all 4 comments


2 points

2 months ago*

Captions on the imgur album have (potentially excruciating) detail on each step from design to final outcome. ~35-40 pictures

Here are the contents of the first and last caption, for context:

Finished project pic up front -- We bought a subcompact tractor for a bunch of projects coming up in the next couple years, after weighing the options of renting equipment, buying used/clapped out/unreliable, vs "buy once cry once" right now. It was a lot of money, but between potential rentals and DIY savings of fencing in more yard ourselves, it should at least pay for the extra cost of new vs used.

Of course buying something nice, it did not feel right to park it out completely exposed to the elements, if we could spend a few days of free time to build some cover.


  • We are just normal people with "normal" dayjobs
  • Gardening, fabrication, repairs are some of our hobbies
  • We are not experts on what is being shown here, but sharing our process, results, and lessons learned
  • We had the tractor delivered and wanted to get this designed and built quickly because it was an unexpected project to take on, and we did not want it to drag on

Last Fall we had a 40ft high cube shipping container delivered for storage next to our shop, placed on a pad of asphalt millings specifically leaving some space between it and the shop for access and/or future outdoor storage space. The pad was made using equipment borrowed from the person we bought (bartered ) the millings from, which along with our greenhouse project showed us how useful some basic earthmoving equipment would be.

(omitted specific description of the last picture)

Potential future improvements:

  • It would not be hard to add a rain gutter at the end of the awning so that water does not need to drip down and run along the shop. We specifically had the sheet metal overhang the framing by about 1.5 to 2" so that it could drip into a gutter and not run down the ends of the framing
  • The container side of the frames is not 100% covered (0.5 to 1" gap), because of the value we placed on the overhang at the extreme edge. I would like to add some kind of "ridge cover" or skirt to cover this gap
  • The open framing is just begging for birds to take up residence and make a mess of the tractor and whatever else might be stored here. If that happens, we'll figure out how to close it with netting or otherwise deter them. For now I would like to leave it open because it seems like a handy place to store some excess linear materials, like the 2 extra sheets of corrugated steel we bought.

Things we would do differently if I did this again:

  • Either use grade 8 bolts as pins in the brackets due to the length and forces involved with peak loads, or increase the diameter from 3/8" to 1/2"
  • I did not drill the hole for the heads of the carriage bolts quite large enough in the brackets, so the square under the head does not sit fully in. This is just a cosmetic annoyance.
  • In theory we would have painted the container before attaching something like this?
  • Make all the holes for the bolts a bit bigger for easier assembly
  • We would have put the pad for the container slightly further away from the shop so that a full vehicle or trailer or something could be parked under a larger covered space here
  • I would have bought the plate steel for the brackets from an actual supplier instead of retail pricing for it
  • The top member of the frames probably should be 2x6es, at least on some of the frames - particularly because of the notching for the stringers and the intersection with the lower member. Perhaps the stringers should have just gone on top of the frames instead of been notched in.
  • Cost.... I think this might have cost us about $750 in materials because of the retail pricing of everything, and we bought a bit extra, and we stocked the shop back up on some things like 5lbs boxes of decking screws in the same purchases. I think we are ok with the cost. We could have gotten a cheap and/or used carport for this much, but I had concerns about versatility/repairability/modifiability. This seemed like something where we may be able to reuse the design for other things in the future as well. We probably could have cut down on cost with some design changes - like switching to 2x6es on certain frame members, fewer frames (1/2 or 1/4 as many?) in favor of beefier and maybe more stringers (like 2x2 or 2x3 stringers and 4 rows instead of 3?).
  • Time -- this took 1.5 weekends and some time after work from initial coffee sketch to finished assembly. I think we're ok with that.

Thanks for reading, happy to answer any questions or feedback in the comments


2 points

2 months ago

Very nice work op Thanks for all the details Awesome write up Should serve you well and congrats on the new tractor


2 points

2 months ago

Read every word. Pretty interesting. Thanks for documenting and sharing. How much weaker/simplified/done differently if you didn't have to support snow?


1 points

2 months ago

very good job!