Building our box out of wood?

NatersXJ6

Explorer
While I completely agree with many of the simpler solutions pointed out above, I wouldn’t discount the idea of CNC plywood shaped for a skeleton. There is a whole community out there of home-built CNC routers and they aren’t expensive. For less than the price of a nice cabinet saw you can be routing sheets and all sorts of other awesomeness, inlays, complex parts, and various other stuff. The router build alone can be a very rewarding project.
 

billiebob

My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
PL Premium is downright impressive.
Agreed, this is one of the best construction adhesives ever. I used it on my Square Box. If you have squeeze out, leave it 24 hours and it will peel off with a straight screwdriver. But I prefer deck screws.

DSCN1429.jpeg
 
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1000arms

Well-known member
I'm pretty serious- we're putting together a materials list and calculating the weight of the wood- I'm coming up with about 2,150 pounds, which is a LOT lighter than the container we were originally considering. ...
I know that most people are trying to build something light enough to work with their particular vehicle, but our MTVR has a 30,000-pound payload capacity, ...
What do you think your camper will weigh when finished, including water, batteries, safe, food, clothing, ...?

Would a few thousand more pounds actually give you a better ride on-road and off-road? Air-suspension seats can be quite nice, but, your batteries/solar-panels/... won't have them.

Your vehicle has a payload more than double the 14,000 pound GVWR of a Ford F-350 DRW pickup. You could load 2 F-350 DRWs to the 14000 GVWR, crush them, load them in to your truck, and have enough payload left for two people and 4 dogs (assuming a max weight of 500-pounds/person and 250-pounds/per dog). o_O

Your vehicle has a payload more than 4x the payload of a Ford F-350 4x4, gas-powered, regular cab ,dually pickup.

There are a lot of good suggestions on this forum about how to build a solid camper with the lowest possible weight, but, you might not want to make your camper as light as possible.
 

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MTVR

Well-known member
Understood.

The MTVR's on-road GVWR of 62,200 pounds gives it a payload capacity of 30,000 pounds.

Off-road, the payload capacity is specified as 7 tons (14,000 pounds).

We don't think we'll be over 10,000 pounds for our build, or 40,000 pounds total.

The CTIS computer has a row of buttons down the left side for various payload weights, and a row of buttons down the right side, for various terrains.

And this is a coil-sprung vehicle with long travel (16" front, 13" rear) independent suspension on all six wheels, so it does not ride as rough as older short-travel leaf-sprung solid axle 5 ton and 2.5 ton trucks.
 
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1000arms

Well-known member
... We would first build the floor section upside-down on the flat bed of the truck, and then flip it over once the bottom is finished. By my calculations, the floor section will weigh about 325 pounds before we flip it, and will probably be the most awkward thing that we have to manhandle. Once we mount it to the flat bed, install the floor insulation, and lay down the 3/4" plywood to close it up, it will give us a flat 16'x8' working area to build the other five panels.

The ceiling framing will have to be built next- if we build the walls first and put them up, then there won't be room on the floor to build the ceiling. The ceiling framing will probably be the second most awkward thing to manhandle into place, but it will be lighter than the floor, because it won't have any plywood on it when we lift it into place, and unlike the floor, it's studs will be on 24" centers.
Design your box so that the outside wall plywood overlaps, and is glued and screwed to, the roof "insulated panels" and the floor "insulated panels". Strong and well sealed! :)

Design your roof so that you can place partial roof panels on to the (temporarily braced) wall framing, then finish the roof by screwing-and-gluing the top roof skins in to place. (Make sure the top roof skins extends over the wall skins that you will be mounting.)
 
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1000arms

Well-known member
Understood.

The MTVR's on-road GVWR of 62,200 pounds gives it a payload capacity of 30,000 pounds.

Off-road, the payload capacity is specified as 7 tons (14,000 pounds).

We don't think we'll be over 10,000 pounds for our build, or 40,000 pounds total.

The CTIS computer has a row of buttons down the left side for various payload weights, and a row of buttons down the right side, for various terrains.

And this is a coil-sprung vehicle with long travel (16" front, 13" rear) independent suspension on all six wheels, so it does not ride as rough as older short-travel leaf-sprung solid axle 5 ton and 2.5 ton trucks.
Good! People often have the problem of making a camper a bit, or a lot, too heavy for their rig, but, it would also suck to put all that effort in to making a camper that was just too light for your rig! :cool:
 

MTVR

Well-known member
Design your box so that the outside wall plywood overlaps, and is glued and screwed to, the roof "insulated panels" and the floor "insulated panels". Strong and well sealed! :)

Design your roof so that you can place partial roof panels on to the (temporarily braced) wall framing, then finish the roof by screwing-and-gluing the top roof skins in to place. (Make sure the top roof skins extends over the wall skins that you will be mounting.)
Yes to all of that...
 

1000arms

Well-known member
Yes to all of that...
Through the use of some additional material beyond "normal home construction", and the use of good glue/sealant, one can fabricate a camper in which every panel is glued and screwed around the entire perimeter of the panel.

Thinking about one wants to accomplish might change the order of the steps, and/or the steps themselves, compared to "normal construction", but lead to a useful end product, that, with perhaps a little care, will last for many years.
 

brian94ht

Chateau spotter
Since you aren't opposed to using 2x4's in the wall.... if you have a truss manufacturer near you you could use a "bonus room attic truss" style of construction.
attic-trusses-in-yard.jpg
Obviously you would have less angle of roof, more vertical sides. Flat roof or a slight curve or barrel. The floor can be webbed like the pic yet the ones over the wheels don't maybe to create wheel wells.
Assembly is way easier because one direction is already square, stand a couple up, screw ply to the ends at 24" oc. No level needed just square to the sheet of ply flush to the bottom.
Huge advantage in assembly over stick framing. The floor walls and roof are integrated and locked together with gang nails.
I would also plan to build the whole thing on the ground and crane or forklift into position.
A725DA55-F971-46E4-BEA0-203A36554B73.jpeg
 
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1000arms

Well-known member
... Off-road, the payload capacity is specified as 7 tons (14,000 pounds). ...
Yeah, but that doesn't even include the 11 tons you can simultaneously tow! o_O ... (Yes, I looked it up.)

So, next, with your new experience, you could make the RTT-trailer-from-hell! :cool:
 

1000arms

Well-known member
Since you aren't opposed to using 2x4's in the wall.... if you have a truss manufacturer near you you could use a "bonus room attic truss" style of construction.
View attachment 584125
Obviously you would have less angle of roof, more vertical sides. Flat roof or a slight curve or barrel. The floor can be webbed like the pic yet the ones over the wheels don't maybe to create wheel wells.
Assembly is way easier because one direction is already square, stand a couple up, screw ply to the ends at 24" oc. No level needed just square to the sheet of ply flush to the bottom.
Huge advantage in assembly over stick framing. The floor walls and roof are integrated and locked together with gang nails.
I would also plan to build the whole thing on the ground and crane or forklift into position.
No need for wheel wells in the OP's camper. :) See the OP's rig: https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/go-big-or-go-home.213984/
 

MTVR

Well-known member
Through the use of some additional material beyond "normal home construction", and the use of good glue/sealant, one can fabricate a camper in which every panel is glued and screwed around the entire perimeter of the panel.

Thinking about one wants to accomplish might change the order of the steps, and/or the steps themselves, compared to "normal construction", but lead to a useful end product, that, with perhaps a little care, will last for many years.
That sounds very much like what we're trying to do...
 

nathane

Active member
I'm puzzled why you wouldn't just buy composite foam panels? Similar weight, easy to glue together, pre cut for windows etc, probably not much more expensive than wood once you've glassed it and taken time into account.
 

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brian94ht

Chateau spotter
No need for wheel wells in the OP's camper. :) See the OP's rig: https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/go-big-or-go-home.213984/
Is that the only thing you got out of my post?
It says "maybe", you know, depending on design?
959D347D-505E-411C-B37E-82F4B27101EB.jpeg
(I know that’s not where the axle is going)
Additionally with so much real estate below the frame rails why not saddle bag the box so it wraps around the frame and houses all of the cabin systems below the floor and out of the living space? Have a step well so you don’t need a 6’ ladder to get in the door? Cargo doors and storage on the outside? Looks like true expedition camper?
So “maybe” it could have wheel wells?

The top and bottom plates and the truss connections are all hinge, pivot, and detachment points which are all eliminated with the truss design. Additionally more thermal transfer points are eliminated and your insulation can wrap the cabin in one continuous loop between truss/stud/joist.
It can sit flat on the frame if the designer chooses. Or have a "basement" in the floor.

I realize most of those posting in here have seen it but I think shachagra should be mentioned in any "mobile wood box" discussion.
 
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MTVR

Well-known member
Shachagra is amazing.

There's a guy that had a MUCH more complicated set of goals, and yet he was able to achieve them.

Our goals are different, and fortunately much simpler. We're not traveling Europe (we've already done that). We aren't going to have kids (or anyone else) with us, so we would have no use for his clever below-frame bunks. Our vehicle is going to be 10 feet shorter, and have much greater off-road capabilities. We're going to have a pair of motorcycles with us. And we don't want to design a box that locks us into one vehicle platform- our design will work on any flatbed truck of this general size.

But that was pretty darned impressive...
 
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