Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DIY Industrial Strength Tent Stakes



DIY Industrial Strength Tent Stakes


Are you tired of cheap wire or plastic stakes?

After having several cheap versions of the EZ-Up style canopies damaged because of wind, I set out get a better canopy, and to fabricated a set of heavy duty stakes.  Not something that would break the bank in the process. 

I live in a desert and the soil is often a mixture of compacted sand and gravel.  Any of the normally supplied stakes just would not work.  Even some of the longer ones found at sporting good stores were ineffective.   I know many of you stake down EZ-Up tent shade, and Chuck Wagon type canvas shelters.    I also went to a commercial grade EZ Up brand canopy with straight legs.  Even at places like Costco or Sam's these commercial grade 10X10 canopies are in the $200 range.

These were put to the test on their first trip out.  They were driven at an angle at the four corners.  Then ratchet tie down straps were attached at all four corners of the EZ-UP, and tighten down.  In the evening a storm blew in quickly.  One of my friends EZ-Up’s stakes pulled out…that resulted in a mangled mess of aluminum uprights and ribs.  Blowing around attached to the side of his trailer.  His canopy went into the trash.  Luckily his trailer wasn't trashed in the process.

I couldn’t get my EZ Up down with that wind blowing.  Nor did I think I could fold it for storage while working alone.  I just made sure the straps were tight.  The EZ-Up rode the storm out unscathed. 

A set of four stakes will cost about $24 to fabricate (not counting paint and welding material).  I happen to have a Mig wire welder which makes quick and clean work of the project.  Gas welding/brazing would probably work just fine.  If you are a good stick welder that will do too.  Start to finish took me 45 minutes, including a quick coat of paint on the top end.  These aren't fancy, and I am not the greatest welder...but they certainly work.

These are made from Concrete Forming stakes and a few other common hardware items.  I store and carry these in a old tent bag that has a zipper, and has 2 web handles.



Material:
(4)   ¾”X24” Round Concrete Forming Stakes (The type with holes for nailing through)
(4)   3/8” nuts
(4)   ¾” Flat Washers
(4)   1 ½” Steel Rings
Optional Fluorescent Orange Spray Paint

Tools:
Grinder or file
Welder or Brazing Torch
Bolt Cutters or Hacksaw or cold chisel and sledge
Channelocks, Visegrips, etc  

Start by grinding or filing the round flat end of the stakes, and partially down the stake.  This is to provide a shiny clean surface to weld.  Also grind a small patch at the second hole down to provide a clean welding surface for the nut.   Lastly grind about one inch at the point end if using an Electric Welder.  Your welder grounding clamp will attach to the ground point end.



 


Cut the 4 rings with a bolt cutter, hacksaw or chisel.  I did mine at the factory weld.  Bend these cut ends slightly past each other and set aside.






Place one flat washer on a flat surface such as a brick.  Hold the stake flat end down, inserted in the washer.  Weld 360° around the stake end to attach the washer.  









 


Flip the stake and weld the top of the washer seam were it meets the end of the round stake end.  







 

With pliers or vise grips position the nut over the second hole which you have previously cleaned up with a grinder.  Tack with the welder.  Align and remove the vise grips holding the nut.  Finish welding the nut to the stake.  Be careful not to fill the nut hole with weld.





 



Slip the ring through the welded nut.  Re-bend the ring to line back up.  Weld the ring cut ends back together.  Tack on one side, tack again at 180°.  The ring should slide freely through the hole of the nut.  The ring does not get welded to the nut.







Normally with a Mig your welds are not rough enough to need grinding.  But clean up any sharp or poking points that might be protruding.   The welds on the end of the stake at the washer will get hammered.  They will soon flatten on their own.




I shot the top end with fluorescent orange paint so I can see them in the dark.  Take a tennis ball (florescent) and slit it part way.  These can be slipped over the stake after the stake is driven in.  They are a great safety addition to help avoid a trip hazard, especially if kids are around.


Originally posted 10/9/14 8:43PM

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