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Design update

March 21st, 2017 at 06:19 pm

I've been working hard at hardly working on my camper project... haha it's my typical response when someone asks me if I'm working hard or hardly working... nevermind.

Anyways, I've been super methodical towards my build, and also working as safely as I can around power tools, so it's taking me days to yield what seems like very small amounts of result.

I think it also doesn't help that I've never tackled anything like this before. My knowledge of building anything up to this point has been trying to assemble IKEA furniture without stubbing my toe. No stubbing equals victory.

Plus, the design parameters are breath-takingly limited. Naturally, I do not want to spend a whole lot of money. That's a given.

However, there is another budget worthy of note, and that is the budget of weight. My car is already one of the weakest car engines out there, which means everything I build has to be as light as possible. In the same vein, I also want to keep my MPG as high as possible... which also means building as light as possible.

You know what's another thing that is at a super premium? You guessed it: Space. My car also happens to be one of the smallest vehicles on the road, which means it leaves very little to the imagination as to what can or can not be done inside it.

Oh, and while we're at it, I also want to make sure I have everything I need in the vehicle, all the while somehow make it all look as nice and homey as possible.

You just gotta love a good challenge in the morning.

So, I've decided to approach this project from a... priority standpoint. Like for example, having a good, solid, flat surface to sleep on is a priority to me. A bed will also take up the most available surface space, so building this right is critical. This is what I am working on right now.

Unfortunately, and especially with a car this small, there is just no way around it. The sleeping surface will have to go straight down the passenger side, more or less from the glove box all the way down to the trunk. Yeah.

Coincidentally, this also turns out to be the number one sleeping arrangement used by others who have done camper conversions themselves.



Like them, I am essentially making a custom-tailored "table" to support my torso. I originally designed and built a frame for my entire body, but then realized... wait... why does my legs need this much support? Just my torso will do. My legs will do just fine resting on the existing trunk surface. This will substantially reduce the weight.

Also in this picture, you can see me experimenting with foam insulation. I don't know if this will work or not yet. Time will tell.

Oh and that wood platform is suppose to be crooked like that. I found that doing so gives me the most amount of space possible without weird curves getting in the way. It is designed to fit a cot mattress later.



In this picture, you can see the platform with the leg portion cut off (and is currently upside down). I was told the oak plywood is among the strongest board I can get, and I tested that it can indeed support my weight. However, it's iffy and does bend, so I decided to reinforce with it with those wood beams you see here. This also gives me extra anchor points for the legs next.

So yeah, anyways, this is where I am right now. Not much to look at, but I haven't stubbed my toes yet!

4 Responses to “Design update”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    I have to hand it to you -- this is a big challenge and you're tackling it head on! Can't wait to see the finished product -- and hear about life on the road.

  2. Tabs Says:

    Thanks CB. Hey, you're a highway po-po, aren't you? Any particular thoughts on seeing something like this rolling down the road?

  3. CB in the City Says:

    Well, with the windows tinted, it would look like any other car, right?

  4. Tabs Says:

    Yeah, pretty much. That's the plan, to be as low profile as possible. Would have loved the tint to be darker, but they wouldn't be legal.

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