I finally got started on mocking up a new steel bumper for my '83 Pickup. I drew up the plans in CAD and printed them out to scale on a wide format plotter. I then mounted the blueprint on foamcore and sliced it up, folded and taped it together. The way I created the plans allowed me to cut out one large piece that I can then bend into shape. This will help assembly and reduce welding when I fab it up with steel.
It looked good when I mocked it up on my truck today. The design also allows me to retain the lower valance and doesn't require any modification to the frame or body. It will be a bolt on bumper with holes cut for turn signals (haven't decided if I want to use the factory turn signals yet), top mounted fog lights and tow hooks. It can also accomodate a winch as well.
My question for you guys is what gauge steel should I use? I was thinking that 3/16" steel would be adequate, but wasn't completely sure - especially considering that I could bend the steel using the tow hooks. With 3/16" steel, I can buy a 2'x8' sheet for about $80 at my local metal yard so it should be an economical fab job.
Also, if anybody is interested in building the same bumper, I would be considering selling the plans.