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Old August 1, 2013, 09:31 PM   #76
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Iowa
Posts: 34
My apologies for the very late response. I have been busy this summer with work and haven't had much time to get on the computer.

thump_rrr, I would be scared to even guess the hours that have gone into it. For several reasons; There was soo much time just involved in thinking.. so many hours spent trying to sleep but failing to do so because of my pondering mind. I was always thinking of different ideas. Alot of trial and error, mainly in the locking part. Also this was a school project, so I only had so many hours a day to work on it. Being a senior and filling my schedule with easy classes to finish off the year, I did have approximately 4.5 hours a day in the shop. Alot of which was taken up by doing my required lessons/welding tests/etc..
I can however give you a brief and extremely estimated list of certain things I did.
Frame of safe (measuring, cutting, welding): 4 hours.
Door frame (3-90 degree sides with a custom 45 degree angle): 3 hours.
Interior framing (drawers): 3 hours.
Welding the sheeting to the frame: 6 hours.
Constructing door locking mechanism (This would be an estimate if i actually knew what I was doing.. actual time was probably close to 30 hours in total after all my trial and errors): 8 hours.
constructing door handle: 4 hours.
Grinding/filing/sanding/polishing: FOREVER!!! Probably 35 hours. (alot of which was done at home on my own time. 90% of my grinding could have been avoided with the proper machining)
Sandblasting/Painting: 4 hours of labor. Several more hours of drying time of course.

Again those are all very very extreme estimates. If I made another one alot of that time would be cut down drastically. Of course there was alot of other smaller things that I left out.

Everyone asking about cost,
I should have kept track of my costs but I think I would have been scared to know the exact amount. Some of the materials (2" angle iron/portions of the paint bill/ other small materials items) were all donated from business and family friends (wonderful perks of our family trade) and the school.
Overall I think I had around 1300-1400 into materials. If we had used a cheaper paint like enamel verse a urethane + the automotive paint I probably would of only had 1000-1100 into it.

I've checked out some prices on gun safes and some are higher than what I put into it and some are lower and having made a safe that fits my own personal needs AND having the pleasure of building it myself. It was definitely worth the money and would love to do it again.

The way I did it will work but I wish I would have done it differently. My original plan was to find a glue that could bond between durock and metal but I didn't find exactly what I wanted so to improvise I placed each piece in so they would all hold each other in firmly. I had layered it with two sheets. I wanted 1" total of durock well I could only find half inch so I just doubled it. The second layer I overlapped my previous cracks and then very carefully and patiently screwed the two pieces together. After the durock was carefully put into place I surrounded it with a thin piece of plywood to help with strength and to smash the durock between two solids pieces to help with future problems. I believed over time durock will split apart, or crumble.
There are so many ways I wish would have done it but I couldn't think of it at the time and its a little too late now. Haha.

Something else to add in; For those of you who ever have dreamt about making your own safe or are actually thinking about doing it.. You really don't need much for tooling. A guy can pretty much do everything with just a welder and plasma cutter/OR torch. Yes I had a mill, press, lathe, etc to help me but you can definetely get by without them! I did very little mill work on it. Lathe work was only in the handles which you can always design your own handles without a lathe or even have someone else make those for you. The only thing I used the press/notcher/whole punch for was to make a few jobs easier such as cutting holes, cutting my notches, cutting angle iron. All that can be done with a drill press/drill/or torch.

Ill honestly say I had NO idea what I was doing this whole project. Which just goes to show that anybody can do it if they have some of the necessary tools, patience, and a little will power to try different things.

Last edited by Pope94/IA; August 1, 2013 at 09:45 PM.
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