Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Nobody » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:21 am

Several years ago I found & ordered a lower refrigeraor access door for my '84 Scamp 13 from rvdrgeorge. At the time I also owned a Skamper pop-up type truck camper with the same lower access door. I took it off the Skamper, made sure it fit correctly, measured it, then found an identical door on rvdrgeorge's website for a reasonable price. Ordered it online & it arrived within a few days. I think shipping from California to Arkansas was almost as much as the item cost but I needed it & they had it available. Good people to work with... :thumbsup:
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Philthy » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:37 pm

Wow, that rv doctor George place is amazing! Hundreds and hundreds of windows and so many other parts. They did have some doors, but the smallest was 42" high and 2" thick, and the windows don't open. Think I'll still end up building my own, but at least now I know I can find some windows that open to put in them. He charges $3 per inch of the longest edge so relatively square windows are good deal, long narrow ones not as much but still ok. Will definitely be back once I officially begin my build.

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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Philthy » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:38 pm

Also, in case anybody is interested in the doors, they are only $225 each.

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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby rruff » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:45 am

Philthy wrote:I'm currently leaning towards sandwich walls 1/8" ply on both sides with 1-by sticks and 3/4" rigid foam insulation inside, using PMF on the exterior. This is where the questions begin. If I go with PMF on the outside, does it matter what kind of plywood I use on the outside? I was planning on using 5x5 baltic birch at least for the roof and hatch since the tear will be 5' wide, but are there any cheaper suitable alternatives? I think I might have started looking at baltic birch when I was thinking about making it a woody.


Have you thought about using only PMF over your foam core (no external plywood)? Plenty do it, and it will save weight and money, and be more rot resistant.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby booyah » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:19 am

When I did my build the largest costs where

Doors $600 (local pickup Vintage Tech is only an hour or so away)
frame $500 (NT)
Wood $400
Epoxy $150
Fan $150
Mattress $120
Hinge $100
Battery $80
and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff (wood glue, fiberglass tape, screws, bolts, lights, electrical stuff, etc etc etc)

Grand total about $3000.

I ran it very much as a "Just in time delivery" system. Built frame, licensed it, bought wood, built base platform, bought doors, fan and hinge. Built body, bought epoxy, lights etc. The goal was to have whatever I needed arrive the day I was ready to start using it. IE when I went to cut the profiles, I needed the doors to make sure they would fit. When I wanted to do the roof, I needed to have the fan to properly size the fan box.

That way I never really felt the full expenditure.
My build, 5x8 modified benroy "Smiles to go". Started April 2nd 2015, first trip August 2nd 2015.

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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Philthy » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:37 pm

booyah wrote:When I did my build the largest costs where

Doors $600 (local pickup Vintage Tech is only an hour or so away)
frame $500 (NT)
Wood $400
Epoxy $150
Fan $150
Mattress $120
Hinge $100
Battery $80
and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff (wood glue, fiberglass tape, screws, bolts, lights, electrical stuff, etc etc etc)

Grand total about $3000.

I ran it very much as a "Just in time delivery" system. Built frame, licensed it, bought wood, built base platform, bought doors, fan and hinge. Built body, bought epoxy, lights etc. The goal was to have whatever I needed arrive the day I was ready to start using it. IE when I went to cut the profiles, I needed the doors to make sure they would fit. When I wanted to do the roof, I needed to have the fan to properly size the fan box.

That way I never really felt the full expenditure.

Awesome, thanks for that breakdown, that's really helpful. As long as I stay around that budget I should be fine. Is there anything you'd do differently next time around?

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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby KennethW » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:36 pm

Not a fantastic fan but it is a little lower cost.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-14-X-14-RV- ... 1152000349
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby booyah » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:09 am

Philthy wrote:Awesome, thanks for that breakdown, that's really helpful. As long as I stay around that budget I should be fine. Is there anything you'd do differently next time around?

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I'd build it one to two feet longer :NC

I had to shave a few inches off the bed/cabin area to fit a decent sized cooler in the back. With the addition of the kid bunk I lost room for any cabinets in the top part of the galley. End results anyone taller than 6'-6'2" has to sleep diagonal (not a problem for me, I JUST fit (i can fit my hand flat between my head and the front of the camper, and my toes just touch the bottom wall when I sleep on my back), and I can never go with a larger cooler than a Coleman standard 48l. I also could have made the kid bunk deeper, and probably fit another kid up there. Additionally 8' really restricts the space inside for cabinets and storage. I'm adding drawers below the kid shelf, but even that wont add that much storage space.

I'm grousing, but we LOVE our tear. My kids are making vacation plans years in advance (they want to drive to visit Mesa Verde, and the Grand Canyon with our tear (bout 1800 miles one way)....
My build, 5x8 modified benroy "Smiles to go". Started April 2nd 2015, first trip August 2nd 2015.

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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby rowerwet » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:30 am

I scored two trashed pop up trailers that were free, a better trailer than the stamped metal ones, at no cost.
Wiley windows are the cheapest you can get unless you get them for free.
After building a plywood sandwich wall tear and a foamie, both skinned with PMF, I will only build foamies from now on. Wood is not needed except for doors and windows.
I carry a collection of kayaks on my teardrop roof so I know that foam has plenty of strength.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby rruff » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:47 am

rowerwet wrote:I carry a collection of kayaks on my teardrop roof so I know that foam has plenty of strength.


If it's strong enough, then all is well. Are you experiencing any sag? PMF over foam will creep quite a lot if the load is high enough. viewtopic.php?f=55&t=67779&start=90

For reference I just loaded the test piece with the same weight of epoxy'fiberglass with 3 blocks (3x the load), and it has not sagged at all.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby rowerwet » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:03 pm

Any deformation in the foam will spring back with time and heat.
I've never had any in my tear with 2" foam.
I'm also the guy making foamie kayaks (Google "sawfish kayak ") to see a 12 foot kayak design made only from xps foam and covered with PMF, but to save weight I use bed sheets instead of canvas fabric.
My original kayak is going on four years old, and I am purposely not repairing it just to see how durable it is.
I was even out last week paddling her in some freaky horrible 70 degree weather.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby rruff » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:40 pm

rowerwet wrote:Any deformation in the foam will spring back with time and heat.


The piece that warped due to a load did not spring back after the load is removed. It doesn't seem to move at all, been several days now. It's in the arch shape but only holding its own weight.

The 2" thick foam is going to make a substantially stiffer panel, and so long as the load isn't too high I wouldn't expect any problem. The creep is just an odd property that is different from other materials, but not an issue people are likely to run into. I think the PMF is a good match with the cheap foam so long as you understand it's limitations. Cheap, non toxic, easy, forgiving of dents, and a good trailer shell.
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