POP Projects is a collection of new and classic projects from more than a century of Popular Mechanics. Master skills, get tool recommendations, and, most importantly, build something of your very own.
My buddy Bob Lucchesi inspired this metal box. He used one just like it in his racing days to tuneup his dragster. He would remove the engine’s carburetor and eight spark plugs and rack them neatly in the box to keep everything orderly during tuneups. With a backstory like that, this box will be treasured in any gearhead’s garage.
Some Tools You’ll Need
Plans and Materials
Make the Tray
Make the five box panels using a jigsaw and a Bosch T227D aluminum saw blade. Crosscut the four supports from a length of L-shaped aluminum. 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 bot-tom panel, and bore 9/64-inch 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 9/64-inch 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 7/64-inch 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 sheet-metal screws through all three pieces.
Add a Handle
Crosscut the handle supports. Use a compass 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 isa 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 7/64-inch holes through the handle, one just behind each support. Cut threads in the handle with a6-32 tap. Fix the handle’s position in the supports by threading machine screws through the holes. The box can now be loaded with a carburetor, plugs, or something less greasy.
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