HMMWV 4-man Soft Top Slant Back

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Bulldogger

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I worked through several possible permutations of pricing and labor today, and think I have arrived at a logically based decision.

I need to make enough on these to ensure I can continue to buy materials at a decent price (i.e. in bulk) to keep costs manageable and to improve availability, so I won't spend another year without tan fabric, for instance. Buying fabric by the roll adds up fast, so I have to be able to absorb that in overhead and pay myself back through sales.

Better overhead management will also allow me to afford better equipment over time, improving production speed and quality. Additionally, by asking just enough to break even I gave myself no incentive to apply my time and effort, so I had motivation challenges. Asking a more market-based price should give me more incentive. It will also challenge me to find better ways to innovate and to make the product better/faster. It all adds up.

My final approach builds on a baseline version, allowing budget-conscious members to get a baseline without some of the extras that were otherwise standard on my current design. Buyers can then add features/fabrics as desired.

I am not ready to take orders yet, but because I already bought some items in bulk, I can begin cutting out some of the materials now as my schedule permits, so I can get ahead of patterning and be more assemble-as-needed once orders come. The current long-lead item is the frame. Cutting all the steel tubing and welding the custom fittings really slows me down, and since I don't have a welding table and work on the garage floor, strains my neck and back noticeably. I have some ideas to improve this, but can't test them yet due to my schedule.

I will post pricing and ordering info in the next window.

Bulldogger
 
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Bulldogger

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Revised pricing and ordering information

Mark 3 HMMWV Soft Slant Back Kit Information

Tops will be made to order, with some materials pre-cut, per-welded, to make assembly time shorter.

Several options will be available priced from $590, plus delivery.

Standard soft slant back contents:
Steel conduit frame, welded and covered with insulating foam, ready for assembly.
Soft slant back cover in 1000D Cordura Nylon with a zippered center panel (no window).
Printed assembly instructions and advice with pictures are also included.
(See ikoinu post 125, this is that kit. https://www.steelsoldiers.com/showt...p-Slant-Back&p=2184435&viewfull=1#post2184435)
Standard kit price: $590 plus FedEx

Upgrades:
Ballistic Nylon 1650D +$50
Clear 20 gauge Marine vinyl center panel (i.e. a sort of window) + $30
[Deleted reference to insulation, my prototype is having delamination problems, so nevermind!]

With all options, the DeLuxe version comes to $670, plus shipping.

(Edit: I would consider trades of useful HMMWV parts or hunting equip, etc. But the deposit cash is still needed to cover material costs.)

Other options or custom build features can be discussed offline. Insulation can be done, but must be sewn in, greatly increasing build time and labor costs.


Color options:
Cordura colors available are OD Green, Desert Tan or Black. Note that there is no Camo option because I cannot guarantee color match and painting would add noticeable time to the construction. I can source woodland camo or digital camo Cordura sometimes as a special order, but it of course would not match up with the large bold factory camo scheme. I didn't notice the mismatch of the OD Green vs camo on my truck after a short while.

Ballistic Nylon colors available: Black, OD Green (Black in stock, OD Green special order. I do not know of a source of Desert Tan Ballistic Nylon, though it is certainly made.) Because special order fabric must be ordered by the roll, 50+ yards, it is unlikely I will buy an entire roll of Desert Tan Ballistic even if I find a source.


Kits come ready to assemble with all materials included.
The only after-assembly consideration is whether to spray it with a sealant or weld the frame.
I have tried both Stay-Brite and Scotch Guard Outdoor sealants, both seem to work reasonably well.

I recommend some kind of UV protectant, but don't include it because it adds time and cost, and making the top water proof would eliminate the option of shrinking it to fit (it will shrink very slightly after the first deep wetting) or allowing it to sun fade slightly to better match your paint better.


If you are not pleased with the top or frame, I will work with you to make it right. Post 125 in this thread is an example of how I handle issues: I replaced the top entirely rather than take up a lot of time figuring out how to fix it while the buyer waited. I did repair that top, taking my time, and sold it later to a satisfied customer.

I believe in establishing a relationship with my fellow HMMWV owners and am always available for questions or to help guide you through assembly. No one has had to call me, I might add, so I think my instructions are adequate.


Some will find this price too high. I understand. For what it's worth, this price is still far less than professionals told me to charge.
The posts for this build are there for you to copy if you care to try, go for it. I figured it out, so can someone else. The only thing I haven't posted is the specs of my personal patterns.


I will open a thread in the Classified's when I am ready and able to take orders. I am still waiting on shipments of materials and some small pieces of equipment.
Lastly, a $150 materials deposit will be required.
That is to reduce the occurrence of folks wondering off and because taking a deposit naturally obliges me to get started and to finish sooner.


Bulldogger

(Edit 2/16/19, I dropped the estimates by $100. Despite the fact they were already too low compared to the marketers advice, they just felt too high.)
 
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beltfedonly

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Bulldogger,
I have been trying to find a tonneau cover for the 2 man Hmmwv but with no luck. How about giving a thought to making this.
Beltfedonly
 

Bulldogger

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Beltfedonly, sounds possible. I made a tonneau cover for my Silverado once, so I'm kinds familiar w it

Since I don't have a solid knowledge of the differences between our layouts forward of the C pillar, I'll need your help figuring dimensions and fastening.

I'll PM you today and we'll see what we can come up with.

Bulldogger
 

Bulldogger

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Made some further edits to my plan above today. The insulation I attached with headliner glue is delaminating in my new slant back. I wondered how it would handle the damp. I will have to pull it a sew it in. Don't plan on making it standard then, as it adds considerable time to the build.

Also, my back is improving, and I have all supplies in, over 50 yards of Cordura.

Updates to follow as the weeks pass.

BDGR
 

Bulldogger

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Someone asked if I could make the center panel replaceable, meaning you can swap out a clear window for one made of opaque fabric, or perhaps buy a spare clear window to replace the first one once it finally discolors due to age and UV.

Is anyone else interested in this? I think I can figure it out with a few extra sewing steps and some velcro (maybe like this: attach the center panel underneath the front top edge using velcro, then put the zippers together).

I'll need to make a few prototypes before I offer it for regular sale, but it would let me make slant back covers and throw in whichever type of center panel wanted afterwards, rather than have to decide before I start the sewing. Today the center panel is the first piece made and the other pieces all attach to it. I should be able to reorder my assembly steps, but it goes together pretty well now with my current method.

If folks think this is more than a novelty (i.e. people might pay for it) I will do some figuring as to how I'd do it as a standard option and what I'd charge. Today my pricing is in the base plus upgrades style, to sell extra pieces I might price differently.

Bulldogger
 

Bulldogger

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Bulldogger have you started accepting deposits for orders yet?
combatmp, thanks for asking. I made a slant back for slmanella, but it took a while. I'm in school now and between that and work I'm not able to accept orders. School ends, pass or fail, in 4 weeks and then I plan to hit it hard. I have tubing for 4 frames cut, needing welding of fittings, and enough canvas to make more than a dozen covers.

I will post here when I'm ready, and I will PM those who have expressed interest in the last 3-4 months as well, for head-of-line opportunity.

Sorry for the delays,
BDGR
 

combatmp29r

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Awesome Bulldogger thanks for the fast response


combatmp, thanks for asking. I made a slant back for slmanella, but it took a while. I'm in school now and between that and work I'm not able to accept orders. School ends, pass or fail, in 4 weeks and then I plan to hit it hard. I have tubing for 4 frames cut, needing welding of fittings, and enough canvas to make more than a dozen covers.

I will post here when I'm ready, and I will PM those who have expressed interest in the last 3-4 months as well, for head-of-line opportunity.

Sorry for the delays,
BDGR
 

Bulldogger

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I am about dug out from school and life issues. I am reaching out to those who have expressed interest with options to sign on before I post a general call for orders.
Bulldogger
 

Bulldogger

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I have reopened for business, making soft slant back kits. Combatmp29r is first in line for a basic green ssetup. I plan to start a few tan ones as well, in spare moments.

Inquiries are welcome. I plan on having no more than 3 orders in at once (nice but unlikely problem to have, turning away orders) and thank folks for their patience if they are at the end of the line.

If someone wants a removable replaceable center panel, as I made for Slmanella, there is a slight price uptick due to the extra material and extra sewing steps in assembly. Plus that's an experimental design still.

Happy motoring!

Bulldogger
 

Bulldogger

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A tan solid center panel soft slant back is completed sewing. Frame will be made this week. Green next. Will post pics of Tan once it's draped over a frame.

Available in the site Classifieds.

Bulldogger
 

Bulldogger

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Some more in stock and more on the way. I will be pausing production due to moving home and shop end of December. If you're on the fence about buying, I am not sure when or if I will be able to restart production in 2020, no time like the present...

Bulldogger
 

Bulldogger

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I've posted my three remaining soft slant back kits in the Classifieds for anyone who might be interested in one. At this time I do not have a planned resume date for when, or if, I will be making them again. Sales are slight, and it gets tedious after a while. I could sell them on eBay, but anyone who has sold on eBay knows they are not seller-friendly, so I don't want that risk.
I have made some modest outreach to a military canvas goods vendor, but didn't hear back. In doing this, I'm looking for someone to take over this design, for a small fee or royalty for my investment in the designs and production steps.
My life is going through some changes this year, new wife, new family, new priorities, and sewing canvas is raking pretty low on the list for now. Wifey doesn't mind MVs, so that's good. We plan to get more into the HAM scene as well, so that will be fun and tie into MV somewhat.
Bulldogger
 
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