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Ukzero

DIY Security Bollard

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I have been looking at ways to make our caravan harder to steal from our home where it is stored.

I have the usual wheel and hitch locks, alarm and CCTV. The caravan is nose in and needs careful manoeuvring to get out of its spot.

The most obvious deterrent should be a bollard, but doing my research these are either no match for experienced thieves or, looking at heavy duty commercial types, hugely expensive. 

I still want to do something because yes, we would get new for old, but given all the work I have carried out to make our van just how we want it (http://www.ukzero.com/CaravanM.htm) I would rather not have to do it all again.

To get around a bollard they would need to either demolish our garage or chop down some conifers and level some ground with a bulldozer and all in plain view of several neighbours in a small cul de sac.

 

Anyway, I have decided to do my own bollard. 

  • It will be made of 40mm solid stainless bar - a pig to cut or grind or bend and will look nice.
  • About 550mm high (high enough to make things very difficult, but not so high to help with leverage if trying to pull out).
  • Be round, smooth and have no handy attachment for chains, etc.
  • Set almost as far into ground as it sticks up in a strong concrete foundation as above. The foundation will be elongated in the direction of potential "pull".
  • Will have a concealed locking device (I have come up with an idea which should baffle anyone who doesn't know the secret - so sadly I can't share it here).

 

So why post before I have done it?

Well - before I start, do any of you have any ideas how I might further improve the design?

Thanks

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Make no mistake, NOTHING you can do is guaranteed to be 100% thief proof.

What you suggest sounds like enough to make a typical thief (if there is such a thing), go and steal someone else's van. Job done!

  • I agree completely 1

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Posted (edited)

One of the easy ways of detaching a caravan is to undo the 4 bolts which hold the hitch fabrication onto the chassis A frame, and leave that behind. I watched a Spanish guy take one off in order to shorten his caravan to get it onto the pitch, and was surprised haw fast he did it. Rather than a post to hitch to, why not a post behind the caravan so that the caravan simply cannot move backwards. Councils use removeable bollards to close entrances etc, so have a look at them for inspiration. 

(Madness: A remote operated folding post which lays flat when down and stands up behind the axle tube just beneath the floor. Not bullet proof but would probably send them away to think about it for a while),

Edited by Ern

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You could look at the security device that Hobby used, I can't remember the name of it but it was nicknamed the donkey leg.

 

Basically a bar fitted under the caravan wound down from inside to touch the ground and faced the direction of travel, it appeared it got the nickname from the caravan bucking about as it tried to pole vault.

 

I'm not suggesting you could use something like this but if you are like me and it appears you are, when looking at solving a problem, sometimes things unconnected with the project can be the seeds of an idea.

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18 minutes ago, Ern said:

… Rather than a post to hitch to, why not a post behind the caravan so that the caravan simply cannot move backwards …


Ern, the way I read it that’s exactly what the OP is planning.

 

John

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20 minutes ago, Johnaldo said:


Ern, the way I read it that’s exactly what the OP is planning.

 

John

Reading again, yes I think you're right. I thought of a post with a 500mm ball machined on it, made from stainless as op suggested. Good if you park nose in to a wall or something. Tricky to cut. Easy to plant in a couple of bag  of Postcrete. Nothing elaborate, just very tough.

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3 minutes ago, Ern said:

I thought of a post with a 500mm ball machined on it, made from stainless.... Tricky to cut.

 

It certainly would be :lol:  Might set you back a few £10,000's though.

  • Haha 1

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9 minutes ago, Ern said:

Reading again, yes I think you're right. I thought of a post with a 500mm ball machined on it, made from stainless as op suggested. Good if you park nose in to a wall or something. Tricky to cut. Easy to plant in a couple of bag  of Postcrete. Nothing elaborate, just very tough.

 

Like those they have in harbours to slip the hawsers over of  100,000 ton container ships. 😳😉

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I also made my own seeing as I had some box section lying around, the ones available on eBay and the like weren't brilliant.  I have a 12" length of 2 1/2" box section (3/16" wall thickness) concreted into the ground with a heavy duty hasp welded to it.  I welded four tabs projecting out from it to help key it into place.  The post is a 24" length of 2" box section (1/4" wall thickness).  This has an eyelet welded to it which passes through the hasp and a decent padlock fitted.  The whole thing was cleaned and painted in 2K epoxy primer before painting with red 2K gloss, two years on and it's fine.

 

The weak point will always be the hasp/padlock area so welding a shroud of some sort round it will help but ultimately a petrol Stihl-saw will make light work of chopping through it all so for me it was just about putting as many obstacles in place as possible.  Some folks fill the post with concrete as oxy-acetylene won't like trying to cut through that.  Putting two posts up will obviously double the obstacles a thief would have to get through.

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7 minutes ago, GaryB1969 said:

Some folks fill the post with concrete as oxy-acetylene won't like trying to cut through that. 

They used to add chunks of copper to the walls of safes. That way if thieves tried oxy-acetylene the copper would effectively explode at the temp required to cut steel, thus showering thieves with molten copper!!!

So if making a hollow steel post stick some copper in the middle.

 

Only problem with posts is that they can be rammed unless they are right up against the van.

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Posted (edited)

Some interesting ideas - thanks.

 

This bollard/post will be very close to the rear of the van to discourage ramming and have no visible locking mechanism to attack. Being unlike "regular" bollards it will be an "unknown quantity" to them and that in itself might just put some off.

Although the post is thick solid stainless steel bar, as an offcut from a local fabricator it's well under £50 for the raw material. Fitting it and the locking mechanism will be far from simple, but I am retired and have the time.

I completely get that if someone really wants to take our van they will be able to take it, but I am hoping (and that's all I can do) that the time and effort will be such that given its location, detection would be very likely so they would try elsewhere.

We are fortunate because our storage location has the added benefits being in a small cul de sac:

  • Several houses overlook the caravan location and everyone knows everybody.
  • No drive by traffic, so harder to reconnoitre unnoticed as residents take notice of visiting vehicles.
  • Several houses have CCTV overlooking the area.
  • The caravan is not visible from nearby through road.
  • Only one way in and out, and if using lorry/loader would have to reverse up.
Edited by Ukzero
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Seems like a good idea. You might want to paint the bar so it does not look like stainless steel, there might be more metal thieves about than caravan thieves. Could be heavy so might want to wear steel toe cap shoes when lifting it.

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To recap:

40mm solid stainless steel bar which goes deep into the ground.

The post is about 600mm high which is less than many but still blocks in the caravan and there is less leverage opportunity for would be thieves.

Locking is concealed (please don't speculate on this in any replies as keeping this a mystery is part of its added security).

Total cost including materials and concrete was circa £75 (though I did use some bits and pieces I had "in stock").

Bending force is approx 50+ tons and a large concrete foundation makes pulling out a challenge (as does the smooth finish).

 

OK - Any post can be breached if determination/equipment/time/concealment is sufficient, but I hope this will be one of those where the response might be "let's try somewhere else" - and I apologise in advance if that somewhere else happens to be where your caravan is stored!

 

 

 

post.jpg

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Looks really good Ukzero, but I do hope there’s either a similar post or a wall on the offside of the van otherwise a thief would just swerve your van around it 🙂.

 

John

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No other way

19 minutes ago, Johnaldo said:

I do hope there’s either a similar post or a wall on the offside of the van otherwise a thief would just swerve your van around it 🙂.

 

The van can't be extricated without dealing with the bollard.

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