A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:12 am

I was thinking about screwing the windows to the plywood faces. I did decide I'll put some 3/4 stock of something just to make them solid. I think I'll run four bolts (counter sunk into the window frame) all the way through the wall, sandwiching the the foam between the interior wall and the wooden window rings. If that makes sense. I'll show pics when i do it. Just some thin little bolts should be more than enough support.

KC Studly, I do have some 1x12 cedar that has been sitting in a shed for years now. It was original to my house 1970 build so I'm guessing it was cut around that time. I removed it when I gutted the basement. Its actually really good wood. I think you're right, I'd rather have the cedar there than the plywood. I'll bury some small screws in it and see if it splits. I was planning on making my countertop out of sealed cedar. I don't know why I hadn't thought of using some for the window rings, I use it for ticky tack stuff all the time. I think it is the best solution. I've just been stripping so much plywood, right now its like a plywood and foam camper. LOL
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby KCStudly » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:07 pm

If you screw into it, you can pull the screws back out, squirt some CA glue in the holes and put the screws back in. The CA soaks into the wood and reinforces the threads so they are less likely to strip out.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby GPW » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:43 am

… and Duco Cement works as well for screws in wood … CA is all over the place , the Duco is neater , cheaper ... :thumbsup:
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:48 pm

I ended up building my window frames out of 3/4 tiger ply. Its cheap and I have it ready. They aren't going to get wet, they aren't going to split, the rest of the camper is built out of it so why not. Its snowing a lot here today 4/3/18. All that cedar I was talking about is in a shed, in the yard, it is rough cut 1x12 lumber that would have to be milled, its 40 to 50 years old, any hydration and it wants to move, I have cracked pieces of it over my head for fun. Someday I plan to line a sauna with it, but thats another story.

I attached a picture of what one window frame looks like. I'll inlay these flush into the foam around each window opening. I have two cheaper windows (one is in the pic below) I found with smaller flanges that luckily did come with trim rings, I'll mount those using the trim rings. My other three windows are nicer so they have bigger flanges on the front, they don't have trim rings, my plan is to drill through the flanges on those and screw them right into this plywood which will be sitting under the canvas skin. All five windows and the door will get a plywood frame like this. I am going to mount each frame with 4 bolts running through the camper wall with a big washer or backer plate inside against that 1/4 ply interior skin. I'll also glue them to the foam.

I made four window frames today. I'll make one window frame tomorrow and construct two more jigs for cutting the foam to mount these window frames.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby ghcoe » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:56 am

Not sure if you care or not, but the wood frames will telegraph through the foam.

When I mounted my door, which was a flush mount style, to my #2 build I channeled a 1/4" groove into the middle of the door cut out and then installed 3/16" hardboard into the channel. This gave me a hard point to screw into but was below the foam surface so it would not telegraph to the surface.

If your windows without the inside trim ring are clamp style you can make a wood interior frame/ring and still use the window as intended.

Just some thoughts, George.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:37 pm

Thanks for the thoughts George, of course I already made all of my mounting frames today. Doh! And jigs for what I'm planning on doing. LOL Oh well. If I end up seeing the profile of this plywood so be it. I'm moving forward. I had not thought of cutting a groove in the foam to insert wood, that is a great solution. If I do this again, that might be what I do.

Today I completed all the mounting frames done for my windows, the entry door, the fridge access and the heater vent. I just pocket screwed and glued the mounting frames together like a face frame. They all had square corners. My windows and door have 3" radius corners. I just cut up some 3" square blocks and drew the curve on it and scroll cut it out on my $50 craigslist band saw (it was a great buy 12" craftsman, very useful). I test fit and recut each corner one by one, frame by frame, until they worked. Glued the corners and then finish nailed them to hold them in place until the glue dries. It was a little time consuming but they are done now.

I also created a couple more simple jigs which will help me to cut out the foam for mounting these mounting frames. I included a pic of my foam cutting jig set below along with a pic of the window frames.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:11 pm

I started installing the window mounting frames today. The idea is to inset them into the foam around the window holes so I have something hard to screw too. All of the frames are 3/4 birch tigerply pocket screwed and glued together. Then I used a 5/8" spade bit and a 1/4 drill bit to create holes allowing me to run countersunk 2" and 2.5" bolts through the window mounting frames and through the walls. The window mounting frames are glued to the foam and the mounting frames and internal wall are clamping the foam too (due to the bolts). These windows and doors will not be going anywhere. I put in a long day today. I did not finish all the openings. I still have the four bunk windows to do and a little round hole (which I still need to make a frame for) where my power cord will exit the camper. I was tired and I also ran short of bolts. I will get back to it first thing tomorrow morning.

I used the new hot knife jigs I had made a few days ago. They worked well for cutting the recesses for these mounting frames. I still had to finish out the square corners free hand as my jigs wouldn't reach them and I had one very small opening where I couldn't fit the hot knife at all, so I did that with a razor blade. The pics below show how the jigs were used. I clamped the mounting frames to the outside of the wall and used them for templates for my jigs. I'm happy with the cuts. I'm loosing enthusiasm for these cheap little hot knives. They do the job but these cuts are very slow. Like 20-30 minutes for the big door cuts, total. I'm over it. If I am going to build another foam camper I will first buy a much better more expensive hot knife. Still I'm happy to have the ones I have and I'm glad they make these nice cuts. its more exact than a razor blade could ever be. IMHO

I think I am tracking to be done in time for our trip in the end of May. I also ordered 40 yards of 10oz natural duck cloth from burlapfabric.com today. It was 3.25/yrd. The cheapest I could find. It was on sale, cheaper than their 7 oz natural duck cloth. I figured 15% extra for waste and 12 inches extra surface area to everything for over lap and seams. That came to 33 yards. I bought 40 yards just to be sure. Figured if I had some left over I'll end up with some canvas cushions or curtains or something else.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby GPW » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:08 am

Coming along now eh Bru !!!! :thumbsup: “Duck cloth” … Wazzat ? …. that was a Good price ... :thumbsup:
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:17 pm

Hey GPW, yeah I was happy to find the cloth. I guess duck cloth is just a type of canvas. The weave is a little tighter than average canvas. I checked, its used in canoe and kayak builds often enough. I think it will work fine for this camper. I guess we'll see.... Maybe I'll name it the Quacker Camper

I am almost done putting pieces of wood into the foam for attachment points. Putting all these wood pieces in the foam is slow and tedious. Its been a week of this. I only have three little pieces left. One is for an outdoor speaker, one is for the outdoor light and one is for the water tank fill dish (I have to wait on this one until the fill dish actually arrives to ensure proper fit). Tomorrow I will finish putting these wood blocks in (except the fill dish) and get going on the roof. Getting past this wood inlay stage is huge. I feel like I am over halfway done now and also like everything is going to work out. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am re energized and rolling along.

So two more pictures of the camper below showing most of the wooden mounting pieces installed. One pic below showing one of the exterior marine speakers in its mounting ring which will be installed tomorrow.

Those outdoor speakers were purchased off of Amazon, they look great, 2 way full range 200W each. The pair cost well under $30. I also have a pair of similar sized similar value interior speakers that will be mounted to the interior ceiling. To run them I got a cheap USB/Bluetooth car stereo head for under $30, puts out 60 watts per channel, four channels. I figure two (front) for inside and two (rear) for outside. How will such a budget stereo sound? Won't know until they are hooked up, but I bet it will be ok and it can always be upgraded later if necessary. If we ever put a little TV in this we can plug a blue tooth thingy into the TV and it will hook up without wires to this car stereo, so that is cool. I know the stereo also has two sets of RCA jacks on the back, I haven't looked closely, I guess one of them could be an in? That'd be sweet too.

We were planning to take this camper to Yellowstone at the end of May beginning of June this year. Given the current weather situation we are guessing this might be a rough year to make an early trip to Yellowstone. We have decided to cancel our reservations and re route. We're heading out to the west coast. Gonna drive down hwy 101. None of us have ever done that. We'll camp on some beaches, see The Goonies' beach, see The Lost Boys Beach, see some huge trees, swim in southern California and even surprise the kids with one day at Disneyland in California. All in the lightweight camper for four. I'll have to bring some Dick Dale, pump some Misirlou through the stereo! LOL
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby GPW » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:13 am

Getting Close now Bru , Love those speakers … :thumbsup: 8)
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby KCStudly » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:12 pm

Bruue1 wrote:I know the stereo also has two sets of RCA jacks on the back, I haven't looked closely, I guess one of them could be an in?


Those are probably pre-amp outputs that would allow you to take line level signal to a separate amplifier. If there is a blue power wire for turning an external amp on, they are probably line level (unamplified... cleaner) signal leads.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:00 pm

I ran some wires through the ceiling today. All the wires that will need to be there. Curb side bunk lights, curb side porch light, ceiling light and switch for it, powered ceiling vent and all four speakers.

I did wrap the wires in multiple layers of electrical tape at every place where they go through a hole in the wood frame. Over time rub points can compromise the integrity of the insulation on wires. The electrical tape provides another layer of protection.

Now that the wires are there the next step will be to fill in the foam.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:12 pm

Filling foam in the roof:

I have decided to fill in the areas between the roof joints the to use 1/4" plywood as my roof skin. I'll just glue/staple the plywood down to the roof joints.

I used the foam scraps left over from cutting the walls to fill the roof in. I had more than enough.

Tomorrow I have to dink around with the front and rear sections which will require some angled foam pieces to properly support the slanted plywood. The roof crowns in the middle slanting out to each side and to the front and rear of the camper. Once the front and back section are prepped the plywood will go on.

After the roof is on the next step will be to start prepping the body for the canvas application. Just in time too as the canvas came in the mail today. I have some shaping and filling to do but definitely within the week I expect to have my first pieces of canvas on. I'm thinking I will first canvas the back, then the sides, then the short vertical front wall, then the roof from back to front all the way down the angle overlapping the vertical front wall. That should put every seam facing back and down.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby Bruue1 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:24 pm

We're moving along. Today I finished the roof and have begun prepping the walls for canvas. I think I might be putting canvas on by the weekend, maybe even by Friday.

I'll have more pictures of the roof tomorrow. It turned out pretty good. I laid some extra pieces of 1/4 around the roof vent hole to elevate it from the rest of the roof. The roof also has a good crown to it. The water should run right off. No standing water is the goal.

For the walls: I have filled my big cracks with great stuff expanding foam, I used an oscillating tool (flush cut saw) to cut off the over filled foam and to roughly shape the uneven foam joints, I used Red Devil Lightweight spackle to feather out my wooden inlays with the foam and to feather out the edges of the roof plywood. I tried a few tools to round the corners, what I found works best is just a sanding block or two (different grits, one for knocking down and one for smoothing). Most of the corner shaping is done. I am letting the spackle dry fully overnight and tomorrow I will sand all surface and the roof corners/edges.

Be careful when sanding foam, I found out it is easy to tear out a small piece of foam if you are too vigorous while sanding, it is not wood. I am sanding my camper by hand, I'm not going to use any power sanders on it, I am sure I would do more harm than good with them on this foam. When sanding always wear a respirator, any foam dust you inhale will not come back out of your lungs in your lifetime, the same goes for sawdust. Get too much crap in your lungs and they will stop working right. It is easy to take breathing easy for granted until one day you find out you can't.

By the end of day tomorrow the camper should be sanded and as flat as I am going to make it. I hope to get it lifted off the frame tomorrow too, so when Friday comes I can just start the canvas. I'm sure I could spend a week or two just trying to get a perfect surface, due to my timeline I am going to spend one day making it as good as I can and then call it good enough and move on. We gotta be ready to roll by 5/23 this spring.

I'm thinking I'll hang the canvas for gluing by pinning it to the foam with finishing nails. Seems like it will work and will be the simplest/fastest way to do it. I'll have to pick up a good sharp pair of shears for cutting canvas. I'm sure whatever cheapies they have at the WallyWorld craft aisle will work well enough.
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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

Postby GPW » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:20 am

You may want to give thought to perforating the foam surface( wallpaper tool) , for a little better adhesion . :thinking:
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