DIY Composite Flatbed Camper Build

rruff

Explorer
Could it be done under #500 like a shell version for my 1/2 ton?
Make a pop-up shell like the Project M; 500 lbs for the shell would be very doable. Or it could be a taller hard-side shell. A slide in that light would be pretty fragile.
 

TOU47

New member
The shower door. I spent so much time looking for one of those retractable roll up doors thinking it would save space. Then it dawned on me, why not make a slider out of two frp skins epoxied together? It worked out great. Used 1/4 inch aluminum c channel at top and bottom as tracks for the door to slide in.
Regarding UV stability. I asked the manufacturer, also suppose its in the spec sheet. I haven't heard of a panel fading to the point of chalk. Perhaps it depends on the designed application. Another manufacturer I interviewed said that if the panel begins to yellow/fade, vinyl wrap is a good solution.
I was thinking the same solution...wrap it. I think the reality is it is that it comes down to how much UV it gets. Look at all the RV's that are always stored outside ($30k-$500k rigs) for all seasons. Nothing is harder on them & I won't buy one used unless I can tell how it's been stored. Btw C/R Ambition Strikes wrapped theirs from the beginning albeit for different reasons.
 

TOU47

New member
Rereading some off those thread. Really love your side door. Love LOVE your pass through...that takes serious commitment with your truck though. I have the one in my back window with foam/rubber gasket that came with my shell. (That said? I don't think I can really fit through it very well.) On this note, there was a semi-concerning event that has me rethinking this option. I'm usually very well armed but...what do you do to get out & to the driver's seat when you have your sweet bride with you if you are surrounded?!? Not sure there is much to do either way unless you have a serious pass through like yours.

Ok, I seemed to have missed or forgotten a few things. It looks like your foam panels have seams (4'x8'?) but your FRP doesn't look like it has seams? (Size?) What size were the FRP panels orginally? Is your roof the same laminate structure as your walls/? What do you think your roof alone weighs?

Any issue with frost on the aluminum corners or condensation in cold weather?

What are your thoughts on assembling the walls basic structure as just foam...maybe laminating the interior walls & then the exterior FRP after? Reason being I wonder if you could dove trail the corners together for greater corner strength & sealing? Just thinking out loud. 😉
 
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rruff

Explorer
I few thoughts:
If the people surrounding you let you get into the driver's seat (through the pass-thru) and leave, then they were not a threat in the first place. They could just slash your tires to prevent that.
Aluminum doesn't go through the insulated panel so it will be the same temperature on the inside as everything else.
The foam is very weak and you need to apply pressure when gluing on the FRP.
Corner strength is apparently not that important. Look at how Styromax builds theirs... no extrusions or reinforcement at all. I wouldn't think this would be adequate, but they build a lot of campers.

 

Terra Ops

Adventurer
Rereading some off those thread. Really love your side door. Love LOVE your pass through...that takes serious commitment with your truck though. I have the one in my back window with foam/rubber gasket that came with my shell. (That said? I don't think I can really fit through it very well.) On this note, there was a semi-concerning event that has me rethinking this option. I'm usually very well armed but...what do you do to get out & to the driver's seat when you have your sweet bride with you if you are surrounded?!? Not sure there is much to do either way unless you have a serious pass through like yours. Pass through is not only a potential safety feature. I have found it to be beneficial while traveling. The heat or AC from the truck also heats/cools the camper. Also, for stopovers it is convenient to just crawl in the back and go to sleep instead of climbing out in whatever weather and deploying the steps. Has also come in handy as a mud room. Entering through the truck first allows us to leave muddy shoes on the floor mat before going into the camper. And lastly it can serve as additional storage space accessible from the camper.

Ok, I seemed to have missed or forgotten a few things. It looks like your foam panels have seams (4'x8'?) but your FRP doesn't look like it has seams? (Size?) What size were the FRP panels orginally? Is your roof the same laminate structure as your walls/? What do you think your roof alone weighs? FRP comes in 8 ft height by whatever length you need. So yes the foam panels have seams, however they are covered by the FRP. Roof is the same, not sure what it weighs.

Any issue with frost on the aluminum corners or condensation in cold weather? NO

What are your thoughts on assembling the walls basic structure as just foam...maybe laminating the interior walls & then the exterior FRP after? Reason being I wonder if you could dove trail the corners together for greater corner strength & sealing? Just thinking out loud. 😉 I think the video Ruff posted is the way to go. Personally I would still use aluminum channel on the corners inside and out.
 

rruff

Explorer
😉 I think the video Ruff posted is the way to go. Personally I would still use aluminum channel on the corners inside and out.
I agree... just think the first time you knocked into a tree branch that sharp FRP corner would break. In Oz they only have eucalyptus trees with don't tend to get in the way much.

But, I think you don't need a really hefty edge piece. 1/8" should be plenty and could use extruded fiberglass angle as well.
 

TOU47

New member
That makes total sense on the pass through...so nice to have. It's just a serious commitment to cut one in & also permanently lose the bed & potentially could limit your resale... especially on a 1/2 ton. For some reason, I think it may be more reasonable to do so with 3/4 ton or greater as the appeal may be there more for resell...or either way, don't sell...or sell as a package. That all said a flat bed camper seems like the way to go in the long term...just not there yet.

You both make excellent points on the build, it was just some inexperienced thoughts on my part thx for taking the time to lend your the input.
 
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