Low-Volume, Lightweight Removable Drawer Storage Project (1 Viewer)

Joined
Sep 27, 2020
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136
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The Woodlands, TX
Been looking into drawers since about a week after I bought my LX. Like a lot of the manufactured solutions out there but had a couple specific needs in mind and wanted to turn it into a quick little project. Just sharing this here as a means to document this for myself, and so that someone down the line can get it right the first time, after I inevitably drop the ball on something.

1 - Third Row Seats: I didn't want to remove the third row seats. I don't have kids but occasionally move 5 or 6 folks, so I want to preserve that utility.
2 - Ease of Install/Removable: I'd like to be able to remove all gear storage/weekend-fun-related paraphernalia if I'm going to be spending a number of weeks or months not needing it, just commuting to work.
3 - Access to Grocery Net: I hear myself... this is pretty frivolous. If I leave the drawers installed between trips, I want to still use my grocery net behind the tailgate. I have a dog and leave a dog hammock thing in the second row seats almost all the time, and the grocery net thing is just super convenient, keeping from slinging food all over the car.
4 - Mounting Options: I'll be adding a slide-mount for a fridge/Yeti at some point, as well as a GoalZero. I'll only have practical need for those items during trips for which I'd need the drawers so... in the interest of streamlining they'll remain bolted to the drawers.
5 - Storage Volume: I'll be the first to admit, I don't have need for as much storage as a lot of the manufactured options offer. I can fit almost everything I need in two under-bed bins, and feels like a good place to start for this project.

These considerations in mind, with third row seats folded up against the windows, I'm working with a drawer footprint of roughly 36in x 38.5in. My bins measure 35in x 16.5in x 6.25in. I'll be using two of them and I'll build a frame around those dimensions out of 8020 aluminum just because of it's versatility/weight. Plywood or something comprable on top of the frame with carpet to make mounting other equipment as easy as possible. With the third row seats folded up, I'll be looking to use the 4 third-row-seat hardpoints in the floor as mounting points for the frame. I'd like to ultimately design something clever in SolidWorks (to be 3D printed) so that the contours line up securely with those recesses. I can always further secure the frame with something like Voile straps or something analog like that, for additional "up-and-down" security.

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These things don't need to be bulletproof, but I'd like the frame itself to be solid, and fit around the bins snuggly enough that they don't ramble around. They'll be a temporary solution until I can afford to pick up something like an FSR trailer. I'll update this as I go, but to this point they're projected to cost me roughly $250 in materials.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
136
Location
The Woodlands, TX
Got the frame assembled, and fits the bins perfectly. Still need a couple pieces here and there.

Firstly, I'll get some birch plywood cut to size as the top platform, with some all-weather door-mat type carpet with the rubber backing as the "carpet". I am also still undecided on retention mechanisms for the bins. Currently, the only vertical supports on the frame are the four corner pillars. Four further pillars will be installed when the bracketry arrives. That being said, I want to work on a mechanism to keep the bins secure and keep them from sliding inside the frame.

I'm also looking forward to figuring out the best possible mounting solution, frame to third-row-hard-points. That will probably be something 3D printed, but I'll need some time to dimension/scan properly.

Stoked that everything fit well, still have adequate access to the cargo grocery net. Couldn't be happier. Weighs roughly 30lbs, super easy slide-in/slide-out.
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Joined
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Driving
I'm using some birch project 3/4 plywood right now for a fridge project. That would go right on top of your setup with an additional (1-2) mid-lateral brace to spread the load. Can you share the source of the corner brackets and framing? A couple folks here use that tubing, but I had problems even finding consistent suppliers for parts that fit, even though they are supposed to be universal.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
136
Location
The Woodlands, TX
I'm using some birch project 3/4 plywood right now for a fridge project. That would go right on top of your setup with an additional (1-2) mid-lateral brace to spread the load. Can you share the source of the corner brackets and framing? A couple folks here use that tubing, but I had problems even finding consistent suppliers for parts that fit, even though they are supposed to be universal.
Ya absolutely, I used www.tnutz.com (they seemed to have the best prices upon cursory review), but I know that I originally started at 8020.net after many posts regarding 8020 originally directed me there. I’ve found that tnutz.com is both highly cost efficient, and have been extremely consistent/accurate in custom cutting. I’ve ordered 42 11/16” segments of 10 series 8020 on three occasions (I have commitment issues, apparently) and all three orders were delivered at EXACTLY 42 11/16”.

I do plan to have at LEAST a fully loaded Yeti 65 cooler AND work-duty dog kennel on top of the platform for those occasions that myself and the family head out camping for a couple days at a time, so I definitely plan on adding further support underneath the eventual platform. Won’t need to support sleeping humans, but certainly still needs further reinforcement.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
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The Woodlands, TX
Just about wrapped up today. I have to center and mount the plywood platform to the frame, but fits up perfectly. I have 1/4x 1 1/4" machine bolts that work perfectly with the slot washers provided by tNutz.com.

Added supporting pillars in the middle of the platform, sat on the thing, no flex or anything. Confident that the Gunner kennel and Yeti will be fine. Used 3/4 birch as I saw a few others had done, used an all-weather rubber backed floor mat for the carpeting. I have ZERO finishing skills so I kind of just winged it with a staple gun. The mat is probably a little too heavy to be perfect as the carpeting, so if anyone has any advice on that please shoot it my way. Otherwise, I'll round off the exposed corners of the platform and call it a day. Suits my purposes just perfectly. Bin retention will be the last part of the puzzle, but honestly, with the tolerances I used for the frame, they're already plenty snug to keep my happy for a while.

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KLF

Frame waxer
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Nice job. Home Depot sells a precut area rug material, I think it's about 6' x 8', generic gray. It's perfect for this type of thing, I used it with some Gorilla spray adhesive when I made a sleeping platform (removed the 2nd row seats). It's easy to cut and form around complex curves and shapes.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
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Location
The Woodlands, TX
Nice job. Home Depot sells a precut area rug material, I think it's about 6' x 8', generic gray. It's perfect for this type of thing, I used it with some Gorilla spray adhesive when I made a sleeping platform (removed the 2nd row seats). It's easy to cut and form around complex curves and shapes.
Thanks a lot for that, saving to my notes for future reference. Out of curiosity, what kind of climate are you in? I was going to go with a lighter carpet material and use Super 44 or Gorilla spray, but thought the glue might release in the summer heat down here in Houston.
 

KLF

Frame waxer
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Apr 5, 2003
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Well i am in NH but have only used the thing in the truck during one trip. It's sitting in my basement now which does get humid in the summer, no issues. I did put some staples under one edge but they really weren't needed. I sprayed both the carpeting and the plywood, let it dry for about a minute, then put them together. Very strong bond.
 

greynolds

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3M Super 77 Multipurpose Adhesive works really well for this sort of application. I used it to adhere carpet to a similar platform that I used in my Mercedes G wagons and never had any issues with it softening up in heat, including on some trips down south. We don't get Texas heat here in MA, but it does get pretty hot and the inside of the car certainly gets extremely hot in the summer when parked with the windows up. The 3M adhesive was recommended by the place I purchased the carpet from (it was OEM Mercedes carpet, so it matched the interior perfectly).
 

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