About eight years ago I had to move my shop from where it had been for about 35 years. There had been a fire in the building and we had to relocate in order for the remediation work to be completed. Fortunately, a space had opened up across the alley, 150 feet west!
During the process of dismantling the old shop we realized that most of the built in storage that had been created over the years was not going to fit into the new space.
So now I have 21 of these heavy duty steel shelves, but no uprights. But I have a machine shop and I know where to buy angle iron!
There's a phrase I use from time to time to describe the condition of being so set on something working in a particular way that you cannot see the, sometimes obvious, easy way to go. The phrase is "wrapped around the axle".
I was so wrapped around the axle on this project that it took nearly three years to complete.
So the name of this instructable " World's Most Expensive Shelves" comes from the time it took to complete and my unwillingness to consider easier, cheaper alternatives. So it goes.
Step 1: Machining the Slots.
This is my forth Instructable and it draws on material I've been saving for awhile. As usual, by the time I think to start taking pictures, I'm already a ways down the road.
I'll try to fill in some steps; first was buying the angle iron, this is 1/8" x 1 1/2" x 1 1/2". I bought more than I needed because angle iron is useful to have around and the price per piece drops as you buy more.
I spent a little time cleaning and straightening the individual shelves.
I'd used four of the shelves elsewhere so I spent some more time deciding the optimal use for 17 shelves. I settled on three 5 shelf units and one 2 shelf unit. Then I fussed about optimal spacing of the shelves. This is one of the problems with making stuff up as you go, every time you make one decision you create a whole new set of design decisions to make. Take notes!
I spent the longest time deciding where to place the slots. It was not practical or desirable to make my uprights corner specific, meaning that they will only fit a certain way, and since the holes in the shelves are spaced differently front to back then they are side to side it took a bit of thought on how to place the slots in the angle iron.
During this time I cut my uprights to length, 12 tall and 4 short. I milled the bottoms of the uprights square in order to facilitate cutting the slots correctly.
The last thing I did before this step was to design the stop and decide how the slots were to be machined. I wanted to be able to start and finish one upright complete in the setup, in case I had to tear it down to do some real (paying) work. The way this works is to use the square bottom to locate the first set of slots, then the rest are located from the previous set of slots.
Step 2: Painting!
Painting the new uprights and making a mess in the back of the shop. I'm not going to expand on this step, I'm only good enough to get "most" of the paint on the parts.
Step 3: Assembly!
Go to hardware store and by two boxes of screws, nuts, washers, and lock washers. You can buy them 100 in a box, I needed 136. I used 1/4-20 truss head phillips so I wouldn't need a washer under the screw head.
I was amazed and pleased with how stout these came out, almost makes it worth it.
Step 4: Feet!
We spent a lot of money and time on the floor in the new shop painting it with a two part epoxy, so I didn't want to scratch it up. Putting feet on the finished units was the only way to go.
I acquired a large box of plastic blocks when a neighbor moved out. Mostly this size-ish.
Something you should know about thick plastic sheet or plate stock is that the thickness tolerance is like +/- .030 inch! These blocks are 5/8" thick, which is .625 to a machinist. But it could be anywhere from .595" to .655" and still be sold as 5/8". I've gotten messed up once or twice by this little factoid over the years. There are ways to make parts to allow for this as long as you know about it ahead of time.
I milled the slots to match the angle iron, measuring from the bottom up so that variations in thickness wont matter, and then cut between the lines.