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USING 80/20

80/20 is a brand name for a modular framing system that consists of different size aluminum extrusions, connectors and fasteners.  The extrusions are bolted together using the various connectors.  There are other manufacturers of identical extrusions.  They are available as fractional or metric.  I used the "T-Slot" brand because I could pick up the extrusions locally to avoid the shipping costs.  The system is ideal for use in a conversion.  It is very easy to fabricate structures for the interior cabinets.  Many people only use the stock connectors available from the extrusion manufacturer and have the extrusions cut to length at the 80/20 factory.  I have found that 90% of the connectors I want are not available as stock parts.  The stock connectors are too thick and do not have the holes located where I want them.  I prefer to buy the extrusions in 242" lengths and cut the extrusions to length in my shop.  I had my supplier cut the extrusions into 12' and 8' lengths so I could fit them in my van.  My cost for the extrusions for the Transit build was about $1300.00 including some accessories.  For most of the connectors I buy 3/16" aluminum flat and angle extrusions from a local metal supply to make the connectors.  The fasteners are purchased from an industrial fastener supplier.  One aspect to keep in mind is aluminum is a good heat/cold conductor.  The 80/20 framework needs to be thermally isolated from the van steel structure.  In an accident the large interior 80/20 structure where all the cabinets are bolted together should be safer than individual cabinets.

 A wood chop saw is needed to cut extrusions.  I use a 12" saw with a non-ferrous cutting blade.  The blade is a Skarpaz part # NF-121N.  It has 100  teeth, style N5TCG, .095 plate, .125 kerf and a 1" bore.  A smaller diameter saw could be used.  Caution: I almost had a serious injury because I was cutting an angle that jammed.  It was not clamped.  Never cut without clamping the extrusion. A drill press is required.  A vertical band saw is also needed.  I use a 14" band saw.  A vertical belt sander is needed to deburr the parts.  The last tool that is required is a hand tapping machine available from Grizzley Model # G8748 for about $100.










The majority of the extrusions I used are the 15 series 1 1/2" square with one, two, three or four slots.  The extrusions can be bought with a smooth surface or a surface with lines on the surface.  I prefer the looks of the smooth surface extrusions.  The number of slots required depends where the extrusion is used.  I prefer a no slot surface for the extrusions for the cabinet fronts.  The 15 series extrusions are designed to accept 5/16-18NC carriage bolts.  The extrusions come in different weights/ft in the same size.  For conversions the lightest series 15 has more than enough strength.  The series 15 makes it easier to install panels in the openings.  The 15 series has a center hole that is the correct diameter for a 5/16-18NC tap.  I have seen the 1" series 10 extrusions used in conversions.  The 1 1/2" series 15 appears to be a better choice.

As much as possible I use carriage bolts in the slots for connections.  The carriage bolts must be inserted into the slot before the extrusion end is blocked.  If you do not want to take the framework apart to add a carriage bolt after the ends are blocked, a 80/20 "Drop-in T-slot stud" can be used.  They are a special narrow head carriage bolt that can be inserted into the slot and turned 90 degrees.
There are many different nuts that can be used in the slot.  Some have to be slid in the end and others can be inserted along the slot.  If there is access to the end of the extrusion when I want a threaded hole, I use either two or three hole "economy" nuts. Economy nuts are less expensive and are easier use.  They work very well in a vertical extrusion.  Use a 5/16-18NC x 3/8" set screw in one of the threaded holes to lock the nut in place.
It is less expensive to buy the fasteners from an industrial fastener supply company.  I used all stainless fasteners.  If stainless is used, a anti-gall thread lubricant must be used to prevent galling.
The van is subject to vibrations.  Always use Elastic Stop Nuts on all bolts.  I used serrated flange nuts in the Sprinter build and later found loose connections.

Simple flat and angle connectors work very well in a conversion.  The expensive "Anchor Fasteners" that require machining a hole in the extrusion are not necessary.  The standard 80/20 angle and flat connectors are 1/4" thick and do not have the holes where I want them.  A better less expensive solution is to fabricate the connectors from 3/16" flat and angle aluminum extrusions.  Easy to cut the flat or angle to length and drill the holes and then deburr.  The holes do not need to be super accurate because there is clearance in the 80/20 slots.  No time spent ordering and waiting for a delivery.  The 3/16 thickness has enough strength for the application and is thick enough that it can be tapped.
One hole location on angle connectors can not be centered when carrige bolts are used.  At least one of the holes in a 1 1/2" angle connector must be offset so it is 1" from the apex.  The nuts can not be installed on the carriage bolts unless one of the holes is offset.
Below is a list of the connectors that I used with a picture and a drawing in PDF file format.   Click the button to display the drawing.  If you want more PDF menu choices the drawing can be saved and reopened in the Adobe PDF Reader.  The Adobe PDF Reader is a better program to use for viewing.
Also listed are the standard purchased 80/20 connectors/nuts/bolts that were used.  They are connectors H,I,J,L, and M.  In addition to the fabricated connectors shown I did make a few other special connectors out of flats and angle.









This is the primary angle connector used where a panel is not required.  The holes are not centered on the angle legs.  Holes are 1" from the apex.  This hole location allows the use of carriage bolts with enough clearance so nuts do not hit each other. Angle is 1 1/4" long so even if the holes were not drilled exactly the angle does not overhang the extrusion.

Connector "A" Drawing ODJ127-39                                                          









This 1" long angle is used if a 1/4" plywood panel is installed.  The holes are offset so 1/4" panel can be inset 1/8" from the face of the extrusion.  The 1/8" inset looks better than a flush panel.  Also was used in the floor 80/20 framework where the 3/8" rubber gym mat hides the angle.

Connector "B" Drawing ODJ127-40                                                            







I used a 3/8" thick rubber gym mat as the floor between the 80/20 extrusions.  The shorter angle leg bolts to the extrusion and the longer leg bolts to the plywood floor.  The shorter leg allows the gym mat to hide the angle.

Connector "C" Drawing # ODJ127-41                                                                








Same as basic angle "A" except one hole is 1" from the apex and the other is centered 3/4" from the apex.  At least one hole must be 1" from the apex if carriage bolts are used so nuts clear.  This extrusion is used when the 3/4" hole must be centered on the extrusion.

Connector "D" Drawing # ODJ127-43                                                                







Whenever possible this is the preferred method of connecting two extrusions.  Two bolt holes on one extrusion prevents rotation.  Can be made from either  3/16" x 1 1/4" flat or from 3/16" x 1 1/2" flat.

Connector "E" Drawing # ODJ127-44











This angle is used to mount a removable 1/4" plywood panel.  The panel is inset 1/8" from the face of the extrusion.  Either carriage bolts or a 3 hole 80/20 # 3285 economy nut and 5/8" long bolts can be used to bolt the angle to the extrusion.  Use 1" long button head screws to attach panel.  The angle does require a band saw to notch the angle.

Connector "F" Drawing # ODJ127-45                                                                      









Used where panel does not need to be removed for access and without the mounting screws showing.  Can be made with or without the slots at the bolt holes.  Wood block is bolted to the extrusion with 1 1/2" long carriage bolts.  The panel is inset 1/8" from face of the extrusion.  The length of the block is changed as required.  Best to bolt the blocks to the extrusion and then glue the panel to the blocks.  If bolt holes have slots and there is access to the back of the panel then panel can be removed.

Connector "G" Drawing # ODJ127-48                                                                         









This is a purchased 80/20 part # 3380.  Used where other methods will not work.  Requires a 9/32" access hole to tighten the screw with an Allen wrench.  Requires 80/20 part # 6075 drill jig to locate the access hole accurately.  The end hole of the 80/20 extrusion must be tapped for the 5/16-18NC screw.

Connector "H" Drawing # ODJ127-46                                                             








This is a purchased 80/20 part # 3279.  Use this to obtain a tapped hole in the extrusion slot.  Put a 5/16-18NC x 3/8" set screw in one of the holes to hold the nut in place.  Put a 5/16" bolt in the other hole to move the nut where you want it and then tighten the set screw.  These "economy" nuts are much cheaper than the "roll-in T nuts" and are more robust due to the large set screw holding the nut in place.  Access to the open end of the extrusion is required.

Connector "I" Drawing # ODJ127-47                                                               









This is a purchased 80/20 part # 3285.  Use this when you want to prevent the attached part from rotating.  Put the 5/16-18C x 3/8" set screw in the middle hole.  Use a bolt in one of the end holes to move the nut where you want it and then tighten the set screw.  Use bolts in the two end holes to attach the part.  Access to the end of the extrusion is required.

Connector "J" Drawing # ODJ127-51                                                                  









Use where a multi-hole plate is required.  Holes located to match the slot spacing.  Can also be made as a three hole plate by eliminating one hole and cutting off that corner at a 45 degree angle.

Connector "K" Drawing # ODJ127-50                                                                      








These are purchased from 80/20.  They come in different lengths: #3293 for 3/4", #3295 for 1", #3297 for 1 1/4" and # 3299 for 1 1/2".  These are used when a stud is needed and you forgot to preload a carriage bolt before structure was assembled.  The stud is inserted in the slot and then rotated 90 degrees.

Connector "L" Drawing # ODJ127-52                                                            









These are purchased from 80/20 part # 12316.  Install in slot and rotate 90 degrees.  After installation a zip tie can be inserted in the provided slot in the block to attach cords/cables to the extrusion.

Connector "M" Drawing # ODJ127-53                                                              


If you want more PDF menu choices the drawing can be saved to your computer and then reopened with Adobe PDF Reader.  The Adobe PDF Reader is a better program to use for viewing.