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Old 17-12-2008, 22:42   #1
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Fabricating your own mast steps

So I was looking at the prices of mast steps and found even fixed steps to be extremely expensive (approx 17usd) when you have to buy 35 or so. I was wondering, have any of you fabricated your own? I mean, the construction of such a simple step, more or less bending a piece of 1.5 inch wide stainless steel 3 times and drilling six holes would be much cheaper. If I did that and deburred it, what would be different than what they offer? Just a thought, would appreciate any feedback.
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Old 18-12-2008, 00:32   #2
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Sure it can be done with time and care. A template could be made and a jig and fixture would be needed to insure that uniforminity with all of the steps were maintained.
If you take into account the price of materials pluse your labpr and the fact that the steps would be untested, would you place your safety on a dollar saving , or would you be better off spending the extra money on a product that was designed properly?
Many boaters fabricate their own equipment every day and take great pleasure and pride from the work they accomplish. If you feel that you can design and build the steps on your own, I would say " go for it".
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Old 18-12-2008, 03:20   #3
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I agree with the above. However, the cost-savings vs safety issue is what West Marine would like you to believe. It's probably easier to hoist yourself up the mast.
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Old 18-12-2008, 09:49   #4
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Thanks for the feedback. I think making my own will be fun and cost effective. Just have to find a good place to buy 316 steel.
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Old 18-12-2008, 11:33   #5
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I made a jig from 2 layers of 3/4 plywood for making them from 3/16' x 2" aluminium and they seemed to work quite well. I weigh 225lbs and when I was testing them I attached a pair to a 4x4 and jumped up and down on them pogo stick style to see if they would bend. They didn't so I figured they would be strong enough to stand/climb on. I have yet to use them myself but a friend has done and they work well. Also aluminium mast, steps and rivets makes sense just from a corrosion point of view..............m
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Old 18-12-2008, 13:13   #6
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I was thinking about using aluminum for that same reason, though didnt know what thickness I should buy to make it stable. It would be great to use Al, especially 316ss is so freaking expensive, comparatively. If 3/16" worked for you, I may well do the same. I could even get diamond plate to make the grip better. Thanks cantxsailor.
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Old 18-12-2008, 15:51   #7
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Hey Stoupid! (Thats really funny to type) Here's a link: Speedy Metals Online Industrial Metal Supply
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Old 18-12-2008, 16:36   #8
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Built mine out of quarter inch by one inch bar stock aluminum used self drilling stainless screws for attachment total cost twenty bucks for steps to top.
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Old 18-12-2008, 17:39   #9
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these hold up well?

I like how you did these, how are they holding up??
If they hold you, I am happy with those results! I am about 220lbs, so anything that works for you is considered tried and tested, my friend!
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Old 18-12-2008, 19:57   #10
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An interesting mast step setup was on a friends boat. The mast steps were made in sections, if I remember, about 6' long. Each section was made with 4 or 5 steps on it and the whole section was screwed or rivited to the mast. A lot less holes than individual steps.
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Old 19-12-2008, 02:59   #11
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They hold up well, I go at around 250 lbs and have been up and down many times.
opt for the rivets if you have internal halyards. The sharp ends of the drill points could play havoc on internal lines. Ive been contemplating running a thin 1/8" cable up the outer point of the step with small u bolts holding them to the steps. Im figuring that would prevent the halyards from getting caught in them, strengthen both the mast and the steps. The halyard tangling only seems to be a problem in the darkness in windy conditions but thats the last time you want to be dealing with it.
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