Did you ever build Meccano models as a child? Meccano was a building system made from punched metal strips and plates that were then bolted together to form just about anything you could imagine - airplanes, cars, ferris wheels you name it.
To make the construction system work it was manufactured to a high degree of accuracy with each part exactly the same so that the holes would all line up.
It was surprising as duramax sheds are mainly a vinyl shed but the metal frame that supports the vinyl panels has punched holes that line up in a way that reminded me a lot of building Meccano models. The Duramax shed, the 8x5 Duramate, that I built came with a very clear set of instructions and the rest of this article takes you through the process with pictures from the start to the end.
Building the shed on a temporary timber base.
Level and square.
The metal base channels are screwed to the base and they form a slot all around the perimeter to. It is worth taking some care here as it is critical that the base is square when it comes to building the roof.
Ideally you should have an adult helper!
It makes keeping the panels straight so much easier.
With the base channels in place you are in the starting position for building the walls. Ideally you should have an adult assistant for this stage as you will need another pair of hands to hold the walls upright for a while until they become self supporting. The starting point is the right hand door column, side panel and corner post. Then move around the corner to slot in two side panels a standard column and another corner column.
First side wall installed and stabilising centre band
We built this duramax shed on a blustery day and the panels were waving about a bit. Installing the centre band along the middle of the first side wall helped to tie the wall together and make things marginally less wobbly.
Almost complete with the wall panels
It got wobbly again as we progressed along the back wall but once again the centre band came to our rescue and stiffened up the wall. As we progressed along the second side wall the structure started to feel a little more stable. And by the time all of the wall panels were in position the structure was self supporting.
The speed with which the duramax shed wall panels went up was because of the simplicity of the system. There are very few components to find. There are only two types of wall panel and three types of column. Narrow panels go either side of the doors and the standard wall panels make up the side and rear wall. There are three types of columns that frame the vinyl panels; Corner columns, door columns, and wall columns. The wall panels fit tightly into slots in the side of the columns.
With the wall construction finished it was time to move on to the construction of the roof.
Roof construction started by screwing together two frames which had holes to align, just like Meccano. The main difference between Meccano and this is that with this system the screws are self tapping screws, not bolts.
Self tapping screws look like an ordinary wood screw but have a sharp thread and are made from hardened steel. They literally cut their own thread into the metal of one of the steel members that you are joining together. One of the members has a hole that the screw that the screw passes easily through, the other has a very small hole that just the end of the screw fits into. Pushing and turning the screw with a hand screw driver easily starts the cutting action of the self tapper and the two bits of metal are securely fixed together.
The two prefabricated sections of the roof are shown lying on the grass in the picture below. When you lift these truss sections onto the roof you will need to be very careful that you double check the arrangement of all the parts and that the legs of all the pressed steel members are pointing in the right direction.
The prefabricated roof structure before installation
First two roof sections in place
The two prefabricated sections go on the front and the back and then another roof support section goes on to the sides. You now have a ring of metal at the top, middle and bottom of each wall panel, the structure starts to feel quite robust.
The roof sections are fixed to the walls by plastic inserts that are fixed to the wall columns with self tappers and then the roof structure is fixed in to the same piece of plastic.
Steel roof skeleton in place
You can check the squareness of the structure by measuring across the diagonals. If you find that the structure is not square you will need to adjust it until it is!
The roof construction continues by adding in the roof beams that will support the roof panels. When all of the roof beams are in place it is time to start putting on the roof panels.
View inside the roof with the roof panels and
plastic skylight in position
These plastic rivets fix through the plastic roof panel and through the metal roof structure. The rivets have a rubber grommet beneath their head to stop water leaking through. When the rivets have been pushed into position (you might need the help of a rubber mallet for this) then they are secured in place by pushing a plastic pin into the hole in their head to hold them permanently in place.
The doors are very easy to hang
The doors are easily hung in position, though they are 'handed' so make sure that you get them the right way up and on the correct side.
The completed shed ;-))
This was after the time spent constructing the flat square base. So the overall construction time should be about a day in total.
The duramax shed went together very easily and just like the Meccano sets of my youth all of the holes lined up and there were no parts missing!