How to Fabricate a Metal Bed

By Josh Turner
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Refurbishing a bedroom can be an expensive endeavor. Interior decoration and design alone can cost several hundred dollars without even taking into account the price of furniture. Almost any decent bed set (frame, headboard and footboard) is going to break the 500-dollar mark, and a classic metal bed can run into the thousands. By learning how to fabricate your own metal bed, you can have the durability of a store-bought bed at a fraction of the cost.

Rails

Step 1

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Decide on the size of mattress you want the bed to accommodate, then measure your mattress.

Step 2

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Cut 2 pieces of angle iron with a metal hacksaw or plasma torch according to the size of your mattress. Angle iron is flat iron bent at a 90-degree angle; 1-by-1-inch is an L-shaped piece where each leg of the L is 1 inch wide. The pieces will be the rails of the bed frame. Ideally, the rails should be the same length as your mattress; add 1 inch if you are afraid the mattress will not fit properly.

Step 3

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Drill 2 1/2-inch-diameter holes in 1 leg of the angle iron, 1/2 inch in from either end. Divide the distance between the 2 holes into 4 equal sections and mark a point at the end of each division. Drill 1/2-inch-diameter holes through each of the marks using a metal drill bit. Make sure the holes are in the center of the leg. Drill holes into the other rail using the same method.

Step 4

Cut 4 7-inch-long pieces of angle iron.

Step 5

Make a mark 1/2 inch in from 1 end of 1 7-inch piece. Drill a 1/2-inch-diameter hole through the mark, then drill additional holes every 2 inches until you have 3 holes. Drill holes in the remaining 3 pieces in the same way; these pieces will be the mounting brackets for the headboard.

Step 6

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Line up 1 mounting bracket with the end of 1 rail. Each of the pieces should have a leg with holes and a leg without. Line up the center of the mounting bracket with the end of the rail so the leg of the bracket without holes sits on top of the leg of the rail without holes, creating a T shape. The small piece should appear to be standing on end while the rail is parallel to the ground. Make sure the rail leg with holes faces the ground and the leg without holes faces the wall.

Step 7

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Weld the 2 pieces together using a stick welder. Line up and attach the other 3 mounting brackets to the remaining ends in the same manner.

Cross Members

Step 1

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Cut 5 pieces of the flat iron with a hacksaw or plasma torch to match the width of your mattress. These will be the cross members that connect the rails.

Step 2

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Drill 2 1/2-inch-diameter holes 1/2 inch in from the ends of each cross member.

Step 3

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Line up the holes in the cross members with the holes in the rails so the cross members connect the rails horizontally. Make sure the cross members sit on top of the rails.

Step 4

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Attach the cross member to the rails using 1-inch-long steel bolts. Place washers under the heads of the bolts, then thread the bolts through the cross members and rails so the heads and washers of the bolts are on top of the cross members and the nuts are under the rails. Tighten the nuts with a 1/2-inch-diameter socket wrench.

Headboard and Footboard

Step 1

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Use a pipe cutter to cut 4 pieces of 2-inch-diameter steel piping — 2 pieces 4 feet long and 2 pieces 3 feet long; these will be the sides of the headboard and footboard.

Step 2

Cut 4 pieces of 2-inch-diameter steel piping to match the width of the bed frame; these will be the cross members of the headboard and footboard.

Step 3

Cut 7 pieces of 1-inch-diameter steel piping with a pipe cutter. Make each pipe 3 feet long.

Step 4

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Connect the sides of the headboard by welding the ends of the cross members, 1 foot in from either end of each side. Connect the sides of the footboard by welding the cross members between the sides in the same manner, 1 foot in from either end. You should now have 2 structures of equal width; the taller structure is the headboard. Each structure should resemble an H with two crossbars.

Step 5

Divide the bottom cross member of the headboard, on the inside of the 2 sides, into 4 equal sections. Mark the endpoint of each section. Mark corresponding points across the top pipe.

Step 6

Connect the top and bottom marks by welding the ends of the 3-foot-long, 1-inch-diameter piping to each mark. The H shape should now have 3 vertical lines between the two crossbars.

Step 7

Divide the bottom cross member of the footboard into 3 equal sections. Mark the end of each section and mark corresponding points on the top cross member. Weld the ends of the remaining 3-foot-long, 1-inch-diameter pieces to each mark. The footboard should match the headboard, but instead of 3 vertical pipes it will have 2.

Step 8

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Drill 3 1/2-inch-diameter holes on the front of the side piping of the headboard. Make sure to drill the holes in the center of the piping. Start the first hole 1 foot in from one end; leave 2 inches between each hole. These holes will mount the headboard to the frame. Drill holes in the other side piping of the headboard and both side pipes on the footboard, 1 foot from the end, with 2 inches between each hole.

Step 9

Line up the holes in the mounting brackets with the holes on the headboard.

Step 10

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Line up washers with the holes on the inside of the mounting bracket.

Step 11

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Connect the headboard to the frame by threading the 3-inch-long bolts through the washers, mounting bracket and headboard piping. Tighten the bolts with the 1/2-inch socket wrench. Connect the footboard in the same manner. The head of the bolt and the washer should be inside the frame; the nut should be on the back of the side piping on the headboard.

Step 12

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Spot-weld metal caps on the open ends of the headboard and footboard pipes so the metal does not damage your flooring.

Step 13

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Paint the bed frame your desired color using metal spray paint.

About the Author

Josh Turner started writing in 2001. He wrote ad campaigns and business materials for Carpetland U.S.A. and his work has also appeared in his campus newspaper, “The Correspondent,” and “The Wellhouse” magazine. Turner is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics with a minor in journalism from Indiana University.