Art Truck Racks and Stands

Hi, I am Jeff, and I built the Art Truck for Krissy; this is how we expanded the capacity of the Art Truck by adding removable racks and stands for them.

We were getting ready for Miami Art Basel 2022, so this was built to pop up an outdoor art exhibit virtually anywhere.

Rack Design Criteria

  • Hold as many racks as possible.
  • Be removable to regain space within the truck.
  • Stands stable enough for a light breeze.
  • Able to hold art horizontally and vertically.
  • Enough distance between the racks to reduce the risk of art being damaged.

Sketches and Failure

This was an idea to make telescoping PVC rails to hang the panels in the truck.

Racks Mount Truck limits initial design Racks Mount Truck PVC rails Racks Mount Truck PVC rails Racks Mount Truck PVC rails

The trial build

PVC Rails test PVC Rails test PVC Rails test mounting panel detail

I learned a lot about cutting PVC pipe on a table saw and how it distorts as it is cut. I don't have a photo or video, but the point circled in this photo became the point of failure.

PVC Rails test point of failure

When I held the half sheet of wood up when extended by the PVC, it deflected over 2 feet. I finally did what I should have done at the start: a momentary arm calculation to see how much force/weight the PVC would have to hold. Even using a naive calculation showed hundreds of pounds of force from the 1/2" plywood weight being multiplied. This proved this idea was a failure.

Sketches and Testing A New Idea

So, in thinking about the rail and telescoping idea more, I did consider aluminum. But if I did eight racks, it would be thousands of dollars in aluminum, cutting, welding, and even then, there would be higher costs if the design was revised.

Time for simple is best, wood rails! (I also sketched the design for the stands.)

 Racks wood design

It's time to build the first test.

First top rail in place Top rail cut to perfect length

Mock up of the bottom removable track

First Panel Test

First panel test inserted First panel test extended out

Jigs and Making Saw Dust

A big lesson from the Art Cart was the need to use jigs to make parts the same way so that any rail can go in any order, and any panel can go in any slot. Precision was vital as the tolerances were small to maximize the panel size.

 Mass production mess Making saw dust cutting panels and using all the tools

Jig up close Jig in context

Panels cut and with handles Panels painted

All the top racks in Plumb bob in action

All the rails in place All the panels in place

Stand Build

The stands were another aspect of precision and simplicity while needing to be sturdy and easy to use. Templets were also crucial here to get the hangers in the same spot and the holes lined up for adjusting the stand heights. Also all stands and panels can be used horizontally or vertically.

Hooks for vertical or horizontal Hangers just fitting in the racks

Hanging on a stand First functioning stand
Art Stands Painted Stands example vertical and horizontal

Mounting Art v2.0

While the wood hangers for the art worked, they were challenging to work with. Mounting a piece of art on the panel was 10+ minutes each. It was time for a new approach.

Initially, I tried to use eye hooks and clips. I tried six different clip designs, but none were working.

The solution is eye hooks and wire cables with screws and washers.

This also resulted in my first time welding with a wire feed welder; some damn horrible welds here. But it worked. This is the template for mounting the eye hooks in each corner.

Welded template

This video introduces the concept and shows what these take to do at scale. 

This video shows the use of a custom bit for putting in the eye hooks. It also features Leo at the helm of the recording, so sorry for the randomness.


Lots of this was made possible by my local shops. If I had to go to Home Depot for everything, it would have taken forever and cost much more!

  • Gideon King Hardware, on Elam Rd
  • White Horse Machine on Meetinghouse Rd
  • Paneling Sales in Gordonville
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