Our homemade diamond-plate toolbox is hardy and easy to clean. Plus, it will add a dash of Mad Max to any car project.
My buddy Bob Lucchesi inspired this metal box. He used one just like it in his racing days to tune up his dragster. He would remove the engine’s carburettor and eight spark plugs and rack them neatly in the box to keep everything orderly during tune-ups. With a backstory like that, this box will be treasured in any gearhead’s garage.
Step 1 – MAKE THE TRAY
Make the five box panels using a jigsaw and a Bosch T227D aluminium saw blade. Crosscut the four supports from a length of L-shaped aluminium. You’re going to attach the L-shaped supports around the bottom panel’s perimeter to hold up the sides and ends. Clamp the bottom supports to the ends of the bottom panel, and bore 4 mm bolt holes through the supports where they meet the panel. Use a 118-degree twist drill bit to bore these holes. Bolt the end supports to the bottom panel. Do the same for the side supports.
Next, clamp the end panels in place, and bore 4 mm bolt holes through the supports and the panel. Bolt the end panels in place. Complete the body by repeating this procedure with the sides.
Crosscut the inner and outer corner supports, and bore 3 mm pilot holes through them and the corners of your box so that they make a sandwich: inner support, box corner, then outer support. Mount the supports by driving sheetmetal screws through all three pieces.
Step 2 – ADD A HANDLE
Crosscut the handle supports. Use a pair of compasses to mark the top curve; cut it with a jigsaw. Next, bore a large hole into each support for the handle to slide through. Use a bimetal hole saw or a step drill, a conical bit with notches cut into it (each notch makes a different-size hole). Crosscut the handle using a plumber’s tubing cutter, which is available at most hardware stores and is a good tool to have around. Install the supports by bolting them to the ends of the box, then slide the handle through its holes. Next, drill two 3 mm holes through the handle, one just behind each support. Cut threads in the handle with a 3 mm tap. Fix the handle’s position in the supports by threading machine screws through the holes. The box can now be loaded with a carburettor, plugs or something less greasy. Candy canes, maybe.
|A||1||Bottom panel||Diamond-plate aluminium||1,5 x 203 x 406|
|B||2||End panel||Diamond-plate aluminium||1,5 x 76 x 203|
|C||2||Side panel||Diamond-plate aluminium||1,5 x 76 x 410|
|D||2||Handle support||Aluminum flat stock||3 x 51 x 216|
|E||1||Handle||Steel-tube closet rod||25 x 445|
|F||4||Corner support (outer)||Aluminium angle||3 x 25 x 76|
|G||4||Corner support (inner)||Aluminium angle||3 x 25 x 47|
|H||2||Bottom support (end)||Aluminium angle||3 x 25 x 203|
|I||2||Bottom support (side)||Aluminium angle||3 x 25 x 356|
1 22-piece pkg 9 mm No. 6 pan-head sheet-metal screws
1 100-piece pkg No. 6-32 x 12 mm round-head machine screws with nuts
Aluminium may be softer than steel, but it can be tough to work with because its particles build up on saw blades and drill bits. To prevent this, use a cutting lubricant designed for non-ferrous metal, such as AlumTap.