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 -

Backwall Install (Epoxied-Over Plywood)

Had to trim the interior skin of the panels on the rear of the camper to accommodate the rear wall panel. I just cut through and removed the interior skin and polypropylene honeycomb, leaving the protruding exterior skin intact.  This protrusion would serve as a shelf to hold the plywood when installed. 

The reason I chose this manner of installation was because I was overly concerned as to the potential of a sharpened edge on plywood, created by at 45 degree cut.  My thoughts were, if forces caused the rear wall to shift some in transit, that edge could possibly cut through the fiberglass cloth tape joints along the corners much like a knife.  So instead of using 45-to-45 mating here, I decided to go with a butt joint instead.  Squared cuts all around the plywood's perimeter and allow it to sit upon and butt up against these protruding exterior portions.

 For the backwall I decided to go with a decent grade 3/4" Plywood and using 635 Thin System 3:1 Medium Epoxy from US Composites, coated the exterior of the plywood with three separate coats for waterproofing. This plywood used was not cabinet grade plywood however, for it would not have benefited me to do purchase such a higher quality wood.  This good grade of plywood that I did purchase should suffice, for the application of epoxy bonded really well leaving a 'built up' hardened, waterproof finish.

The small fibrous facing on this general plywood serves as more surface area for the epoxy to saturate and thus create not only better saturation, but ultimately a better cured bond across the face.

After multiple applications, the exterior of the plywood turned out really nice.  I also coated the edges to provide waterproofing along the edges also.  The neat thing about epoxy is that you can indeed create a stabilized surface by filling up the surface pores, preventing any moisture absorption.

Should be able to sand later on and paint the backwall with the same marine paint that I will use on the entire camper.

Interior corners were filleted using 635 Thin System Epoxy as well for this wood-to-fiberglass mate.  Epoxy bonds to wood really well, polyester resin not so much so.  I have to mount many accessories upon the backwall plus a door install, so decided to go with plywood here instead of a composite panel.  

Now I just need to glass the interior and exterior corners.  I should have glassed over top of the filleting while it was still wet, but I was unsure if the epoxy was going to cure at all, after the addition of a lot of structural filler material that I added when making this structural compound.  I did not want to glass over the fillet with several layers of cloth and then it not cure underneath because the filler material might have had disturbed the epoxy to hardener ratio.  That would have been a mess.

I waited until the next day and it had cured thoroughly.  
Now, I have the interior corners of the backwall fiberglassed with epoxy.

The rear panel has been cut and tied into the top now.

jump forward to November to see rear wall completed

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Camper Roof Install Layout

As mentioned in the previous post the last two Nida Core composite honeycomb panels that I purchased were significantly cupped.  They were both cupped approximately 1.25" higher in the center than the ends.  To compensate for this lack of quality control coupled with the fact that I am behind schedule already, I simply could not await the arrival of replacements.

I cut a line across the entire width of the panel's centerline, approximately half the depth of the panel thickness using my circular saw.  This line cut on the concave side of the panel was just the ticket to relieving that tension and allowing the panel to lie flat.

I will fill in the groove with fiberglass structural peanut butter and then glass over the area with the fiberglass cloth tape.  I will now have a seam appearing on the interior of the camper but such as life.   As with all things, everything is a trade off.  "Deal with the seam and finish the camper 6 weeks earlier", rather than awaiting the arrival of replacements.  Plus there is not anything saying that the arrivals would not be cupped as well.

I simply do not have time for such drama, so a relief cut saved the day.

Relief cut to allow cupped panel to lie flat

-- to be continued --

Filled in the relief cut today with structural fiberglass resin filler consisting of 1/32" Milled Fibers.  The filler was squeezed in using a veterinarian's syringe, filling the relief cut level with the fiberglass skin.  Then three layers of tape over the relief cut.

Hopefully in the next couple of days, I will be awarded time and good weather so I can begin on the roof install.

So here we are again, I am working on laying out for the ceiling install.  I have the interior of the ceiling height at approximately 72", that provides me with a few inches of clearance above my head which puts the topmost portion of the exterior of the camper at 73-1/2" high.

The camper height plus truck bed height was taken into consideration when developing the total height figure.  I want to be able to park my truck underneath my vehicle shelter while the camper is in the truck.  Although, I will not be able to park completely underneath the shelter, I will however be able to park the front half underneath the shelter while loaded.

So I just sat the panel on top of a 6 foot ladder and added extra spacing to obtain interior ceiling height desired.  Centered panel and obtained sidewall-to-roof structure panel measurements.

 See backwall install.

See Camper Roof Installation

take care, Chris

Sidewalls are complete

Finally received my last two panels needed to complete the camper.  I was somewhat disheartened with this order of Nida Core panels however, for they were both cupped significantly.  I had ordered two 'sanded' H8PP honeycomb panels and noticed upon their arrival the box was in great shape.  However, after dismantling the shipping package and removing the panels noticed they were badly cupped.

Both panels were cupped approximately 1.25" higher in the center.  I noticed the centers of both panels running longitudinally were sanded, however the edges along the long side remained glossy.  It was apparent upon this discovery that the horizontal sanding drums used during the manufacture process were in need of replacement of their sanding sleeves.  Apparently some individual simply increased tension upon the rollers perhaps in an effort to gain a better sanding, inducing too much pressure upon the panels, thus producing this curve in the center of both panels.

I managed to cut the one sheet and obtain somewhat flat pieces for the segment sizes that i needed.  The second panel may end up being used as is on the top, the curve might just add to the element of shedding rain water.

I did notify the seller, awaiting response.

Anyway...I managed to get the sidewalls complete on both sides.

Last wall segment, clamped and allowing glass joints to cure

While I had some resin mixed and the weather was 'perfect' (very mild), I decided to beef up the areas a little more where the camper eye bolts will be attached.  This region had been reinforced earlier, but I began to think about Sir Issac Newton and his thorough understanding of his Third Law:
"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"

We have all been riding along an Interstate when crossing over a bridge springs our vehicle upwards with a considerable force.  Well of course the camper would decide to spring upwards as well.  This moment could impose great force upon the eyebolts as the camper sats down again, dislodging the reinforcement plugs sending them skyward.

So it was, I placed 1708 Biaxial cloth over the four anchor point plugs, which had been installed earlier -
(see that post)  The plugs were made with fiberglass structural peanut butter and although the plug's underside consisted of the intact,original fiberglass skin of the panel, the top area of the plug was exposed.

The 1708 biaxial cloth and three sections of 6 oz. cloth laid across the top of the biaxial cloth should suffice to prevent the plug from popping out.  These patches were 9" long.

additional reinforcement added for eyebolt region
1708 biaxial cloth topped with three sections of 6oz. cloth

   should be working on roof install soon. - chris

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Second order of Nida Core Panels arrive

Finally after several weeks of awaiting for 2 of the 30mm, sanded, Nida Core panels to arrive...they are finally here.

Great news....time to get busy again.

These came from Apdmro 3M.  Superb customer service and excellent communication.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Camper Sleep Area Construct (lower nose portion)

I had a little time here recently to tackle some much needed work on the camper.  Got the lower portion of the nose glassed in on both the exterior and interior joints.  Have a couple more sections to add after the roof is in place and this section will almost be completed.

Camper nose, lower portion panels are glassed in

still awaiting arrival of a couple of panels on order so I can install roof allowing me to complete the latter portion of the nose.


Where to Find Composite Panels For Your Personal Build

So tonight i managed to stumble across a compilation of links to some well known areas on the web that might be of benefit to you if you should ever desire to build your own camper.

These links are to composite panels and other similar type material manufacturers/dealers based in the United States that could very easily be used for the flooring, walls and the overall camper build structure.

and of course Nida Core, the panels which i have chosen to use in my build. These can be purchased off the following website Apdmro 3M

Perhaps you might find this list beneficial.