Just over a week ago, Psyncro aka Syncronoid posted a clever mod on this Samba thread. I slapped my forehead, doh, why didn’t I think of that? So blithely I set about making my own version. I have an abundance of scrap aluminum left over from various projects/jobs so I figured I could knock one out in a trice.
I cut some 2″, (3/16″ thick) angle to size, angling the ends to match the rubber mat I have over the carpet in the walk through between the front seats. BenT suggested I do something to make the top surface more interesting, so I clamped up the angle in my lathe’s little milling head and cut some 3/8″ wide grooves. The milling head does not have enough travel to do the cuts in one go, so the angle has to be repositioned during the cut. That, and my rushing, produced a sloppy effect.
So I decided to paint it with satin black Krylon. What was I thinking? I forgot to prime (zinc chromate is common primer for aluminum, strontium chromate is the better primer but hard to get). No primer meant the paint scraped off easily, not a good thing for something that would be trodden upon.
Then I had the idea of filling the grooves with some 2 part polyurethane. Do you get the idea that I am spending too much time on this simple project?
I mixed up a batch and poured it on.
Then squeegee’d off most of the excess. BTW, it is sitting on a plug-in battery warmer blanket to help the polyU cure. I was getting sloppy, the stuff got everywhere.
And whaddya know? The polyU did not go off, no curing. Expiry date on package is for later this year, bugger it, so I wiped the mess off. On the Samba thread Doug suggested LED lights, seemed like a good idea. I had bought some LED strip lighting (warm white, 30 LEDs/meter) from Lee Valley and at the time was a little disappointed that the strip did not have a clean silicone-like cover like the strips I bought for the interior lighting and glove box lighting job. But the strips with their exposed and projecting LEDs would work great on the step. I drilled a bunch O’holes, same spacing as the LEDs on the strip along the bottom edge of the vertical face of the angle. I also drilled 3 holes for mounting screws then painted the angle with some Dupli-Color bed liner. Then I painted it again to get rid of the thumb prints when I grabbed as it fell off the painting block I had it balanced on.
After the bed liner dried, stuck on the LED strip using some of that foam type double sided tape (with holes in it too, of course). You can see the 3M name on the backing tape of the LED strip, I left this on.
I used some big-ass 1/4″ stainless sheet metal screws. Pan head, as I did not counter-sink into the angle. Why you ask? Well when you countersink you have to get things lined up pretty exactly and as I was match drilling through the angle to make holes in the van, and as the angle is sitting on a rubber mat over carpet over insulation, I did not think I could push down on the angle firmly enough as I was drilling to get a good tight fit. Using pan head screws and oversized holes on the angle allows me to push down on angle after holes drilled to get a tight fit of angle to floor. Man, that was a wordy and awkward description.
I have to blacken those screw heads.
And the LED feature? I don’t have it wired into the door switch yet (I’m thinking about adding an additional switch so I can turn it on independently), but I hooked the leads up to the battery and…
All the trials and tribulations of this job vanished at the speed of light when I saw this. It is better than I thought it would be.