Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

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Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Philthy » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:15 pm

Hi all, I've been lurking on here for a while as I try to plan my build. I'm ready to start the build in the next month or so, probably when I get back from Ireland in April. Ultimately I'm trying to keep the build as affordable as possible. I'd also like it to be reasonably light, but anything around 1000 lbs or less should be fine so I'm not terribly concerned about that part.

So far, my general plan is to build a 5' x 8' on the Harbor Freight 1720 lb load trailer. 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.

It looks like I'm going to be building my own doors, the only suppliers I can find of pre-made doors cost about $700 or more for the pair unless someone has other advice or a secret supplier they'd be willing to share. :twisted:

I plan on getting as many other supplies, outlets, wiring, lights, etc. from a couple of inside sources I have to keep those costs down as much as possible. Are there any other tips you all could suggest? I've seen so many great designs and ideas on here I'm greatly appreciative of having such a wonderful source of information!

Thanks in advance!
- Phil
- Phil
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby swoody126 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:09 pm

Phil, you don't show where you are so it is difficult to suggest sources in your area

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

Postby QueticoBill » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:39 pm

I might be struggling with same or similar issue - thinking and sketching daily - of homemade doors. Part of it is trying to keep total cost to $1000 (maybe a little more since NT trailer, registration, hitch, and wiring harness are around $600 already). I'm finding PMF not easy to detail a homemade door the way I planned. Leaning toward "the mix" on walls and paint, maybe with PMF on roof. But the doors and windows are significant costs. Just on the windows, getting tempered glass shelves on internet and building Wylie windows, if that is of interest.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Philthy » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:34 pm

swoody126 wrote:Phil, you don't show where you are so it is difficult to suggest sources in your area

sw



Ah, sorry about that. I'm in Northern California, just outside of Sacramento.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby steve cowan » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:05 pm

Repurposing [recycling] items is a great way to reduce costs.I got steel for the frame,a lot of wood,electrical wiring and vent fans,12 volt power supply and a lot of nuts and bolts free.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Philthy » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:57 pm

steve cowan wrote:Repurposing [recycling] items is a great way to reduce costs.I got steel for the frame,a lot of wood,electrical wiring and vent fans,12 volt power supply and a lot of nuts and bolts free.

Wow, where did you manage to find all that? I love going to the habitat for humanity restore all the time, they get some awesome stuff for super cheap, but free is always better!
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby pchast » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:00 pm

Look for 'deals' After you have clearly defined your goals.
Keep things as simple as possible.

I spent 2500 to 3000.
Electrical was a large expense.
I have no galley.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Tomterrific » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:44 am

I don't think a build could be easier, faster to build, cheaper or lighter than mine. Better looking? Well.... I used underpayment for the sides and roof. Cheap 1x2 and 3 battens stiffen the sides and frame the openings.

Okay, even less money invested could be salvaged old cedar fence boards from raized fence for sides and corrugated steel roofing. I saw a rat tear behind a rat rod and it was the coolest.

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

Postby Don L. » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:58 pm

Philthy, in case you havn't already, look on craigslist for rv or trailer parts. That's how I found my windows and door. I actually posted an ad looking for rv parts and a fellow replied and it ended up he had a bunch of stuff he had to get rid of so I got a deal.

Doors and windows with screens are really convenient and durable, not to mention they help keep you cool and prevent heat from ever building up in the first place.
Link to my foamie camper build viewtopic.php?f=55&t=67321
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Philthy » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:55 pm

Don L. wrote:Philthy, in case you havn't already, look on craigslist for rv or trailer parts. That's how I found my windows and door. I actually posted an ad looking for rv parts and a fellow replied and it ended up he had a bunch of stuff he had to get rid of so I got a deal.

Doors and windows with screens are really convenient and durable, not to mention they help keep you cool and prevent heat from ever building up in the first place.

Wow, that's a great find! And a great idea, I'll give that a shot, thank you. I've been looking at trailers on CL but never thought to look for rv parts.
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Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Robotcheney » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:01 pm

Here's a link to a place in Sacramento Ca, that looks promising: http://rvdoctorgeorge.com


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

Postby Philthy » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:18 pm

Robotcheney wrote:Here's a link to a place in Sacramento Ca, that looks promising: http://rvdoctorgeorge.com


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What?! I didn't even know places like that existed! I gues that might be a show of my complete lack of experience with the rv world. I'll definitely go check them out. Thanks!
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Robotcheney » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:29 pm

Philthy, its okay, I completely finished my build before i found that place online. And im only an hour away from Sac, in Napa. I haven't made it up to their store yet for fear that i'll want to start another build lol, but from the pics on their site it looks like they have a plethora of salvaged goodies.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Philthy » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:40 pm

Robotcheney wrote:Philthy, its okay, I completely finished my build before i found that place online. And im only an hour away from Sac, in Napa. I haven't made it up to their store yet for fear that i'll want to start another build lol, but from the pics on their site it looks like they have a plethora of salvaged goodies.

Ah, beautiful Napa, I love it there. Well thanks for sharing! I'll probably check them out tomorrow after getting my hitch installed (first step!) and I'll let you know how it goes. Looks promising.
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Re: Any tips for keeping build as cheap as possible?

Postby Don L. » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:52 am

Wow! That rv doctor place looks awesome!

I know when I built my camper 'used' windows was the only way I was going to afford it. New stuff was a deal breaker.
If you get on craigslist search camper parts and rv parts or trailer parts, because you get different results based on wording.

One note about windows, in case you hadn't thought about it is, the crank out jalousied windows allow more air in for their size vs. the sliding windows. And they keep rain out while still open to allow a breeze through.
Link to my foamie camper build viewtopic.php?f=55&t=67321
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