probably near twice what I actually need. Utilizing a contact I’ve made through work, I bought whole lot of steel and brought it all home to get cut up and drilled.

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The longest piece I brought home was a 24’ long piece of 2.5”x2.5” square tubing, it was so long I had to put it in the shop sideways underneath the car because it was actually longer than the inside of my garage!

Sticking out the front of the car…

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…and right out the backside of it! Going diagonal was the only way I could fit it in!

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And that 24’ of 2.5”x2.5” wasn’t even all of that size, a few days later I brought home another 17’ of it!

Most of the material is 2.5”x2.5”, but there’s also 3”x3”, 2”x2”, 1.5”x1.5”, and 3” and 4” wide 1/4” flat plate. I didn’t waste any time once it was in The Skunkworks, it immediately went into the saw and started getting cut up into smaller and more manageable pieces.

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My little Craftex metal cutting bandsaw performed like a champ, it cut all this material on a single blade and never complained once. Of course a little RapidTap cutting fluid goes a long ways to extending the blade life.

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The round pipe I had to source from a different vendor, it’s two sizes, 2.5” and 3” Sched 80. Pretty heavy duty stuff, it’ll be what makes up the actual rotational part of it.

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All the individual pieces got carefully labeled with the drawing name and length on them, for easy identification when it comes time for assembly.

Once I had everything cut to length, the next process was to drill holes in all the required pieces. This turned out to be the most time consuming process, by far. The majority of the holes needed to be 13/16”, which for the uninitiated is the hole size to accommodate a 3/4” bolt. Yep, some pretty heavy duty hardware for a pretty heavy duty jig.

Each hole starts out with a center punched spot, then has to be drilled out multiple times starting with an 1/8” bit, and ending up with the 13/16” bit. I had drilling swarf for days around the drill press…

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…and these thousands of little daggers are what happens when you attempt to cut corners and jump from a 1/2” hole straight to a 13/16” hole. Not cool. So I begged, borrowed, and bought a couple bits in the larger sizes that I didn’t have, the 13/16” bit was $52 all by itself!

Anyways, once everything was cut, drilled and prepped, this was the pile of pieces I ended up with:

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This 12’ piece of 2” doesn’t get cut, it’s the center piece that’ll tie the two ends together:

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So what’s this whole contraption going to look like once it’s done? Here’s a couple of pictures from the drawings.

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Obviously this stuff is all pretty heavy duty, and my little Miller welder, no matter how much I love it, would really struggle getting good penetration. So this is where Mike comes in. When we were initially discussing it a couple months ago, he offered to weld it all up for me with his machine. His Miller is the next size up from mine, and convertible from 110 to 220 volt. That combined with his 0.30 wire should be able to handle it no problem.

Today I loaded up the truck with the drawings and all the pieces, and ran them over to Mike’s to drop them off. Now the ball is in his court, it’s going to be his responsibility to assemble this jumbo sized jigsaw puzzle. Hopefully all goes well, and I’ll have a completed rotisserie sometime before Christmas!

So where do I stand cost-wise after going this route? After materials, and the drill bit, I’m sitting at right around the $800 mark. I still have heavy duty casters, two hydraulic jacks, and a handful of 3/4” hardware left to buy, so I estimate it’ll come out around the $1000 mark. Which is what I was looking to spend in the first place, and a $1500 savings over the store bought option.

That’s nothing to sneeze at.

I’m thinking it should time out just about right for The Juggernaut, as the floor isn’t too far away now from being done, and I’ll just have to figure out what I want to do with the front firewall before the body of the car can go on the newest shop tool!
 
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liquidh8

Comic Book Super Hero
Very cool, good luck, I'm sure it'll turn out great, and I guarantee you'll love it once the cars on it!
 
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Texas82GP

Just-a-worm
Apr 3, 2015
7,731
113
Spring, Texas
Awesome project Donovan. Thanks for sharing. It's amazing what you get done in that two car garage.
 
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RabbitHoleSS

G-Body Guru
Dec 8, 2019
634
93
Indianapolis
Awesome stuff right here. And if you wanted when your done, you could sell it and probably make money on it.
Especially if it's got flamage.
 
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pagrunt

Geezer
Sep 14, 2014
8,228
113
Elderton, Pa
And of course all those welds are going to be super clean looking like it all is one chunk of formed steel.
 
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clean8485

Comic Book Super Hero
Dec 18, 2005
2,748
113
Ontario, Canada
Another cool project Donovan! You never disappoint. Thanks for including the cost of the materials. Looking forward to seeing it all done. Looks pretty heavy-duty.
 
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64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
5,119
113
Upstate NY
What’s Mike’s fee? I can already see you being his campaign manager as payment 😂
 
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