Greg's "Decotear" update August 10 2009

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Greg's "Decotear" update August 10 2009

Postby Greg M » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:45 pm

Before anybody starts hassling me about starting a new trailer before I've actually finished the first, let me explain.
My old Plymouth Voyager is pretty much on it's last legs, and money was fairly tight over the winter because we didn't have anyone renting our house in Portland. So, rather than re-insuring the van when it's time came due in February, I took it off the road. This leaves us as a one car household, and the one car is a 2000 1.6 litre Acura EL (basically a Honda Civic). This means that if I want to go to the Recumbent Retreat in Astoria this August, I'm going to need a new trailer. A much lighter trailer! So, the Decotear is born :)

Based on a free pop-up frame received from a generous Craigslist poster, and built with 1/2" ply sides and floor, the Decotear will have no galley, no electricity, and no side doors. Basically it's going to be a toy hauler for my recumbent bikes, that I'll sleep in at night. I'll skin the sides with aluminum, and am thinking of doing a vinyl top. Here's the concept drawing:
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I have only one month to have the trailer campable, as I leave on August 13th for Oregon. Why'd I wait so long to start you ask? Am I simply a glutton for punishment? Well, there might be some truth to that 8), but there's also the fact that I promised my wife that I'd re-build the back deck before we went on our trip :cry:
I finished the deck last night, so after work today it was time to start the trailer.
So far I've started trimming off some of the excess crossbars from the donor frame. It was about six feet wide to start off, but the main rails are only fifty inches outside to outside. The length is a perfect eight feet, so that's good. This is what the frame looks like right now:
Image

I've also got the first coat of epoxy on the inside floor, and I've marked out the first side for cutting.

Tomorrow, the plan is:
get the first side cut out, and cleaned up.
use the router to cut the second side, using the first one as template.
put a coat of epoxy on both sides, and a second coat on the floor.

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it.

-Greg
Last edited by Greg M on Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby High Desert » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:25 am

Good luck Greg!! Sounds like a fun build, keep us updated when you can :thumbsup:
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Postby bobhenry » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:27 am

You can do it I had the barn campable in 5 weekends. Each Sat and Sunday was 10+ hours a day dedicated to the build but it was fun.

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Still a lot to do ,,,,, Rear trim and insulate and panel the inside but it was fully wired and the lights and all worked and best of all nothing fell off :lol:
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Postby green_eyed_diablito » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:02 pm

that's a very nice profile. i especially like the vertical curve of the rear.

how will you lead your bikes? will it have a hatch in the rear?
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Postby Greg M » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:44 pm

Thanks folks, the encouragement on this board is amazing.

Green Eyed Diablito: Yes, the door's going to be at the back. You'll see I have a small landing at the back, I figure that should make things easy as far as loading goes, and it'll give me someplace to sit and put on my shoes in the morning :)

Back to work.

-Greg
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Postby Miriam C. » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:16 pm

:applause: :thumbsup: Go for it. Lovely design you have going!

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Postby halfdome, Danny » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:25 pm

Nice looking hover craft you got there Greg :lol: . So how wide and will there be enough room for you and the recumbent bike at the same time?. See if you can find Pacific Light Birch. Crosscut Lumber in Seattle was carrying it in 1/2" & 3/4" last time I was there. It has lots of plys and much lighter than Baltic Birch that I'm assuming you'll use like your first build. I'm using the 3/4" (4' X 8') on TD #3.

Have fun and... GET BACK TO WORK ;) . :D Danny
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Postby haul-all-day-rambler » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:10 pm

very creative....looks like a fish.....might as well paint some teeth under the window there......the aquatadrop sweet,i like it!...... :lol:
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Postby green_eyed_diablito » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:20 pm

Greg M wrote:Green Eyed Diablito: Yes, the door's going to be at the back. You'll see I have a small landing at the back, I figure that should make things easy as far as loading goes, and it'll give me someplace to sit and put on my shoes in the morning :)


i didn't even notice the landing. that's really good forethought.

this is going to be a cool build.

-miguel
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Postby Greg M » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:46 pm

Done for the day, and good progress too. More to follow...

Danny: I did resist the urge to go for more Baltic Birch :) I actually went the cheap G1S sanded fir route. 1/2" and only 4x8 for reduced weight. I figured I'm going to hide it under epoxy and aluminum, so I doesn't have to be as pretty.

Haul_A_Day: I did toy with putting a dorsal fin on it, but my wife said I couldn't pull it with "her" car if I did 8)

Miguel: It's only partially forethought I'm afraid. The frame is exactly eight feet long, and I just couldn't do a Benroy profile, so I had to get creative, or get out the cutting gear.

Now; On with the show:

Today I got both sides cut out and two coats of epoxy on the insides. I did a second coat on the inside floor, and a first coat on the outside of the floor. I also tracked down 4x8 .032" aluminum for $63 Canadian, and talked to the auto upholstery guy about materials for the roof. Still not completely happy with the choices he had on offer, so I'll make some more stops later.
Next up: more epoxy. Then a trip to the metal supermarket (yes, that's the company's actual name) and it'll be time to get the sides up. With luck I'll have the sides on, spars in, and maybe the inner roof skin done by the end of the weekend.
Here's today's pics so MJ and Auntie M won't beat me up:

My driveway after work. The only thing missing is me madly running around epoxying one panel the tipping off another, but someone had to hold the camera :?
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And here's the first side with two coats of epoxy
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Now, It's time for a beer.

-Greg
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Postby RogHodge » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:35 pm

I need to find a frame with that price!
I think you could put the axle over the springs to lower the floor/ride height - if you care to
Looking good so far :thumbsup:
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Postby Greg M » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:14 pm

So...

Not quite the progress I'd hoped for (gotta win the lottery and quit working 10 hour days) but, most of the really boring bits are done now. You know: epoxy, sand, epoxy, sand, paint, sand, paint... So, visible progress is being made again. I now have the sides up, and the spars in. The inner roof is ready to go in (I just need to go borrow the air stapler) and the rear door frame's epoxy is drying. Here's how things are looking:

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I've also been playing around with the graphics a bit more. I'm liking this more, only without the ketchup stain :lol:

Image

Things should be picking up this week.

-Greg
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Postby aggie79 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:47 am

Greg - I really like your design and approach - clean lines and sensible materials.

I failed to "price out" some of the details on my teardrop prior to building. Once I started building I was committed to that design and cash flow became a limiting factor in my progress (along with 50+ hour weeks and 100 degree weather.)

The graphics look cool. I think you have an ideal combination of form and function

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Postby Greg M » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:11 am

Thanks for the high praise Tom.

I know what you mean about the costs running away. It's all those little things that add up. I've budgeted $1000 for this trailer, and I'm pretty sure I'll be over that by about $200. What do they say though? Do it cheap and do it twice?

-Greg
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Update: July 28th 2009

Postby Greg M » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:19 am

Now things are starting to move along again. I've got the first section of ceiling carpeted and installed. Even with the air conditioning running that was a hot job :? I also popped in a simple shelf just to have someplace to put my glasses etc. at night.
Once I've got the next bit of ceiling done, I'll be ready to build the framing for the rear door. Then it's time for the roof skin, and maybe even aluminum by the weekend :twisted:

today's pics:

The inside looking noticeably darker:
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and the outside showing the carpet wrapped around the ceiling:
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I think I hear some Bourbon calling, see you later

-Greg
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