A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby ghcoe » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:00 pm

Bruue1 wrote:ghcoe , Thanks for the step by step on the second wall complete with the hanger board, pvc weight, clamps and rope. My trailer is probably a little over 12 feet long now. I'll probably have to have seems down the middle of each side. I could still adapt the hanging method you developed and will likely do so.


No problem. Here is a video of me building #2. It has a lot of the canvas methods mentioned in the build #1 thread if you want to see it in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOTRwcs6oT4
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:22 pm

We started building walls today. Our walls are going to be 1.5 inch foam laminated to 1/4 inch tigerply utility plywood. It'll either stain or paint nice depending on what we decide.

So we held a piece of plywood up to the camper and traced the profile of the camper wall onto the plywood with a mechanical pencil. We cut the profile out with a jig saw which left horrible jagged edges (even with the smooth cut blade), but this was expected. These edges are behind those big 1x3 plywood strips I used for framing so no one will ever see them.

Once we had the profile cut we checked it against the camper again to make sure the cut was right. Then we laid the plywood profile on top of a piece of foam. Clamped it square to the foam and used it as a template to cut our the foam flush.

To cut the foam flush we used an $11 hot knife from Nordstrand. It was sold on Amazon. We had to go a little slow but it did a very good job, much better than I was expecting. I am going to return everything else I had purchased for foam cutting. I don't imagine anything could make a cleaner more accurate cut than this little detail knife.

At first we were getting ok cuts, despite my best efforts I was having just a little trouble keeping the knife blade perfectly perpendicular to the plywood template. They were long slow cuts, my hand would wobble just a bit here and there, the first cut was passable but I wanted a straighter edge. We took a piece of wood and drilled out a hole slightly smaller than the colet thing the knife blade sits in. We jammed the hot knife handle collet into the hole, it was very tight. Then we used a speed square to bend the knife blade around a bit, it was reasonably flexible, we got it squared up to the bottom of the board. Close enough for government work anyways. My son did the second piece with our little jig. I'd say the cuts turned out as good as they could have. He did a good job. We'll have to make two more jigs for our angle cuts, they'll be a little more involved. The picture of this one gives the idea though.

The first picture below shows the little jig/board. It also happens to show the first cut I did free hand. You can see how wobbly the cut really is in this photo. In the second pic you see my son using the jig, very easy. In the third cut you can see the nice edge we got with a little help stabilizing the knife.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:48 pm

Below are two pictures of laminating the foam wall pieces to the plywood wall pieces. Its pretty self explanatory. Use weight, make sure to weight around the edges.

We did use wall paper scoring tool (the spiky roller in the first pic) to perforate the foam before applying glue. This allows the glue to seep into the foam a little bit, making little spikes of glue sticking into the foam. This extends the glue joint into the foam a little bit instead of just surface gluing the foam.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:13 pm

LilBruue and I put the first two wall panels on today. LilBruue took the pictures as we went. We are really pleased with how the panels are turning out and how they are fitting on the frame. Holding each piece of plywood up to the frame flat and tracing out the profile we need to cut is working really well. All of the 1x3 plywood strips are completely covered in glue on the panel side, then we drilled holes right through them and screwed the panels on from the inside while one of us was pressing it flat from the outside. The frame is already much more rigid.

Today we also made two more sidewall panels. These are the ones that go over the wheel wells. They will go in front of the two panels we attached today. We began by placing plywood on top of the wheel wells. We use clamps and the frame to get the edge of the plywood flush with the panel it will sit against. A pencil and a small framing square referencing off the camper floor and we had the wheel wells drawn out. After we cut those out we were able to put the panel against the frame at the right place/height and draw the line for the top cut (which we could have measured too, in fact its 6' 11 15/16" to the top rail which is weird, its supposed to 7', I guess we're a little off square somewhere but its not too bad for such a big shape.).

LilBruue and I were talking about the interior finish today. We have 1/4 rounded over all the interior edges of the plywood strips. We figure we'll just sand the face joints and the screw holes smooth. Leave the screws visible (we kind of like seeing them) and we're just gonna cover all this interior plywood with a clear MinWax satin poly for the finish. We like the light color of the plywood and we think it will look beautiful.

Below is a pic of a panel edge clamped in place before we attached it. A pic of a panel attached. And a pic that shows a glimpse of what the interior will look like.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:16 pm

Another 12 hours on the camper today. Today I was flying solo, LilBruue was at school. Our wall panels keep going up. I have three panels for each side wall. Two panels are now attached to each side wall and the third panel for each side wall is all glued up, weighted down and drying in my the basement. Barring any unforeseen complications I should have all of the side wall panels on tomorrow.

I also got the first, bottom rear (back/boat tail) panel on today. I have the second one glued up, weighted down and drying in the basement with the two side wall panels. That should go on tomorrow too.

I had to make some long angled cuts in the pink styrofoam for that first boat tail panel. I made a jig to hep me do this well. When I first traced and cut the side panels that cover the boat tail I saved the triangle pieces that I cut off of the corners. Two ends of this triangle happen to be the two angles of my boat tail side rail on top and bottom. Each angled board does have two different cuts, its not a perfect 45 each on my tail. Its more like 41 and 49. I actually built two jigs today one for 41 degree cuts and one for 49 degree cuts. I only had to use one so far.

So I laid the triangle (as shown in pic 1) against the fence of my cross cut sled (you could use your mitre saw too, just place the other end of the triangle against the blade and adjust until it sits flush on the blade, or trace the triangle onto the board and cut the line with a jig saw or a skill saw). I placed a scrap piece of the 3/4 strips I had around against the triangle and this gave me the angle of cut I needed. I made two of these boards, one for each side of the jig.

I made a 3/4 top cross board the and drilled a the right size hole through it to tightly hold the collet chuck of my little $11 Nordstrand hot knife from Amazon. I drilled the hole lower in the board to increase cutting depth, it was barely deep enough the way I made this, the knife could be lower.

Then I took some scrap 1/4 for the bottom slide piece and just for fun I nailed another piece of 3/4 on the top to rest my hand on. Make sure the back edge of the bottom slide is at least straight, this tool doesn't have to be perfectly square just close, the hot knife blade moves a little anyways, because it is bendy, the knife handle should be very tight in the board and shoudn't move, otherwise there will be too much slop. If the hole holding the knife is too big and the handle doesn't sit tight just drill a new slightly smaller hole.

It was very quick to make this jig. Very easy, kind of a down and dirty or easy hack way to put this together, it works great. I ended up making two, one for each end of the triangle just because I wasn't sure which angle cut I would need when. Turned out today I only needed one angle cut for the bottom of that boat tail's two cuts, I'm guessing Ill use the same jig for the top panel too. (I only need the one jig because I'm really just transferring the profile of the flat floor up to the top of the bottom rear panel so that the middle rear panel can sit on a falt surface parallel to the floor)

Pic1 is the angle cut

Pic 2 is the jig.

Pic3 is the jig in action
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:29 pm

I attached my first rear panel today. This also created the first corner joint of my foam exterior.

I took a poplar dowel ( think 3/8 but exact diameter is not important), I cut it into 4 inch lengths (again exact length is not important, some would say make it a few inches longer) then I sharpened one side of each little piece making little stakes. Like I'm going to go hunt little vampires.

So I'm going to use these dowels to add strength (hopefully to my glued corner joints. I saw this technique first on a different build thread on a different site, but the guy doing it said he had learned it and many other foam building techniques from "the guys at tnttt". That article is actually what turned me on to this forum, months ago.

Here are some pics.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:43 pm

I got the the last of the side wall panels on today. I got the big back panel on too. Unless plans change I should have this all enclosed by mid day Saturday. Then I suppose its time to cutting holes in it and running wires around. Then foam in the roof. Once that is done it will be canvas time.

With these panels glued and screwed to the interior framing this box already has almost no flex. Its really solid, I love it. I can't wait to see what its like with canvas on.

We are getting close now! Its exciting.

:applause:
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby GPW » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:15 am

Great Job !!! :thumbsup: 8) Wood skin inside , canvas outside … It’s GOTTA' be Strong !!!
There’s no place like Foam !
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:18 pm

Thanks GPW, we're pleased with it too. As long as it keeps us dry and warm it will be a success. I'm confident we're going to get there. I am going to enlist my wife's help with gluing the canvas, she has a much more detailed eye for that sort of thing. (She's already talking about paint schemes) Still it will go how it goes, we'll probably come out alright.

I put two more body panels on today. The last body panel is cut, glued and drying in the basement, it will be ready for tomorrow. The last body panel is in the bottom pic, it is the upper front panel. In the pic it is just sitting in place for a test fit. It is not permanently attached.

I wanted to post these pics to show another reason to never throw out your scraps until the project is done. At the top of the upper front panel the foam board I was putting up there was coming up just a little bit short. Turned out the angled piece of scrap I had cut off the bottom of this board was a pretty good filler for the top. I actually had to cut just a half inch off the big panel to get the filler piece to sit in relatively flush with my estimated roof line. After filler foam, glue, the roof foam and canvas wrap we'll never be able to tell. I love how solutions present themselves as you build stuff. Its easy to stall out thinking about how to do something. So many times just by starting to work you end up running into the solution before you even realize the problem.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:56 pm

Put on the last wall panel today. Then I cut some holes in it.

So far we have the emergency exit window hole, two of the four bunk window holes, the fridge access hole, the fridge vent hole and the heater vent hole.

To cut the holes I am just using a small framing square, a pencil, a jig saw, a flush cut saw, a fixed blade box cutter and a drill with a spade bit on it. I think the results are passable. Pink foam dust is building up on everything, LOL.

I'm going to inlay some wood around the outside of the holes for screw attachments. Does anyone know if 1/4 inch tigerply will be beefy enough?
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Don L. » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:00 pm

Nice work!
I am enjoying seeing your fine progress. Question, What side is the door on? In one photo the door is on the driver's side and on another it is on the passenger side!
Did one image get reversed?
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:33 pm

Hey Don L,
Thanks for the good feedback. In the middle of big project like this all the positive energy I can get helps to keep me moving.

I think the problem with the photos is just that I don't know how to size them right for posting. The few user friendly options I am capable of either leave my photos too small for decent viewing or a little too big to see the entire photo at one time. If you scroll within my photos you can move them up and down to see the entire photos. I would like to do the little thumbnails that pop up big when you click on them, but I haven't figured that out yet.

So if you scroll through the photos you'll see the door is passenger or curb side. The large opening on the drivers/street side is a 30x40 emergency exit window (it stops about 20 inches short of the floor).
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby tomhawk » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:30 pm

Bruue1 wrote:....I would like to do the little thumbnails that pop up big when you click on them, but I haven't figured that out yet....


Check this out. It involves creating a personal album on this site and using photos contained in your album for your posts.
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?p=911290#p911290

Tom
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby KCStudly » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:15 pm

Coming along nicely!

re: framing your openings. 1/4 ply will barely take a screw thru the face. I would not screw between the edge of plies ever, unless on an angle using a pocket screws (Kregg jig or similar). For screwing into the edge of wood grain I would go with 3/4 inch actual (1x nominal) solid wood as a minimum for pine, fir, cedar or poplar (soft woods, even tho poplar is categorized as a "hard" wood). For maple or oak you could go a little smaller but watch out for splitting, so be sure to pre-/pilot drill. I mostly have used #6 x 3/4 screws for trim and such. I think I bumped up to #8's for the hatch hinge (can't recall for sure at the moment).

If you can afford it, select cedar is relatively light weight, straight grained, free of knots, and naturally rot resistant due to the high resin content. At the beginning of my build I bought four (4) 2x10's that got ripped into 2x2's (1-1/2 x 1-1/2 actual). They were expensive, but the yield has been almost 100/ct. Maple takes screws well and is very stable for milling (sawing, routering, planning, etc.). Oak is very strong, long grained, but relatively heavy and sometimes difficult to fabricate (burns when cut slowly or with dull blades).

The trouble with cheap pine is that it is usually full of knots and has rounded edges, whereas poplar or "white wood" maple have milled edges, so will square right up to your foam w/o leaving divots, or having to rip off an edge.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby swoody126 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:58 pm

KC, check the fencing dept @ your local big box store

you can sort thru their WRC fence braces for some nice stuff

they are nominal 2x3x8' long

actual dimension is 1.5" x 2.5" and i frequently find some nice clear straight grained ones just to keep on hand for different projects

just something i do...

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