HMMWV 4-man Soft Top Slant Back

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Bulldogger

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The Chinese HMMWV clone has a soft slant top variant.

Mark

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Interesting. Thanks for sharing that. I had never seen it. I try to forget China bought the rights to the Hummer brand...

We rode down to Glen Allen VA, near Richmond, today and it was a good time for the soft slant back that I finished (more or less) last night at midnight. It performed well. The only hiccups were things I new would likely be a problem and have already noted for design changes. It didn't flop badly, which was my major concern.

I'll post pics soon.

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Bulldogger

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A couple of pictures before I removed the paper protecting the clear marine vinyl. By the way, blue painters tape leaves residue on clear vinyl :(


The slant back did flap a bit but not enough to be of concern or make a lot of noise. I cut the window a little too large, or more accurately I did not subtract the width of the zipper after I decided to add a zipper. So the window with a zipper is 1” too wide for the inner rails. That is the only noticeably sagging part and easily remedied. I have to move the tie downs higher so they can tighten a bit more, but again an easy fix.

Bulldogger
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suzukovich

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A couple of pictures before I removed the paper protecting the clear marine vinyl. By the way, blue painters tape leaves residue on clear vinyl :(


The slant back did flap a bit but not enough to be of concern or make a lot of noise. I cut the window a little too large, or more accurately I did not subtract the width of the zipper after I decided to add a zipper. So the window with a zipper is 1” too wide for the inner rails. That is the only noticeably sagging part and easily remedied. I have to move the tie downs higher so they can tighten a bit more, but again an easy fix.

Bulldogger
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I know I'm not going to buy one, but I like what I seeing and it looks good. I'm real sure with the changes you will make people will buy it.

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Bulldogger

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I know I'm not going to buy one, but I like what I seeing and it looks good. I'm real sure with the changes you will make people will buy it.

Sent from my SM-J727U using Tapatalk
Many thanks. I'm making changes to patterns this week and doing some more research on ways to seal it better. After a full night of hard rain, it had plenty of leaks around the seams. Of course my OEM soft top leaked plenty too! Whatever fixes one will be used on the other. I suppose I should start setting aside money for another 4-man soft top, but it's in reasonably good condition, just old, so I will try to seal it first. Since I intend to repaint the whole vehicle OD anyway, some sealant before that won't hurt.

I am also looking for a good industrial sewing machine. My buddy is going to get pictures of his old ones from the bike shop days, and I've located a true industrial machine for a reasonable price about an hour away.

Once all that is done I will start making two more tops, to satisfy my early-adopters who will be testing my ability to make a top and sell it with decent customer satisfaction. If all goes well I will then solicit orders from others here. I'm also looking into that sunbrella fabric Skrilex mentioned. I've seen it on boats and agree it is much heavier and durable. Concerns about cost overruns is my only worry on that.

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Bulldogger

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Well, sunbrella is readily available in about a hundred colors and patterns, but it's four times the price of the canvas I'm using. At 6 yards, the material alone will cost about $150. Still, it is durable stuff. Some report it holds up to being painted, though I suspect the buffeting from driving would challenge it. I'll keep it in mind.
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infidel got me

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Scotchguard will waterproof your top. I had an artic white top that I changed to camo. I purple powered it, let it dry and rattle canned it with Wal-Mart camo. Came out good and held up for 2 plus years so far.
 

Bulldogger

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Scotchguard will waterproof your top. I had an artic white top that I changed to camo. I purple powered it, let it dry and rattle canned it with Wal-Mart camo. Came out good and held up for 2 plus years so far.
Thanks, I will investigate Scotchguard. I have some of the WalMart camo spray colors on hand. Nice and cheap. Had thought of using them to paint the top but worried about the color matching. Have seen your pictures and it looks fine, so I guess I have my answer. Guess I need to come up with a pattern now.

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nattieleather

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That looks great! Good work man. One way you can tighten the pattern without recutting the patterns is to increase your seam allowance just a little bit. Say 1/8 of an inch on each seam. So if you sew a 1/2 inch seam sew them at 5/8th etc. Just that little bit more will tighten it up without making it too tight. Check on CL to find someone in your AO selling industrial machines. Adler, Pfaff, Feiyue they are all the same and are all good.
 

Bulldogger

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That looks great! Good work man. One way you can tighten the pattern without recutting the patterns is to increase your seam allowance just a little bit. Say 1/8 of an inch on each seam. So if you sew a 1/2 inch seam sew them at 5/8th etc. Just that little bit more will tighten it up without making it too tight. Check on CL to find someone in your AO selling industrial machines. Adler, Pfaff, Feiyue they are all the same and are all good.

Many thanks NL.

My plan is to cut 1/2" off each side of the window and the resulting narrower width in the bay should tighten it up. I may also give a little large allowance on the fold of canvas that I'm overlapping the zipper with, to give a tiny bit more protection from direct spray. It overlaps over to the vinyl now, but doesn't lay flat. My new sewing machine should help that be better. My hand crank machine is impossible to sew straight with.
I did some more searching of CL since last post too, and found an industrial Singer with a long arm, maybe 22" or longer, probably for drapes or large upholstery. It's 1.5 hours away, but the price more than makes up for the gas. There is a nice sailmakers machine a little farther away, but twice the price. It's more modern, but I don't need all the options it has anyway. I just want to be able to stitch long and fast. The Singer is older, but looks to have plenty of life left in it and a very sturdy construction. I've rebuilt a few older machines, including a 100 year old Singer treadle machine, and they are made to be repaired and last forever, so I should be fine with this one. It will also stitch boot leather, another hobby I am getting into in good time. [With respect to boot making, I'm having trouble deciding how to approach lasting, as I don't want to have to buy large quantities of lasts and my own feet are in between 10 and 10.5 so modifying a last will be tedious at best. It looks too tedious, and no fun. I have a 3D printer, but scanning your own foot is not trivial! Plus the print job is several hours long. I'm mentally banging around some other options.]

I pick up the new (to me) machine Sunday, and will begin servicing it Sunday evening if all goes well. It is all-steel, and may take more than a little coaxing to get into my basement workshop. Then I need to build a table for it, to wrap around the current tabletop it's mounted on and give me more room to work and lay canvas out, sort of a poor man's sailmaking table. I figure a well-notched 4x8 sheet of 1/2 plywood will give me the large L shape I'm interested in.

As to waterproofing I'm led to the StayBrite product at West Marine and other outlets. Other than odor while curing, it appears to be pretty effective, and I can buy it by the gallon if the tester size works well. ScotchGuard is aerosol, which makes me worry it will be hard to concentrate on the seams well. SB is a hand-pump sprayer so I can also dip a brush in it, and Amazon has it by the gallon if I like it. Oddly, West Marine is cheaper locally than Amazon for the 22oz spray bottle size, but Amazon sells a gallon for less than two of the 22oz bottle at WM. I'll get the 22oz at West M and also look at their zipper treatments. There is a zipper seller local tome, Zipper Shipper, and I will source several yards of #10 zipper tape and pulls... It's adding up, but Jeffy777 and Infidel Got Me are waiting for delivery!

After getting the machine done I will finish my homework of seeing how small I can wrap my prototype up, and see if it will tie up smaller than the FedEx oversize penalty. Then I can figure shipping charges and continue work on the two beta tester tops. If all goes well I can begin accepting orders by the first week of December, but I'm not promising anyone as yet. I might make a few Christmas trees happy, but it's too early to tell.

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nattieleather

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If you can get a Servo motor for the machine. This way it's not stitching a 100 mph on you. You can dial it down so that it is good and slow or speed it up to as fast as you want it.
 

Bulldogger

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If you can get a Servo motor for the machine. This way it's not stitching a 100 mph on you. You can dial it down so that it is good and slow or speed it up to as fast as you want it.
Where does one get a servo motor for this size machine? The clutch is a simple face to face press of the motor output shaft against the face of the pulley to drive the machine. It is difficult to get it to a modest speed, effectively I’m slipping the clutch plates.

I can’t imagine how the old woman I got it from sewed that fast! But she was a professional. I’m certainly not.

Bulldogger
 
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Bulldogger

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Some minor progress to show finally.

A nice big sewing table around my new-to-me machine now.

Also a big roll of canvas showed up today. Another 20 yards, tan and green 1/2 & 1/2 of each.

All the zippers, pulls, conduit and other bits are on hand as well as of Wednesday .

I will begin in earnest soon.

Bulldogger

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Bulldogger

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Made a little progress this week on the beta tester soft slant backs. Before I did that I went ahead and re-sewed my prototype so that it would fit the back of my truck better. It is now mounted (permanently I hope). When I get past the local West Marine store I will get some waterproofing treatment for the seams. The seams on the prototype are very loose because of the handcrank stitching machine I used. I think the newer tops will be better because the industrial machine I’m using now does a much tighter stitch.

I spent some time this afternoon pencil whipping the best way to lay out all the cuts of the tubing so as to have the least waste. I can make an entire soft slant back frame from five lengths of EMT conduit. I also decided that it’s just as easy to cut four pipes at once than one pipe, so after finding the best way to clamp up everything together and grabbing my Sawzall instead of a hacksaw I ripped through a load of tubing tonight. Pictured below is enough tubing for four soft slant back frames.

The next item on the agenda is to lay out the custom fittings and weld them together. Then it will be time to cut more canvas. I will probably only manage the welding before the weekend due to several evening obligations this week though.

Bulldogger
 

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Bulldogger

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Made a crude jig for welding the top corner downtube last night and welded two sets. Have to make similar jig for the side corner downtube and weld some as well.

I decided to try a different way to mount the rear corners of the downtubes last night after cogitating on it. I had intended to 3D design a plastic corner to print in ABS plastic and shove the tubes into it then bolt it to the corner's pipe fitting. My prototype design has the tubes hammered flat and drilled and bolted to the fitting, but they look crude and don't line up well. I've been worried about an ABS corner fitting snapping, especially when the top might be lifted on and off the bed. This worried me, and so I didn't sit down and hammer out the 3D design for a while, trying to imagine a stronger way.

Last night it occurred to me I could drill through one end of a 1/2" EMT set screw coupling (which I use for other fittings on the frame design already) and bolt through it into the corner pipe fitting. By drilling a slightly oversize hole from the 1/4" bolt it will allow a little play in the alignment and help correct misalignment due to slant back frame and HMMWV bed level variations. I'll test this out shortly.

Here is a pic of the crude jig and welded corner bars. I absolutely need to do two things 1) file the ends better before welding or buy a real tubing saw capable of cutting at an angle, and 2) practice my welding more!

Bulldogger

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nattieleather

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Just do a google search for sewing machine servo motor. You can find them at a lot of different places for different prices including eBay and Amazon. Most will work as a replacement to your clutch type system and will work with the foot peddle. The big difference is that you can turn the dial on the motor to slow it down then once you learn to control the clutch you can get it stitching as slow as if you were turning the head by hand. My first machine had a clutch type motor and was similar to your machine and it would shoot the leather I was trying to sew right out the back and across the room. With my newer machine with the servo I can stitch a speed like 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, etc. Love it.
 

Bulldogger

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Progress after a delay for the Holidays

So I finally set aside some time today to continue the development and construction of my Mk1 beta test frame design.

Some last bits of welding done tonight and if my design is correct this should all screw together into a frame...
 

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