"Lite House" Ultralight Monocoque build - 6/25/11

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

Postby Thomcat316 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:08 pm

S. Heisley wrote:Congratulations on your first camping trip. :thumbsup: :applause: Your TD is such a cool build and it looks so cute, parked between the "Big Guys"! 8)


Awwwww.... Thanks!

The walls appear to be like a tent's (somewhat see-through, especially if a light is on inside?). If so, what are your plans to combat that?


Paint! :D

Eventually there will be a nice coat of white paint on the outside, and possibly a liner or paint on the inside - either way the light will be staying where it originates.

As for "see through", it takes a nearby star to make enough light to shine through clearly - the LED interior lights aren't powerful enough to make a silhouette show for the neighbors.

;)
Build Journal at viewtopic.php?t=44293

And then it went a' roamin'...
147419
Thomcat316
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 81
Images: 87
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:46 am
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Postby Thomcat316 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:27 am

Road Report!

Still haven't done the galley, permanent tail lights, cabinets, or fenders, but here's the good news:

Got a weight ticket from the scales, and it's 340 lbs. empty!!!! Nice to have beat my 400 lb. target!!

Had a minor roof leak due to my being in a hurry to build - fixed it.

Have a month of camping in it, in locales ranging from South Florida to Vermont, with one three-week-long stretch.

June, July, and August in Florida are quite comfy at night, as long as you can run the Fantastic Fan at "1" - more is too chilly.

Trips so far, Fort Lauderdale to "there" and back:

Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park, ca. 800 miles.
Ochlockonee River State Park, ca. 980 miles.
Western Penn. and Vermont, ca. 3,300 miles.
Lake Louisa State Park, ca. 490 miles.

So, about 5,270 miles behind either a 1997 Subaru Legacy Wagon or a 2003 Mazda Protege5 Wagon, at an average mileage (for the Scooby) of about 24MPG.

Not all so bad for hardtop camping....

Next, Show Season - the time of the year when I load 500 lbs of trade show booth in the trailer and drive 3,500 miles. I'll let y'all know how the "fully loaded" version holds up.

Happy camping!
Whitney
Build Journal at viewtopic.php?t=44293

And then it went a' roamin'...
147419
Thomcat316
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 81
Images: 87
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:46 am
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Postby WhitneyK » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:26 am

Very interesting build. Amazing what can be done with "modern" materials if you know how to use / attach them. And you obviously know what you're doing.

Since you ordered a pallet of material and built jigs, how many more are you going to have to construct to satisfy your "helping hands". Or are you considering going into buisiness?
Whitney & Tracie
Crothersville, IN

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

Do not confuse what you hear with what I mean.

My build: viewtopic.php?t=41955

155606-------------------------------101114
States we've drug our
li'l camper through. (over 32,000 miles so far)
User avatar
WhitneyK
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 551
Images: 412
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: IN, Crothersville (36mi N or Louisville)
Top

Postby Woodstramp » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:01 pm

Tomcat,

Whatever you do, don't ever let a kid leave some helium balloons in the cabin. She might just float off. :)

Amazing job. Love this pic.

Image

An old Texas saying: "It aint bragging if you can do it." 8)
User avatar
Woodstramp
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:28 pm
Location: Aladambama
Top

Postby Woodstramp » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:32 pm

aggie79 wrote:
I had been looking into vacuum resin infusion, but your method seems to be much better for what I may be doing on my second build. I don't mean to go off-track on your build, but would you mind commenting on vacuum pumps - particularly less expensive options than continuous-use commercial-grade pumps?

Thank you,
Tom


Aggie Tom, (Tomcat, not trying to highjack your build, just pass some info to Aggie)

I don't know diddly about Tomcat's composite building technique here, but I have fiddled with vacuums a good bit in refridgeration work.

If you want a cheap trial vac-pump without spending a ton you can gut out an old refrigerator compressor and rig it up as a vac-pump. Before I used a Robinair or the sweet Varian I have now, that is what I used in school. Bulk air removal (from a bag could be started with a shop vac, then hard vacuum with the rigged compressor. Not a lot of volumn, but it will go down purty low. Just make sure to solder in a long, upwardly spiraling coil on the discharge line (so oil will drain back down to the compressor). Try and find an old R12 fridge. Mineral oil is the what they like for lubrication.

[legality mode] To cover legalities with the EPA...you, of course, will be using a system that has been certified to have had it's refrigerants disposed of properly by an EPA certified technician. [/legal mode] :lol:

Of course I can't tell a non-EPA certified layman what to do with refrigerants that may or may not be present. 8)
User avatar
Woodstramp
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:28 pm
Location: Aladambama
Top

Postby Thomcat316 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:56 pm

WhitneyK,

Still "working" on #2, the 4x10, which was the end of the planned run - had to park the project for a while to work on other things...

I may decide to take the lessons learned from my current builds and build a couple/few more "hard tent" versions - 4x8 or 4x10 with 40" sidewalls and no provision for a kitchen, just really light and more economical versions for the Mini/Miata/Fiat crowd. Perhaps pay myself back for doing the two I've got in the works now?

Lessons?
    Use 3/4" panel for sidewalls and 3 layers of 1/4" for the curves - more rigid and easier to align than 1/2".
    Use 17oz. biax for the upper floor skin, it's freaking strong. Don't muss with lighter stuff on the floor, it's not worth the weight and cost savings. Use 12oz. or 17oz. biax for the rear lower floor skin if you are going to load the hell out of your poor little trailer - it will add even more stiffness.
    Vacuum bag EVERYTHING you can and use peel ply EVERYWHERE - both will save weight and the peel ply will give a nice finish for secondary bonding and painting. Saves you hours of sanding. Prevents amine blush on your finished surface.
    Do your outside corner fillets in a very stiff putty of machinable material - wood flour and glass microballons, for example - this will allow you to go back before skinning the outside and make very nice rounds corners. Don't do what I did on the 5x12 and assume you can apply putty, skin it, and create roundovers on the fly; some of the roundover will kick before the rest and you'll have to grind and redo.
    Use the not-so-easy-to-find bias 'glass or kevlar tape for all your inside and outside corners - no need to cut darts in the skin fabric to make very nice curves. If you use kevlar don't try to sand it, it just doesn't like to be sanded.
    Definitely keep the 1-1/2" floor - nice and stiff, and not much more expensive than 1".
    For light trailers, definitely use the fiberglass extrusions for rails and tongue - bonds well to the body, flexes at similar rates, and won't rust/corrode/flake/whatever.


I'm sure there's more, but this is what floated to the surface as I was typing.

If anyone feels like duplicating this method at some point I'd be happy to talk about what specifically did and didn't work - just ask!

Woodstramp,

I don't know that helium would be necessary - just get me to talking about it and we could use the hot air....

I also had a number of links about vacuum DIY stuff, one of which was a pretty advanced DIY complete with "build your own vacuum switch using junkyard parts" - pretty much what you said, with added automation and pictures!

I wasn't aware that it was possible to keep the oil in the circuit by simply letting it drain back down the outlet tube - I thought it had to get back to the inlet somehow, therefor my thought of catching it in bronze wool and letting it feed back into the inlet through a very small orifice.

Whitney
Build Journal at viewtopic.php?t=44293

And then it went a' roamin'...
147419
Thomcat316
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 81
Images: 87
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:46 am
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Top

Postby Thawley » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:54 pm

Sure learning some stuff readin' this thread.


Thanks.
User avatar
Thawley
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 98
Images: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:24 pm
Location: Santa Ana, CA
Top

Postby Woodstramp » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:04 pm

I wasn't aware that it was possible to keep the oil in the circuit by simply letting it drain back down the outlet tube - I thought it had to get back to the inlet somehow, therefor my thought of catching it in bronze wool and letting it feed back into the inlet through a very small orifice.


It did work amazing well. Slower than a commercial unit, but not bad. I copied a buddy's fridge-comp-vac with a change or two. His had a small brass funnel at the top of his "drain back loop" to add oil and to catch what pukes out at the start. Mine did not. I just controlled the intial rush of gas with the manifold gage set to prevent oil loss. As you know, when you first start evacuating a system there is a lot of volumn to pull out at the beginning. Once you get decent vacuum going, oil escape is not a problem.

I thought my cheapo vac-pump would just burn up after a few uses. It was still working when I tossed it.
User avatar
Woodstramp
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:28 pm
Location: Aladambama
Top

Postby ktm_2000 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:14 pm

amazing work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

after messing around a bit with nida-core on my boat project this summer I think that I may have way too much glass on my project compared to what you've used. I did my deck with 3/4" material and 2 layers of 1708 on both sides. Built up a layup table that was perfectly flat then used poly resin and did a layup on one side let cure. The opposite side was done the same exact waly. I put one of the completed 4x7 panels on cinder blocks on either end and walked accross and didn't flex the panel until I started bouncing my 200# weight.

I've been trying to talk my wife into doing a truck camper project out of nidacore. I was thinking that if I layed up as many flat pieces up as possible with fairly light glass on either side to hold the shape(not sure what to use) then assemble similar to your design with fillets and taping the seams then glassing 1 additional layer over everything.

I'm guessing that 2 layers of 1708 on both sides + tape on seams would be overkill but don't know how light I could go. I'd like to stay with poly or vinylester resin for cost. Any recommendations?
ktm_2000
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:08 pm
Location: Central, MA
Top

Postby Tear Les » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:02 am

ktm_2000 wrote:I've been trying to talk my wife into doing a truck camper project out of nidacore. I was thinking that if I layed up as many flat pieces up as possible with fairly light glass on either side to hold the shape(not sure what to use) then assemble similar to your design with fillets and taping the seams then glassing 1 additional layer over everything.

I'm guessing that 2 layers of 1708 on both sides + tape on seams would be overkill but don't know how light I could go. I'd like to stay with poly or vinylester resin for cost. Any recommendations?


Jus' jumpin' in here. You may have found this already but if not do a search for the Super Camper built by Ryan and Holly on their Toyota a number of years ago out of Nida-Core. They have a blogspot and I believe they had a build thread over at The Expedition Portal forum.
Les Lampman
Tear Les
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 244
Images: 13
Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 9:52 am
Location: Whidbey Island, WA
Top

Postby Cliffmeister2000 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:04 am

Here's a link to the Super Camper

http://tinyurl.com/32uznog
God Bless

Cliff

♥God. ♥People.
1 John 4:9-11

My Teardrop build pictures
User avatar
Cliffmeister2000
Titanium Donating Member
 
Posts: 3620
Images: 157
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Top

Postby ktm_2000 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:06 pm

I've seen that site before and they have been my inspiration for building another camper.

Those people built out of the pre-fabbed panels that have 18oz fabric on both sides and a pretty smooth surface. A 3/4" 4x8 panel is $250.

Going to composites one I bought a 3/4" panel no glass for $61 and can fabricate a panel for less abiet with significantly more labor. What it comes down to is that for a project that needs pieces greater than 4x8 or more glass per side it is worth it to fabricate it yourself.

The one thing from the supercamper project that I had questions with was they made a lot of use out of rivets and corner L brackets to join pieces together. I'd be concerned with the longterm holding power. I've been pondering many methods of putting one of these together

I'm impressed with thomcat316's curved shapes and the methods that he put them together. I've picked up a vaccuum venturi pump and though about bagging a part but have not done it before. It seems that the only way you'd get a part like his front or rear piece is to bag it.

Also he has used significantly less glass on his parts than I have on my boat projects and I could save quite a bit of weight of the final product as well as $$$ resin by using less glass. It is one question that I've had a tough time answering just that I don't know the science of the material all that well nor what types of stress is put on a truck camper.
ktm_2000
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:08 pm
Location: Central, MA
Top

Re: "Lite House" Ultralight Monocoque build - 6/25/11

Postby Thomcat316 » Sat May 19, 2012 3:21 pm

ktm,

I get to save a lot of weight by using curved panels, which add a significant amount of rigidity even before the fabric is added. If the shapes are curved in three dimensions (think egg) rather than two (TD roof) you get even more form rigidity, but the molding of the core gets quite complex.

I'm finally back (again) to working on #2, the 4x10 "hard tent" (she doesn't want a galley), and have the corner fairing finished for the floor-to-ends joints and the wall-to-top joints. The wall-to-top are a tight radius, ca. 1/2", so I'm not trying to wrap the 10 oz. cloth over the edge. Instead I'm using 1-1/2" bias-woven fiberglass seam tape. I also used the same tape and a generous curved fillet of filler on the inside of the wall-to-top joint to make a smooth and strong transition.

If I were building a truck-bed camper I'd probably use 3/4" walls, 3/4" curved cabover or front curve built up from three layers of 1/4" core, and either a 3/4" or 1" roof panel depending on whether or not I was planning on roof storage also. I'd use either a 1" or 1-1/2" deck panel depending on how much rigidity I thought was necessary and how large any open spans are. Laminate layers - one layer of 1200 12 oz. biax for the top and bottom of any horizontal panels, 10 oz. twill or plain weave inside and out for all other surfaces. Generous fillets and 10 oz. plain weave tape for interior joints, 1/2" radii and tape for outside joints.

The above is a significantly stronger laminate schedule and greater core thickness than my trailer, which has done well for ca. 10K miles so far. About half the mileage has been with a 550 lb. interior cargo load, the other half has been "light" at ca. 150-200 lb. load.

I am planning on adding kayak racks on top of the Lite House, so as part of the "make it better tuneup" it's getting a pair of unidirectional carbon interior crossbars at the front and back of the roof to more rigidly tie the roof panel into the walls and direct the load into the rest of the structure. I also learned that if you're going too thin with flat panels you have to brace a positive "bump" into the roof at the fan opening when skinning the outside in order to avoid a puddle around the fan - this too will get fixed soon, and will be properly built into the new one.

Another thing I've learned along the way is that being VERY particular about evenness of panel overhang (i.e., I lay the side panel on the floor and stand the front, rear, and top panels up along the edge of it) is of very critical importance when it comes to fairing the outside curve. I have done smaller projects where this is simple - this is bigger and it's worth as much time as it takes to get the overhang even. If you feel like you need to install little screw blocks on the interior of the curves to maintain the overhang, take the time - even if it means you have to do one side a day instead of two. The other thing that could be simply done is to install small right-angle brackets on the outside surface along the edges of the side panels and screw the top and curves out to meet them.

Back out to trim off the overhanging outside floor skin now! :-)
Last edited by Thomcat316 on Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Build Journal at viewtopic.php?t=44293

And then it went a' roamin'...
147419
Thomcat316
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 81
Images: 87
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:46 am
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Top

Re: "Lite House" Ultralight Monocoque build - 6/25/11

Postby PcHistorian » Sun May 27, 2012 1:34 pm

wow, that is SI COOL. taking notes...
:-)
Elf Cottage
Image

Build Documentary
https://sites.google.com/site/pchistorian/home/hobby/camping/elf-build
Build Forum
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=48462
Build Album
http://www.tnttt.com/gallery/album.php?album_id=42

progress is progress. (don't look a gift "progress" in the mouth.)
User avatar
PcHistorian
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 354
Images: 198
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:06 pm
Location: S.E. Michigan
Top

Re: "Lite House" Ultralight Monocoque build - 6/25/11

Postby thomas.clark » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:09 am

[sorry to resurrect and old thread folks :oops: . I don't think my post count is up high enough for PMs, so I'm dropping the message below here]

Hi Thomcat,

Have read your 2011-12 build thread with great interest. I'm contemplating building a foam & fiberglass camper trailer, and would like to make the frame from pultruded products as to bond them directly to the shell, as you've done. Did you have any problems registering your frame/trailer here in Florida (I'm in Orlando)? I worry that they won't understand or recognize the build method.

Yours truly,

Thomas
thomas.clark
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:23 am
Top

PreviousNext

Return to Build Journals

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Mr. Lahey and 7 guests