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  • Difficult Project

    I work for a municipality and one of the local cops came to me today to ask me to do a project. I do all the welding for the municipality but this project Im not sure about. They have a Ford Econoline van equipped with armor plating on the inside. They want running boards on the outside along with rails to hold onto. The cops want to be able to hang on the side as they roll up to make a bust so they can just jump off instead of climbing out of the van. Average weight per cop with all gear on is 300 lb. The running boards are not a problem. I can use diamond plate or whatever and bolt it fast to the frame. My biggest problem is the handrail. With the armor inside, there is no way to get to the inside of the sheet metal. To screw it fast or weld it fast just doesnt seem strong enough to hold 3 or 4 cops holding on. Im open to any suggestions or ideas to someone that has been welding longer than myself. I was only at it about 5 years now, got into it too late in life.
    Ken

    What else is there besides welding and riding. Besides that

    Miller Thunderbolt XL 300/200 AC/DC
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    2009 FXDC

  • #2
    KBar, The only easy solution I can see would be to attach the grab rail into the running boards with some tall uprights, kinda like a hand rail on a walkway railing with out all the pickets in the middle. Dave
    If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

    sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
    Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

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    • #3
      What about having the rail run horizonally close to the top of the van, there shouldn't be plating all the way up should it?
      Dewayne Sullivan
      Dixieland Welding
      Lewisburg, TN

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      • #4
        KBAR,

        Can you possibly tie into the roof and bring the support to the side. I suspect that although the van sides are armor plated the roof isn't, unless of course it was designed to give overhead protection.

        Does the van have the split doors or the one sliding door. If it's sliding, Dabar's idea of tieing into the running board may not work. The higher it is, the more support it will give to standing cops. Thats why, on some of the larger boats, you'll see a handrail mounted in the ceiling and running the length of the salon.

        Just a thought.
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        • #5
          KBar, SundownIII, My idea was to bring it up over top of the doors if they opened out or far enough away from the side if it's a slider. I was just trying to do a half a$$ed sketch on the computer but it wont let me transfer the file from paint for some reason. but anyways my idea was to bring it up to the top of the van sides. I didn't think about the roof idea as I wasn't sure about how the plating was inside the van, but you may be able to attach something like SundownIII suggests and brace it off of the drip rails. Dave
          If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

          sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
          Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

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          • #6
            I like Sundowns idea if I got it right.

            The armor plating is on the floor as well as the ceiling. Im getting a key to it next week so I can look inside and try to get a feel for any spacing between the armor and the sheet metal. It does have the sliding door so I dont think fastening the rails to the running board will work, on that side anyhow.

            Sundown, was your idea like running 3 - 3 inch straps across the roof, screwing them fast if I can find the roof supports, then fasten the rails to that with the rails running along the drip edge ?
            Ken

            What else is there besides welding and riding. Besides that

            Miller Thunderbolt XL 300/200 AC/DC
            Hobart Handler 187
            Dewalt Chop Saw
            4" Air Grinder
            Die Grinder
            Rigid Drill Press
            Kellogg 10hp Air Compressor


            2009 FXDC

            Comment


            • #7
              KBar,

              If the ceiling is indeed plated, I'd probably cut two holes in the roof and weld a support directly to the inside armor (assuming it's strong enough). A little sheet metal cut to fit around the support (the one you weld to inside armor), and you've got the hole sealed.

              Then after mounting the center supports, you can bring the straps to the side where you would weld the grab rail. Actually seems pretty simple.
              Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
              Dynasty 200 DX
              Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
              Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
              Hobart HH187
              Dialarc 250 AC/DC
              Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
              Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
              PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
              Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
              Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
              More grinders than hands

              Comment


              • #8
                This rig has handrails for the officers... although it's not an econoline van.

                http://www.swat-truck.com/armored/boxer.html

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                • #9
                  The support coming from the roof would be best I think because it will be easier for them to hold on. Trying to hold on with a hand hold shoulder high or lower will be more difficult, especially with all that gear on.

                  But looking at this from a distance I wonder if what they want really makes sense. They are not protected by the armor outside. They may find they didn't have the element of surprise and wish they were inside the vehicle. I know in a drug bust situation there will be a lot of excitement and Adrenalin flowing. I can see the driver blasting through a gate without enough clearance on the side scraping off come of the officers. He may have to drive close to a tree or hit a big bump. Another vehicle may even hit them. The worse thing that could happen is getting to the drug bust with half the people missing. I think they would be much better off practicing the exit routine. They may be surprised how proficient they can become at jumping out. Just my humble opinion.
                  sigpic 6010
                  If I had know I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.

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                  • #10
                    6010, I agree with you 100% but if you ever talk to an officer, they know best. They are too much of a target on the side if the criminal is holed up and using fire power.

                    Besides I think they watch to much TV sometimes and want to be like the Bad Boys
                    Ken

                    What else is there besides welding and riding. Besides that

                    Miller Thunderbolt XL 300/200 AC/DC
                    Hobart Handler 187
                    Dewalt Chop Saw
                    4" Air Grinder
                    Die Grinder
                    Rigid Drill Press
                    Kellogg 10hp Air Compressor


                    2009 FXDC

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KBar View Post
                      I like Sundowns idea if I got it right.

                      The armor plating is on the floor as well as the ceiling. Im getting a key to it next week so I can look inside and try to get a feel for any spacing between the armor and the sheet metal. It does have the sliding door so I dont think fastening the rails to the running board will work, on that side anyhow.

                      Sundown, was your idea like running 3 - 3 inch straps across the roof, screwing them fast if I can find the roof supports, then fasten the rails to that with the rails running along the drip edge ?
                      Running across the roof was my first idea. What if you drilled through the skin of the roof with a 2-1/4" hole saw and then tied directly into the top of the armor plating with your vertical supports? Actually, using the required 2-1/4" Sch40 pipe (OSHA regs for handrails), you'd need a larger hole in the top skin, but I wouldn't think it'd be difficult to reach around the pipe with a MIG to tie it in to the plating.

                      Your top rails could bend over the edges of the van like a swimming pool ladder or something similar.

                      If all else fails, SundownIII's idea would work...maybe using 1" X 1" X 1/4" square tubing and then using SQT straps across the tubing bolted down into the armor. With your vertical and/or horizontal grab rails attached to them.

                      I doubt your cops are gonna ride all the way from the station like that, so they'll probably just stage a block away from the bust or something. Standard running boards (reinforced for additional weight) would work fine. And that leads me to another idea (sorry...still absorbing my first pot of coffee of the day):

                      How about JUST using a horizontal bar as a handhold running lengthwise down each edge of the roof of the van? and then attaching said bar to straps or tube across the top of the roof in one of the aforementioned ways?

                      Okay...I'll shut up now.
                      sigpic
                      Clint Baxley
                      Baxley Welding Service
                      Rembert, SC 29128

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                      • #12
                        Links To Pictures of SWAT Handrails

                        Here are links to a few ideas:

                        http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2811...72832045jLHSsq

                        http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2562...72832045ZVqBTL

                        http://rides.webshots.com/photo/1488...72832045nCZwkK

                        Just some ideas for handrails.
                        sigpic
                        Clint Baxley
                        Baxley Welding Service
                        Rembert, SC 29128

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                        • #13
                          why not run from one running board over the top to the other running board in the front and rear of the van with a pipe then add one at holding hight between the 2 to add handles to or to use as a handle if you curved it out from the van a bit. if you are concerned about the driver forgetting they are there add a crash bar into the front hoop to the width of the running boards or to there spec's. see pic.
                          the armor plaiting is most likely intended for evacuation of wounded and or civilians. i don't think they generally go in for a drug bust under fire gun's a blazing. too much risk to others as well as themselves.
                          my first thought was also to come off the ceiling but if its not an option why not just encircle the van like a outside role cage and build from that. would also give it a cool sturdy look they might like.

                          dabar39 after you draw it in paint save it as a JPEG and then you can load it up. might have to resize first but it works.
                          Attached Files
                          thanks for the help
                          ......or..........
                          hope i helped
                          sigpic
                          feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fun4now View Post
                            why not run from one running board over the top to the other running board in the front and rear of the van with a pipe then add one at holding hight between the 2 to add handles to or to use as a handle if you curved it out from the van a bit. if you are concerned about the driver forgetting they are there add a crash bar into the front hoop to the width of the running boards or to there spec's. see pic.
                            the armor plaiting is most likely intended for evacuation of wounded and or civilians. i don't think they generally go in for a drug bust under fire gun's a blazing. too much risk to others as well as themselves.
                            my first thought was also to come off the ceiling but if its not an option why not just encircle the van like a outside role cage and build from that. would also give it a cool sturdy look they might like.

                            dabar39 after you draw it in paint save it as a JPEG and then you can load it up. might have to resize first but it works.
                            That's pretty close to what I was trying to explain, in your drawing.


                            Fun, I did that and it said something about unsupported file when I tried to load it.
                            If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

                            sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
                            Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

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                            • #15
                              Why couldn't you build something like a roof rack that clamps to the drip edge of the van. It would save cutting holes in the roof, [you would have to seal up holes]and could be all one piece out of tubing. You could paint it off the van and clamp it it on. Or for that matter, modify and excisting roof rack to extend down, over the sides. They are adjustable and could be transferred to another unit latter on. Show us pics when done
                              Last edited by HMW; 09-07-2007, 06:59 AM.
                              Scott
                              HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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