Let's Build a Camper

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Aeronut
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Let's Build a Camper

Post by Aeronut » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:00 am

I've slept in a lot of tents, some RV's, and a lot of campers. I still own a 16' pop-up but am getting tired of the set-up and wanted something lighter for short trips. I started looking at building a tear drop style but decided to design this one so I can add a rooftop rack to carry a canoe and bicycle.

I bought a 4'x8' fold up utility trailer from Harbor Freight that has a gross weight rating of 1980#'s. This will be below our state gross weight that requires a registration and tag. I left out the fold up hardware so it would be a rigid frame. I started out with a sheet of 3/4" marine plywood for the bottom. I filled in all the voids that would trap moisture or dirt and sanded it all smooth. I then gave it a triple coating of white roofing sealer.
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For the framework I ripped 2x4's into 1-1/2"x1-1/2" boards. I lined the edge of the plywood with the 1-1/2" stock and then put a full width 2x4 across the middle. This will help strengthen the middle of the trailer frame where the two halves butt together (remember this was a folding trailer).
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I then filled the two voids with 1-1/2" thick foil backed rigid foam insulation and then a sheet of 1/4" underlayment plywood over the top of that.
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Lots of construction adhesive and screws later I had my base.
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Aeronut
Royal (6X6) Bull
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Re: Let's Build a Camper

Post by Aeronut » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:10 am

After a lot of head scratching I decided to go with a 16" radius on the front and back curve of the roof. That radius would not impede any storage area and would also make it a little less wind resistant while towing.
I built a circle cutting jig for my band saw and went to work.
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I used a full 4x8 sheet of 1/4" underlayment for the walls and laid the curves in place for fitting.
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This shot shows my first layout for a 14" radius which I decided was a little tight for bending plywood.
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Next step was to add the 1-1/2" stringers and decide what spacing to use for the cross bracing between the walls.
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I did not want to have any screw heads showing on the outside or inside of the walls so I used T-88 structural epoxy adhesive. This is used to make structural joints on wood frame experimental aircraft so I figured it should withstand the bumps and wind force on the highway.

To be continued............................
Charter Member--Oklahoma Selfbow Society
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Charter Member--Prairie Traditional Archers
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Made in the image of a lion shocked lamb
I am who the hell I am

WinterHawk
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Re: Let's Build a Camper

Post by WinterHawk » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:22 pm

That's great, Aeronut! I'm looking forward to seeing the next installment!

~WH~
~WH~

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Aeronut
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Re: Let's Build a Camper

Post by Aeronut » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:48 pm

Cold here today. 20* with a hard north wind blowing so I worked in the woodshop for a while.

When I added the 1-1/2X1-1/2 stringers to the wall sections I set the bottom stringer in 2" up from the bottom edge. This will allow the wall to extend down the 2" thickness of the floor.

After all the stringers were set on the wall panel I started laying out the doors and window. I bought these from a couple of places on fleabay. The door I got for the storage area is a door from the front of a fifth wheel camper storage area. On the fifth wheel it lays horizontally. I just turned it on end for my use.
When I got that door in the mail it was so badly packaged that the frame edges were badly bent in several places. I sent the seller a complaint about their packaging along with the note that I could straighten it out and make it usable. Just a bunch of unneeded work for me. To my surprise they refunded the whole cost of the door and said to keep it. :shock:
My dad was a body and fender man and I learned a few things about working metal so the door is straight now.

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This view is from the front end of the trailer.
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After I got the doors set I reinforced the framework around them with extra material. I did the same thing with the window on the left side wall. The only thing I think I would change is raising the window up about two inches.
Charter Member--Oklahoma Selfbow Society
OSS Non-Resident Representative
Charter Member--Prairie Traditional Archers
NRA Endowment Member
NAHC Life Member
Made in the image of a lion shocked lamb
I am who the hell I am

User avatar
Aeronut
Royal (6X6) Bull
Posts: 782
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:22 pm
Location: Osage Township, SE Ks.
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Re: Let's Build a Camper

Post by Aeronut » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:03 pm

Next step was raising the walls. I made two 90* brackets and screwed and clamped them into position on the deck, put a good bead of construction adhesive on the deck to set the bottom stringer on and then set the wall in place and screwed and clamped them to the 90* brackets. Lots of deck screws went through the bottom stringer securing it to the deck. You can see the notches in the wall framework for the cross stringers that will go from wall to wall.

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Before putting up the right hand wall I had cut some stingers to length to help brace the walls and ensure everything would be as close to 90* as possible. Even with all the double checking I wound up a very tiny bit off.

This shot shows some of the added wood reinforcement around the window. I didn't get a picture of the door reinforcement.
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The horizontal piece of wood in the wall is for supporting a shelf across the back and I have installed the rigid foam insulation in the walls.

It was about this time that I rounded off the corners of the walls. I did this by placing a thin strip of metal on top of the wall frame curve and cutting the plywood with a roto-zip tool then sanding the plywood flush with the wall frame.
Charter Member--Oklahoma Selfbow Society
OSS Non-Resident Representative
Charter Member--Prairie Traditional Archers
NRA Endowment Member
NAHC Life Member
Made in the image of a lion shocked lamb
I am who the hell I am

WinterHawk
4X4 Bull
Posts: 175
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Re: Let's Build a Camper

Post by WinterHawk » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:59 pm

Excellent! I admire your craftsmanship. I'm (slowly) putting together a canoe but that is on hold right now because all the space in my small shop is taken over by the gardening and yard equipment. Besides, there is no heat in there and we have been having Winter weather here lately, off and on. :lol:
~WH~

BrotherGlen
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Re: Let's Build a Camper

Post by BrotherGlen » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:37 am

Last update was over 12 months ago. What is the status of your camper build? Pictures please. Thanks

WinterHawk
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Re: Let's Build a Camper

Post by WinterHawk » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:10 pm

Go to the Roll Call thread and scroll down to the finished photos. I thought there were more photos of the build but they may not have transferred over.

Welcome to the fire, by the way! Hope to see more action on this site like it USED to be....
~WH~

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