Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sidewalls going up

Been working on the sidewalls.  Matte finish panels are really not that bad to work with in regards to sanding.  I have a sacrificial, finishing sander purchased from Harbor Freight to use for sanding the panels.  It uses 1/3 of  a sheet of sandpaper and usually takes 2 sheets to sand one side thoroughly.

Basically just knocking the matte luster off each side.

As far as cutting the panels to prepare for the 'birds nest' sleep overhang, I have the same issue as when attempting to gain 45 degree angular cuts on both sides of the vertical riser behind the cab.  I can very easily obtain the needed angles in the appropriate direction on one side of the sheet.  However, due to the orientation of blade-to-table on the circular saw cannot obtain the necessary angles on the other side.

So, to eradicate this one issue for the construction of the camper's sleep area, I have decided to go another route.  In the bedding area region where the underside panel will be installed I have decided to cut out a swath on the interior of both side panels to accept the underside panel, without using angles here.  I set my blade depth to keep exterior skin intact while cutting the swath to remove interior portion which will accept the width of a panel.  Now just glass a piece of Nida Core into place in this area.

Later on will install a 1/8" x 3 x 3 aluminum angle to reinforce the sleep area's lower panel over this exact area.

The 4" grinder with standard grinding wheel worked well to cut through the polypropylene honeycomb underneath to release the strip, just cut.  Then used a flap sander disc on the grinder to clean up the remains of polypropylene.  [always wear leather gloves when using the flap sanding disc, just trust me..it will eat phalange flesh and with much ease]


Managed to get one of the side walls up and the glassed in this evening.

The weather has been so nice today with nighttime ambient temps around 75-77 degrees, for now! A tidbit humid but not too bad, so I decided to work right on up through nightshift to accomplish a little more progression.

Started cutting the side panel for the driver's side.  Same issue as I have run into on some other occasions,  no way to obtain the appropriate 45 degree angle I needed on this sheet.  So what did I devise?  Understanding that I am cutting lightweight material I decided to turn my blade around on the saw and pull the saw along the cut, instead of pushing, thereby rendering the necessary 45 that I needed.

Did i break any safety rules?  "Absolutely!, Most all of them".
Did I obtain the much needed angle?  "Yes indeed"

First I had to tie back the blade guard with bailing wire to keep it out of the way, turned the blade around backwards, and pulled- instead of pushing the saw. (laughing) 

Was not that bad really, of course I would have never attempted this on thicker material or wood, but it did indeed work fine for composite panels.  Just need a secure guide clamped in place to aid in the cut.  Worked like a charm although it did induce more torque on the motor when used in this manner.  Well this saw is a sacrificial saw purchased for this project anyway, not that I am desiring to destroy the saw, but the tool is to get the project completed.  Understanding the havoc that fiberglass fibers wrought on stators and magnetos was the motive for the purchase.  Do not want to ruin my better circular saw.

Notice the blade on the saw, turned around backwards.
Then just pulled the saw along the guide slowly.  Teeth on blade were still cutting from underside-upwards so that element was the same.  However you are pulling against the natural flow of the saw's gearing which creates extra torque on the motor,  but not too much being the material is lighter.  Next I am drawing up a set of plans for the invention of a circular saw whereby the table will set on both the x, y plane.
 There is that beauty, that 45, no other way to obtain the 45 of this orientation because it is impossible to work form inside corner outward but with the ingenious 'circular saw pull effect' we have a winner.

Now have both side walls up with the appropriate overhang needed to accommodate the construction of the camper sleep area.  These two side portions of the camper were both cut from whole sheets so that cantilever physics can do its best work.  I decided to reserve necessary splicing for the sidewalls, towards the end of the camper rather than in the sleep area region.

Awaiting the arrival of some more 1/32" Milled Fibers and Aerosil so that I can move on to the sleep area underboard install.


  1. hey buddy, loving this blog. im thinking of doing something similar, though much simpler, a simple box. probably ill use an an angle steel or alu frame. its for one of these


    soon as i figure out where or how to get these panels to Ireland ill come back and have a better read of your peanut butter paste recipe.

    good info, cheers.

    1. Brian, thanks so much for your response and for following this project blog of mine. I am so glad that you are, at the least, finding the blog somewhat a pleasure to read and beneficial as well.

      As far as your project plans go, an aluminum frame sounds ideal, would really cut down on overall weight. One of the many reasons I chose the type panels that I did was the gross weight after construction will be much lighter than all manufactured units on the market. Almost 1/4 of their total dry weight.

      I hope you are able to find out how to get the materials that you need to Ireland, logistics is one of the huge issues with attempting to build anything by one's self. Just keep heart and keep at it...calling and emailing..eventually you will get in touch with the right person at the right place. Oft times it really takes some effort but it is worth it when it is all over and the project is being built.

      That is one of the reasons for this blog, is it is a means for me to stay inspired and focused as I compose it

      Thanks for commenting, Chris


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