Friday, December 28, 2012

Exterior Painted

As many of you know that are reading and following the blog posts, the weather here in eastern North Carolina right now is a touch on the cool side for ideal working temps for working polyester resins, epoxy resins and for painting.  I have managed however to work with or around the elements I should say and gain some progress, none-the-less. 

A couple of days ago, the day time temps rose to 56-62 for a couple of days but the evening and nighttime hours were really getting cool (cold).  The camper exterior had been primed a few weeks prior with the Petit Undercoater.  I began painting the exterior at about 11 am because I needed at least 5 hours of 50 degree temps for the paint to cure properly.  At around, 545-600 pm, I heated up the inside of the makeshift workspace I have for the camper build with a propane, forced air blower heater.  I must say I was pleased with this type of space heater's performance, kept the workspace temp approximately 50-55 degrees until the paint completely dried around 11pm.

I painted the camper with Marine Grade, Petit Easypoxy - white, using a short nap 3/16" Mohair roller cover.  Past experience of working with this type of paint provided me with some ease.  For, I knew if the can of paint was approximately room temperature (68-72 degrees) and if I allowed the camper surface to warm up to the touch prior to painting then the air bubbles introduced through roller application would work themselves out.  The brush 'tipping' did not even have to be used in order for me to obtain a professional looking "orange peel" effect.  Those air bubbles all worked themselves out perfectly.  I was pleased with the end result. 

now I am having to work on the camper door next, so i can heat and warm up interior in order to paint.  

see you inside, Chris

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Onboard battery compartment box

Building a battery compartment box that will hold one of  those heavier marine grade deep cycle batteries.  Will fasten it to the front end of the camper and provide a vented door to ensure ol' Harrell boy lives to share some more blog posts with you guys.  Basically just built to accommodate a typical size deep cycle and to provide me with enough clearance for incoming and outgoing cables and for connection accessibility.     
Cutout for the battery compartment
Battery Compartment storage box
  Now that the box has been built and glassed, time to install.  I laid out for the hinge location and will be removing some of the polypropylene honeycomb to create a cavity that will accommodate fiberglass structural compound to be poured into.  When cured out and hardened, this region will then readily accept drilling and provide structural support to hold fasteners.
Laying out for hinge and bolt locations
chisel out comb to accommodate compound mixture

  Removed comb down to approximately 1-1.25" deep, then scraped the bonding agent off the fiberglass skin.  The bonding agent (green liner) is an agent that allows bonding of the glass skin to the polypropylene comb during manufacture.  Removing this, will allow bonding of the compound that i will pour into this cavity, to bond to the fiberglass. 

Removed enough comb to create a cavity conducive for accepting enough compound to structurally support 4 fasteners.
You can see that I added quite a bit of 1/4" fiberglass strands to the mixture, a good glass to resin ratio is imperative to prevent brittleness and cracking.  Also contains 1/32" milled fibers (are homogenous in mixture), and cabosil.  Preparing to apply glass cloth over this region and also the raw edges of this cutout.
Ok now the battery box has been installed.  Needing to glass cloth over the corners after the fill-in cures out and is ground accordingly.  Turned out to be very sturdy after glassing the box to the interior of the camper wall.  The protruding box sidewalls which protrude below the bottom of the box (see second photo from top) serve as support legs. 

now all sanded and prepped for primer
** update**
  The camper has been painted and the battery box has been completed.  Not the most aesthetically pleasing but it should work for me.  Upper and lower vents installed to ensure hazardous vapors can find a means of egress.
The compartment door was crafted from a piece of 3/4" plywood and covered in a coating of clear epoxy after which it cured thorougly, I painted it with marine grade Petit-EasyPoxy paint.  Thus, It should fight off the water and rot for awhile.  Mounted me an aluminum hinge and pop riveted a battery tray onto the fiberglass skin...should be in business

Hopefully no shifting in transit.

 For closure, being the surrounding region is composed of thin skinned panels, I made a little reinforcement strip out of aluminum to ensure the door latch, does indeed stay latched.

Priming the camper for painting...looking good!

Been priming the exterior of the camper preparing the shell for the Petit EasyPoxy paint.  Using the Petit EasyPoxy undercoater primer first then will apply Petit EasyPoxy with a roller.  Decided against spraying with air gun and will settle for a roller application.  The close nap roller will leave the 'orange peel' effect which I have no issues with.  I have painted a few other things in this capacity with this paint and was pleased with the results of the roller application. 

The 'orange peel' effect created by the roller hides the imperfections better than a flat paint facing from a spray gun.  Plus, cleanup takes significantly less time as opposed to lengthy cleanup times associated with air paint guns. 

One coat of undercoater primer (white) looks really good. I purchased my Petit EasyPoxy Marine Grade Topside paint from Jamestown Distributors.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Onboard Camper Shower (rough-in and construction)

After a little planning and measuring I have decided on the shower construct.  The plan is that I can sit on the seat that I will modify in order to clean up a bit, if need be, I can stand up.  There is just more elbow room when sitting thus the reason behind the somewhat smaller footprint for the shower catch basin.  It will all come together, at least it has in my mind's eye.

1-1/2" PVC rough-in partially complete, will catch both the sink and this shower, the drain vent will be located underneath the sink area.  The shower flooring will be laid on a slope on both sides leading to the floor drain.

 Ran out of enough scrap long enough to complete this entire fill in, so I must piece the flooring together.  No worries...fiberglass cloth tape.  I left about 1" lip on the vertical panel above the floor to prevent runout of water. 

Did you ever see the high tech manner in which I designed the ceiling height and spacing needed inside the shower space.  Check out that high-tech shower design method

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Backwall Install (complete)

After completing the fiberglassing on the exterior of the camper, i moved to the backwall to complete the glassing in that area.  My rear wall on the camper is a piece of 3/4" plywood with the exterior side of the plywood having been coated with three coats of 635 Thin Epoxy, medium set.  This waterproofing also creates excellent bonding when the cloth corners are being lain.

If you have read some of my earlier posts by chance, you have discovered the reason I chose to use the plywood rear wall was primarily due to a panel shortage on the panel purchase order.  To purchase one more panel would have cost me $300 + shipping, plywood is $36.00.  Plus the plywood will provide the necessary structural facet needed to accept fasteners for the door hinge, striker plate and bolt, bike rack on exterior.  Furthermore, since the rear wall is plywood, I can simply tack on some 1" firring strips which will act as studs to aid in hiding electrical wires behind paneling on the interior.

Also, i can easily mount other accessories on the interior of this rear wall as opposed to mounting apparatus on thin fiberglass skins. This rear wall will be painted thoroughly when I get around to that portion of the project.

moving on inside of the camper to rough-in the shower area next

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nose of Camper Rough-In Complete

We received a warm streak in the weather which was really conducive to good glassing, thereby allowing me to complete all of the camper's exterior glassing for the most part.  Still have a little to do in regards to cutouts for access doors which is minimal.

So I am finished with the exterior side of glassing on the nose of the camper yet still have a little work to do on the interior portions of these joints.  The interior should flow much more smoothly for I can heat the interior of the camper easily with a convection, oil filled heater to ward off the impending cold weather.

Part of the nose of the camper ended up being constructed with pieces of panels that were too short to meet properly in the centermost vertex.  I had to piece some smaller strips into the void to fill-in the rather significant gap between the larger panels.  Thanks to Sir Issac Newton I understand that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so it was I placed a piece of 1708 biaxial cloth where the four panels meet to contend with the forces that could potentially be applied to this region.(see photo below).  My concerns are when the truck bed rocks side to side which could easily dislodge just basic tape.

Had to mix me up some structural compound (fiberglass structural peanut butter) to cover the area at the top of the nose that also possesses fill in material.  The ratio of 1/4" strands to glass should be high enough for this to remain.  Some TLC in grinding and this should work out fine. 


So now the basic camper shape and exterior is 'fiberglass complete'


meet you at the backwall.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Some Cooler Weather Fiberglassing - its November

Well here it is November and boy is there lots in the air:  Hurricane Sandy struck the New Jersey area leaving vast flooding of neighborhoods, flooded vehicles and homes.  They are in for another storm approaching as we speak leaving thousands without heat, then the presidential election and the wars following,

and here I am trying to do some cold weather fiberglassing in November.  

I made myself a makeshift workspace totally enclosing the area around the camper so that I could heat the ambient air and the camper itself, in preparation for cold weather fiberglassing.  I used a sheet of thick mil. black plastic on the sunset side of the working area which really heats the interior area nicely on that side during the lunch-evening hours.  I am pumping heat into the area through a duct from a remotely located propane, forced air heater to keep the area warm when the nightly temps drop down into the mid to low 30s.

The days are reaching highs in the 50s right now, next week possibly low 60s day.  So the little bit of fiberglassing I have to do, i really have to work to get it finished before the...well you guessed it, "the colder winter temps continue to creep in."

I was concerned with fiberglassing at such temps but the setup seems to be working.  Plus the structural seams have pretty much all been done, most of which were done in optimal polyester resin working temperatures.  What I am doing now is just the last layer for aesthetics. 

I know this makeshift workspace is not the most aesthetically pleasing you have ever seen but it was fast and was cost effective for what I was trying to achieve.

 The infrared heat lamps were oriented as far away as possible to keep the seam areas warm but not placed too close so the resin would not cure out too fast.  The resin still cured faster than what I desired but I really have no other alternative at this point but to move forward with the setup.

I distributed the projection from the infrareds amongst four fixtures to cover the length of the seam.

I have quite a bit left to do, but given current weather and some other circumstances am left with no other choice but to go one seam at a time for now.  Seems to be working, i just hope the faster cure does not create a brittle layer, later.

I'll keep you posted on progress.  Take care, 


* update:  some warmer weather moved here shortly after the date of post and we experienced 65-68 degree temps with nights at 49-50...I was able to get most all of my camper exterior joints glassed and finished....Thank God..finally!  see - Nose of Camper Rough-In Complete

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Camper Sleep Area Construct (upper portion)

What a beautiful October day...enjoyed working outdoors today cutting and installing the upper panels for the sleep area of the camper.

 Took several hours to obtain all the appropriate angles and the necessary cutting and grinding associated with fitting the upper panels. 

 Have them tacked into place using some long drywall screws, will glass between the screws and finish remainder of glassing sometime tomorrow. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Camper Roof Install

Here is the progress after the initial Camper Roof Layout.

Was able to get the sidewall-to-roof angular panels set today and 5 minute epoxied to the roof.  Used the 5 minute epoxy to hold everything in place while I work on getting the corners glassed in.  Concept similar to tack welding. 

Maintaining the appropriate angles on all four junctures and not readjusting my interior ceiling height in the meanwhile was a bit tricky.  Ratchet straps and clamps made this process so much easier.

Placed clamps in appropriate locations and installed a ratchet strap along both the front and rear end of the roof structure which prevented all sorts of headaches...

Of course, severe thunderstorms are in the area tonight after the roof install..."We have had weeks for you to come through here, but you decide to drop in right after I am installing the most fragile element of the camper."  Go figure.

These angled panels were having some issues.  I have got some problems in this area with the angles not matching.  I have no more sheets to fall back on if I were to mess these two pieces up.  I do need to tweak these angles a bit which would allow for proper mating.

I filleted the interior of these junctures approximately 2/3 and taped a small section on the top to prevent panels from moving.  I will have to inspect more thoroughly tomorrow to determine the manners in which I can repair those angles without removing the top structure.This should be interesting...and more than likely frustrating. 

 In the meanwhile, construction is still underway.

- next morning -
I removed the ratchet straps assuming joint compound applied last night was thoroughly cured.  Everything was fine until I attempted to manipulate top into position.  Then catastrophe arrived on scene.

Just my life!  Always working on projects without any help most times...such is life.  I managed to contact a good pal today thankfully, that came over to assist me in placing top back into position once more.  This time I will joint all corners before removing those handy dandy, ratchet straps...

- now just awaiting some aerosil and milled fibers to arrive in the mail so I can fill in cracks prior to taping -