For years we have wanted to offer bumpers, but several things held us back. First and foremost in many buyers minds is cost, and many winch bumpers cost a LOT. On top of that their size and weight make shipping very difficult and expensive making the total cost even higher. We wanted to do something that anyone could afford, and that's where the Weld-It-Yourself idea came in. Many of our customers have some welding skill, but don't have the equipment or experience to build a very complex bumper for themselves. There are of course other DIY bumpers on the market, but those aren't very easy to build either, so we set out with a number of goals in mind.
The biggest one was to make it easy and fast to assemble with little potential for error. Other DIY bumpers come as a stack of flat pieces that require you to bend them to specific angles and fit all the pieces together. Our Sledgehammer series bumpers come in fully formed interlocking segments. All of the major parts interlock, making the bumper essentially fixture itself. The frame brackets and the winch plate fit together with slots and tabs, and the outer sections have interlocking teeth to align each segment. It's really difficult to assemble this thing wrong, and most of it holds itself in place as you assemble, without even tack welding.
Our next goal was to reduce the amount of exposed weld that needs to be ground down. Because most people do not have a huge hydraulic press brake in their garage our competitors who are selling flat pack bumper kits make it possible for people to bend at home by cutting a slot along each bend line, with just small tabs to hold things together. This means that every edge has to be welded, and if you want it to look good all of those edges then have to be ground down and smoothed out. This leaves a lot of room for error, but also adds a significant amount of labor. Some bumpers have as much as 30 feet of exposed weld that needs to be laid in, then ground back. That's a LOT of grinder time. Our full width Sledgehammer front bumper has only 6 exposed welds, and the Mini-Sledge has only 2!
Styling and compatibility were also high on our list of requirements. We wanted something that was strong, low profile that looked good and we think we hit the mark. We kept the bumper tucked as tight as possible to the front of the Jeep while still allowing the ability to mount virtually every 8000-12,000lb winch on the market.
Features. We pride ourselves on thinking through all the little details that others either miss, or don't care about. One option you'll get with our bumper that nobody else offers is a cover plate that hides the winch tray. This isn't for hiding a winch, it's for those who don't have a winch. We've all seen it before, winches and bumpers are expensive and often you can't afford both at the same time. Often people buy the bumper first and run it for a while before saving up for the winch. Or maybe you just want a heavy duty bumper but don't need a winch. We provide a cover that bolts in place to change this into a sleek non-winch bumper. The cover also has the outline of a light bar opening precut into it. All you have to do is cut out a few tiny tabs and the panel comes out, leaving you with an opening for a 20" LED light bar, which can be mounted inside the bumper on the winch tray. We also didn't forget about the little things, like a pair of holes for a front license plate, as well as mounting holes for the HVAC vacuum reservoir that lives inside the stock bumper. You won't need to scratch your head or figure out how to relocate that ball, just bolt it in place.
This really is the next level in DIY bumpers. We made a video with timelapse of us putting together the first prototype bumper. We took lots of breaks for photos and videos for build instructions, as well as taking notes for adjustments and it still took us just a little over 3 hours start to finish. You could quite easily take this kit to your local welding/fab shop and pay them to assemble it, and still come out well ahead on cost compared to most pre-finished bumpers. Take a look at the video below.