Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

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

Re: Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

Postby aggie79 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:21 am

:thumbsup: :applause: :thumbsup:
Tom (& Linda)
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Re: Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:49 pm

For those of you that may be following this build, but not the post on my construction technique, I wanted to let you know that the very first test panel was pulled from the mold today! Follow the link in my signature if you want to see it.

There won't be many updates on this post until I make some progress on the panels and start turning them into something that resembles a very small camper for 5.

:beer:
Steve
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Re: Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:19 pm

I just posted the following on my Construction Technique post, but a lot of it is appropriate to this build journal so I decided to drop a copy of it here as well.
:beer:
Steve

Windows
For my first build, I plan on simply creating wood frames that I'll epoxy in place on the inside of the panel, then cut out the opening in the skin with a router and flush cutting bit.

Doors
Doors could be done just like windows if using commercially built units. My doors will be custom panels (because I'm crazy) with 180° hinges and square windows. One door on each side.

Wall-to-frame attachment
My plan is VHB tape between the bottom of the wall and top of the frame. I'll also use 1/4-20 bolts up through the frame into the bottom of the wall panels using special T-nuts made for fiberglass/composites. Each wall panel will have one bolt.

Interior Skinning
I'm still on the fence with this. One option would be to skin the interior after the entire shell is assembled. Plenty of people do this on their traditionally made TD's and it works great, however it means working inside, on a vertical (or overhead) surface and could require mechanical fasteners to hold the skin on the wall (even if using epoxy). As of today, I'm leaning towards vacuum bagging the skins onto the walls (and roof) before assembling them on the trailer frame, i.e. skinning a hole wall laying on the floor. This means all of the wiring has to be installed, and windows, etc... have to be thought of and planned for before the skins are done. Doing it this way will create the ultimate sandwich panel and have a clean, smooth finish without mechanical fasteners.

For those that don't understand what I mean by vacuum bagging, I'll try to explain. An entire outside part of the wall would be assembled; the individual panels would be glued together, XPS would be glued into the cavities, wiring would be ran and window frames would be installed. Once that is done, it would be laid on a long sheet of plastic (at least twice the length of the wall). Then epoxy would be spread on the entire surface of the wall and the inside skin (luan, baltic birch, or whatever) would be laid on top. Then the plastic sheet would be pulled over the entire wall and a vacuum would pull all of the air out. The result is that atmospheric pressure becomes a very large clamp that acts equally across all surfaces of the part inside the "bag".

Wiring
My trailer will have a V-nose section that will house all of the electronics, batteries, wiring terminals and so on. I will home-run wires to all lights, switches, outlets, etc... No daisy chaining because chances are it will be a lot of work to open the walls up to fix something like a loose connection later on. I will drill small holes in the wall panel frames, similar to studs in a house, and run the wires along the top and bottom of the walls. I will also notch the foam for the wires to sit in with a router. The notching in the foam will be on the interior side, not the outside, mostly to avoid the higher surface temperatures from the sun beating down on a black surface. It will be a little tricky getting the wires from the side walls into the V-nose, but I have that mapped out in my head. The rear storage area and ceiling should be pretty straight forward.

Ceiling
I didn't mention this earlier, so here are a couple of comments. This trailer will be black (because I'm crazy), so I'll probably double-up on the insulation to stave off mother sun a little bit. The roof will be sloped to each side (higher in the middle), but the ceiling will be flat. This may create enough space for a pseudo attic that I'm thinking about using as an air conditioner plenum to distribute cold air evenly throughout the cabin vs one air outlet blasting cold air onto the lucky or unlucky person sleeping in the bunk next to the air conditioner.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for hanging on.

:beer:
Steve
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Re: Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

Postby Az Pete » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:13 am

following..... Impressive frame construction!


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Re: Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

Postby Az Pete » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:44 pm

have you considered any of the high tech adhesives to reinforce the bolted joints in your frame?


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Re: Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

Postby rjgimp » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:49 pm

StrongFeather wrote:
Atomic77 wrote:Just curious, will you be walking on the floor? (As opposed to some tears where the bed takes up the entire floor)


A wise man once said "The Strength is in the Sum of the Parts..." so I’m hoping that it’ll not only be a strong floor but add strength to the entire structure when it’s assembled.



Yep, I seem to recall some wiseguy saying something like that a time or three. :lol:
-Rob


I hope to make it to a Procrastinators Anonymous meeting someday...
just as soon as the steering committee gets around to scheduling one!
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Re: Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:58 am

Az Pete wrote:have you considered any of the high tech adhesives to reinforce the bolted joints in your frame?


Thanks for the compliment, Pete. Honestly, I didn’t consider using adhesives. Not because I didn’t think it would work, but because it never came up in what I read/saw when I was designing it. If it had come up, knowing myself, I probably would have spent a little extra cash for some piece-of-mind.

With that said, I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I don’t think it will need the adhesive, especially when the entire camper is done. Time will tell.

Cheers!
Steve


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Re: Aluminum/Composite build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:51 pm

This will be redundant if you're following my construction technique journal, but for those that aren't, here's a quick note.

I made the first full-size carbon fiber panel last weekend. The panel, which is 60" x 30.5" x 1" weighs 7lbs 3oz., or 0.57lbs/sq.ft..

My trailer will have ~231 sq.ft. of skin surface, so the weight of the panels will be around 130 pounds - keeping in mind that smaller panels will be heavier per sq.ft. and larger ones will be lighter psf. This also does not account for the foam or the inner skin. My rolling trailer frame (frame, axle, brakes, floor, hardware, coupler, jacks, wheels, tires, chains, etc...) is around 230lbs (if I remember correctly), which should get me under my dry weight goal of 1,000 lbs. with room to spare.

:beer:
Steve
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