Shop Life Innovations

Eddie’s Auto Body's Lifting Bumper Rack

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The Product: Lifting bumper rack

The Inspiration: Growing up on a boat, Eddie Lupinek knew the importance of utilizing space in cramped quarters. In his 6,000-square-foot shop, Eddie’s Auto Body in East Haddam, Ct., he saw bumpers taking up as much space as a car, stealing money out of his pocket.

 “In a shop, every inch of space better be getting used for something,” Lupinek says. “We are very conscious of the space everything takes up. Everything has a footprint, and we try to make that footprint as small as possible.”

 

What it does: Attached to a garage door adjacent to Lupinek’s custom-made spray booth, an eight-bumper rack can be raised and lowered at the push of a button. 

Bumpers stay out of harm’s way when not in use, and can be accessed easily when needed. 

“Bumpers are pretty vulnerable when they aren’t on a car,” Lupinek says. “Eight bumpers not on stands sort of take up their own bay in themselves, so that’s something we developed to save space.” 

Freshly painted bumpers can also be loaded onto the rack, then raised 10 feet in the air, speeding up drying times because of the warmer air, and making sure paint isn’t smeared. The rack can then be lowered right next to a just-finished car. 

“It lowers right at the base of the spray booth, which is prime real estate. You used to have to carry bumpers all across the shop to the spray booth area, so having the rack come right down lets you put a dried and newly painted bumper on its car without damaging it. The other thing you have is, with every foot of elevation, you gain a degree of temperature, so when the rack is raised, it’s the perfect drying temperature for a bumper.” 

 

How it’s Made: Lupinek bought a rack from Collision Services, and the rest, mostly pulleys and cables, he said were things he was able to buy at the hardware store and assemble on his own. 

The garage door has a counterweight that could crush the hood of a car, so Lupinek devised a system where the counterweight is lowered into plastic piping contained in the wall of his shop. In all, Lupinek estimates the whole project took two weekends to construct. 

 

The Cost: Under $2,000

 

The ROI: Lupinek said the only other alternative to building such a rack was adding another bay to his shop at a cost around $100,000. 

“If you’re going to use an entire bay to store bumpers, it’s going to cost $100,000. If you’re going to put bumpers out of harms way, it’s $2,000,” he says. “It’s something I use every day. That’s a strong value.”


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