How to make a rock and roll bed

Haven’t posted a blog in ages and a lot has happened in between posts. Firstly I’m moving house again so in February I started packing up the garage, boxing up my tools and putting all the car parts in the beetle. Then a major delay happened to the house move and then lockdown. So the project is on hold until I finally move.

In the meantime though the T4 van needs some work, first I had a MOT to get through which it failed but easy fixes and back on the road quickly. I also had a chance to sort the shock absorbers mounts. My chassis has been notched so rather than notch the shock mounts, they were just cut and welded in!

So time to do something about it, luckily I had so steel knocking about for a few other projects……. by measuring the cut and welding as I went I came up with something a bit better.

I going to see how long this survives before I do the other side.

Now time to investigate the rear seating and upon removing the covers and plywood board, I found the frame wasn’t up to scratch and wouldn’t be good in a crash. Also the rear doors were fully blocked with the seat back unable to fold down so I did some design work and produced some plans to make a rock and roll bed but cantilever design (no legs required).

I started by buying some 25 x 25 mm and 50 x 25 mm box section. I’m on a tight budget here (house move coming up) so with the designs I produced a cutting plan to get the most out of the metal with little waste.

I bought myself a stand for my grinder (can’t afford a chop saw) it sped up the cutting process but it isn’t perfect.

Starting on the base with very little space in my garage due to boxes I tried to produce right angles and flat sides.

Then building from these the base started to take shape.

On to the seat, I had to bend the steel to give the shape I wanted but I don’t have a way of doing it. Time to do some maths. Circumference of the outer circle from the radius I wanted divided by 4, minus the circumference of the inner circle (25mm difference in radius) divided by 4. This gives me the difference in the lengths. I have a 1mm cutting disc and I don’t want to cut too many slots so by cutting at an angle I can reduce the slots I need. Which works out cutting out 4.2mm 7 times on each corner.

To position these slots you have to take the length of the side and minus the radius which gives you the bend allowance….. lots of information on this online.

Cutting the slots out carefully.

Then bending. Using a frame to get the 90 degree bend helps but the first one was very tricky to get right but copying it and clamping to it sped up the process.

Weld the slots then clean up with a flapper sanding disc on an angle grinder.

Next the hinge at the back.

Then the slider for the seat base using bearings bought off eBay.

I wanted thicker steel but I didn’t have any so welded two pieces together for added strength.

I used this technique for when I ran out of 50x25mm box section and still had lots of 25x25mm. Just weld it together, not as pretty but works well.

Adding mounts and threaded bar the bed starts to look and work how I wanted it. Most of the bolts and bits I had in my spares box (I don’t throw anything away).

Moving everything outside gave me a chance to bolt it all together, finish the final welding and fix any problems.

Final jobs include a coat of paint, purchase some nylon washers and maybe a gas strut to help lift the frame back into the seat position.


Next to come will be the wooden base, foam cushions and fabric covers. Transfer over the seat belts from the old seat, then fit the complete unit to the van. By then I might have moved house and restarted on the beetle project.

Front rollers
Nylon spacers
Wood base panels cut out

Spent some time fitting blind fasteners into the wood so I can bolt the boards to the metal. I also broke out the sewing machine and made the covers.

Choice of fabric
Managed a bit of embroidery on the sewing machine
Added some heavy duty canvas on the back for a bit of protection

Nearly ready to fit into van but have to move house first.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jack says:

    Is there a video without the wooden panels how this all works? Thanks.


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