Flatbed and composite panel build on Dodge 2500

mog

Mammutbändiger

OutbacKamper

Supporting Sponsor
Beaufort Composites is in NC, unless there is another with the same name:)
I spoke with them, their panels have a maximum width of 4' and they do not sell the extrusions.
I also spoke with Andreas at total composites. I really want to do business with this company.
The only draw back is shipping to the east coast. Cost is nearly 50% of the panels.
If anybody else on the East coast is thinking about this, please PM me, perhaps we can share the shipping expense.
I'm so glad Mark posted his build. These panels are a game changer!
CPT is another Composite Panel manufacturer they have plants in BC, Ontario, North Carloina and Mexico
http://www.cptpanels.com/about-cpt/
 

Terra Ops

Adventurer
CPT is another Composite Panel manufacturer they have plants in BC, Ontario, North Carloina and Mexico
http://www.cptpanels.com/about-cpt/
Thanks for the link. I have inquired with a couple different manufactures. Some make limited sizes, some only make the honey comb panel. Personally I would prefer
the sandwiched foam panels. Andreas seems to have the total package. He even has a method so the walls can support items such as spare tires,
racks, etc. This is also important for attaching interior cabinetry. As a DIY , I need to keep it as simple as possible:) But I sure wish I had Mark's toys..
Here is some info Andreas shared with me;

Extruded Polystyrene (blue foam)(XPS) has an R Value of 5-5.4 per 1" thickness

Polyurethane (yellow foam)(PU) has an R value of 6 per 1" thickness. Compare to the XPS it will break down sooner (15-20 years) but can handle chemicals better (like polyester resin)

PP Honeycomb has an R value of ~ 2.5- 3.5 per 1" thickness

You may get away with the honeycomb panels for 3 season camping but when hitting sub freezing temperatures your heater will run a lot more often or you will even get condensation inside the cabin.

As for the weight differences: Honeycomb is about 10-15% heavier but more rigid. (can handle impacts better)

At the end it comes down to your preference and the intended use. But I always mention that 99% of all the expedition trucks are constructed with PU or XPS. I only came across the honeycomb here in North America as a building material.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Unicat box construction, maybe someone who speaks German can summarise for those of us who do not:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=jfCEZIQ__qY#t=84
I was employed at Unicat for several years. I'm very familiar with their top notch, but very time consuming building method. Although I would never tell any Unicat secrets, there are still a couple of tricks and methods that are part our customer service. With my background I can asure you that Mark is building an outstanding camper that will hopefully be available to the public at one point. I admire his attention to detail. Something that is very hard to find these days.
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
Thanks for the link. I have inquired with a couple different manufactures. Some make limited sizes, some only make the honey comb panel. Personally I would prefer
the sandwiched foam panels. Andreas seems to have the total package. He even has a method so the walls can support items such as spare tires,
racks, etc. This is also important for attaching interior cabinetry. As a DIY , I need to keep it as simple as possible:) But I sure wish I had Mark's toys..
Here is some info Andreas shared with me;

Extruded Polystyrene (blue foam)(XPS) has an R Value of 5-5.4 per 1" thickness

Polyurethane (yellow foam)(PU) has an R value of 6 per 1" thickness. Compare to the XPS it will break down sooner (15-20 years) but can handle chemicals better (like polyester resin)

PP Honeycomb has an R value of ~ 2.5- 3.5 per 1" thickness

You may get away with the honeycomb panels for 3 season camping but when hitting sub freezing temperatures your heater will run a lot more often or you will even get condensation inside the cabin.

As for the weight differences: Honeycomb is about 10-15% heavier but more rigid. (can handle impacts better)

At the end it comes down to your preference and the intended use. But I always mention that 99% of all the expedition trucks are constructed with PU or XPS. I only came across the honeycomb here in North America as a building material.
That is all correct.

All panels can have tubes inserted into them for structural support, my side walls have 2 verticals in them, but will only be using them for attaching the awning on the door side. Everything else is bonded in mine including all the cabinets, the cabinets also contribute to the structure. Like the hand being stronger than 5 fingers philosophy. Tera Ops, save some stress, throw a couple of tubes and wire runs where you know you will need them, and rely on some good adhesives to hold the rest together, look back at the panel testing, it took 5000 pounds of force to rip 1 a 12" long x .75" wide x .125" thick bead of Sika 252, so if you had a 12"x12"x12" cabinet with a .75" wide mounting flange glued to the wall you could theoretically put 20 000 pounds inside the cabinet. Good luck with that! If you succeed, the glue aint gonna be the problem!

Something I was privileged to see today goes against everything I have ever seen with composite panels is EPS core. It wasn't your typical crumbly core low grade junk that EPS usually is but very much like XPS, and 60 psi compressive strength. The cool thing was the company that is building them builds them for a proprietary refrigerated truck transport system. They are cubes with refer units and forklift pockets that fit on the back of flat bed trucks with hook loaders, or inside of cube vans or Sprinters, the company is 5 years old and kicking the crap out of cold food transportation in Eastern Canada. They just unload a refer cube at the store, the store employees do all the unloading, they pick it up on the return run, they deliver twice as much with half the fleet of trucks. Great business model I thought. When inside the vans they can't run the refer unit but they hold minimum legal temps for up to 6 hours so they insulate well. The container I was looking at was being inspected for any signs of design flaw, it was 5 years old and had the crap kicked out if it and there were no issues other than cosmetic damage, including the odd hole in the skin, the EPS didn't exhibit any signs of water absorption where the skin was broken (remember, nothing holds up to an idiot with heavy equipment). They were built on economics and only had to last 3 years, what does that say?!

I built mine out of HCPP for strength, and cost. If I were going to be using it in a Canadian winter I would have most likely used a 2" XPS core panel, but in all reality it's still far better sealed and insulated than any camper on the market today, and will outperform all of them. Condensation is a human issue, you need ventilation, more so in something that doesn't have a dozen air leaks built in, or a fabric headliner that absorbs it (gross). It all comes down to how you really use your unit, as a Canadian, when I travel in the winter by vehicle, it will be to get the hell out of the snow and ice so I'd personally still trade the strength for the insulation difference. Right now I use a Boeing because I haven't retired yet, so still no issue! If I intended to do a lot of winter camping I'd go XPS. We also use aluminum core, aluminum skin panels, they are ridiculously strong and light, they have their application. HCPP and ALPP have been used in busses, trains, commercial aircraft for years, XPS and PU core have been dominant in the truck industry, they have all proven themselves.
 

mog

Mammutbändiger
Something I was privileged to see today goes against everything I have ever seen with composite panels is EPS core......They just unload a refer cube at the store...... They were built on economics and only had to last 3 years, what does that say?
Depending on the size, when they are done with them due to service life/desperation, it sounds like one of these would make a great start for an expo built. Well built, well insulated, probably cheap, and the load/unload is what many of us look for. A camper for trips and a flatbed for day to day, work.
Any more info on these would be great.
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
They would be too small, they can fit inside a Sprinter.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
Molecular Sieves as an interior space desiccant? (in the example of a well sealed camper, to control condensation)

In natural building, materials like earth-berm, adobe, clay covered straw bale, etc., are used, as they readily absorb and release moisture, therefore controlling humidity levels in the home. With a sealed composite panel based structure, this will be almost impossible to achieve without some means of dehumidification.

In theory, I would like to minimise "air flow" as you are continually bringing in cold damp Canadian air, that you then have to heat and/or dehumidify. I want my inside air to stay clean and warm and dry as much as possible for winter camping use.
 

Maninga

Adventurer
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IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
In theory, I would like to minimise "air flow" as you are continually bringing in cold damp Canadian air, that you then have to heat and/or dehumidify. I want my inside air to stay clean and warm and dry as much as possible for winter camping use.
You are going about it all wrong if you want to minimize air transfer.

In cold weather, you want to maintain air flow to remove/minimize condensation.

Most moisture than creates condensation you will be dealing with in long term/full time winter trips will be from YOU, NOT the air outside.


IMO, the only way to fight condensation is a well insulated camper, including insulated windows, and good airflow.

Dont worry about heat loss with the windows cracked/vents open.

With my camper, even in sub freezing temps, I can maintain our normal (65 degree F) interior temp for more than a month on one 20# cylinder.
 

Terra Ops

Adventurer
This is all good stuff! Nine years ago we built our house with "EPS" panels, see www.aidomes.com.
My goal was efficiency. The tighter the envelop, the more efficient the house. We basically tripled the size of our previous house
but reduced our utility bill. High humidity only occurs when our heat pump/ AC are off for long periods of time and there is outside moisture.
I too looked at heat exchangers but elected to have a small duct pull outside fresh air in to create positive interior pressure. In a camper, as
Idasho mentioned, air flow will reduce condensation. I've also come to realize the type of heater makes a difference too. Dry heat from a simple
plug in ceramic heater or gas heater makes a huge difference. Radiant heaters IMO do nothing to address the condensation issue.

EPS vs XPS foam; "There are two types of rigid polystyrene foam plastic insulation, extruded (XPS foam), and expanded (EPS foam). Although both types of insulation are comprised of polystyrene, the two types of manufacturing processes produce finished products with very different performance properties. XPS is manufactured in a continuous extrusion process that produces a homogeneous closed cell crossed section, whereas EPS is manufactured by expanding spherical beads in a mold, using heat and pressure to fuse the beads together.

The Expanded Polystyrene Foam industry has put out extensive messaging about how EPS foam performs the same, if not better, than Extruded Polystyrene Rigid Foam Insulation when it comes to R-value and moisture.

But you only have to look at the science to see the truth –
•Science proves that XPS foam is more moisture-resistant than EPS foam*
•Science proves that XPS foam holds R-value better than EPS foam at lower mean temperatures when water is present*"

IMO, the tighter and lighter the envelope, the more efficient the rig will be. Lighter for handling and mpg, tighter for less power consumption and comfort of the camper.
 

dar395

Adventurer
FWIW.....
WAR on the filthy flies and hungry mosquitos INSIDE the camper ...
Getting rid of the dark cabnets and dark fabrics removes their stealth capabilities...
Go ahead. Ask this man with dark fabrics and other dark interior items how many battles have been lost! Recently. Still itching....
But it hides the blood from the battle if you do win!
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
I was employed at Unicat for several years. I'm very familiar with their top notch, but very time consuming building method. Although I would never tell any Unicat secrets, there are still a couple of tricks and methods that are part our customer service. With my background I can asure you that Mark is building an outstanding camper that will hopefully be available to the public at one point. I admire his attention to detail. Something that is very hard to find these days.
You nailed it--very difficult to find this high end construction anymore. Look around on ExPo--do you find it anywhere else? Maybe 1 or 2 other builds??
 

DzlToy

Explorer
You nailed it--very difficult to find this high end construction anymore. Look around on ExPo--do you find it anywhere else? Maybe 1 or 2 other builds??
May I suggest that Mark change his screen name from "Jeep" to "Toyota" then.... hehehehe... I kid, I kid, well kindof.. :)
 
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