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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:31 pm 
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Hopefully I will have some more estimates for bending the roof aluminum tomorrow.

In the meantime, I used my jigsaw to cut out the sheet metal for the outside of the back door. This time the white painted side faces out where it will show. :oops: It looks good, so it won't be long before I can permanently sandwich the door with white aluminum on the outside, cedar planking on the inside, and aluminum moldings around the door's edges. I don't have a photo just yet, but will update soon.

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:18 pm 
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This is coming together nicely. I can’t wait to see it all finished. Have you thought about adding decals to it?

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:31 pm 
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Thanks! I will have much more time for finishing the trailer after final exams and graduation come up in about 3 weeks. For now I am putting in an hour here, an hour there, wherever I can find them during the week. My goal is to have it actually campable by June 1st.

I haven't given much thought to decals, but that is potentially a very cool aspect of the finished trailer. My wife and I joked about wrapping the entire trailer to advertise her small craft business. Since it is a hybrid of a camper and a cargo hauler, it certainly will be taking her stuff to many weekend craft shows. Having a more subtle decal that emphasizes the off-road nature of the trailer and also advertises the small business at the same time may not be a bad idea. :D

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:31 pm 
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lfhoward wrote:
Thanks! I will have much more time for finishing the trailer after final exams and graduation come up in about 3 weeks. For now I am putting in an hour here, an hour there, wherever I can find them during the week. My goal is to have it actually campable by June 1st.


Wow, June 1st will be here before you know it! What degree are you earning?

lfhoward wrote:
I haven't given much thought to decals, but that is potentially a very cool aspect of the finished trailer. My wife and I joked about wrapping the entire trailer to advertise her small craft business. Since it is a hybrid of a camper and a cargo hauler, it certainly will be taking her stuff to many weekend craft shows. Having a more subtle decal that emphasizes the off-road nature of the trailer and also advertises the small business at the same time may not be a bad idea. :D


There you go! Smart man!

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:41 pm 
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dieselenthusiast wrote:
Wow, June 1st will be here before you know it! What degree are you earning?

There you go! Smart man!

Thanks! Yes, June 1st will be here too soon. I am a forest ecology professor, and June is when my summer research season begins. I'm hoping to be able to ditch the tent for the first summer ever and camp in a dry waterproof space and sleep on a mattress that is good for my back. :rockon: The students working on the research project with me will still be sleeping in tents though. We will be in the mountains of western Maryland between June and mid August if everything goes according to plan.

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:25 pm 
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lfhoward wrote:
...We will be in the mountains of western Maryland between June and mid August if everything goes according to plan.

I have camped out in that area, though it was about twenty years ago. Very nice, as I remember it. :D

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:40 pm 
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lfhoward wrote:
I am a forest ecology professor, and June is when my summer research season begins. I'm hoping to be able to ditch the tent for the first summer ever and camp in a dry waterproof space and sleep on a mattress that is good for my back. :rockon: The students working on the research project with me will still be sleeping in tents though. We will be in the mountains of western Maryland between June and mid August if everything goes according to plan.


Nice! That's a pretty good job! I love being in the outdoors. Before I got married, I was thinking about working for the national park service and doing some backcountry duties. Instead, I went into education and now spend my summers off in the outdoors.

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:28 pm 
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I dropped off the roof sheet metal (3 panels) to be custom bent today. On Monday they should be done and I can install them. Excited to make some progress on installing the aluminum skin. :BANANA:

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 9:51 pm 
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Here's a quick trailer update:

- The professionally bent aluminum sheets look awesome. They will be going on the camper roof soon.
- I built wooden partitions inside the tongue box to hold the three batteries in place, and installed air vents and a waterproof flexible conduit for the wiring.
- I drilled holes in the roof for the solar panel bracket bolts, then took them off. Now as soon as the aluminum exterior skin is installed, I can drill up from underneath through the existing holes and the brackets will fit on the roof where they are supposed to.
- The back door is assembled and ready to hang in place.

It's coming along slowly but surely.

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 11:41 pm 
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If you're like me, you'll take a little progress over no progress. It wont be much longer and you'll have this trailer ready to go on your first camping trip. :CAMPING:

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 9:14 pm 
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A holiday weekend means quality trailer building time! :D

I got a head start on it today by drilling a 1" hole in the front of my trailer. I installed the watertight junction for the flexible electrical conduit that goes to the tongue/battery box. Psychologically, drilling that first hole was the hardest part of the day-- right through a perfect looking white aluminum wall! But it turned out well. I'll post pictures of that when I get the tongue box wired up.

The majority of the day was spent on the rear door. I had dry fit the door components before, but today I put the door together with Sikaflex and made it permanent.

Image

Looks like I could sell frozen meat from this thing! :lol:

The inside of the door is 1/4 thick tongue and groove cedar planking. It came out great! Smells amazing too. I'll be using the cedar planks for the interior walls too.

Image

The DIY trim ring I made for the window worked, too. I got a tight seal with the outside of the door using butyl putty tape. I need to make two more trim rings for the front windows at some point too, now that I know my method works.

The door closes well but still needs a few tweaks: The striker needs to move outwards 1/16 of an inch to match up with the latch. The inner door trim needs to be installed over the inner door edges, so that there will be a second, inner seal between the door and the frame when the door is closed. The outer seal using the T molding looks good and seems to work.

Tomorrow's task will be more aluminum skinning. I have three roof panels ready to go on, but I still need to cut out my side panels. It is exciting to see it come together. More pics to come tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 11:07 pm 
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Looks good! The cedar was an excellent choice.

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 11:20 am 
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Thanks, Diesel! I have definitely had a long while to tinker with it in my head, waiting for good weather and some extended building time. It's amazing all of the different ways I've thought up to put it together, virtual pre-assembly, I guess! The order in which I put it together makes a difference to a successful outcome, I think.

Last night I dreamed up a folding shelf/closet design for the interior that can be stowed against the rear corner walls when I need more cargo space inside the trailer. When deployed, it would give me two to three shelves in each corner next to the back door, which would be useful for storing clothes, towels, and other odds and ends. I haven't worked out all the bugs, but it was a fun mental exercise.

We have another scorcher here in the Philly area today, 92* and humid. I'm working in the shop this morning on the tongue box, but will have a go with the roof panels this afternoon when my neighbor is available to help.

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 3:23 pm 
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Really, really nice. And I know just how you feel about drilling that first hole. :D

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 9:19 pm 
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Thanks for the encouragement!

Today I focused on the electrical power center (aka the tongue box). I got it mounted in place using Grade 8 bolts and lock nuts, so it isn't going anywhere. I also installed the waterproof flexible conduit between the box and the cabin for the main power wires.

Image

Here is a look inside the box. I have 3 deep cycle marine batteries wired in parallel (12 volts total). Each battery has its own compartment and they are secured to keep them from bouncing up and shorting out on the aluminum box lid.

Image

The compartmentalization will also make battery removal and replacement a lengthy process, because the dividing walls must be removed to get at the side batteries. Hopefully I'll get a good number of years of service from these before I need new ones. I have a voltage meter in the cabin to make sure I won't draw them down to more than 50% charge, which should prolong their life.

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 10:19 pm 
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Here's a sketch of the 1x1x3 shelving unit I am thinking of building by the back door. In my electrical task mode today, working on the tongue box, I got thinking about running the interior wiring, and I need a place to put the light switches, volt meter, solar readout, and inverter switch that is convenient to the back door. The exterior wall isn't thick enough for these things without building a box around them, but an interior wall in a shelving unit will work great. Plus I need the storage space. It won't be a collapsible storage unit like I was thinking about before. I may put a smaller collapsible shelf in the opposite corner (not pictured).

Image

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 8:20 pm 
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Today's progress:

- Hooked up the electrical on the interior of the trailer so now I have lights and a fan again
- Installed the front 45* roof panel and two 14x21 windows (I need trim rings to secure them but gravity works fine while parked in the driveway)
- Installed the rear roof panel and rain gutter over the rear door
- Installed the center roof panel, with cutout for the Fantastic Fan

It started raining so I covered the trailer with a tarp, so no pictures until tomorrow.

I ran out of Sikaflex today so I ordered more. Amazon has them with free 1 day shipping, so they should be here tomorrow!

Tomorrow's list of tasks:

- Install the Fantastic Fan
- Make the side door skins and T moldings
- Make DIY trim rings for the front windows
- Measure and cut out the side panels (and install them if I get the Sikaflex delivered in time)

Many thanks to my neighbor Tim for all his help. Working with big aluminum panels is not a one person job!

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 12:06 am 
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Nice progress!!!!! :pepper:

Wish mine was moving just as fast as yours has been...

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 4:44 pm 
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When you're finished with the trailer, you should video (virtual tour) the inside and outside so we have a better idea of what you have been working on. Videos do a better job of capturing the size while providing a sense of how everything works. :idea:

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 Post subject: Re: M116A3 off-road camper build
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 5:20 pm 
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dieselenthusiast wrote:
When you're finished with the trailer, you should video (virtual tour) the inside and outside...

Great suggestion! :)

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