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  1. #41
    Ahh, I was really hoping that you were going to blend that rear hoop in somehow and you did by adding all the roof supports. The light bar appears to be a bit low, but it just could be the bubble wrap and windshield cover.

    This is clearly something you enjoy!
    God Forgives, Rock's Don't www.ucora.org
    1973 Bronco, 351 SEFI, Locked, discs, 35's ZF-5spd and Atlas 4spd. 235:1 Crawl Ratio

  2. #42
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74BuckinBronc View Post

    This is clearly something you enjoy!
    Lol, how exactly is that interpreted through a couple pieces of bent tubing? Not to sound like a dink, but this is the first bigger project I have done since returning from my back surgery. Been a difficult road and I can't honestly say I have enjoyed this kicking my butt physically as much as it has. Don't get me wrong I love metal work, and wouldn't do it if I didn't. But since my back injury, I have been questioning it. So it is interesting to hear that someone can tell I enjoy this, when the biggest enjoyment I have been getting lately is rest away from it. But my back is getting stronger everyday, and more enjoyment will come as I learn to deal with the remaining constant pain, and get a little more caught up.

  3. #43
    You just have a knack for getting all the joints tight and clean and you take your time to make it look great. A labor of love so to speak. I would love to be able to do this sort of work, but a seriously lack the talent. I could probably design it with CAD, but execution is where I would fall miserably short.

  4. #44
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74BuckinBronc View Post
    You just have a knack for getting all the joints tight and clean and you take your time to make it look great. A labor of love so to speak.
    Thanks! I was brought up and have always reminded myself that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. Not a fan of short cuts as they often lead you down a longer path to make everything right. That being said, I know I am human and make mistakes and poor choices sometimes. So I try to plan out each and every build ahead of time to lessen any issues. My name is my business, and I want to be known for quality, not quantity. Precision metalwork, stout fabrication, and elegant design, isn't just my slogan, it's what I strive for in everything I do. So I am happy that some think I am living up to it.

  5. #45
    newracer's Avatar
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    All of your work that I have seen is second to none.
    Have you ever seen a man eat so much fish?

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by newracer View Post
    All of your work that I have seen is second to none.
    I will second this.
    "Blow and Hookers can change the World. - Gags
    Quote Originally Posted by scottycards View Post
    MJ has no lethal dose. You might crawl under your couch and eat M&M's all day if you get too high, but it ain't gonna kill you.

  7. #47
    Very nice work!
    TJ. "Homegrown" 4-link front and rear, D44's, 4.56 gears, locked, 35's, 9500i winch, front cage with stinger (& gunsight!). / ATC: AAL2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees. Pilot: We are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here? ATC: Have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?

  8. #48
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newracer View Post
    All of your work that I have seen is second to none.
    Quote Originally Posted by cheftyler View Post
    I will second this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Haire Ball View Post
    Very nice work!
    Thanks for the kind words.

  9. #49
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Designed the plate to span the oval on top of the roof. I still haven't finished building my gantry mill/plasma waterbed table yet, so after a little CAD session, I loaded up my phone with the CAD files and headed to a friend's shop to use his. His is a Torchmate gantry and software with a custom waterbed. Torchmate CAM program



    Table without water. You will notice the loaded sheet is pretty rusty. Believe it or not the rust inhibitor mixed into the water causes this. It creates a thin layer of flash rust that comes off quickly and easily.



    Filled with water:



    Cutting under water:



    Fresh off the table:



    After a little clean up:



    And after a dimple die treatment:



    And while I was there, I took advantage of the quick CNC and cut out a few more gusset plates. Fresh sheet loaded, then cut, and dimpled:








  10. #50
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Got the rest of the roof bars bent, notched, and tacked into position:











    With the center plate tacked in:






  11. #51
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    Looks great! Keep it coming!
    - Steven

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheftyler View Post
    I will second this.
    I see what you did there.


    Seriously though Aaron...that exo looks sweet! Not sure I have see another like it anywhere.
    This is my boom stick.

  13. #53
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashXJ View Post
    I see what you did there.


    Seriously though Aaron...that exo looks sweet! Not sure I have see another like it anywhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven_Mc View Post
    Looks great! Keep it coming!
    Thanks.

  14. #54
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Added a couple more bars tot he rear sides:



    Some gusseting for the A pillar and lower windshield bar:









    The main structure is now complete minus some gusseting and mounts.

  15. #55
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Started tear down for final welding, and final welding:















    Welding the lower tubes onto the fender armor:





    And with the top structure fully welded, we slide it back into position:




  16. #56
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    Wicked!!!
    rig- 04 TJ for going to the malls and tow pig- 15 F350

  17. #57
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    Love it! Looks like you can open the hood and have it clear the exo work. Definitely digging the roof as well.

  18. #58
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    Very nice work, Great job!
    Put a little gravel in your travels, take a back road!

  19. #59
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjjared413 View Post
    Wicked!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Overacker View Post
    Very nice work, Great job!
    Quote Originally Posted by crashXJ View Post
    Love it! Looks like you can open the hood and have it clear the exo work. Definitely digging the roof as well.

    Thanks for the kind words.

    And yes, the hood and doors still all open and function properly. One can even remove and replace all the glass fairly easily. The biggest hurtle was getting the lower windshield bar into a position that didn't interfere with the driver's vision too much, while still clearing the wipers, sprayers. and hood. And while still being able to remove and replace the wiper arm assemblies as well.

  20. #60
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Started adding in some gusseting we previously cut and formed, between the body and the tubework. First ones go above the doors:









    Then the A pillar bar and tube gusset are removed and are welded together fully since this couldn't be done on the vehicle. While they are off, the front fender is prepped and receives some plate gusseting:










  21. #61
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Made a couple mounts for the front bumper. Started by bending up some plate but wasn't getting a radius that fit the side of the bumper well. After a little thinking and scrounging I found a section of 1/4" think angle who's inner radius matched the bumper perfectly. So I cut a couple sections and laid out the holes, then popped them through, to give us a nice fitting couple of mounting brackets:













    Then used a transfer punch to locate the position for the holes to be drilled through the bumper, and drilled them:




  22. #62
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    The bumper is a plate bumper and we could use a standard nut and bolt to fasten them together. But access is very limited and tight up under there, so opted to use riv-nuts.











    With stainless button head bolts to match the rest of the mounted body armor hardware:






  23. #63
    crashXJ's Avatar
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  24. #64
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashXJ View Post
    Hey now! What have I told you about getting drool on the shop floor and not cleaning up after yourself? That's how accidents happen. Lord knows my floors can be slippery enough (just see the large scar on my forehead for evidence).

    Thanks for the continued support!

  25. #65
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    It's been a while since I have had to break out a mirror in order to see what I was welding, but the last few remaining joints required it. Probably haven't done it since my days at Coors'. Actually a bit easier than I remember, but also a lot more abusive to the mirror's surface than I remember as well. Thinking this mirror is toast now.





    Fitted the last two bars for the front into position:






  26. #66
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    With the majority of the new weight added, we could now recheck to make sure that our rear pinion angle estimates were correct. They were, so we took the time to pull the axle out of once again for final welding and to move the shock mounts off the bottom of the axle. With the new u-bolt eliminating perches, there is no need for anything else to be hanging lower than the axle tube itself. This will create a new clean, smooth sliding surface. We start by placing the housing on the fab table and removing the existing shock mounts. Before this is done we take every measurement needed in order to replace the reworked mounts in new locations that will clear everything, including the gas tank. This could be a concern with the axle being 3" father back from stock now.









    Then use the mill to modify the old mounts:







    They were then media blasted and had the threads cleaned/chased for new hardware:







    Tack welded into position and the perches fully welded:










  27. #67
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Hung the axle for the final time. And mounted the shocks:









    Took the time to swap out the supplied hardware for the perches which were too long.





    Then welded the brake line hold down tabs to the springs plates




  28. #68
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    With the bars across the rear side windows in place, we added a couple more mounts to the fender armor for more reinforcement









    Then started on a new mounting system for the roof rack. The client wants it to sit just above the exo and to be able to be adjustable front to back. We will be reusing his existing rack, but making new mounts to achieve this. The mounts will be made from scratch as to not molest the stock mounts so they can be used again on a different vehicle. Decided to use the long straight upper side tubes to mount off. This would allow for an even front to back adjustment and the built in side to side adjustment of the rack will be perfect suited to help align it in any position. And will allow us to make 4 identical mounts that could be placed anywhere.

    Rack resting on top without mounts:







    Start on the clamps by cutting some tubing to length and the splitting each section in half the long way and then cleaning them up a little:





    Last edited by Aaron; September 21st, 2015 at 11:43 PM.

  29. #69
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Then cut a few sections of some smaller tubing and added some overkill grade 8 hardware:





    clamp mocked up





    Welded together







    One side nut gets welded into place to make assembly on the vehicle easier:



    All four clamps welded and then cleaned up



    And clamped onto the rig:






  30. #70
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Made the base plates for the rack to mount to the clamps







    Then started cutting the side plates (risers):









    Decent but need some more lightening (speed holes) so back into the mill they go:





    Tacking the pieces together:













    On the rig:








  31. #71
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Decided that the mounts needed a little lateral support. Probably would be fine since there is plenty of support with all four mounts, but better to be safe then sorry. Added a back cross plate to each mount:







    All welded up:





    And mounted for the last time:










  32. #72
    I like it! Now you'll have to coat those clamps with something to keep them from scratching the pretty exo (when it's all painted)!

    I am glad you added the lateral support. I could see that rack loaded with a spare tire and some gear adding to 200+lbs and the driver have a panic stop situation. The rack wouldn't go far if the mounts collapsed, but I agree they needed something.

  33. #73
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74BuckinBronc View Post
    I like it! Now you'll have to coat those clamps with something to keep them from scratching the pretty exo (when it's all painted)!
    Thanks. And no, I don't need to worry about the coating of it, the client does. They are coating everything, not us. I just shot the places they would never be able to get to again to avoid any corrosion. But for future reference, small sheets of neoprene do wonders in situations like this. You can get different sized rolls at your local farm and ranch store. Then cut pieces to fit between the clamp and tube sections, clamp tight, and problem solved.
    Last edited by Aaron; September 22nd, 2015 at 01:14 AM.

  34. #74
    I would not want the job of painting this thing!

  35. #75
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74BuckinBronc View Post
    I would not want the job of painting this thing!
    I am not a huge fan of the painting process. But through necessity I have become decent, but in no way am I good or will ever claim to be. Though shooting something like this may not be the easiest, it isn't that difficult once everything is masked properly. Just plan out your routes ahead of time and make lots of VERY thin coats. Basically just like any other round tube painting job, just a couple tight spaces. Trim guns with proper tips help a bunch too.

    Or you could do it like a certain someone I used to work for, I won't name names since he is never on here anymore to defend himself, used to do. "Just spray it on thick and heavy until the entire thing is one giant run." That always cracked me up. I miss working with him.

  36. #76
    cheftyler's Avatar
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    Love the rack mounts.

  37. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by cheftyler View Post
    Love the rack mounts.
    Thanks for the kind words!
    Brucker Brothers, LTD
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  38. #78
    crashXJ's Avatar
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    I am not a huge fan of exo's but this one looks pretty darn good. You followed the XJ lines and everything is nice and clean. Very nice work. Cheers!

  39. #79
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashXJ View Post
    I am not a huge fan of exo's but this one looks pretty darn good. You followed the XJ lines and everything is nice and clean. Very nice work. Cheers!
    Thanks for the continued support!

  40. #80
    Fabricated the mounts to the rear bumper. Fairly simple brackets but they still need to allow for the bumper to be removed. Started by shape cutting mirror image pieces out and giving them a slight bend. Then figured out the best locations for the bolt holes and popped them into place on the brackets. Then used a transfer punch to locate the hole going through the bumper. Because of the tight space on the backside of the bumper, we opted to install riv-nuts in the locations as well as use stainless button heads to match the rest of the hardware.











    With the mounts welded into place, we could finally insert the last piece of tubing in the exo and install the rear lights









    All that is left is mounting the front frame stiffeners and the light bar once again. Then a little bit of flexing to check everything out, and if all is good, it will get delivered to the client so he can deal with prep and coating.

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