Wednesday, 4 April 2018

More Thinking

I’ve previously mentioned the requirement to fly a ‘Sand flag’ when travelling remote outback tracks.  I made a flexible mast from an old fishing rod and Jan made the flag from a Hi Viz vest purchased from China.  My thoughts had moved on to the positioning of the Sand flag on the 4x4.  For $30 I could buy a Two-Way radio aerial mount which would be fitted between the top edge of the front passenger side mudguard and the bonnet.  However this position gave me some concern.  Firstly, it was a potential obstacle when working on the engine (I’d tear a hand or arm on it.  Secondly, the flag and mast will violently whip around which might create stress fractures in the vehicle panel at the mounting point.  Finally, on the side of the vehicle isn’t a good location as the flag is likely to strike overhanging branches.  Mounting the mast on the vehicle centreline would be a better position.

It would be possible to manufacture a mounting fitting behind the front radiator grill.  The bracket would then protrude through the front of the grill where the mast would be attached.  There were three problems with this location.  The mounting bracket would be expensive.  I’d need to make a hole in the insect and grass seed mesh I’d already made.  The flag wouldn’t be very high.

Then I had a revelation.  I could mount the flag on top of the trailer.  The cage on top of the trailer is 2.1m above the ground which would mean the flag was 5 metres above ground level.  I could also mount it on the centreline.  Aldi became my friend when I re-discovered a strong metal bracket I’d purchased six months ago whilst following Jan around the store.  I modified it with some mounting holes and then gave it two coats of paint.


I’d already threaded the fibreglass core of the rod using my Aldi Tap & Die set.  Sikaflex on the thread of the bolt and the base of the rod assisted in ensuring a strong bond between the rod and the metal bracket before apply two coats of anti-rust paint.

The Aldi 240V reciprocating saw was a lazy way of cutting four small strengthening plates from the remains of the flat steel bar I’d purchased to make the 4x4 fuel pre-filter bracket.  These were then drilled and threads cut before applying four coats of paint.


The plates will be used to ‘sandwich’ the bracket to the mesh on the cage.  Whilst wandering through Aldi with Jan today I noticed a box of various sized machine screws which will be most useful in mounting the mast.

With that done I started looking at what else might be useful.  There were plenty of odd sized small pieces of scrap plywood lying around so I made these.

IMG_2298 Caravan owners will probably identify them  A caravan (and our camper trailer) has a wind down stability foot at each corner.  My four flat blocks with a lip around the top will go under the stabilizing feet preventing them from sinking into soft ground.  The fifth piece of plywood is a double thickness of 12mm ply which will be the base for my vehicle jack.   


Pip and Mick said...

I'm beginning to wonder if your blog is sponsored by Aldi ?

Tom and Jan said...

Pip the lesson you should take from this is "Don't take your husband to the supermarket!" :-)