DIY — Wireless Site Survey Cart

I recently completed a DIY build of a wireless site survey cart and I am pleased with the results. This journey led me to home improvement warehouses more times than I am required by law to admit — BUT I have done most of the R&D for you and you should make less trips than I did if you decide to build a similar cart for yourself.

My goal was to have a sturdy, lightweight cart that would break down to fit in my truck, but also be easily repairable in the field. Additional wants were the ability to hold my bag and Pelican case while transporting the cart around a site.

This design is not perfect — Actually, for my current needs, it is perfect. The cart will probably be refined as I put miles on it. I am also open to improvements that you may be able to suggest, so do not be shy. You can also visit this LESSONS LEARNED link to review my updates and comments.

So it begins…

Here is your shopping list for convenience.

Tools used:

  • Elbow grease (very little)
  • Drill
  • Sawzall
  • Hacksaw
  • Screw driver
  • Sand paper
  • Sharpee
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • Chop saw

First thing to do is assemble the base (dolly and decking). HINT: Most warehouse home improvement stores will cut lumber for you in store.

  • Cut the 1x3x8 boards into 8 pieces that are 18″ long

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  • Assemble the 8 cut pieces in to the open space of the floor dolly and screw down

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  • Cut Plywood to 19″x 31″ and screw down squarely on top of the dolly
  • Determine the center of the dolly top
    • Install the 1″ PVC Flange to the center of the top of the cart using 4 wood screws and washers
    • Install the 1″ – 1 1/4″ threaded adapter to the 1″ flange (not pictured)

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Now we are ready to install the PVC frame that will support the modified A-Frame supports.

  • Cut PVC for support frame
    • 4 pieces 3/4″ @ 7 1/4″ length
    • 4 pieces 3/4″ @ 12 3/4″ length

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  • Assemble in a rectangular shape installing as seen in the below photo
    • Use 4, 3/4″ elbows
    • The long pieces will utilize the 3/4″ tee
    • The short pieces will utilize the 3/4″ – 1″ tee

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  • Utilize the 3/4″ one hole clamps and wood screws to secure the frame to the dolly top

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By now you probably have a few cuts on your hand and the smell of sawdust and beer has filled your garage with the essence of excellence — The neighbors may be questioning your sanity, but you are getting close to finalizing your cart build. Hooray!

Next step is to modify the painter’s pole and build the frame that will hold the access point (AP).

  • Extend a few inches out of the painters pole
  • Slip the 1″ threaded nipple over the top until the built in threading of the pole is exposed

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  • Use 4 – 6 self drilling screws to secure the nipple to the shaft (Giggity)
  • Install the 1″ threaded adapter to the nipple

AP Mount Frame:

  • Cut PVC
    • 2 pieces 1/2 “@ 12” length
    • 2 pieces 1/2″ @ 6 1/2″ length

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  • Assemble the frame with 1/2″ elbows in a rectangular shape and use the compression tee to hold one of the longer (12″ pieces) evenly spaced

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To attach the frame to the pole we will use a 1/2″ – 3/4″ threaded adapter.

  • Use 2 self drilling screws to secure the 3/4″ adapter to the 1″ adapter on the pole

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Once the last step is complete, the AP mount frame will screw on and off the pole to allow you to use different size poles and only one AP mount frame. This also makes a repair in the field easier.

Turns out you can actually buy something similar here.

I simply used strong cable ties to secure an AP ceiling mount to the AP mount frame and then tested to ensure the AP was not going to fall on my head… I always use a cable tie to secure the AP to the ceiling mount as well — You should do the same.

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Let’s put it all together, shall we?

The A-Frame:

  • Cut PVC
    • 2 pieces 3/4″ @ 3″ length
  • Install the 2, 24″ pieces of 3/4″ PVC pipe to the 3/4″ tees in the base
  • Install 2, 3/4″ elbows to each of the 24″ PVC pieces
  • Install the 3″ pieces to the elbows
  • Attach 3/4″ couplers to the end of the 3″ pieces
  • Install the 1″ cross between the 2 couplers
    • Some elbow grease required

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As seen in the image above there is a 1 1/4″ PVC pipe between the base and the 1″ cross. This is for added support.

To make the most accurate length, please install the full piece of 1 1/4″ PVC into the 1 1/4″ base adapter we installed earlier.

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  • Draw a line where the 1 1/4″ PVC meets the bottom of the cross
  • Cut the 1 1/4″ PVC along the line you marked

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  • Install the 1 1/4″ coupler to the cut piece of pipe and attach to the 1″ cross

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This A-Frame assembly will hold the pole that you modified earlier. The cart does fit through standard doorways when it is fully assembled (w/ 6′ pole and AP frame attached).

I decided to build a handle to move my cart around, because I did not want to push and pull the cart by the pole or frame. The rigid handle I built made a huge difference in mobility.

Handle:

  • Screw the galvanized flange to a corner of the cart base
    • Inside of the 3/4″ frame

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  • Screw the threaded pieces of 3/4×30″ to the 3/4″-1/2″ reducer elbow to the 1/2″ nipple and attach the cap for good measure
    • It will look like a short cane
  • Install the “cane” to the galvanized flange on the base
    • Do not tighten the “cane” down to the base too much so you can remove it for packing up when you are ready to leave the site

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I have added a toolbox that holds the following:

  • Para-cord
  • Velcro
  • Caution tape
  • Snips
  • Cable ties (various lengths)
  • Screw driver
  • Tape measure
  • Cheap monkey wrench
  • Paper/Pen
  • Info tube (Realtor sign tube)
    • I zip tie this to my cart when it is assembled and in use to hold a paper that has info about what I am doing and on how to reach me when I am away from the cart

Like any good vessel, she needs a name — So don’t forget to name your cart and crack a bottle of champagne over the bow.

That is it!

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I have used this cart in the field and it worked great! It packs up easy and is very sturdy while in use. It carries my bag and Pelican case in to the site, so I do not have to juggle everything.

Fair Warning: The stock wheels are noisy on hard floors, but overall OK — I may change them out.

I would love to hear feedback and if you have any questions or suggested improvements, please reach out to me.

Thanks!

John

IMPORTANT:

Always test your setup away from the site to ensure that you and others will be safe. We often leave these carts unattended and you will want to be sure that your cart and the mounted AP are reliable, secure and sturdy.

ASLO — 

The 3/4″x 1″ tees that are installed on the dolly deck are for a taller A-Frame assembly that supports my other Mr. Longarm pole (16′).

If you decide to use a taller pole, please test out your assembly at the height you plan to survey at to ensure that you are able to safely survey at the desired height.

You will need to build a 1″ diameter PVC A-Frame assembly using similar instructions for the shorter A-Frame, but with 6′ side mounts. You will use both A-Frames with the taller pole for increased stability.

 

 

 

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