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Trailer Tent for a small car - home build


Bfg

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Don't look now but the silly old codger is making curvy things and cutting wood. . .

 

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^ using the cut-lengthways drainage pipe as a quick n' dirty mould, the trailer's fibreglass corners released fine.

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^ rain had stopped play for the past week ..but this afternoon was glorious weather, to get out and recycle some old (marine grade 7-ply 1/2" thick) plywood

Having odd shapes, and in two pieces just made marking-out a little long-winded. this is for the first piece which I'll then use as a template for the next.  Even if I had actually gone out and bought new :o  sheets of plywood ; the size of two pieces to be cut is 1325 x 1097mm ..so there would have been a lot of waste from 8ft x 4ft (2440 x 1220mm) sheets.

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^ Marking out a tapering shape with four gently-curved edges took me half of a sunny afternoon.  Cutting it was pretty quick though.

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^ this will be the floor of the box trailer, sitting on the chassis rails, which thankfully are to be both straight and parallel.

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^ the edges of this and its sister piece (which is to have a large hatch in it) will be the formers for the sides and ends.  Getting the curves fair was done by planer, belt sander, and then long-board.

Not a lot to show for an afternoon's "work" ..but as this will next be used to mark out the next piece things ought to pick up a little in pace. 

Hope you also had a pleasant day.

Pete.

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Evening all., It seems an age since I updated this thread ..but it seems that was only on Wednesday. Only goes to show how time flies slowly when the weather is wet.  Anyways up, sorry but I've not a huge amount of anything visual to share.  It takes me a time to think, check, cut and then clean up the pieces from reclaimed timber.

In brief then . . 

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^ From the floor of the trailer, previously cut, I traced the outline and cut what is to be the berth level / seat boards.  Flipping the second board over, on top of the first, is like mirroring its edges, so I use this to compare one side's curve with the other.  Although not really important, the objective is simply to make one side symmetrical to the other.  The same 'mirroring' applies to comparing the front & rear end curves, getting those curves symmetrical about the centre-line axis.   

The second panel (seat-level) is to have a large hole cut in its centre as access to the stowage area inbetween it and the trailer's floor.

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My first photo shows the rear-end of the trailer parts. ^ this is the front piece. Unfortunately the up-cycled plywood was too short to make the seat-level panel in one piece. Never-the-less two thirds of it came out of that sheet.

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^ the timber cut out of the rear piece (in cutting the hatch) provided the necessary material for the other side of the seat panel.  Btw., it was actually planned this way ! ..on the computer layout (in Autocad).

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^ The two pieces of the trailer's floor have been screwed together to be as one.  It's not glued yet. 

Around the edge are where this board will be fibreglassed to the sides, and so the paint had to be stripped off.

 

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^ To clear the paint off, I'm using a very coarse sanding pad on my cordless drill.  Using such as slow drill and coarse sanding pad takes the paint off as small chips rather than fine dust ..and the paint doesn't burn / melt and clog up the sanding disk.  with 95% of it removed like this, I then use the linisher (variable-speed grinder intended for use with polishing mops) and P80 grit sanding disks to finish cleaning the wood of its two layers of paint over a layer or two of varnish. 

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^ here I'm using the floor panel as an edge-alignment table for the three pieces of the seat-level board.  Seen here it is inverted as I trial fit (the uprights) 1/4" ply panels which will be the inner mudguards.   

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^ I've cut a panel and fastened it to stand upright from the floor (it's only in two pieces because that's the plywood I had).  Still it's important as a cross-bracing bulkhead, as the support under the forward edge of the seat ..and the end-closure-panel for the storage space.   The hatch cutout through the seat-level panel is now apparent, and that will be necessary for access as I fibreglass the pieces together.

That's it for today / this weekend. As I said there's not a whole lot to show but the necessary pieces are now pretty accurately shaped and together with the inner mudguard pieces and seat-end-panel... the box structure is just starting to gel. 

Bidding you a good evening.

Pete.  

 

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On 6/24/2021 at 2:15 PM, 808 Estate said:

I did have thoughts of something similar, and looked into using an anssems aluminium trailer with a roof tent bolted on top.

https://www.marsdenbarntrailers.co.uk/anssems-trailers/

https://www.jamesbaroud.com/en/products/hard-shell-tents/space/

Sounds like a very similar plan ..but perhaps overall expensive and quite heavy. The trailers must be well made because even their smallest is 140kg.  I cannot see a spec for the weight of the box tent but I'd guess it'll come out 25 -35kg.  

How far have you got with the plan ?

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I didnt progress much from the "idea" stage. It came from seeing the proper offroad camping trailers that are popular is S. Africa and Australia and wondering if I could make something similar for less. Seeing as it wouldnt be dragged across the Zambezi, or outback, it didnt need to be anywhere as rugged or heavily built. My choice for the Anssems trailer was due to the fact they had decent sized wheels on them and could be easily fitted with a slightly more offroad centric tyre. Also, the solid ally box and lid structure meant it was sturdy enough to bolt a roof tent to the lid. Having gas struts also meant the lid/tent assembly could be lifted to gain access to the interior. I decided on the GT-HT as being ideal especially as it was the smallest and lightest. There was still enough space to mount the roof tent on top and carry a pop-up  gazebo inside to provide a daytime living space.

Your solution is far more elegant though.

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A little more done today.. polyester smelly / dusty job . . .

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I might first explain that these boards were bought years ago for use in refitting my old boat.  Indeed I have used some in the construction of built-in water tanks (thereafter epoxy coated on the insides).  They are 9mm plywood with a layer of GRP and gelcoat finish on both sides to stiffen them up, for their clean finish and to more-or-less waterproof them.  They were door cutouts from a manufacturer of box trailers, so I got them as being 5ft-5" x 2ft wide.  Being left overs from my tasks on the boat they are now being up-cycled again .. by coincidence - this time as the sides and ends of my own trailer.  

^ This is one of the four sides of the box, and a piece that has been re-sized for the back of this trailer.  The others are similar in respect that the gelcoat finish on these boards has been locally linished off, to leave just the layer of glass fibre over the plywood.  This offers much better adhesion for the fibreglass I'll use to bond the sides to the floor of the trailer and the seat-level board.  The simple angle brackets are simply to screw those boards in place relative to this one ..to hold the box shape while I fibreglass the panels together.

Sorry for the poor quality photos today, but still you might have noted the panel's two ends have been mitred. This is for where the thinner grp corners will be attached.  It being very much easier and stronger to lay fibreglass over these ramps rather than over hard steps.   I'm sure all will become clearer when I can share photos of things assembled and being fibreglass jointed. 

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^ The major pieces now mostly prepared, and waiting for a dry day before I can assemble the box.  In the meantime my home is now not only filled with TR bits but also materials & tools as if it is a garage-workshop.  One day the car will be all back together again ..and parked outside,  as indeed will the trailer !

Pete.  

 

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Evening All,  I've been waiting for a dry day to get on with this trailer ..and today fitted the bill nicely. Not too hot, not too cold - a Goldilocks day  . .

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^ Flat-pack into 3d.. The seat support panel and a scrap off-cut piece of joisting timber set the seat to floor level, as well as their orientation square to each other.  Held together with just a few drywall screws into the ends of those temporary battens, this was enough to handle it as a whole.

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^ with the first side panel, resting on two end blocks, the floor & seat levels were positioned longitudinally and the little angle brackets used to pull n' hold the side into the shape. 

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^ weights served as an extra pair of hands to hold the panels.  Here you can see I've weighted and fasten one end (top left hand side in this photo) under no load, and the other end is still sprung up, despite the weight of my black tool case on it.  Nevertheless from here I could easily bend that end of the panel down and with a screw in the little angle bracket - fasten it.  In time the plywood with GRP panel will accept the set. In the meantime the screws are holding it until I can fibreglass into the corner joints. 

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^ the two sides and the front now in place.

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^ Look Mum I'm making a chariot !  :ph34r:

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^ With the little angle brackets taking the strain, I added a screw (through a penny washer) from the outside, at each end - to pull that last little bit of the curve in.

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^ next.,  I cut the corner moudings to a rough oversize, ready for their final shaping to fit the box.  

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^ and this is one I prepared earlier. 

. . .  The Blue Peter badge presentation will be next week. ;)

 

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^ So there we are for today.  Albeit looking more like a coracle than a box trailer ..until the wheel arches are cut.

Nothing is glued or fibreglassed in place yet. But it all fitted together as planned !  The shape is defined and its curved sides work really well to pre-tension the structure (..preventing twisting) so it already feels really tough ..And the outlay (cost) presently remains at : zilch.

yippee  :happydance: progress.

Pete.

 

 

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Slow progress since Thursday. 

It was extremely hot here on Friday and bonding of the panels didn't go at all well. Sometimes things just don't happen right even when you're used to the process and the materials being used.  

What happened was obviously my fault (..there's simply no-one else to blame when you work alone ! :ph34r:) and it started off with my trying to straighten the bowed (recycled remember) floor and seat panels ..after all at some time it'll have to sit onto a chassis.  I mostly did this straightening with a couple of length of 1-1/2" square timber, clamped in place.  I then set about gluing the first side panel on. 

I'm using polyester resin / glass-fibre bridging filler to bond the panels together and the first mix was too hot. It started to cure before I had the panel screwed back in place.  I then over compensated with the next mix ..and that obstinately refused to cure .. despite the heat conspiring to dribble sweat into my eyes.   This second mix was supposed to squeeze out of the joint ..and then I'd simply run a finger along the inside joint corners to create a fillet.  However the extra timber ..to straighten out the floor's bows stopped me getting my hand in to those corners.  duh ! :blink2:

I did get the two sides on, which is half the amount I'd hoped to achieve, but hey., life ain't often a summers day with strawberries and cream ..is it.?

Anyways up, the bxxxs-ups weren't irretrievable, just ugly and a bit of a gap where there shouldn't have been. Thankfully most of the gap is where the wheel-arch will be cut  ..so i'll just ignore it.   -_-  

Most of the ugliness cleaned up with an hour of scraping and sanding . . .

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^ the green is the bridging filler shaped as a fillet along the joint between the seat and the side panel.  As this filler has glass fibres in the mix - it's pretty tough.  The fillets, on both sides of the panel will soon be over laid with grp.  That will then be a strong joint.

Today, I fitted the front panel and again filleted those joints. It went much better today, and then just as I was setting things up to similarly bond the front corners in place - we had a thunderstorm and everything was quickly dumped into my sitting room. 

It was just 4 o'clock, and a little frustrated at the slow progress of this trailer - I wasn't ready to stop . . .

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^ yep this inside my home, car wheels, garage rack of bits n' bobs and tools ..and now my fibreglassing a trailer body in the middle of the floor :ph34r:  Don't tell Frank ..the landlord.

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^ clamps holding things in place while I applied the sticky stuff.   The flat panels are pulled in and held there by the screws into the edge of the seat & floor level plywood. However the top edge of the sides had nothing to stop them springing straighter, so the assortment of clamps, battens and wedges are to pull those top corners into line. 

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^ The box trailer's two front corners have now been bonded and filleted on their inside.  I just hope the adhesion is strong enough to not spring / split open again before I manage to get some glass-fibre mat laid over it.  Perhaps I'll get that done tomorrow.

So that's it for tonight ..Time for a cuppa and to cook some supper.  Chicken and chips I reckon. :P

Pete.   

     

 

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Funny how different people have different dislikes when driving - if it were me it would have to be slightly wider than the car most likely as I utterly despise towing something I can't see properly.

Keep meaning to stick a couple of those flags you see on things like recumbent trikes on my trailer so I can see where it is.

This thing is completely invisible from in the car aside from the very far corners which you can spot on really tight turns. 

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Thankfully it behaves itself pretty well as it's ancient and far heavier than it looks.

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On 7/3/2021 at 6:53 PM, Zelandeth said:

Keep meaning to stick a couple of those flags you see on things like recumbent trikes on my trailer so I can see where it is.

i understand where you're coming from.  But surely it can't be that big a deal otherwise you would have done this. ?

I more dislike small wheels and their low mudguards sticking out ..below the sight eye line through the mirrors. 

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However ..  inbetween times I did get a good start on fibreglassing over the joints. . .

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^ not at all the neatest of jobs but ...I could cite at least a dozen reasons why..  blah, blah, blah. :mrgreen:   I'm hoping it'll clean up enough to not be too shabby inside.

Structurally just this front-end of the box is now (mostly) bonded together.  I yet need to lay a strip of grp on the underside corners of the plywood panels.  The laminate schedule is just two lays of 600g chopped strand mat coming up the panels 40mm.  The first strip is actually a little less width than the second so that the edges are feathered out.

- - -

While waiting for the overnight's rain to dry out, and then again when we had a flash downpour I was back onto the computer to change the design ..just a little . . .

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^ The top illustration is as it was previously, with the bottom corners, front and back, cut off / mitred to a 45-degree angle. This was done to make the trailer appear visually lighter. However those corners cut through the floor, so either end of that panel would likewise have to be cut and tilted up ..which would take another day or two of work. 

The bottom illustration shows those corners revised, curving the side panels up ..to the bottom of the floor panel, and gives the box a much softer look.  I think I prefer the deliberately more utilitarian look, as it used to be ..but not enough to make the extra work worthwhile.

Right.., the sun has come out - so back to work.

Pete.   

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2 hours ago, Bfg said:

i understand where you're coming from.  But surely it can't be that big a deal otherwise you would have done this. ?

I more dislike small wheels and their low mudguards sticking out ..below the sight eye line through the mirrors. 

Never bothered doing anything about it really because it only usually does a couple of tens of miles a year back and forth to the local tip...aside from just now as they're not allowing trailers in anyway so it hasn't moved since 2019.

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Having fibreglassed the front end of this trailer's box, and now standing up-ended on that - I removed both the (previously just screwed-down) rear panel and the inside seat support ..so that I might have access to laminate inside there.

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^ This in turn provided the facility to more easily reach down (rather than contort around inside) to laminate the underside length of the seat to side panels. That went well ..inbetween rain showers on Monday.  But again rain stopped play earlier than I might have liked. 

Yesterday I was determined to get one with this supposedly quick job, even though that meant I had to stop every 45 minutes to put rain covers over it . . .

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^ Rear panel seen refitted ..now onto the bridging-paste adhesive. And the grp corner panels trimmed for final fit.  Again a clamped-in-place cross-brace was used to prevent the side's top corners from flaring out, and the weight of a 10ltr paint container positioned to keep the top-corner of the end-panel bowed-in while I bonded that grp corner in place..   By 3:30pm this was done on both left and right hand rear corners inbetween each (four or five) wave of heavy rain shower and the next wave of black cloud was looming overhead.      

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^ Inside filleting with the fibreglass bridging paste, in preparation for when I glassfibre laminate over it.  There's a lot of physical contortion to working inside these corners, But for all the exercise ..I don't feel any the fitter for it ! :unsure:

- - -

"I fought the law ..and the law won"  ..   but the laws of nature did conspire against me !  :smilie_auslachen:   with weather fronts blowing in very quickly & without pity swirling all around, and gravity being a fickle helper who at one moment helped hold panels to their curved shape ..and/or the plastic rain covers in place .. to then suddenly swap sides to work with the weather who had cunningly made various shiny surfaces wet n' slippery.  

Together they highlighted what a right plonker I can be sometimes !    ..especially in those last minutes as the next wave of rain starts and I'm desperately trying to keep the end-grain of plywood dry . . .

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^ (Previously) unopened brilliant white wall and ceiling paint 10L.   Barely used masonary paint 5L.   Neither lid came off, both cracked open.

And just to spite me the black clouds flew by without unloading a single drip, and the sun came out to dry the paint quickly. I know.. it couldn't have happened to a nicer chap ! 

And no, since moving to an apartment.. I don't have empty pots which I might have used filled with water, instead of full-of paint ones ! 

I scooped the paint up as quickly as I could into two waste bins and then rushed off to get the garden hose out.  Some of the paint had already started to dry into the concrete slabs, so it wouldn't just brush away with the broom.  Just then the heavens now decided to open.  It bucketed it down.  I donned rain coat, and with garden hose in one hand and cordless drill with wire brush in the other was standing their in the rain trying to clean this mess up. 

Three hours of back breaking effort and the patio looks clean again.  There was splatter on the walls but I spotted most and its all but gone now.  15L of premium paint..that was a costly learning experience. 

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This morning. . nicely scrubbed (wire brushed !) patio.  

It's not raining ..and now the sun has the audacity to show it's face !  ..but I'm too knackered and feeling somewhat fkd off and with definite inclinations towards having a bonfire - so I'm taking the day off to bang my head against a wall.

Hope your day was better than mine.  Hey, it's just part and parcel of any job or  ' hobby ' conducted out in the fresh air (fibreglass dust and fumes aside).   And I'll be back bright and bushy tailed tomorrow .. you'll see.

Bidding you a good'n B)

Pete.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/15/2021 at 3:22 PM, Bfg said:

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Don't know.. but this doesn't seem right.   In any case the angle between car and trailer in this illustration is 34 degrees rather than the tighter angle (40 degrees) I'd previously indicated.

cheers, Pete.

Sorry for being late to the project,  illustration above is correct and better than the first illustration. Above correctly shows the Ackerman principles.

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Update ..

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^ the main body tub's corner fibreglassing was eventually done, inbetween rain showers.  All the small angle brackets were removed and so there's just 4 screws and body washers in each of the four side, and the grp is doing the rest  ..and those screws will most likely be removed once everything has cured for a month.

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^ corner detail revealing the construction.

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^ the bathroom scales tell me the tub is about 43.5kg.  The seat support is not in yet, nor are the inner wheel arches, but then the round wheel arch cut-outs also have not been cut yet either.  My target for all-up-weight was 100kg, so with 30kg of wheels and suspension, plus the chassis I fear I'm likely to be over the top.  That's just part of the price of using recycled material rather than choosing thinner.

 

Time to move onto making a lid.  of course I never do things the easy way do I !! :blink2:

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^ speaks for itself ..doesn't it ?

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^ a left-over sheet of bendy plywood, pulled down over the surrey top roof and battens as I try to created a slightly domed top.

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^ a couple of layers of fibreglass over the plywood (bonding to it) to try and hold that shape.   Unfortunately I mucked this up when trying to fibreglass in direct and very hot sunlight, and also running out of resin !  Pete you are a clot sometimes !

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^ I made another length of corner radius using the same mould. Ideally that should have been 12 -15mm larger radius ..but needs must.

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^ I went back to the boat and found some more plywood (1/8" thk) ..which used to be the headlining in a forward cabin. That's been remodeled for greater headroom and so this wood was again surplus to requirements.  I cut it into four strips 110mm wide (because that was the extent of the plywood) and using 8mm battens (from the skip) cut to length as spacers I glued those four strips up n' under the domed lid.

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^ corners likewise glued into place with the bridging paste. 

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^ working in direct sun and such high temperatures wasn't working ..so I tried to jury rig something like a tailgate awning. But that didn't work because it was too small.  Heat stopped play.. but you can see the trailer lid's overlapping flanges taking shape. 

More to come.

Pete

 

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part 2. .

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^ The trailer's lid with its down-turned flanges lifted off.  Naturally the outside rim will be trimmed off, but the bridging paste isn't stiff enough to hold the shape ..so I'll need to fibreglass the inside first.

P1390038s.JPG.03577fa9fcc15a75bd7897c8296af6e3.JPG    

^ I cannot work in that heat (he says as it now piddles with rain) so yesterday evening I knocked up an 8ft x 10ft gazebo frame from 4"x2's  (which I did have to buy ! :o)

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^ a decent work space ..shaded from the direct heat of the sun ..and/or a rain shower.

Now back to work. . .

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^ I want a generous radius on the outside corners ..and so I thought to fillet the inside before fibreglassing it, and then I'd cut the outside corner off.  Blue tape seemed the easiest and cheapest way to achieve that inside radius.  

The glassfibre, chopped strand mat, I've delaminated to make it very thin, which will wet out with the resin so much easier, without having to work the air bubbles out.  Just 2/3rds of the lid's sides were laminated at this stage, simply because those downturns needed holding squarer to shape.  It's all guesswork at this point so I may have to cut and shove things later. 

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The glass fibres were laminated into the corners, not layed out as the previous photo implies. This was allowed to mostly cure before the next layers were added..

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^ the wheel and two night storage heater bricks are just there to help hold the domed shape, so the fibreglassing I've done is limited to around those. But hopefully the side flanges will be at a sensible angle rather than too flared out.  We'll see !

That's it for today, as said above it's now raining and the gazebo (with a cheap Wickes 4 x 5m tarp) is presently keeping things dry.  Tomorrow I'd like to at least get the corner radius and first layer of glassfibre along the remaining one and half sides, 

Bidding you a good evening,

Pete

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  • 3 weeks later...

update (two weeks later) . . .

As you can see in the last photo of the last post, I was building a biscuit-tin type overlapping flange of the trailer's lid.  I continued fibre-glassing the other side, but mixed too much resin, and then instead of just putting a single light layer of glass into the corner I absent-mindedly added a couple of layers ..and in doing so rolled resin through the thicker glass-fibres, and pushed the marking tape (supposedly forming a generous radius on the inside) tighter into the corner.   This foo-pah in turn lead to more mistakes and a whole lot more work that could easily have been avoided - had my mind been thinking straight. . .

Anyway, after that fibreglass had cured, I chose to re-define the inside fillet with filler paste . .

     P1390052s.JPG.9646f51c6fe9bcfc60c406e94f443df2.JPG

^ using a large washer as a radius gauge, and as a scraper to try and get a close-to-even radius all around. 

P1390055s.JPG.dbc0adf771825acf972201915776b647.JPG

^ using bricks as weights to help keep the lid's bowed shape, I also used battens and clamps to keep the flanges in shape, as i applied a couple of layers of fibreglass inside those corner fillets.

This sequence was in retrospect the - so obviously wrong - way to do things.  I used to know better.!   You know what they say about "forgotten more than he ever knew", well that's one thing ..but it's not very smart when what's been forgotten is important.

In this case., its that polyester resin shrinks as it cures, typically by 2 - 4%, but those figures can be very much more if the catalyst mix is too hot, or else you're working in blistering heat ..so the resin kicks off quickly anyway.  Bottom line is that corners shrink tighter (which is why a wanted a domed lid anyway ..rather than having one which was sunk ..and then is a basin for a puddle to sit on the cover).  In this instance, the corners shrinking tighter had dual effect, one was to pull the flanges in, so they were too tight to the side of the trailer's body ..and the other was to pull the domed shape flatter.

Needless to say I was p......d-off at myself for being so dumb.   Hey ho.,  anyone who does things will at some point make a mistake.. It's the people who learn from those and also can recover from the disaster that move forward..  That's what I needed to do.

Firstly, I flipped the lid and trimmed the top rim, overhanging the sides.  At least I could then take motivation from the shape coming together (almost as designed) . . .

P1390053s.JPG.d231726382e020b0c4ff422276fe20d9.JPG

^The domed shape of the top is much flatter near the side flange that I would like, but at least I was beginning to get an indication of the overall size and shape being lifted from the drawing and into 3d. 

P1390069s.thumb.JPG.3b0246a52e617cd2a8bba051adb1b39d.JPG

^ I faired the top fibreglass with an electric plane, and faired the top's overhanging rim (outside edge to be flush with the flange), and then marked offsets at 10, 15 and 30mm.  Using a router with a 45 degree bit I progressively cut a neat mitre to that corner (bit at a time, rather trying to cut it all off in one attack).   The router bit is too small for the size of mitre I wanted so I cut systematically deeper and then trimmed off the ridge which hadn't been mitred, with a linishing disk.  

P1390073s.JPG.a10c78565245e0d5a70444d1fa8dac7a.JPG

^ several cuts later the underside of the blue marking tape was revealed (this was as planned), and I continued cutting more . . .

P1390074s.thumb.JPG.5e8dfdf762fa2d781993b0d7b8b71139.JPG

^ the router was out of its depth, but it had accurately defined the 45 degree angle.. so I could then complete the cut using the electric planer to that angle. I used the linishing disc around the corners, until the mitre was to the 15mm pencil mark all around.  You can see also that the blue masking tape has mostly been cut away too.   From this mitre, gauged for panel thickness, I could then round the edges . . .

P1390076as.thumb.JPG.f5d8825a2d254f6cd56957ea46dd44a8.JPG

^ looking along the profile the outside radius on those corners is now about 32mm.  The blue masking tape has mostly been cut away, but I then ran a wire brush down it and otherwise pulled out whatever I could. 

P1390078s.JPG.ecbbe07fd0a99687796562a4a1458b3f.JPG

with a coat of resin, just to seal the timber (no glass fibres at this stage) ..the shaped of the lid was coming together nicely.

 

P1390080s.JPG.d01e8bb8ecc60038597ef42ccf978fcf.JPG

^ as you can see from this straight edge, what should have been a steady bowed shape has been pulled down by the shrinkage of the inside fibreglass.  This wouldn't have happened if I'd just put one layer on as intended (..and as I first started doing - duh !).   Like welding, shrinkage and distortion in fibreglassing can be 'managed' by taking things one step at at time, and where necessary working on alternative sides to build things up.  In this instance I momentarily forgot something I once knew well, but share it here ..so that you might learn from my mistakes.

The lid was domed-shaped enough to prevent a puddle sitting on it, but still I decided to try and fix that shrinkage. . .

P1390082s.JPG.d2eb75fae3ff24728e3de9164df189d3.JPG

^ the way I''ve chosen to do this fix is to adhere another piece (or pieces) of plywood over the top. This piece of wood is 1/4" marine ply (formerly another part of the same lining, from the overhead of the forward cabin on my boat).  Weighted just around the edges the middle of the plywood takes on a natural bow, albeit not a truly compound curve.  Filler paste with extra glass-fibres soaked in resin in it is being used for the gluing.  In effect the design was to have 1/4" core, and now it has two 1/4" cores. 

moving on. . .

P1390085s.JPG.48848888f21480c5554e1d4534082a36.JPG

^ a patchwork of plywood pieces (because they were the off-cuts I happened to have) also adds a little compound curvature into the shape.  And now that needed to be faired. . .

P1390086s.JPG.10a021ade5c633b0218d070006a1e2fb.JPG

^ First cut with the electric planer.  More sanding to be done but that'll be less brutal from here on. 

  P1390089s.thumb.JPG.1a60020b6ace0554aacd6032564b9797.JPG 

^ using a sanding disk pad, adhered to a piece of 1/4" plywood, to hand shape the curvature ..closer to what I originally sought 8)

P1390090s.thumb.JPG.4281b979cffd6a7a1ad1cd8c20720970.JPG

^ again I've applied a coat of clear resin to seal the surface (too many rain showers to leave the end grain of the plywood exposed overnight). You can see the shape is far from perfect, but it is much better than it was ..and the panel is much stiffer too.  Don't be too hard on me regarding the shape.. this is still very much work-in-progress, and the gloss reflection is far easier to see the shape than the patchwork of plywood-pieces was !

My next job is to fill and fair around the edges, before laying fibreglass over the top and down the side flanges. In time, that will be faired and finished for paint.

That's it for tonight. I bid you a good evening,

Pete.  

 

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P1390097s.thumb.JPG.25fb530c312ba3b7ab6b8b692f8fa19d.JPG

^ a skim of filler-paste around the edges of the top-layer of plywood. Once planed, the wood was not very thick along the edges and so there looks to be more (widespread) filler than the volume out-of-the-tin would suggest.  The dome is now about 22mm ..so still not a huge amount, but the shape is definitely better.

 P1390103s.thumb.JPG.d965fa700d41ddd4ee6e04d35618996e.JPG

^ filling is easy, sanding (resin rather than filler) with a long-board is back breaking.  It's now almost ready for a top layer of fibreglass.  Hopefully I'll get to do that tomorrow, pending the weather of course.

Pete.

 

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I learnt the basics when I built a Mirror dinghy, from a kit, at school when I was 15 or 16 years old.  The principle was to take a sheet of plywood, cut it to shape and bow it around by stitching one the edge of one piece to the corresponding edge of another with copper wire.  While being held in shape, a couple of layers of fibreglass were laid over the insides of the joined edges, which when cured then held the shape.  The copper wire stitches could then be pulled out, and the outside of those joints similarly fibreglassed over.      

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^ not my photo but clearly showing the 'stitches' along the panel edges, before being fibrglassed over) and the sort of intricate shape that can be achieved. Brilliant design by Jack Holt and TV do-it-yourself expert Barry Bucknell ..in 1962  B)

Since then I've taught myself other practical skills  ..most usually motivated by my wanting something but not being able to afford to buy it already made, so I've had to make do with whatever I might cobble together.

My first job out of school was as a trainee draughtsman (that was when we started our careers sharpening pencils).  After two years and the likelihood of me being sidelined (..I was not academically smart enough for the ONC course in Engineering) - I decided that I wanted to design rather than draw-up other people's designs, so I recruited myself into the local college on an Art-foundation course. This gave me a portfolio, which I took to colleges offering design courses. I had previously visited a couple of design colleges so could see what their first year students were doing, and so 'adjusted' my portfolio to suit their expectations. By doing so, I landed a place at Birmingham-Polytechnic on their Industrial-design course ('76-79).  I failed their first year (..I was bored !) but my Dad insisted I stick with it, so I retook their end of year assessments.  After three years I graduated with no money but a lot of optimism and energy.  I was very lucky indeed to land myself a job with a car designer, Anthony Stevens, who took me under his wing and taught me how to both design and actually build a sports car (the Steven Cipher c.1979-80). This included pattern making for fibreglass moulds. 

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Lack of project funding / redundancy led me to start my own business, and soon found myself in the kit-car industry. I re-designed and made the 2cv based Lomax into a production kit-car, and thereafter made my own (again 2cv based) Falcon Design (Lotus-7 style) cars from scratch. Their plywood body tub of these were built in much the same way as the Mirror dinghy, and so in a small way I helped pass those practical skills on to the next generation.  Half a century later I'm again using them, and perhaps through these pages am passing them on (..and possibly also those anyone-can-do-it  encouragements) once again ? 

Of course, like many of my generation, I'm despondent to see the massive volume of really good quality materials ; timber, plywood, metal, &/or whatever, being discarded ..so skip-diving and up-cycling is now a choice.  Which in turn, saves new (junk) goods being shipped half-way-around-the-world to me.

Pete.

 

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1 hour ago, Bfg said:

I learnt the basics when I built a Mirror dinghy, from a kit, at school when I was 15 or 16 years old.  The principle was to take a sheet of plywood, cut it to shape and bow it around by stitching one the edge of one piece to the corresponding edge of another with copper wire.  While being held in shape, a couple of layers of fibreglass were laid over the insides of the joined edges, which when cured then held the shape.  The copper wire stitches could then be pulled out, and the outside of those joints similarly fibreglassed over.      

spacer.png

^ not my photo but clearly showing the 'stitches' along the panel edges, before being fibrglassed over) and the sort of intricate shape that can be achieved. Brilliant design by Jack Holt and TV do-it-yourself expert Barry Bucknell ..in 1962  B)

Since then I've taught myself other practical skills  ..most usually motivated by my wanting something but not being able to afford to buy it already made, so I've had to make do with whatever I might cobble together.

My first job out of school was as a trainee draughtsman (that was when we started our careers sharpening pencils).  After two years and the likelihood of me being sidelined (..I was not academically smart enough for the ONC course in Engineering) - I decided that I wanted to design rather than draw-up other people's designs, so I recruited myself into the local college on an Art-foundation course. This gave me a portfolio, which I took to colleges offering design courses. I had previously visited a couple of design colleges so could see what their first year students were doing, and so 'adjusted' my portfolio to suit their expectations. By doing so, I landed a place at Birmingham-Polytechnic on their Industrial-design course ('76-79).  I failed their first year (..I was bored !) but my Dad insisted I stick with it, so I retook their end of year assessments.  After three years I graduated with no money but a lot of optimism and energy.  I was very lucky indeed to land myself a job with a car designer, Anthony Stevens, who took me under his wing and taught me how to both design and actually build a sports car (the Steven Cipher c.1979-80). This included pattern making for fibreglass moulds. 

spacer.png

Lack of project funding / redundancy led me to start my own business, and soon found myself in the kit-car industry. I re-designed and made the 2cv based Lomax into a production kit-car, and thereafter made my own (again 2cv based) Falcon Design (Lotus-7 style) cars from scratch. Their plywood body tub of these were built in much the same way as the Mirror dinghy, and so in a small way I helped pass those practical skills on to the next generation.  Half a century later I'm again using them, and perhaps through these pages am passing them on (..and possibly also those anyone-can-do-it  encouragements) once again ? 

Of course, like many of my generation, I'm despondent to see the massive volume of really good quality materials ; timber, plywood, metal, &/or whatever, being discarded ..so skip-diving and up-cycling is now a choice.  Which in turn, saves new (junk) goods being shipped half-way-around-the-world to me.

Pete.

 

We need more Petes. What a skillset!

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