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  1. #1
    Veteran Member deepNdirt's Avatar
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    yanmar YM-1700

    Default Home Built truck camper

    any engineers here or anyone can figure out the correct support/bracing area's for a Home built slide in truck camper? I have been thinking of how difficult it would be to Build a camper, I have great carpenter skills 35 years worth and some proclaim that I should be a master carpenter, so any wood work I can handle, and I'm a Farley good welder , so I'm pretty confident I should get the job done, although I would need to know the appropriate area's of which the bracing and any load transfer will need to be?
    My plans are to build as simple of a camper as possible and to limit the curve lines to more straight lines, I will work out the front and aerodynamics later, the measurements are just a rough figures,
    Please look at the drawing and advise of where and how I should brace this thing,? I have also attached a Blank drawing that could be used to draw in the bracings/supports, Once I get all the correct supports in place I can do a material takeoff to determine an estimated cost, By the way I think 1x2 square tubbing is what I would use? what you think?
    I have also attached a picture of what I would be working toward building,
    Thanks all
    Last edited by deepNdirt; 12-22-2011 at 06:04 PM.

  2. #2
    New Member jstrasser's Avatar
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    Sugar Hill, NH

    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    Have you visited the truck camper part of RV.net? RV.Net RV and Camping Forum ? RV, Trailer, Camper, Motorhome, Camping and Campground Information

    or NATCOA http://www.truckcamperforums.net

    Several folks on those sites have really good info on construction.

    Good luck with your project.

    John
    John & Cathy
    2008 NH 1510 4WD w/ 110TL FEL
    7' 3pt grading blade
    6' 3pt York rake
    68" Meteor snowblower
    garage w/ BMW, Kaw, Duc

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Kays Supply's Avatar
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    Southern Illinois
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    Iseki TA 207

    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    Any time I tackle a project like that I overbuild it to the point it is too heavy to haul. If you looked inside the walls of a factory camper, you would be afraid to use it.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member zukota's Avatar
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    Where PA, MD, and DE Meet
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    DK35 H

    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    Buddy built one last year, or he built an rv. Regular tow behind. . I put a bunch of pics here. The first post has a link to the full album.

    - Max

    1 Machine 2 shades of Orange.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    LS R4010 & Cub Cadet 7300

    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    I had a buddy who had a job at an RV body shop of sorts. He told me it was a Mafia front, and almost everything that came in the gate was judged a "total." He told me that any of the common wood framed, aluminum skinned, RVs simply can't take any but the lightest of collisions. He said that they racked out of square and all the cabinets and inner structure were ruined. He told me they simply parted out pumps and tanks, axles, tires, tongues, stoves, refrigerators, AC, heaters, and any hardware, and scrapped the rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kays Supply View Post
    Any time I tackle a project like that I overbuild it to the point it is too heavy to haul. If you looked inside the walls of a factory camper, you would be afraid to use it.

    Anything built really strong will probably be much heavier than anything one might buy. I rebuilt the cab-over portion of a Dodge van mounted unit once to repair extensive rot from leakage (discovered soon after the guy bought it). The tiny bit of wood that was there was all crap. I peeled back the skin and redid the whole section in 3/4" treated plywood, screwed, glued, and braced, and then reapplied the skin. I warned him not to hit any bridges unless he had good insurance.
    The Corporate Empire is NOT a Constitutional Republic...
    ...but it plays one on TV.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member deepNdirt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    yeah... overbuilding it is one of my concerns, as I may have the same tendency do to so as well, I mean I know with enough bracing I am sure to make it rigid enough, however might be heavier then need be, I thought about using gussets instead of diagonal bracing, although couldn't be certain about how it might try to flex.... I have a enclosed 6 x 12 cargo trailer that the Box frame structures is built from nothing more than 1 x 1 square tubing that has been bent into shape rather than weld fabricated, I added some gusset into the corners and did in fact help but a cargo trailer sets firmly on the bottom frame, and a slide in camper will of course need to be moved too and from the truck quite often,
    I'm thinking that once the metal sheathing is installed on the outside and the 1/4 inch paneling on the inside and secure them into as much frame as possible this should help to stouten it up some,
    My greatest concern is the cantilever that hangs over the cab, I've seen many class-C campers that over a period of time actually settle down onto the top of the cab... which I want to prevent happening,

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    I toyed with the idea a number of years ago, the main difference was I have a 12 foot flat bed truck but was going to hang it off the back and down so it would be easer to get in and out of, it would have ended up being about 15 foot long with out any cab over hang,

    Any way my thought was to 1" square tubing for the main framing, welded together, and then put rigid foam 1" thick for insulation, paneling on the inside, and the tin skin on the exterior, run some frame members for the where the windows are, and maybe about ever 2 foot and that would basically be it, my be put some foam tape to make a thermo barrier on the steel framing. if concerned a few properly space angle members would give a tremendous amount of strength,

    (I think most commercial units are just made with wood for the framing)

  8. #8
    Platinum Member westcliffe01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    Aluminum tubing is the way to go. It is considerably lighter and being hollow allows a ready made place to run electrical lines all over if planned right. Buy FILON siding, clamp it in place temporarily, then mark the positions of all the structural members on it, remove and abrade the surface to be glued with scotchbrite, same with the surface of the aluminum. Then bond it in place with polyurethane glue. It will probably never come off again.

    The biggest issue with gluing is applying pressure to the bond lined. One can use rivets spaced 6-8" but that is a lot of rivets and a lot of holes in a surface that is best left without any perforations.

    If at all possible, avoid materials that rot, delaminate or are sensitive to moisture. One can buy aluminum honeycomb panels with both faces also aluminum sheet. With this you can make cabinets, closets, partitions etc that are as strong as plywood but at a fraction of the weight. The only thing you need for the exterior is a more dent resistant surface.

    I considered rebuilding a Toyota motorhome with the entire coachwork being made from the aluminum honeycomb but that would have been a $6000 shell. I decided that to justify that expense the base vehicle had to be worthy which just didn't apply to a 1986 toyota truck chassis with a tiny cab and a 22RE engine. My current 2008 F250 with its turbodiesel, extended cab and 4wd would be a lot more worthy and I am going to be moving in close proximity to the panel factory in Colorado in future anyhow... So I may have to re-visit this idea at some point in time.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    At work I get alot of RV parts at the landfill since we are owned by the company that makes Alegra buses. They side walls are a 1.5 inch thinwall tubing with a fiberglass outside and paneling inside with sheet foam on the inside. Its pretty strong as the compact really hast to work on them to get them to break. Im looking to build one to go on the back of my Isuzu cab over for a mini trip I want to go on. I thought about also making a large slide on rig from my20 foot gooseneck trailer I dont use that often.

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Home Built truck camper

    My friend from the RV shop told me that the best light RVs were the fiberglass ones. A little bump that would kill the wood framed, aluminum skinned, RVs will more likely have localized damage that can be repaired. I guess it's the combination of light weight and strength. An impact will create local damage, not overall structural failure.

    I would guess the best heavyweight RVs are the ones built up from Bluebird bus frames and bodies. Got money?
    The Corporate Empire is NOT a Constitutional Republic...
    ...but it plays one on TV.

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