Specialized | Broad project scopes, skillfully managed

Design and fabrication of bespoke canopy to fit Land Rover Defender

As a specialist engineering company, we are often challenged to design and fabricate bespoke products for clients. We were recently challenged with a project to develop a rear aluminium canopy for a land rover defender.

Project details


Design and Engineering

Welding and Fabrication

Work involved creating a template for the roof which was then drawn in 3D inventor CAD to the full size off the roof to cover the rear. The next step was to draw the sides off the land rover. After the pillar posts were made the 2 side panels were drawn in 3D. Once happy we then laser cut the 2 side panels out off 3mm aluminum. The next step was the install the front panel with the sliding window. Once the window arrived the front panel was drawn to suit the window provided and pillars already installed on the land rover. All of the panels that were laser cut included fixing holes. This made the fabrication process very simple as the parts all located together like a flat pack. This could all be bolted together piece by piece. 

Finally the doors had to be produced. The rear opening of the land rover gave quite a flat edge for us to make the doors from. Firstly two door pillars were produced which bolted to the corner pillars already in place. After these were installed we were able to work out the door sizes and hinge set up required for the customer. One requirement the customer had was for the doors to have a small oval window. After some time spent searching online, a suitable window was found that matched the spec required. On arrival the windows were measured up to work out the opening required on the doors. Thanks to the modern technology we have at Specialized we were able to draw the windows onto the model and then cut the correct size openings using our laser cutter


The first task we set about doing was creating a template to match the Curvature of a defender roof. This became very problematic as the sheer size off the roof was too big to fit in the rolling machine. The other issue we had was that the customer also wanted to install a roof rack. This mean that not only did the roof have to match but also be thick enough to take the additional weight of the racking and additional equipment. The solution we came up with was to create the curve using 100, 2 degree folds to create the radius using our CNC break press. This took a number of attempts to get right, with continual tweaking of material thickness folds.