Starting my squaredrop build

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Starting my squaredrop build

Postby siena » Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:41 pm

Hi I am new to all this and still in college. I graduate in May and plan on moving across the country. We have a dog and a cat, and are only bringing what fits in our cars (or on top of them...or behind them in the case of the microcamper). I am planning on building a squaredrop. So I figured about 4 to 4.5 feet tall from the top of the trailer to the top of the roof. I am only 5'2" and want to be able to stand enough to put pants on in there. I am planning this based around a 5 x 8 trailer. I want wall thickness to be 1.5 inches. I figured I would use 1/4 in plywood on the outside, 1 in foam insulation, and 1/4 in plywood on the inside, or should I go with 1/2 outside, 3/4 insulation and 1/4 inside? I also figured I would do 3/4" plywood for the floor. Is an insulated floor worth it for cold weather, or will it not make a difference with a foam mattress on top? I am also planning to build my own doors... any tips? I can draw up some plans on AutoCad or by hand and attach them after finals are over. :thinking: I would appreciate any suggestions on anything -- especially how to not go overboard and end up with something too heavy to tow. Thanks in advance!!
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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby pchast » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:38 pm

First.... Welcome! :thumbsup:

You can use lighter plywood....... read some more builds.
I believe 1/2" or a hair less for a floor, 1/8 as skins should
be plenty if you add blocking where you want to attach things.
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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby Modstock » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:38 pm

Since you are going square. May I refer you to the "cargo trailer conversion" section.
Could be just what your looking for.

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby KTM_Guy » Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:14 am

For insulation I would check what sizes are available. Where we used to live in the Midwest I could find any size, in PHX all I could find was 1”.

Even at 5’2” I think it would be hard to stand in any kind or drop. A lot of people will have an awning with walls or a tent to change in. I’m 6’2” and can change inside. We mostly disperse camp and can change outside because no one is around.

I went with 1/4” skins on a 1” frame. 1/8” on the inside would be doable. What is your plan for waterproofing the outside? I like an insulated floor but we tend to camp in cooler to cold weather, if you plan to camp where it is warmer 1/2” ply is fine for for the floor. 3/4” is overkill.

You said car for your tow vehicle, what is the tow capacity? That will give you an idea how you need to build.if it’s 2000# you need to be careful building because weight will creep up on you fast. Ask me how I know. :shock:

Buying doors is a huge time saver, I have less than 1 hour in my doors total time. But it comes at a high cost. I would say design for a stock prebuilt doors, that you have the option to buy, build or replace if you need to.

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby noseoil » Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:49 am

Agree about the plywood scantling comments. Normal roof plywood is 1/2" with 2' center rafters (1X2's for floor joists in your case). We used 1/8" for the floor. Since you will likely have a mattress, floor insulation may not be necessary at all. For walls & roof, 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood is a good choice. It's a bit more difficult to work, with 5" X 5' sheets, but seams can fall on interior supports & frames, so it works well on a small trailer. Otherwise, the underlayment grade of 1/4" plywood sold at your local "Home Delay" can be used as well.

Think about finishing the outside (look up poor man's fiberglass on the forum for a cheaper, durable alternative to metal or epoxy), what amount of interior stuff & finish you will need, wiring for the lights, a radio, battery, etc. need to be thought of as well at this point. Light & cheap is good! 2 doors for 2 people is better for sleeping & nocturnal excursions to the outhouse (5 gallon bucket with a plastic bag, potty seat & kitty litter). Good luck on the build, want to see some pictures!
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby printer » Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:37 pm

"cargo trailer conversion" section

Heck, I didn't consider this option at first but morphed into it, sort of. I will have to check it out. On the cargo trailer idea, I am building mine with a side door and a pair of doors in the back. I have no idea what I will do for camping duties, will work it out as I get more of an idea of my needs. But I am leaving the inside bare, that way I can move stuff if need be. I have a utility trailer and it comes in handy. Having two trailers is not a big burden but if I had the one as a cargo trailer I would have little reason to have the other. When camping slide in a module for shelving, a bed, a cooking module at the back. When in need to move something slide them out and when done back inside. At least that is the concept until I find out if it is worth it to go full camper.

As a good example, by coincidence up in the left top picture of the page as I am typing.

Image

Just unhook the cabinets, remove the wall, access to the inside of the trailer. My back does slope down but I think I should be able to get any piece of furniture or sheet of wood in. Just a thought.

Also I first wanted a poor man's fiberglass trailer but thought about others using it. I am going with 1/8" Baltic Birch, there still is a chance of them damaging it but we will see. On the height you could add a few inches if you decide to slope the front a little if you are concerned with aerodynamics. It was a concern with me. I did an arch but I could have just did a flat panel seeing that the back will not be a traditional teardrop. Going to go check out the cargo trailer section now.
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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby siena » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:56 pm

KTM_Guy wrote:For insulation I would check what sizes are available. Where we used to live in the Midwest I could find any size, in PHX all I could find was 1”.

Even at 5’2” I think it would be hard to stand in any kind or drop. A lot of people will have an awning with walls or a tent to change in. I’m 6’2” and can change inside. We mostly disperse camp and can change outside because no one is around.

I went with 1/4” skins on a 1” frame. 1/8” on the inside would be doable. What is your plan for waterproofing the outside? I like an insulated floor but we tend to camp in cooler to cold weather, if you plan to camp where it is warmer 1/2” ply is fine for for the floor. 3/4” is overkill.

You said car for your tow vehicle, what is the tow capacity? That will give you an idea how you need to build.if it’s 2000# you need to be careful building because weight will creep up on you fast. Ask me how I know. :shock:

Buying doors is a huge time saver, I have less than 1 hour in my doors total time. But it comes at a high cost. I would say design for a stock prebuilt doors, that you have the option to buy, build or replace if you need to.

Todd


Hey thanks Todd! Good point about the foam. Not trying to stand fully, only enough to put pants on. I figure my inseam is like 27" so I figure I shouldn't need more than 4' to get a pair on lol.

As of yet, I have not decided on how to waterproof the outside. I was thinking truck bed liner but also haven't heard the best about it.

We plan to camp in cooler and warmer temps, but we probably will not be camping when it is below 10 degrees ish.

It's a VW Tiguan with 2200 lb towing capacity. Yes I'd like to keep weight as low as possible without skimping.

Also, I'd love to buy doors but I had trouble even finding them for my needs and the ones I found were way too expensive for me. We mountain bike a lot and run 780mm handlebars, I would like to make the doors at least 31" wide so we can sneak our bikes in when we are driving or not sleeping in there.

Let me know any other tips you have!

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby siena » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:59 pm

Modstock wrote:Since you are going square. May I refer you to the "cargo trailer conversion" section.
Could be just what your looking for.

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Thank you! I did think of this and haven't found and good ones used around me. Also I guess angle drop (?) Is more accurate of my thoughts.

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby siena » Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:01 pm

printer wrote:"cargo trailer conversion" section

Heck, I didn't consider this option at first but morphed into it, sort of. I will have to check it out. On the cargo trailer idea, I am building mine with a side door and a pair of doors in the back. I have no idea what I will do for camping duties, will work it out as I get more of an idea of my needs. But I am leaving the inside bare, that way I can move stuff if need be. I have a utility trailer and it comes in handy. Having two trailers is not a big burden but if I had the one as a cargo trailer I would have little reason to have the other. When camping slide in a module for shelving, a bed, a cooking module at the back. When in need to move something slide them out and when done back inside. At least that is the concept until I find out if it is worth it to go full camper.

As a good example, by coincidence up in the left top picture of the page as I am typing.

Image

Just unhook the cabinets, remove the wall, access to the inside of the trailer. My back does slope down but I think I should be able to get any piece of furniture or sheet of wood in. Just a thought.

Also I first wanted a poor man's fiberglass trailer but thought about others using it. I am going with 1/8" Baltic Birch, there still is a chance of them damaging it but we will see. On the height you could add a few inches if you decide to slope the front a little if you are concerned with aerodynamics. It was a concern with me. I did an arch but I could have just did a flat panel seeing that the back will not be a traditional teardrop. Going to go check out the cargo trailer section now.
Thank you! I am just wondering, why did you decide against poor man's fiberglass?

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby siena » Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:24 pm

Thank you this is good to know!

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby siena » Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:38 pm

noseoil wrote:Agree about the plywood scantling comments. Normal roof plywood is 1/2" with 2' center rafters (1X2's for floor joists in your case). We used 1/8" for the floor. Since you will likely have a mattress, floor insulation may not be necessary at all. For walls & roof, 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood is a good choice. It's a bit more difficult to work, with 5" X 5' sheets, but seams can fall on interior supports & frames, so it works well on a small trailer. Otherwise, the underlayment grade of 1/4" plywood sold at your local "Home Delay" can be used as well.

Think about finishing the outside (look up poor man's fiberglass on the forum for a cheaper, durable alternative to metal or epoxy), what amount of interior stuff & finish you will need, wiring for the lights, a radio, battery, etc. need to be thought of as well at this point. Light & cheap is good! 2 doors for 2 people is better for sleeping & nocturnal excursions to the outhouse (5 gallon bucket with a plastic bag, potty seat & kitty litter). Good luck on the build, want to see some pictures!


Thank you! I'll probably do 1/4" on the floor then! I do want to insulate floor I think since it wont cost or weight much. Definitely 2 doors for us! I dont really know anything about electrical or wiring but I have friends that do, and that's what friends are for right? Lol. I am not talented enough for aluminum skinning. I had seen some good and bad about poor man's fiberglass, but I'm also not sure I love the textured look either. I haven't decided on waterproofing yet. Maybe epoxy, maybe truck bed liner, maybe poor man's but I need to do more research either way.

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby Modstock » Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:43 am

There's also another square trailer available called "Runaway trailers".
Like a teardrop but square and budget friendly.
You can order with bare necessity's and build the inside up later down the road.
Doubt you would be able to put bikes inside but could do some sort of rack on the back of the vehicle or tongue of trailer.

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby printer » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:02 am

siena wrote:Thank you! I am just wondering, why did you decide against poor man's fiberglass?


As you, the texture thing.
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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby tony.latham » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:22 am

I am not talented enough for aluminum skinning.


How do you know that? There has never ever been a first-time teardrop builder that skinned their cabin with aluminum that had done it before. There are all sorts of first-time challenges with teardrop building.

There are two things you need to have to build a teardrop. Perseverance and a willingness to learn.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: Starting my squaredrop build

Postby Graniterich » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:38 pm

tony.latham wrote:
I am not talented enough for aluminum skinning.


How do you know that? There has never ever been a first-time teardrop builder that skinned their cabin with aluminum that had done it before. There are all sorts of first-time challenges with teardrop building.

There are two things you need to have to build a teardrop. Perseverance and a willingness to learn.



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