Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Wed May 22, 2019 8:58 pm

Wall assembly continues. Vacuum bagging the inner skin on the passenger side wall.

All of the wires are ran, wire chases routed, inner skins cut to size and holes drilled/cut for lights and switches. A piece of foam was laid in the door opening to prevent the 3mm Baltic Birch from pulling down into the open area (that's the slightly different colored foam closer to the garage door). The horizontal wood that you see are the supports for the bunks.
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Inner skin pieces laid in place. The wall is 5' x 10', so 2 sheets of the BB covered it perfectly. I would have liked to keep it to one seam, but it would have ended up being right in the middle of the wall switches (5-gang toggle switch panel), which I didn't think was a great idea. So, I moved everything aft by 9". The foam that you see in the bottom right is the rear cargo section. I decided to skin it later for a couple of reasons; A) the vertical wall will be tied into the "stud" (hard to explain), and B) doing it later will give me a chance to layout the storage more efficiently - I hope.
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Under pressure!
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Or is it vacuum??

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

Postby StrongFeather » Wed May 22, 2019 9:18 pm

The vacuum bagging went well. I really couldn't imagine and I don't think I would even consider trying to skin a wall using weight. With that said, this first attempt wasn't perfect. I had 1, 12" section along the top and 1, 12" section along the bottom pull up slightly. I'm not sure if it was an inadequate vacuum, not enough epoxy in those areas or a combination of the two. Nevertheless, it was an easy fix. I just cleaned up the gap with an oscillating tool, injected some more epoxy and clamped it down. It turned out fine.
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Here's a picture of the "legs" for the rear wall. I wanted to show the wire chases that were routed into the foam, which you can clearly see here. These chases will have pull strings in them when I bag the skin onto the wall because wires from the side walls need to be pulled for the tail lights, license plate lights and some "porch" lights that will be in the rear hatch to shine down when the hatch is open. I also coated the chases with epoxy to prevent the wires from digging into the foam when they get pulled through.
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:beer:
Steve
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby Myerstyler » Wed May 22, 2019 11:21 pm

Looking good Steve! I expect this will be done when I get back. Hehe
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby Atomic77 » Thu May 23, 2019 4:14 am

Looking nice! I too had a few troubled areas when bagging my walls. I feel like my bag material was cheap and it stretched under vacuum. Still a mystery. Looks good though! Keep up the good work!

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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:29 pm

Myerstyler wrote:Looking good Steve! I expect this will be done when I get back. Hehe


I just got it.... :?

See you when you get back.
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:44 pm

Time for a bunch of pictures. I've been staring a hard deadline of July 12th (1 month from today) in the face for the last month. A lot has been accomplished, but still a lot left to do, including a lot of wiring, V-nose walls/doors, and ummmm the roof :shock: . I just hope to have it weather tight, registered/licensed and the air conditioner blowing cold air before we head to humid Minnesota. I've been busy, so stand by...

A shot of the back wall with the window opening cut and tail lights installed.
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The wall is upside down in the picture, but you're looking at the top of the driver's side wall getting ready to bag the inner skin onto the wall. Here's another shot of how the wires are ran in the walls.
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Passenger side wall (upside down) with the inner skin on and the door opening NOT cut out. The black area on the left is the rear storage. I will insulate and finish that area later. It's 26" deep, 36" tall and 70" wide. Yes, that's our bathroom scale on the floor. The wall weighed in at 60lbs.
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:57 pm

Here's a shot of the corner of the door opening after it was cut out. I used an oscillating tool to make the cuts, which was a little dicey, but they all came out nicely. I didn't want to use a circular saw or router to make the cuts because I will be using the piece that got cut out to skin the inside of the doors so that the birch's grain will all line up. I left a lip on 3 sides for weather stripping. More on that in the third picture.
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If you look close, you can see the lips for the weather stipping on the top, bottom and rear. The front of the opening will be the hinged side, where the weather stripping will be flat.
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Pretty self explanatory, but this is how the weather stipping will be installed. Hopefully it'll be weather-tight. I applied a coat of epoxy on the birch (after these pictures were taken) to protect them from any water that might get in. I still need to make sure the junction between the carbon fiber outer wall and the birch inner skin is water tight. Getting water into the wall would not be good.
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:05 pm

Prepping for wall assembly! This was a BIG day/night.

This is how the wires get from the side walls into the rear wall.
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Biscuits marked and cut.
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Dry fitting the passenger side and rear walls.
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:14 pm

Stretching the font bulkhead (1/2" sande ply) with biscuits and epoxy. The wall is 6' wide by 5'3" tall.
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The hole in the top of the wall (why are all of my wall pictures upside down???) is for the cool air from the AC. A duct will bring the air up the bulkhead and into the "attic" cavity, where it will fall out of the ceiling the entire length of the cabin. This should be quieter and give us a more even temperature vs. a single vent.
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Some VHB tape between on top of the frame rails will help to secure the walls in place along with some 1/4-20 x 4" screws.
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:32 pm

It was all hands (and clamps) on deck for wall assembly. My brother-in-law and two of my three boys were on hand to help.

On the surface, it seems relatively simple - just glue the walls together and BAM! Well its not quite that easy. Wires have to be dealt with, clamps have to be placed, walls have to be aligned, clamps have to be moved, oozing epoxy wiped off, walls aligned, mix more epoxy, grab another wall, pull more wires... what's the pot life on the epoxy?!?!?!? All-in-all it went well. The biggest issue was clamping the side walls to the 6' wide front bulkhead with 5' bar clamps. In all of the chaos, I neglected to snap a picture of that masterpiece.
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Snap your fingers and viola, the walls are up!
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I wanted to point out that we assembled them all on some bolts to hold the walls off of the VHB tape. I wanted to be able to move/adjust the position if necessary. More on that later...
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That's all I have for tonight. Plenty more pictures to post, hopefully soon. As always, feel free to as questions or comment.

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

Postby StrongFeather » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:08 pm

When it came time to permanently set the walls, I started all of the 1/4-20's going up through the frame into the wall, clamped a handful of wood blocks to the outside of the frame, peeled off the tape backing and removed the bolts that the walls were sitting on.
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And here's a shot down the side to show how well everything lined up.
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On to wiring and such...
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:21 pm

For all of my butt-spliced wires, I'm using these awesome little gems that solder the wires, seal them with a waterproofing thingy and heat shrink. They're super cheap and really easy to use. Here's a quick tutorial.
First, slip the sleeves onto one side of the wires (not pictured), then strip a little of the insulation off of each wire and basically push the ends together. I hope that shows okay in the picture.
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Slide the sleeve over the junction.
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Apply heat with a heat gun. The heat melts the solder and shrinks the heat shrink, which includes the red waterproofing strip.
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It really is that easy and I'm super impressed with the quality.

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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:35 pm

Mocking up the fenders. I'm adding a small step and a light on the front and back of each fender.
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All of the steps will look like this mock-up. The lights on the rear of the fenders will be reverse lights, and the lights on the front will be turn-assist lights that come on with their respective blinker. Each of the four fender lights will also have a switch inside the cabin so they can be turned on while camping.
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Just a shot of the font step.
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That's all for tonight...

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

Postby zzzizxz » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:31 am

Trailer is looking really good! Can't wait to see the rest.

Thanks for the suggestion on the heat shrink solder connectors. I just ordered a pack. It will make my wiring SO much easier!!
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:52 pm

Thanks for the complement, z, and I hope you like the solder butt splices.

Here are some pictures of the rear hatch installation. I'm using SOSS 204 hinges on all of my doors and I couldn't be happier with them. With the jig, the installation is really easy.

Rear hatch held in place with a couple clamps and wedges so that I could mark the location of the hinges and where to mount the jig. I just used blue and a fine tip ink pen for marking.
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After marking both the hatch and the jamb, the hatch was removed from the opening to cut the mortises. One shallow and one deep cut in each location with a plunge router. Pretty simple. Here's a shot of the jig, which is held in place with nails - the only thing I didn't like. It's okay though, I'll just fill them later with some epoxy or silicone.
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Here's a shot of the shallow mortise, which is where the shoulder of the hinge sits. I don't have a picture of the deep mortise, but it's in the center and that's where the body of the hinge sits.
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