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Building a ramp

  1. Aug 13, 2014 #1
    Hi there im new to this site but I have been reading on it for a while.

    I have a question, I am building a loading ramp for my box truck to load my lawn mower in. it will be about 12 feet long and 6 feet wide I was wandering what size steel box tubing would be best used for this the weight will be about 1,500 pounds when I ride it up. I was going to have 4 pieces running the length then several cross bars and it will all be covered with expanded metal. all help will be appreciated. thank you, Rob
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2014 #2


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    Welcome to PF.
    That will be a huge and heavy ramp. With a ramp that size you might be better building a tilting trailer.
    Single narrow ramps are easier to handle and transport. They will fit on the trailer next to the mower.
    Expanded metal gives poor traction with damp rubber. Structural plywood is safer.

    Is there any reason why you are unable to use two narrow ramps ?
  4. Aug 17, 2014 #3


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    I am guessing you are thinking of diamond plate. Expanded metal should have excellent traction.
  5. Aug 17, 2014 #4


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    No, I have used expanded metal and when it gets worn the rubber tread “walks” or slides easily on the polished contact points. Water is a natural lubricant between rubber and steel. The tread of the tyre never properly fits the shape of the expanded metal, it will always creep or spin when wet. Steel ramps are a safety hazard with rubber tyred vehicles.

    Expanded metal cannot handle the locally applied loads without yielding, or it is too heavy. That is because it is not a continuous surface and so can only provide a tension path in one direction, usually across the ramp. Expanded metal therefore needs more support structure below, so ultimately, timber or structural plywood ramps end up being lighter and cheaper than steel. Unlike expanded metal, a lighter timber or plywood clad ramp will flex to carry more load, without the permanent deformation seen with expanded metal.

    I believe the optimum solution is timber bolted to a steel sub-frame. The steel frame should be made from angle stock, not from closed RHS tube. There is room under the ramp for a deeper support structure where it is needed over the middle section of the ramp, tapering at the ends to reduce the entry step at the ground contact.
  6. Aug 18, 2014 #5
    Thanks for the replies.. the ramp will be mounted to a box truck and will fold out when not in use or in travel. I am following her design of an old one. it is made out of 2inch box steel tubing and she feels that is way to much over kill and she says it is to heavy. so I was just trying to figure out if I could use like 1 1/4 box tubing? it would be lighter but im not sure if it will hold the weight.
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