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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Last weekend, I bought two 20mm ammocans to convert into luggage for my Wee. I went with these mainly because they were cheap, waterproof, cheap, rugged, cool looking, but mostly, because they were cheap: $19.99 each plus tax. I figured with a few hours of work and a few cans of spray paint, I could have some decent looking, bomb proof cans for my bike for not a lot of money. Here are the cans on top of my Father in Law's El Camino:



I started with the one in back in the picture above. For some reason, I feel the need to reproduce the stenciling on the cans, and the can in back doesn't have much. It also has the worst rust of the two. I began with the lid. I didn't have much time last night, and thought I could grind off the paint quickly. Wrong! I started with this:




one hour and one wire brush wheel for my drill later, I ended up with this:



I'll see how removing the paint from the rest of the can is with the wire wheel, but if it's anything like the lid, I'll try to find some solvent that will remove the paint, or have them professionally stripped. Or maybe try out the angle grinder with a brush. Would heating up the paint before grinding help? Dunno. My painting plan is to first coat them in some cold galvanizing spray, then primer, then paint. I also found some Rustoleum reflective clear coat at the toy store (Home Depot) that I'll use on the boxes. Finally, I'll probably coat the front and bottoms with bedliner. Yep, more weight! I'm not sure what color scheme I'll use yet, but I'm leaning towards black and yellow to match my Wee, natch, split diagonally along the stiffening ribs.

I was going to mount these cans on an SW Motech rack, but now I'm thinking of going with the Happy Trails. The HT rack seems a bit stronger (haven't seen one in person yet), but it's definitely more expensive. They have a quick release system of some sort that allegedly will work with the cans.

So, here's a question for all you weight minded folks...Most of my riding will be one up, with some camping and/or fishing gear on occasional long weekend trips. I figure the cans/rack will add around 50 pounds to the bike, plus whatever I throw in them. I tend to pack light. Can the Motech or HT rack handle 50 pounds/side (loaded with gear) off road? Colorado has lots of cool trails I want to explore, and a busted rack out in the sticks doesn't sound like much fun!

Here's a few things I discovered in my first night's adventure:

  • Safety glasses are a must...I was peppered with wire wheel shards the whole time I was grinding.
  • Wear the best filter mask you have...that dust is nasty
  • Wear hearing protection too!
  • Use a spray bottle with water to wet down the work area...it will help keep the dust down
  • long sleeves will protect your arms, and trap some of the (probably) lead based paint from skin contact
Stay tuned!

Chris
 

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Awesome, I have one myself...thinking about buying another and building some panniers myself...keep us posted how they turn out.
 

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Yeah, I neglected to mention how slow the wire wheel can be when I recommended it yesterday. :oops: I did a whole steelcase desk that way a few years ago, and it seemed to take forever. Once you get the hang of it and figure out the right amount of pressure to use it will go a bit faster.

Glad you decided to use safety glasses before actually needing them! I've become pretty hardcore about eye, hearing, and dust protection in my old age. We only have 2 each of eyes, ears, and lungs after all.
 

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Have you tried (considered) using a wirewheel on an angle grinder? You'll get better revs.

I hope you'll re-stencil the boxes once they're nice and neat (I would have left them dirty and rugged) since I'm told they're excellent for fending off any cagers that might be tempted to drift too close - don't want any nasty scratches on our nice new beamer now do we :yikes:
 

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Wouldn't it be easier to use paint stripper then just use the brush to roughen the surface??
 

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Personally, the OD paint would have made a good primer. I would have wet sanded the things, paying attention to remove any corrosion, then painted them. However if you are bent on stripping, go to Walmart and get the "Aircraft Paint Remover/Stripper" as it is safe on all metals and I believe environmentally sound. You put it on, let the stuff lift then scrape it off. You will still touch it up with sand paper or a wire wheel, but most should come off with a coat or two. Nice thing is, you do this on a drop cloth, wad it up and throw it into the trash can.

I thought these ammo cans were aluminum, but the rust leads me to believe they are steel...isn't that heavy?
 

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They are about 20 lbs apiece unloaded. I have a pair right here that I'm going to mount to the SW Motech racks. These racks are no joke, I think they'll hold up fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The wire wheel works OK, in fact, it seemed to work better once it lost some of the little wires. And yes, paint stripper would probably work better than the wheel! But I really didn't think that the paint would be so tough to remove. I have an angle grinder and may try that tonite, if I don't get to the store to get the Aircraft Stripper stuff. I thought about keeping them as is, but the surface rust was bugging me, so I decided to rework the cans. I'll probably reproduce the stenciling...looks kinda cool!
 

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Well, here's one problem. The instructions for the SW Motech racks show the weight capacity at 22lbs per side. Since the cans weigh 20 lbs apiece, that poses a bit of a problem. Now, I'm sure there's some wiggle room, but I wouldn't want to go too far over, and 2 lbs for gear certainly isn't enough.As much as I like these cans, I think I'm going for a lighter weight solution, like the Pelicans. Plus, with that reinforcing rib on the side, I'm having trouble figuring out a good way to bolt them to the SW racks.

The SW racks are great though and I don't want to switch racks, so I think I'm bagging this project. Good news is these cans are super cheap and I can already think of some good uses for them around the house :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Interesting about the weight limit on the Motech racks...I didn't know that. I just talked to Happy Trail, and they don't publish a limit for their SU rack, but thought that 50 pounds a side would be well w/in limits.
 

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I used the SWM racks with 40mm cans (20lbs each on the trusty bathroom scale) and I have loaded those puppies down a couple of times. I don't remember seeing anything in the literature about max weight either.(it could be there, I just didn't see it :confused: ) I know I have put at least 15-20 lbs in each can on a couple of occassions.

I would think that 50lbs per side would be about the limit.

Ultimately you have to make your own decision but, FWIW I love mine.




................ Jim
 

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I used the SWM racks with 40mm cans (20lbs each on the trusty bathroom scale) and I have loaded those puppies down a couple of times. I don't remember seeing anything in the literature about max weight either.(it could be there, I just didn't see it :confused: ) I know I have put at least 15-20 lbs in each can on a couple of occassions.

I would think that 50lbs per side would be about the limit.

Ultimately you have to make your own decision but, FWIW I love mine.




................ Jim
Can you show me how you attached them to the racks?

After further brainstorming, I think I'll try to cut out two small pieces of that diagonal brace thing where the SW rack tangles with it. That way it'll sit flush and I can bolt it down. I just want to get the mounting down and all the holes drilled before I send them to the powdercoater.
 

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Can you show me how you attached them to the racks?

After further brainstorming, I think I'll try to cut out two small pieces of that diagonal brace thing where the SW rack tangles with it. That way it'll sit flush and I can bolt it down. I just want to get the mounting down and all the holes drilled before I send them to the powdercoater.

I left the diagonal stiffener intact and used 1/4" stainless bolts with stainless washers and nylock nuts. I used stacked washers as a spacer to hold the rack at the height of the stiffener.

Like this






I also had a thread going on the whole thing with some pics of the install.

http://www.stromtrooper.com/showthread.php?t=18814&highlight=luggage+question


BTW not the greatest pic - sorry. Hope this helped


..................... Jim
 

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Sweet, I'll try that before I start cutting stiffeners. 5 washers sounds like a plan. I'd rather do it with a solid metal spacer but that might be hard to find.
 

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Debated going this route myself, since I also like the rugged look of the ammo cans.

Ended up going with the Pelicans from Caribou. In the end, it was a question of how much time I could spend fitting / building / welding / painting etc, and whether or not it was easier just to buy.

Never sits well with me to buy something I'm confident I could build, but I'm learning to make some compromises after the kids arrived and I have so little free time.

fwiw -- the caribou setup is great. Totally impressed with the build quality of their fabricated pieces, and there's a lot of ingenuity with how he's bracketed the cases to keep them secure / stable yet easy to remove.

Timojhen
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Tried out the paint stripper today. Worked fairly good. I'll still have to use the wire wheel to take care of the rust, but at least I don't have to brush the entire can! Here's a pic of the can with the goo on it:



And here's a picture after scraping:



It's not down to bare metal, but it's close enough. I'll still hit the stubborn spots with the wheel, and give an over all sanding. I'll do the bottom and small sides with the handles tomorrow. Compared to the work I had to do on the lid, I'm very happy!

Paint stripper is messy. I spread out some plastic sheeting, and went to town. After I was finished, I just threw out the plastic. Easy clean up! Be careful with the stripper...it will eat away at some plastics. For example, if you get some on the plastic sawhorses you're using to work on. Not, uhhh, that I found that out the hard way or anything.

Here's what I learned today:

  • You'll know if you have paint stripper on bare skin but the burning sensation.
  • Use this stuff somewhere well ventilated. The basement is not such a place.
  • Leave the stripper on long enough to work properly.
  • Keep lots of rags around to clean up spills...say from skin, or plastic sawhorses.
  • Keep a bucket of soapy water around for cleaning up. I probably put three separate coats of stripper on the cans.
More work tomorrow...
 

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I'm going to attempt to get mine mounted on the racks today. If it's a success, I'll get them over to the powdercoater. For $100, I think it's totally worth not screwing around with that paint stripper and wire wheels and whatnot. I also remember reading that the inside of these can make your clothes green, so I think I'll have him sandblast the interior as well, but not powdercoat the inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Going the professional route is kinda tempting, but this whole process is a bit of stress relief and therapy for me. I think I'm just going to rough up the insides and paint them. I'll have my sister in law make some bags that will fit inside the cans for my gear. That should protect my stuff from the paint, and the mounting hardware.
 
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