DIY Infrastructure: Canem builds a carport

Finally I’m getting to start on a project I’ve been dreaming of for almost a year. Specifically ever since I had such a large fab project going on in the shop last December that I had to spend many hours over the course of a week running angle grinders outside while being snowed on.

So here’s this unimproved, unleveled patch of weeds between the shop and garage. Soon over it will stand a 20’x20’x12’ steel carport to keep the sun and rain off me and the materials during many more large assembly and fabrication projects.

Ordering a steel carport kit was a simple and straightforward process… BWAHAHAHA just kidding! This is 2020+1, of course not even buying the thing was going to be easy!

Totally un-returned calls and emails to multiple sources alleging that they sell carports. One outfit claiming lead times of nearly a year. Another that did get me a price, ignored all my questions about anchoring requirements, and had a site that looked like a late '90s Geocities knockoff. Versatube however, has been fairly communicative, and one of their reps was responsive in helping me make the right decisions for local snow/wind loads, how to spec the ground anchoring, etc.

I never found out what installation costs. I was informed by the local dealer for Versatube that they were booked into February already, so I just immediately pivoted into the do it yourself option.

So that was to take 4-5 weeks to arrive. In the meantime, site prep:

12 tons of pit-run. It never looks like that much after the truck dumps it out does it?

Some pleasant tractor time later and it’s looking mostly flat. This is a really deceptive slope we live on however, and this still tapers away and to the right a bit.

…and for once something actually arrived on time this year! Half way through week 5 I was told I could come pick up the structure.

Here it is, structure and sheet metal and all as shipped.

1000lb shipping weight. Well that’s double what my little tractor can lift so this will be an unload and stack a piece at a time affair.

Supervisors always eager to help out.

[Younger, more naive me]: “I wonder what kind of anchors they include for pier mount? Something cast-in-place like J-bolts? Surely it’s something fancier than wed…”


So reading material for the next couple evenings will be the manual. It seems pretty detailed and well laid out from a brief glance through it.

Beats the mobile home augers I have half driven…

Should really get those welded and chopped one of these years.

… should really learn to weld, actually.

I have a project to work on outside so naturally, it rains on every day I have free to do that project…

Next step, fix the auger. One clevis didn’t look all that well welded anyway and cracked when it got bent.

Welding over cracks, even with a deep penetration process that you’d think has re-liquified the entire weld zone and reformed it, has a strange way of letting those cracks propagate and come right back under even less mechanical stress that what caused the crack to begin with.

Also grinding that out made it a bit easier to bend, so I forced it back to shape with a big C-clamp and welded that out.

Ready for drilling.

Drilling was super fast. Started scraping the dirt, laid out the west base rail and a string level and found it’s still about 2" above the other one. I’ll build up the downhill side about an inch, and scrap the west side another inch.

A little cutting into the uphill side is ok but I don’t want to disturb the angle of repose holding up the shop floor too much. So a bit more cutting and a bit more scraping and maybe rain will leave me alone long enough to get concrete in.

He didn’t even need a jackhammer! :stuck_out_tongue:

Holy moly, those are some serious gophers you got, there! :wink:

That auger does tend to attract giant geometric gophers…

Or are they baby Graboids?