Do It Yourself Fiibreglass Panniers
If you are handy with fiibreglass, can cut, thread, form and weld metal, and prepared for about 50 hours of work consider this as a project. Now you have either pull your "rubbish wheelie bin" out of service for a couple of weeks or do it between collection cycles! I used the inside of the polypropelene bin as a mould. The bins come in a few sizes... I used the 450mm square mouthed model, made it 450mm deep and 200mm wide. I cast the flat panels on metal smeared with PVA release agent. The total thickness of glass is about 5mm, gelcoated first, then next day the fibres... first tissue weight, then 1.5 ounce, then 2 ounce weight, then woven rovings. The boxes would weigh about 3 or 4kg each. Give the lid to box 4mm of clearance. To join the panels I used auto fibreglass patching compound, David's P40, made in UK. Grind the cast edges first to remove the wax which comes to the resin surface. To make the boxes lockable I fabricated 2 stainless steel rods, threaded one end, and welded on a slide fitting bush to the other, then welded a dia 40mm ring to the welded bush. I made 2 "ring nuts" made from welding dia 40mm ring to the 20mm long threaded bushes. Use the metal lathe to drill the tapping and clearance holes in the bushes. Re-tap the bushes after welding to restore the thread which has "weld shrunk". Tilt out the rings away from the box before welding them to the threaded bush so that the turning "ring nuts" clear the tapering lid, about 15 degrees is fine. The bars are 10mm. Where the stainless bars enter and leave the top lid flanges, fit 40mm square stainless plates, 1mm thick is fine, with 12mm holes in the centre so that the pin bushes don't bite into the glass, and so that the lid flange cannot be easily cut through with a hacksaw. Lid flanges are 45mm deep. Go to your industrial lifting sling maker and get some plastic coated cable diameter 8mm cored steel cable and get 2 slings made with "soft loops" of 200mm each end. The cable passes through the two steel rings then through the rear rack or other part of the bike frame. Use heavy generic padlocks. My KLR 650 needed 2 slings each measuring 1300mm overall. The lid is locked to the box and the box to the bike, it looks locked and the whole box can be removed in a minute. I will use 32mm wide luggage tapes with 5mm stainless steel hooks each end with spring loaded catches to clamp the boxes to the frame, one "east west" and the other "north south". I fibreglassed electrical oval profile pvc plastic conduit to the inside of the tops of the lids to guide the 10mm rod through the lid. Use self adhesive rubber strips to the contacting surfaces of the frame to the box so that the vibration doesn't cut the fibreglass. The pics will help answer issues about scale and assembly.
Last edited by tenere_rider; 31 May 2008 at 23:19.
Reason: more specific