DIY Composite Flatbed Camper Build

mrarmyant

New member
Is there a link to this build? Doing something similar, wondering what weight mat to use, and how many layers.

Love your build! I considered something similar, but ended up going with hand layup on 20 psi Foamular, so I could do curved surfaces. I used the cheap foam because I couldn't find anyone willing to get the 60 psi foam locally, and shipping would have doubled the cost.

What are the specs for the skins you are using? Thickness, weight? FG, polyester resin with gelcoat?
 

rruff

Explorer
Is there a link to this build? Doing something similar, wondering what weight mat to use, and how many layers.
Sorry no, I built the bottom and one side and part of the other side, and then put everything on hold a couple years ago. And now that I'm about to get started again, it will be redesigned, so I'll probably start over :(

Unless you need lots of insulation (thick foam), I'd consider using PVC foam (used on boats) from Carboncore. The price isn't crazy (1" sheets are ~$135/ea and shipping is reasonable) and this foam is much stronger than Foamular 250. In the grand scheme of things I decided it isn't that much money and I'd rather have the piece of mind.

I'd recommend using 1708 biaxial FG, rather than mat. 1708 is a 17oz cloth plus mat in one piece. For any surface but the floor/base one layer of that is probably sufficient. I used a lot of 1700 biax (no mat), but that needed 2 layers to be thick enough to make me happy, so was more work.
I bought epoxy from Ebond... very cheap and very pleased with it.
Most FG was bought from Fiberglasssite.
If you go with Foamular or similar cheap XPS, sand the surface, clean it thoroughly, then texture it with a dog brush.
Make samples of whatever you decide on and test them. Also, weigh them to see how much epoxy you actually use.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RKB

Terra Ops

Adventurer
Since we can't "go out" to eat, we decided to "stay in" and go out. Edisto beach state park was still open at the time and had availability to my surprise. We still practiced social distancing even though the camp sites are spread out. Great two day get away. Also recommend Botany Bay Plantation tour. Its a self drive off road through the low land marsh area.

 

Attachments

rruff

Explorer
Looks like the ones I've seen people post on here. Usually they are used on HD cab-chassis trucks that have constant width and height bed rails.

Mine has 8 bed mounts. The really flex part is in the rear from the wheels back. I'm planning to rigid mount the fronts and use Energy Suspension poly cab mounts on the rear. The cab mounts (4 of them) will be close to the centerline so they won't have much restriction to tilt.
 

HAF

Active member
I have been using a system similar to the tank tie down system. I have a vibration isolator mounted at top of spring mount. The sub frame sits on top of isolators with excess weight squishing sub frame down on oak rub strips. I have a solid bar that ties the sub frame to truck frame centered over the rear axel. The tie bar is mounted at and angle forward with the top bolt on the sub frame ahead of the truck frame mount. The tie bar and its location is shown on the Ford body mount bulletin. It seems to work well and is designed such that a rear collision can't move camper forward due to the design nesting detail. Truck is a Ford F550.
 

Attachments

Terra Ops

Adventurer
Looks like the ones I've seen people post on here. Usually they are used on HD cab-chassis trucks that have constant width and height bed rails.

Mine has 8 bed mounts. The really flex part is in the rear from the wheels back. I'm planning to rigid mount the fronts and use Energy Suspension poly cab mounts on the rear. The cab mounts (4 of them) will be close to the centerline so they won't have much restriction to tilt.
Sounds like a plan, hope to see your build thread soon.
With my particular application where the flatbed camper is removeable, I thought these springs might be utilized in the front corners in place of the latches. I know the 3 point system is designed with a rear pivot and front static in the frame. However, with a detachable camper, if I were to place springs in rear it may cause front cab over to dip into truck.
Anyway, just some random thoughts rattling around during these stay at home times. Next thought is a recirculation shower :)
 

rruff

Explorer
I hope to see it also... ;)

I thought the designs that used springs usually had them hard mounted in the back, so that should work. I'd be interested in how your flatbed is designed and mounted to the frame and how the camper attaches. Have you detailed that in this thread?
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die.: And other mor...
by Jared McCaffree, Jessica Mans, Kobus Mans
From $19.99
Lone Rider
by speth Beard
From $16.23
Road Fever (Vintage Departures)
by Tim Cahill
From $6.99

Terra Ops

Adventurer
I hope to see it also... ;)

I thought the designs that used springs usually had them hard mounted in the back, so that should work. I'd be interested in how your flatbed is designed and mounted to the frame and how the camper attaches. Have you detailed that in this thread?
Yeah, post #192. Not really concerned with bed flexing on this rig. It's 81" x 84", aluminum. Had it specifically made with intended purpose. Also, we don't do extreme off roading.
Suspension seems to do a good job.
 

Attachments

Stingy49

Member
Just read this entire build in one sitting o_O. Talk about inspiration! I love the frp over foam panel construction. I'm gonna try and source some frp on the west coast and use the carbon nanotube epoxy to make some test pieces. So great!
 

Terra Ops

Adventurer
Terra Ops, is the fiberglass laminate product you used similar to Filon?
Yes, it does appear to be similar. I would be careful with thickness or should I say thinness. Product needs rigidity for added strength. Too flimsy may compromise structure. See spec sheet in post #26 for comparison.
 

Terra Ops

Adventurer
Can the FRP be bonded with fiberglass to create a water tight seal?
If you are referring to wet lay up, I think so but not sure. If this is in place of the extrusions/aluminum angle, my concern would be cracking due to the stresses encountered while off-roading. The bonded extrusions to the panels is what provides strength and a water tight seal. Not sure if that answers the question.....
 

Stingy49

Member
Hey Terra Ops,

What was the consistency of your carbon fiber reinforced epoxy? I bought some epoxy from Soller for testing and he pointed me to the carbon fiber tow as an additive. I tried a sample at 10% carbon fiber by weight and it ended up like a big hairball. What was your experience?

-Derek
 
Top