Assembling the cloud deck

The security bars that I acquired turned out to be nearly the perfect size to fit XyloVan’s monster roof rack when turned on their sides – one pane wide and two panes long.

Alan and I spent most of Sunday measuring the bars and then drilling holes through them for 3/8-inch bolts.

We created a top-rail by drilling through 1.25-inch steel conduit and bolting it to the tops of the four side panes.

Then we cut an access hatch in one half of the rear pane, and cut notches in the bottom rail of the rear and front panes so that they could fit over the rack’s existing side rails. (the panes were 5’4″, order while the rack is only 5′ wide). Passengers will mount the deck by climbing XyloVan’s rear ladder and then ducking under the railing.

Huge thanks here to Alan for helping build – and to Bernie from the endlessly generous crew next door building the Disco Kremlin bus, for doing a little tack-welding to reattach a couple bars that came loose during cutting.

The long panes take two men to lift only because they’re bulky – they’re actually fairly light.

Once we loose-bolted it together on the roof rack, we realized that the security grates’ original mounting tabs stuck out and got in the way of things, wo we cut ’em off – then everything fit neatly.

Here’s Alan with our handiwork. I may paint it a pale blue so that it blends into the background better when we reach the playa.

The whole thing folds down to a stack only four inches thick, yet should be stout enough to keep even the burliest drunks from plunging off the van. Knock wood.

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