Explorer Pod Build

Design & Construction of anything that's not a teardrop e.g. Grasshoppers or Sunspots

Postby schaney » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:52 pm

Mike, Sorry for the slow down, I got distracted on another project and having some fun :oops: As we start to have more nice days I can't promise progress every day :D But I'll try :roll:
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Postby schaney » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:05 pm

Yes there is more progress ...

I've been working on the the nose box lid. I started by making a frame that matches the nose box opening. This is fun getting all the angles right, the top of the box slopes down 17 degrees, it angles in 30 degrees on each side and the outside edges get trimmed 8 degrees so they are parallel with the sides. To glue the lid frame up, I used thickened epoxy and taped the frame in place on the nose box.
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I wanted some curvature to the lid so I made some curved frames and epoxied them to the top of the lid frame. For a little extra character, the curved frames angle in at 30 degrees.
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Then I sized and epoxied the lid panel in place. After the epoxy dried, I rough sanded the edges and test fit the lid.
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As the epoxy dried in the above steps, I worked on getting the main box top panel ready to install. Because the top of the trailer box is part of the sleeping platform, I added two cross braces space 16” a part. Being careful not to get any on the gluing surfaces, I sealed the bottom of the top panel and the interior sides of the main box with 4 coats of Target Coatings HybriVar (This has been replaced with their new and improved
EMTECH 2000) a user friendly urethane waterborne borne alkyd varnish.
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Postby schaney » Sun May 03, 2009 12:32 pm

Now it’s time to attach the main compartment top panel. As with the other exterior joints, I use thickened epoxy to glue the top in place. Here is the method I use. To ensure good epoxy penetration into the wood, I first coat both sides being joined with straight epoxy.
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Then using a combination of Colloidal Silica (West System’s 406) and fine wood dust fillers, I mix a batch of thickened epoxy to the consistence of peanut butter. This allows it to fill gap well and not flow out of the join while curing. Using a cut-off 1” chip brush, I spread it on one side of the joint area.
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With the help of an assistant, I set the top on and use trim head screws to clamp it in place.
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Postby schaney » Mon May 11, 2009 3:34 pm

Been really busy so didn’t make a lot of progress over the last week. Started cutting and tacking together the frame. Using 2x2-1/8” square tubing and 3x2-1/8” for the tongue. I plan on using Jeep YJ springs, looks like removing a few leafs on a 5 leaf rear pack will be about right for my planned 1000-1100 GVW. Unfortunately it will be a week before my spring hangers get here.

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Postby schaney » Wed May 13, 2009 12:45 pm

Here is a comparsion of the soft riding springs I'll be using and standard "HF" springs. When I stand on the YJ springs they deflect ~1". When I jump up and down on the HF springs they hardly move.
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Shifting gears back to the body while I wait for the brackets needed to finish the frame. It’s time to fill and sand, fill and sand, fill and sand … until the body is smooth. Actually a quick final fill is all that is needed. The Durabak I’ll be covering it in is very forgiving of surface imperfections because of its textured finish.
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I like to make my exterior panels slightly oversized, then sand them flush for a smooth transition.
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After rounding all of the edges, I flipped it over to make sanding out the bottom of the sides easier.
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After sanding is completed, the bottom and sides are sealed with CPES.
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Postby schaney » Fri May 29, 2009 10:21 am

Finally had sometime to get a few things done on the trailer yesterday. I cut the piano hinge and fitted the nose box lid. Test fitted the latches, still debating if I like this style latch for the nose box.
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Drilled the mounting holes in the fenders.
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Finally got all the suspension brackets and bushing pulled together, plan on welding up everything next week. Had to do some trimming on the front hangers so they’ll fit correctly.
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Here are the upper shackle pivot bracket.
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I’m using Jeep YJ front u-bolt plates, the sway bar studs will be used as shock mounts. Also, here are the upper shock brackets.
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Postby RC » Sun May 31, 2009 6:44 pm

Good looking setup you have started.
I will be most interested in seeing how you build and attach the tent portion of this.
It worked until I fixed it!!!
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Postby schaney » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:42 am

RC, I plan on using a custom designed Trailer Top Tent that I've done and I'm working on getting manufactured. It is hinged at the edge of the trailer and folds up like a clam-shell. More details coming shortly.

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If my new tent isn't ready in time I'll initially use one of my current Tent Units to get it on the road.

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Postby schaney » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:44 am

Making more progress, got the frame welded up yesterday. Just need to add a few brackets, trim the tongue and it will be ready to paint.

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Postby schaney » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:15 am

Made the hinged portion of the tent platform and test fitted it yesterday. The bed area is 4’-8” wide x 7’ long. There is a 1x2 strip on the side of the trailer box that forms a support for the platform on that side.

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Postby schaney » Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:56 am

TrappedinNM, Happy to hear I've provided some inspiration.

The reason most RTT's have their own platform is because roofs are not flat. On trailers like the E-Pod with a flat top, you can actually use the trailer top as part of the tent platform.

The tent I'll be using is one I designed specifically for Trailer Top usage without compromising it’s usability for Roof Top applications. In Rooftop applications you would need to build a full platfotm for it. Here is the production prototype, we are hoping to have it available this Summer

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Postby schaney » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:47 am

Now I can roll the frame around. Welded the mounting tabs and rear rack/stabilizer jack receiver tubes on, and bolted the axle under the frame.

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Postby schaney » Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:06 am

Now it's starting to actually look like a trailer. Test fit the body on the frame and fit the fenders.

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Postby dsmith » Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:01 pm

I love your builds!
Yours was one of them that inspired my Pack Mule build. Now that I am approaching it's completion, I'm thinking I may build another to accomodate an RTT.
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Postby schaney » Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:20 pm

dsmith, someone else inspired by me, that's too cool, thanks.

Once you catch the bug, you'll be continuely planning that next trailer.

You could take the Pack Mule body, have a 2-3' front deck on the trailer, then build a rack from the top of the box to the front of your deck and mount a RTT up there. If you haven't built your frame yet you could still do it?
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