Fabtrays Large Side Tray & Feeder Arm

Thu 26 November 15


Whilst have a browse on Facebook a few weeks ago, the UKMA team stumbled upon a company who manufactures custom built side trays and accessories called Fabtrays. This Midlands based company owned by match angler Craig Richards offers bespoke products, individually manufactured to fit any seat box available to the UK angler. So we contacted the company who were more than delighted to send over some samples for us to use and review.

Fabtrays large side tray and Bendy Leg

Side Trays Vital Statistics

Right lets start with the trays themselves raw material is aluminium alloy 5251 h22 this is more likely seen in vehicle panels and aircraft parts than on the side of your box. The reasons this material was chosen are its properties as it is both formable (Bends without cracking) and has a high tensile strength (Not floppy) allowing us to use a thinner material (lighter) and still have a very sturdy product.

Manufacturing Process

1, 3000mm x 1250mm sheets of the raw material are loaded onto a large machine called a turret punch, this is controlled by cnc and a program is written that contains all the co ordinates of the shape of the flat tray. The machine grips the sheet and it moves it to the correct co ordinate and punches a slot/square, process repeated until the full sheet is finished.

2, Next we fold the trays using a cnc controlled brake press, this consists of a punch and die setup that folds the trays to the correct dimensions to very close tolerances (This is critical to the welding process).

3, Time to weld the corners, TIG or tungsten inert gas welding is a dark art in itself, the 2 processes above are both critical in allowing a correct fit up and weld to the corners without messing the inside face of the tray up. This is done using a miller aerowave TIG welding machine ( they don’t get much better than these)

4, Once the corners are welded its time to decide what box its going to fit and which jig to use. For ease of production I make stock of the leg clamp housings this alone requires another 4 processes including cutting on a specialised upstroking aluminium saw, Boring the holes to take the legs(Has to be done to tolerance again to allow everything to work),Punching a whole in an aluminium end plate and pulse TIG welding it to the leg clamp housing, this is repeated 3 times on a large tray. Next we place the clamp housing onto correct jig and weld together, The heat makes the tray soft but after 30 mins cooling it is back to normal properties.

5, Off to the painters, All metals require some sort of pre treatment prior to painting aluminium unfortunately requires a bit more than most due to a chemical etch process carried out with chemicals before being fully polyester powder coated in chosen colour, This envolves spraying a coloured powder paint through an electrically charged spray gun that charges the paint particles and makes them cling to the trays, into a big oven to be baked for around 20 mins at 200 degrees.

6, Trays done and painted time to make the handwheels Material aluminium alloy 6082 T6 chosen for its corrosive resistance normally found in big heavy structures as its super strong. CNC lathe for this job again a program is written and sent to machine, machine cuts part with its m6 thread in the centre.

7, Leg clamps are a pull type system similar to rive without the plastic parts and work by pulling the leg and trapping it within the clamp housing rather than a screw type thread(We did try with threaded clamps early on but proved to risky with the odd failing thread)

8, Assembly and packing, We have a shiny tray new handwheels and all the clamps ready to assemble the tray, An m6 thread is stud locked into the leg clamp and a nylon washer placed over it, this is inserted into clamp housing another washer added then the handwheels can be attached, Plastic endcaps are fitted to close the clamp housings.

9, Fabtrays sticker added job done!

Bendy Leg Vital Statistics

Fabtray Bendy Leg

The Bendy legs stock is again 6082T6, lengths are cut and turned to size using a manual lathe, after this it back to the saw to mitre the angles, once the angles are cut a tapped aluminium boss is welded to the leg this takes the handwheel thread for the tele leg.

The tele leg is turned to size to fit the inside measurement to a fine tolerance this keeps anything telescopic strong as very little movement between the 2.

Feeder Arm Vital Statistics

Fabtrays Feeder Arm

feeder arms are a little less labour intense hence price lol, Material used 6082T6 reason strength excellent corrosive resistance, cut to length, bore hole for bankstick, I make up stock of a 25mm square plate that has a 9.5mm hole in to take a hank bush thread

Threaded support bar mounted in the Feeder Arm

these are welded to cap the end nearest the bankstick and a stock clamp housing is welded to the opposite end, this can then be sent for paint. Bank sticks are also made from 6082T6 and are cut to the correct size and put onto a lathe to have around 0.15mm bored from the inside to take a press fitting 3/8BSF standard banstick thread.

First Impressions

With our team members having previous sheet metalwork experience, we full inspecting all the manufacturing on the Fabtrays range of products to try and pick fault. We found all welds to be superbly finished with no splatter marks or uneven spots. The powder coated finish is absolutely flawless and gives each product a very professional look. The leg clamps are rock solid and most importantly, they don’t mark the legs, leaving no trace that they’ve been attached. The over-sizes hand wheels are very easy to tension and as they’re made from Aluminium, incredibly lightweight, enabling all the products in the range to keep there total weight to an absolute minimum.

After using all the aforementioned products in an angling environment, they have performed the duties they’ve been designed for perfectly, and in many cases, outperformed mass produced products of a similar type. To summarise, you get top quality products, that are designed, engineers, and manufactured in the UK to exceptionally high stands that are worth every penny you pay.

Foot Note – The Large Side Tray and Feeder arm are made to precise specifications for each type of seatbox, so when ordering, please ensure that you specify the exact make and model of box you want the products to fit.

Prices – The Large Side Tray measure in at 500mm x 600mm and sells for £109.99 + Carriage, The Bendy Leg sells for £29.99 + Carriage and finally, the Feeder Arm sells for £39.99 + Carriage


Visit the Website: http://www.fabtrays.com/index.html