The tubing we recovered from the horse stalls at Rockingham Park is 1-1/2” square and 2” square about 1/8” wall steel. We don’t know how long it had been in service there for, but it had some light surface rust, as well as some patchy black paint. We devised the following process to clean up the tubes inside and out. First, a tube gets a bath in a rust remover product, Evapo-rust. It works reasonably well.
After a thorough rinse and drying, the ends get taped and the tube is filled with a primer designed for rusty metal surfaces (in case there was still some rust inside) and the primer is sloshed all around inside. The tape is removed from the tube ends and the excess primer is recovered for reuse. Then, the tube is left to dry for a day or two.
We addressed the remaining paint and rust on the outside of the tubes by using an abrasive wheel in the drill press.
This was of course a long process. But it gave us time to work out the design. So, by the time the tubes were ready for assembly, we were too. We laid out the ladder frame in accordance with the drawings we’d made and welded them up. Of course, the first one was in the wrong spot. Rocky start. But we caught it immediately and corrected it.
It hardly looks like anything now, but it was a lot of planning and effort to get us to this point! So much work has to go into defining our wants and our needs, deciding what we will actually install, where it will go and how it will all fit together. We had to consider multiple modes; over the road, it must be as small, light, and well-mannered as possible. Off road, it has to have ground clearance for obstacles, it must be sturdy to withstand a beating. In use, it has to be comfortable for cooking, cleaning, and sleeping. It has to be ergonomic, accessible, etc. And we had to figure all that out before we actually did anything that we wouldn't be able to undo. Hopefully this works!