Cages, Bumpers & racks Oh my! - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old September 10th, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Brian Kandefer
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Cages, Bumpers & racks Oh my!

Ok, so I am in the middle of making a Big purchase and want to get the feed back from the forum to see if it supports me or kicks me to the curb. I have been fabricating for twelve years for fun, mostly all my own vehicles. Made a couple bumpers to sell while in college while at the industrial school at APP, but nothing major in any way. Well long story short I got my first 90, and almost feel out of my chair when I saw the cost for a good roll cage and gear for it. Well I did some searching figured for what it would cost me to buy the cage, bumper and tire carrier I could buy a killer mandrel bender, make my own and sell some on the side for fun? I am going to be at Uwharrie in Oct showing off my stuff for anyone that wants to see it, but wanted to see if you guys are even willing to buy hand made high quality custom stuff from a country boy that just loves making stuff. I have a feeling that some of you will be down and others would be like if its not a Safari Gard or safety Device that it wont touch your truck. I guarantee that everything I make will be CNC plasma cut and tig welded and powder coated to what ever color you want, for a quarter of what the big guys charge. I would like feed back, I am talking about making a ten thousand dollar investment, to some of you guys that is a drop in the bucket for me its not, its almost everything I have. I want your feed back, want to see what you would be interested in and want to hear if you think I am crazy. The great part is that is I have access to some really high end equipment, but no one around me has a good tube bender, that would stand up to the Rover society's criticism. GIVE IT TO ME I CAN TAKE IT ARE YOU DOWN OR AM I NUTS?
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  #2  
Old September 10th, 2012, 03:57 PM
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You will have to build a following, and that means sucking it up and doing alot of extra stuff that you will charge folks for when you have that following. No one will pass on good quaility with a good price. I will pay extra for quality, always. I think everyone here is the same.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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Brian Kandefer
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Originally Posted by Bill Larson View Post
You will have to build a following, and that means sucking it up and doing alot of extra stuff that you will charge folks for when you have that following. No one will pass on good quaility with a good price. I will pay extra for quality, always. I think everyone here is the same.
I totally agree, I am the same way. Pretty much why and how I got out of Jeeps, so many ppl just did really crappy work and builds on budgets. I would rather save for six months and buy a high quality part then have five shitty components for the same price. Thanks for your response, I can post a few things I have made. But they are all on broncos and Jeeps.

------ Follow up post added September 10th, 2012 04:11 PM ------



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Old September 10th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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Brian Kandefer
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The black Cherokee I built the front bumper and side rails at age 18, while in school. The bronco was a build 4 years ago, I did the cage and the bumper. Neither of these were built with my new tools. These were cut by hand and MIG welded, my new stuff that I have been making lately is way nicer. Anyways thanks
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  #5  
Old September 10th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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I've been fabricating for 15 years now and started up Wolf Fabrication about 4 years ago. It started with building my own stuff and gradually building a following and a reputation. The Rover community is extremely small, so quality and customer service are a must. My stuff isn't cheap, but it's comparable to RTE, HLC, etc. I do get a lot of "hey, I can buy 2 Terrafirma bumpers for the cost of one of your bumpers." But my stuff is made in the US and supports my family and my Rover addiction. My build prices are a set labor rate plus materials.

JD2 came out with a great new bender that is decently priced for the beginner: http://www.jd2.com/p-74-model-52-bender.aspx
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  #6  
Old September 10th, 2012, 04:26 PM
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The front bumper on the Bronco is very nice. I need one like that for a Mazda B2600 project I have.
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  #7  
Old September 10th, 2012, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf Fabrication View Post
I've been fabricating for 15 years now and started up Wolf Fabrication about 4 years ago. It started with building my own stuff and gradually building a following and a reputation. The Rover community is extremely small, so quality and customer service are a must. My stuff isn't cheap, but it's comparable to RTE, HLC, etc. I do get a lot of "hey, I can buy 2 Terrafirma bumpers for the cost of one of your bumpers." But my stuff is made in the US and supports my family and my Rover addiction. My build prices are a set labor rate plus materials.

JD2 came out with a great new bender that is decently priced for the beginner: http://www.jd2.com/p-74-model-52-bender.aspx
thanks so much, I have seen your site and I am the one that emailed you last week. I know the market is really small, that is why I contacted the local four wheel parts and talked to them about being a custom vender. My buddy is the sales manager, which was my in. I love rovers always have and I really wanted to see the response bc I wasnt sure. I do IT sales during the day and Fab for fun at night and weekends. Would love to get more involved and to start making a name and cash. I know its not going to be easy, but seeing others like yourself shows that if you really like doing it then why not! Thanks again.

------ Follow up post added September 10th, 2012 04:33 PM ------

The Bender I am looking at, is from a former custom chopper shop. They made one off motor cycle frames, the guy retired and its just been sitting. Its a killer deal that I am going get, all digital measuring that does multiple bends. I can set up programs to retain designs to minimize effort and have a higher tolerance for consistency.
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  #8  
Old September 10th, 2012, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomaco1
The front bumper on the Bronco is very nice. I need one like that for a Mazda B2600 project I have.
Should I start taking orders?
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  #9  
Old September 10th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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Oh, one more thing, you won't get rich fabbing Rover stuff. It will pay the bills, but nothing more. Many of the fab shops have been struggling lately.
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  #10  
Old September 10th, 2012, 06:42 PM
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Off topic but what the hell is with all the bumper/motorcycle/chopper links? Everything takes me to ebay. I am logged in, what gives?
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  #11  
Old September 10th, 2012, 06:57 PM
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There are quite a few fab shops that specialize in rover stuff. Unless you can revolutionize the design or manufacture of rover specific fabrication, you're entering a small market with established shops that have worked hard to build relationships within the LR community. It would be a seriously difficult uphill climb. Perhaps your design and manufacturing processes are radically better then the established firms. If so, go for it. Have you run the math on your business plan? What's your break even point on your 10k investment?
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Old September 10th, 2012, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
Its a new ad scheme. Im hoping that they can change the color of the linked ads (or some other way to differentiate) so they arent confused with links that a poster puts in.

http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...ad.php?t=39847

-Jeff
Thanks Jeff. I though old timers were immune to this? It really blows and takes away from the greatness that is D90.
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  #13  
Old September 10th, 2012, 07:52 PM
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I'm 37, I'm not old.

-Jeff
Sorry, I meant long-time members
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  #14  
Old September 10th, 2012, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnrvrs View Post
There are quite a few fab shops that specialize in rover stuff. Unless you can revolutionize the design or manufacture of rover specific fabrication, you're entering a small market with established shops that have worked hard to build relationships within the LR community. It would be a seriously difficult uphill climb. Perhaps your design and manufacturing processes are radically better then the established firms. If so, go for it. Have you run the math on your business plan? What's your break even point on your 10k investment?
You are spot on.
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  #15  
Old September 10th, 2012, 10:29 PM
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Brian Kandefer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf Fabrication

You are spot on.
Not trying to change the world, just trying to see what ppl want!
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  #16  
Old September 10th, 2012, 10:54 PM
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Would be interested in a 110 sw SD type cage for a ribbed roof. Haven't seen these offered so you could capitalize on that niche.
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  #17  
Old September 10th, 2012, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnrvrs
There are quite a few fab shops that specialize in rover stuff. Unless you can revolutionize the design or manufacture of rover specific fabrication, you're entering a small market with established shops that have worked hard to build relationships within the LR community. It would be a seriously difficult uphill climb. Perhaps your design and manufacturing processes are radically better then the established firms. If so, go for it. Have you run the math on your business plan? What's your break even point on your 10k investment?
The way I see it, my goal is to be doing this part time 20-30 hrs a month. The local four wheel shop will more than likely pay for my equipment the first few months. They have a cult following of truggie and Rock builders that only need bending work done. They supply material and I will charge by the hour ($150 an hour)to just bend. I know of at least five guys lined up already that I have talked to. I am going to bend for free for them(or at least for a bottle of bourbon) hoping to build up some good relationships. My break even is building my own cage, and selling the equipment, but I really want to get more involved in the fabrication world. I have access to a full machine shop with multiple CNC machines, this would allow me to keep my costs very low, I just don't have any access to a good mandrel bender, hence all my money being tied up. To be completely honest I have not come up with a built proof business. My goal is to build my truck and go from there, I have been playing on the side and want to see where I can take it. Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old September 10th, 2012, 11:05 PM
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I don't have much fabricating experience and actually I am only in beginning stages of learning how to TIG weld so don't have the strongest background. But I have been dealing with fabricators for mtn bikes (which is my main life-long passion) for a few years and have put a lot of thought and research into fabricated bicycle frames. I'll have to agree with folks like Wolf, grnrvrs and and say it will probably be pretty tough gig.

A few questions:
-Is that $10k investment just for the mandrel bender?
-What other machinery do you have already?
-What kind of work space - out of the garage or a decent sized area?
-What about insurance?

A few thoughts:
- Partner up with someone that can use and abuse what you make and has a good head on what works and doesn't on the trail.
- You need to figure out what and associate a cost with each of your things. Does that $10k investment include packing materials, website stuff, electricity to run that machinery, work space?
- What products do you mean that you can do for a 1/4 of what the big guys charge - do you think you can do a bumper like Rockware's for $300? If so that would be sick but you have to factor in your time and costs. The reason Terrafirma can sell stuff so inexpensive is that getting product made in China is so crazy cheap.
- I think it's going to be hard to compete with Safety Devices on cages and guys like Rockware and RTE on winch bumpers. But if you could do a solid rear tire carrier for $500 you might be onto something. Or with that mandrel bender and good TIG skills a SS exhaust with tons of clearance. Or what about some storage lockers or a center console? Maybe just do one smaller product but do it f**king awesome and get a name/rep for yourself.
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  #19  
Old September 10th, 2012, 11:15 PM
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Don is dead on, when folks (like me) are willing to wait months (because of your back log of work) and fork out a couple of grand for a freakin tire carrier you know your product kicks serious ass.
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  #20  
Old September 10th, 2012, 11:36 PM
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an extended exocage, like this one

It goes down the A, B & C-pillars & attaches to the horizontal step bar

If you get Land Rover World, look at their July 2012 issue, page 146, there's one similar to this shown there, in Egypt, but that one does not attach to the lower step bar
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