My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

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My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:11 pm

I probably should have started this build journal a year ago when I started this project but I've only recently just discovered this forum, so yeah there's that... I've done a lot of camping in various ways in my lifetime but I've never built my own camper in my 37 years, so I figured why not! My most recent camping setup was a hot tent setup. That lasted about a year. It was fun but setup and takedown was never that much fun, feeding the fire was difficult to do thru cold winter nights, the smell was too much and danger was always present. I got motivated by coming across different camper builds on YouTube and one particular guy who built a nice camper on a Harbour Freight trailer. If I were to do one thing over, I would of built my own trailer frame. Not that the HF frame is bad, it's actually quite sturdy after reinforcements but there are other ideas I would have integrated into my build if I could go back in time. Those integrations will still happen but it would have been easier and looked more flush had I built my own frame. Anywways... on with the build:

On January 27th, 2019 I towed this older tilt bed harbour freight trailer home from a guy who purchased it, put it together but never used it. I stopped at Freddy's for a burger and fries to celebrate my future build.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:12 pm

Started sketching some ideas I never used.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:14 pm

Bought my younger welding brother a case of beer to come over and help me reinforce the frame:

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:16 pm

Painted over the welds in preparation to take it to the county sheriff to get the trailer inspected so I can get it titled with a Vin.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:19 pm

Bought some plywood to start building the floor and bedlined the underside and sides. BTW, the entire build uses birch plywood.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:23 pm

Flipped it over, framed it, insulated and countersunk bolts to mount the unit to the frame. The entire unit will be allowed to be taken off the frame in the future if absolutely necessary. The countersunk bolt heads were then epoxied into place before adding the top flooring layer.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:25 pm

Top layer added, stained and poly'd. The trailer is now ready to hook up lights so it can be taken in for inspection. I passed inspection and got the trailer titled and vin.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:27 pm

Got my custom doors in the mail from Challenger Door. The last photo here shows me placing the door and using some aluminum rail to get the desired curve I want for the front of the camper side walls.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:30 pm

Here you'll see my template made from 3/8" ply in the first photo. It got dirty...

The 2nd photo shows the two outer walls are comprised of two sheets of plywood each. One 1/2" sheet facing the outside and one 3/4" sheet facing the inside. The inside sheet is recessed in from the outer sheet by roughly 1.5" in order to accomodate the 1.5" framing for the front wall and roof, if that makes sense. The inner sheet creates a sort of ledge for the framing to rest on and also allows for some 3/4" insulation. I think some of this is easier to understand in some upcoming replies with photos.

The 3rd and final photo shows the complete template for the inner ply I believe with the galley hatch door area template cut out.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:39 pm

This next set of photos show what I just explained in my previous reply, plus the cutouts for the inner sheet of plywood to accept some insulation to help with any condensation. Channels were also routed here for wires so I can install some dimmer switches for interior and exterior lights.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:40 pm

Relaxing with a bourbon after a job well done..

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Actually, I missed a few steps between here and there...
This photo shows the outer walls with both plys attached to each other, plus some starter framing for the bulkhead.
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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:09 pm

This photo shows how I planned to create layers for my hatch to create a seal that I hope to be water and dust proof.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:12 pm

Made a mistake and was about to give up. I had forgot that I decided to size the inner ply for the outer walls a bit smaller but ended up gluing one wall together before recalling my change of direction. I tried to pry the wood off which resulted in the first photo. Luckily I came up with a plan to fix it.

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My buddy Levi came out to give me a hand and calm my nerves.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:14 pm

Here I finally have the two outer walls upright. They inner 3/4" recessed ply sits on top of the floor.

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Re: My Harbour Freight Build in a Small One Car Garage

Postby joshwhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:16 pm

Framing and bulkhead framing...

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