The Ark of the Covenant

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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby dancam » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:03 pm

SwiftRiver wrote:The ply wood is 1/4 inch right now, and that can be interior or exterior, I just have it attached because it seemed like an easy way to get everything square. I was hoping to attach cubbords to the framing as well. I will try to check tomorrow how heavy what I have so far is. And it is important that I keep the weight down because my HF trailer is only rated to 1195 lbs.

:frightened:


Ok, im not quite certain what your doing yet, sorry you mentioned poor mans fibreglass in the first post. Are you removing the plywood and doing foam inbetween the framing and then canvassing or are you gluing canvass to the plywood?
The hf trailer is rated to carry 1195 pounds correct? So 1450 pounds total with the frame included?

In the planning for my trip i weighed everything i planned to take like the air matress, food, coolers etc... that you dont count in the trailer weight and it came to quite a bit but there is 4 of us.
I also googled weights of sheets of plywood and 2x4's and so on to help me calculate what the trailer would weigh in the end. But for me unexpected stuff happened, it became heavier (i didnt factor in 80 pounds of paint...) so we just have to take less.
For you storing stuff like clothes and food and coolers in the van is probably an option. It isnt for me :)


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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby KCStudly » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:33 pm

I don't know that I would bother trying to router out the existing, but I would definitely rip down your stock for the other side and build that structure much lighter. You could have gone a little lighter on the skins (5mm, 3/16" actual or even 1/8 inch), but 1/4 inch isn't a bad compromise, so if you have already bought, I wouldn't bother re-buying; anything thicker would have been excessive, especially when being covered by another layer.

On cabinets, or anything else, remember that you only really need blocking where the screws will actually go, not necessarily in between, so if you plan well enough and build carefully you can eliminate wood wherever it isn't doing anything useful (e.g. use a 1x on edge instead of a 2x, but sister on a little extra chunk of 1x with some glue where a screw might go if you are afraid of missing the stud; or leave the stud out entirely and just glue a block on where needed. As long as the skins are stabilized by being glued to both sides of the foam, the skin provides all of the strength.

I went a little different way with minimal framing... just along the sill and around the door, then recessed small blocks where needed into the foam on either side, then skinned. Sort of a foamie hybrid. Yes it was a lot of work, and no my camper probably won't be a super light weight build in the end; but by building lightly throughout, it hopefully will allow me (and you) to have some extra features w/o ending up being a super porker.

On the cabinets themselves there are a lot of light weight options compared to the typical 3/4 ply boxes you would find in your home kitchen (which would be way overkill), such as those wire closet system shelves. I built my cabinets in with 1x face frames (which also add strength to the cabin structure), 5mm ply, small cleats and no doors (I might add curtains or cargo netting in lieu of doors later).

It takes more effort, but if light weight is a necessary design criteria, then the effort to achieve it is necessary, too.
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby pchast » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:40 pm

I recommend you pile everything on the trailer and weigh it.....

Now figure what you will pile in your suitcases and the pots and food for the galley.
Use rough higher numbers.....

If you are flirting with your TV's tow rating, you can always skeleton those 2X.
Drilling holes through out the center of them could cut their weight by more than
half...
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby SwiftRiver » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:48 pm

So yesterday we did some more framing work (sorry no photos, nothing really interesting happened). We framed the other side with 1x2s and a few 1x4s, and we cut away some of the framing from the other wall to try to reduce weight. So far with one plywood skin on each wall they weigh 38 and 55 lbs respectively (that is just with framing and skin, no window or door, 10 and 15 lbs.). So far with the trailer bed, both almost completed walls, a door, and windows I have calculated that my entire weight is 227 lbs. Do you think that we are on the right track or do we need to keep trying to cut weight to keep it around 1000 lbs?


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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby Atomic77 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:34 pm

Welcome and congratulations on venturing into the world of camper building! I admire your spirit so far and your craftsmanship looks great. So good job! If you look through the build journals you will see many different styles and methods of building. The mistake commonly made is to over build. What you're building will be heavier than the frame itself. I think I would buy a second frame, divide your material in half and build two! But it looks like you're figuring this all out by now... I don't think it's too late to take some things apart and cut them down. Like KC said, airplane not house. Good luck!
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby S. Heisley » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:12 pm

SwiftRiver, you should be able to pick up one of your teardrop sides and hold it in your hands while you step on a bathroom scale. Have somebody mark down how much you and the wall weigh. Then check what you weigh, alone, and subtract that from the weight that you had when you held the teardrop side and you'll have your answer.

I'm enjoying your build thread and pictures! Thanks for sharing. :)
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby SwiftRiver » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:16 pm

So we worked our tails of last night, but I have to imagine that this is one of the most fun steps of the whole build. We put the walls up! No longer will this project be two dimensional. No more will will we lay things flat again after a hard days work. We're 3D!

So on the first frame that was way too thick, we routed down the 2x4s to half their depth (we might do some more, such as drilling holes to reduce weight). On the second frame we straight up used 2x4s that we halfed and quartered with a table saw. Hopefully this will help to lighten the load. Couldn't find a way to use the pocket holes on this side so we had to just pre-drill some holes and go for it. It seemed to work out. We also switched which side the door was on. Originally the window was on the thick side, but since our door is thicker than our window, it was more suitable to switch them (a minor detour). Then we attached our walls to the base and made our ribs out of 1x2s. It is pretty sturdy right now with a little bit of rock to it. I expect that it will get stronger with the outer skin.

As always feel free to post any questions, comments, or concerns.

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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby Atomic77 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:27 pm

Now that has to be a great feeling! Your camper has an inside! Looking good you guys... keep up the great progress!
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby KCStudly » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:16 pm

Yes, great progress. You two make a great team!

One thing I noticed, which I assume is just dry fit for now, is your roof fan shroud appears to be on backwards. you want the grill/louvers to face the rear so that it does not get stressed from wind drag or get wind driven rain forced down it while towing. The way it appears in the pics^ it will act like a big funnel/parachute. Just saying in case you were not aware; it has happened before.
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby SwiftRiver » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:28 pm

Thanks. The vent cover was just on for looks, and it was 12:30am when we mocked it all up. Hopefully we remember to put it on the right way! :thumbsup:
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby SwiftRiver » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:54 pm

Sorry it has been a while since I last posted, but it has been Spring Break, and I used this time to be in full building mode. Each day this last week I spent at least 8 hours working on The Ark, and boy has it been a blast. This week has made me think that it might just be possible for me to make my deadline of the end of April.

With the help of many different friends I was able to get done with all of the cabinetry, insulation, and electrical work. Unfortunately, my fiancee was not able to work on the trailer with me since she went on a Habitat for Humanity trip this week and is the president of the club at my school. That however, did not stop me from working my hardest to surprise her with my progress when she got back.

Here is the process we went through this week. As always feel free to leave questions comments or concerns.

First, we needed to get the counter top in place since everything is based around that.

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Then we laminated it.

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Next we needed to build the frames for the cabinets

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A resourceful way to cut a large piece of wood with a limited number of hands. 8)

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Then came electrical work.

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After that we closed off the kitchenette from the sleeping space and added a ceiling

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Then come the interior cabinets

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Next, my sister used the grinder to grind some nails down that were poking up through the roof, then we filled the frame with insulation.

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Then I had to figure out how in the world to make a cabinet door since all I really have at this point are shelves.

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We also put one little piece of outside skin on it.

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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby KCStudly » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:41 pm

Looking great!

Now about a couple of potentially large concerns (you asked): while creative, your saw feeding method is super sketchy from a safety standpoint. Google saw kickback for some real horror stories. Anytime you push a board thru a saw it should be completely in control w/ no chance of destabilization.

Second, tsk tsk for not wearing safety glasses while sawing! We only have two eyes. I have been in fabrication and mechanics for most of my life, and despite wearing glasses religiously, I still have managed to get junk in my eyes. It's no fun and can be quite costly in the least. Don't even want to think about the worst. Not wearing safety glasses is not a macho thing, BTW, it is just silly careless.

On time I was on the road working as a subcontractor (i.e. under the table with no health insurance and paying for board out of pocket) and, despite wearing safety glasses, I got some metal in my eye. Had to pay full boat point of service for the extraction (the Dr used what amounted to a mini Dremel tool to hog the piece out of my eye). I worked for free that week. End of lesson.
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby S. Heisley » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:58 pm

I read where you said you used nails...screws are better but even they can work loose. Nails work loose even easier because they don't have ridges to catch. I hope you used glue, too. If you didn't and it's still open, try to work get some Titebond II or III in between joints and also where the plywood meets the wood frame pieces. ...My 2 cents. Titebond goes on runny, which allows it to run into any cracks where you've already got it together and don't want to (or can't) take it apart.
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby SwiftRiver » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:36 pm

KCStudly wrote:Looking great!

Now about a couple of potentially large concerns (you asked): while creative, your saw feeding method is super sketchy from a safety standpoint. Google saw kickback for some real horror stories. Anytime you push a board thru a saw it should be completely in control w/ no chance of destabilization.

Second, tsk tsk for not wearing safety glasses while sawing! We only have two eyes. I have been in fabrication and mechanics for most of my life, and despite wearing glasses religiously, I still have managed to get junk in my eyes. It's no fun and can be quite costly in the least. Don't even want to think about the worst. Not wearing safety glasses is not a macho thing, BTW, it is just silly careless.


Thank you for the safety concern. It only took one wood chip to the eye to make me wear safety glasses :) you will notice that I have them on my head in the other pictures. Also the skateboard for the saw feeding contraption was just to allow the 4x8 piece of wood to move more smoothly. In that picture I was just posing, and my sister was taking the picture. While we actually were sawing she held the other side securely in case the "apparatus" fell. Maybe this was still unsafe; I do not know, but the picture doesn't really capture the whole story. I will try to be safer in the future.
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Re: The Ark of the Covenant

Postby SwiftRiver » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:45 pm

S. Heisley wrote:I read where you said you used nails...screws are better but even they can work loose. Nails work loose even easier because they don't have ridges to catch. I hope you used glue, too. If you didn't and it's still open, try to work get some Titebond II or III in between joints and also where the plywood meets the wood frame pieces. ...My 2 cents. Titebond goes on runny, which allows it to run into any cracks where you've already got it together and don't want to (or can't) take it apart.


So we started with the nail gun on the roof, but switched to the staplegun after a couple ribs, reinforcing each spot we used nails on as well. Do you think that should hold? For the outside skin we are using PL Premium Adhesive on all the stud and then stapling every six inches or so. Will this work or should I use screws?
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