If you’re a Toolmonger, chances are you had an Erector set when you were a kid. 80/20 — yes, that’s the name of the company — now offers a product that they call the “Industrial Erector Set.” It’s a complete system of extruded aluminum T-slot pieces that attach via standardized components to become all sorts of usefull stuff — like a bike rack.
You can build pretty much anything with these. They’re strong and durable thanks to a drop lock system that acts as a lock washer when you cinch the fastener down. This makes the assemblies vibration proof, too.
The nature of the materials makes them lightweight, and they don’t require finishing, painting, welding, or any expensive equipment to assemble. It’s a great alternative to welding together some angle iron.
Check out 80/20’s comparison of the cost of welding together a simple structure versus bolting it together with their product:
(Though it looks like they’re somehow factoring the tools in. I know I could build a stupid box out of steel for less than $157. Maybe they don’t know where to shop for steel.)
80/20 also offers the system in both fractional and metric versions, and the complete system includes T-slot tracks, fasteners, joining plates and brackets, panels, mounting plates, clamps, and hinges.
T-Slot Framing [80/20 Inc.]