Flatbed and composite panel build on Dodge 2500

pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
Not successful yet but a hell of an attempt and more fun than a lot of "other" stuff!

I left my card on your windshield at Laughlin and was keeping an eye out for you, went out to cheer on Team Graf, was a nice hot day for an ice cold beer.
AHHHHH, I didn't put it together that was your card. I was just over the hill at the last corner before the hot pits. Sorry I missed you. I saw the note and figured it was someone who appreciates a diamond in the rough.
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
I definitely appreciate a diamond in the rough....I have a couple in the garage......just waiting.......for money.....and time.....both getting scarce!
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
Any issues with a thinner panel or honeycomb panel not offering insulation can be addressed with a spray on radiant barrier product such as Temp Coat,
While I like the idea of a "magic coating", I cannot see such a coating being either cost effective or a great idea for a camper such as Marks'

The many joints in the camper, and different types of materials, namely aluminum and HC panel, would likely create problems.

If it were a mon-shell (like Idacamper), maybe. Still, as you mentioned the actual finish of the product is pretty much a deal killer.

With a flat (not gloss) coating, maintenance and cleaning could very well be a nightmare.

crew retention is not what I'd call great, I use a backing plate and generally bond it in place so it doesn't move if you have to take something off, this is common practise with this kind of construction and works excellent. I do have panels made for some applications with a .040 aluminum skin and they hold screws and rivets really well, medic bodies are built like this.

Thanks Mark.

That confirms my suspicion.

Looks like I get to wonder back into my cave and continue using wood :sombrero:
 

sg1

Adventurer
Screws without adhesive will not work well if you have a lot of vibrations. I have had a lot of washboard in Australia and Africa and anything attached by screws not secured by locktide, self looking nuts or adhesive eventually came apart. I now have a fiberglas-xps-fiberglas cabin and all my furniture is attached with sikaflex. In this sandwich screws would be useless. There is no load bearing screw in my cabin and after more than 5 years of traveling and many thousand miles of washboard nothing came apart. In my previous camper my cabinets were simply screwed into a wood frame and after less than a thousand miles of bad roads cabinets started falling off the walls.
Stefan
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
Screws without adhesive will not work well if you have a lot of vibrations. I have had a lot of washboard in Australia and Africa and anything attached by screws not secured by locktide, self looking nuts or adhesive eventually came apart. I now have a fiberglas-xps-fiberglas cabin and all my furniture is attached with sikaflex. In this sandwich screws would be useless. There is no load bearing screw in my cabin and after more than 5 years of traveling and many thousand miles of washboard nothing came apart. In my previous camper my cabinets were simply screwed into a wood frame and after less than a thousand miles of bad roads cabinets started falling off the walls.
Stefan
Thanks for the reply Stephan. Once you discover the properties of adhesives and how to build with them, you realize how inefficient mechanical fasteners can be. You simply cannot beat the effect of surface area and vibration dampening.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Screws without adhesive will not work well if you have a lot of vibrations. I have had a lot of washboard in Australia and Africa and anything attached by screws not secured by locktide, self looking nuts or adhesive eventually came apart. I now have a fiberglas-xps-fiberglas cabin and all my furniture is attached with sikaflex. In this sandwich screws would be useless. There is no load bearing screw in my cabin and after more than 5 years of traveling and many thousand miles of washboard nothing came apart. In my previous camper my cabinets were simply screwed into a wood frame and after less than a thousand miles of bad roads cabinets started falling off the walls.
Stefan
Stefan, you are absolutely right. This is what we did at Unicat and what I always recommend to our customers building their own campers. There are a couple of points to keep in mind when contructing the cabinets.
1. DO NOT USE particle board cabinets! There is not enough strength in it. Use plywood instead. Europly or baltic birch works great. Glue and Screw for assembly, not staples.
2. Build the back of the cabinets flush with the gables and top/bottom. Use a full 3/4" back, not just rails.
3. Use Hardware that will last, don't go with the cheap stuff that will rattle loose.... Brands that come to mind are Hettich or Blum. Use hinges that don't allow for doing adjustments. THey will for sure change their settings all the time. I recommend furniture grade butt hinges.
4. Keep the overall design as simple as possible. That way it's a lot easier to replace a door or drawer anywhere around the world.
5. Ever wondered why Unicat keeps the interior white? Very easy to repair/ find replacement laminate for the cabinet fronts. Try this with a fancy zebrawood veneer...

Cheers.
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
Stefan, you are absolutely right. This is what we did at Unicat and what I always recommend to our customers building their own campers. There are a couple of points to keep in mind when contructing the cabinets.
1. DO NOT USE particle board cabinets! There is not enough strength in it. Use plywood instead. Europly or baltic birch works great. Glue and Screw for assembly, not staples.
2. Build the back of the cabinets flush with the gables and top/bottom. Use a full 3/4" back, not just rails.
3. Use Hardware that will last, don't go with the cheap stuff that will rattle loose.... Brands that come to mind are Hettich or Blum. Use hinges that don't allow for doing adjustments. THey will for sure change their settings all the time. I recommend furniture grade butt hinges.
4. Keep the overall design as simple as possible. That way it's a lot easier to replace a door or drawer anywhere around the world.
5. Ever wondered why Unicat keeps the interior white? Very easy to repair/ find replacement laminate for the cabinet fronts. Try this with a fancy zebrawood veneer...

Cheers.

Wood? It's 2016 boys! There is not a factory produced vehicle that is made with wood except for the dreaded RV!

Aluminum
Polyester powder coat
Stainless hinges
Compression latches
Any number of polyurethane adhesives

You can wipe it down with anything including acetone if you're a real dirty bugger, and if your cabinets fall off, well it's probably the least of your worries! (you probably got hit by a train!).
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Mark,

99% of all european expedition trucks use wooden cabinets on the inside, next up is composite materials and then metal! You can not compare these cabinets to the typical north american made RV cabinets, those are the worst.
As a furniture maker I personally like the feel and look of wood better than metal. But that is just my personal thing. Don't get me wrong, you got your points and your camper looks great. I guess this is when metalworkers and woodworkers collide :)
 

DzlToy

Explorer
I will echo Mark's sentiments. While I love the look and feel of quality wood products, I do not believe they have a place in an expedition vehicle. Wood will always be heavier than a comparable composite for its size and it must be maintained in some way (oiled, sealed, painted, stained, etc) Wood by its very nature, rots, twists, warps, holds moisture, expands and contracts due to temperature and humidity, bugs like it, catches fire, etc.

Contrast that with aluminum or composites like carbon, kevlar, honeycombs, etc., and all of those issues go away. Maybe it does not matter in a 14 ton Unimog, but weight considerations are always important IMO. If you "add lightness", it will pay dividends everywhere (MPG, braking, acceleration, cornering, carrying capacity, tire life, etc)

This was brought to my attention recently, while viewing a video from a couple buying their first sailboat. They were initially considering 10-15 year old boats in "good condition" that needed a little work. After seeing the amount of work required to bring most of the boats they looked at, up to snuff, they ended up buying a smaller but newer boat that was a bit more expensive than their original planned budget. The boat purchased, however, needed almost zero repairs, So, they saved a ton of time and money on that side and were able to start sailing almost immediately.

Most of the repair work needed was wear items, i.e. sails needed to be restitched, wood was rotting, weatherstripping was peeling and leaking, poor quality DIY electrical repairs redone, poorly patched or constructed fiberglass needed repair, rusty screw holes, snaps that pulled through canvas, zippers were cracked or leaking, etc.

Especially in a marine environment and I believe that Expo use is not far off that, products should be designed for "hell"; they should be long lasting, and easy to service. A higher quality product with a more expensive upfront cost, should outweigh cheap and easy. Costs per mile or hour considerations should be figured into the build or remodel. Design it with the parameters above in my and items like wood, snaps and screws, are replaced by far superior technologies.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
No question, wood can be heavy. Saving weight is very important. I wouldn't worry about rotting wood in a well build expo camper... If you got the insulation right and don't have cold bridging, you should never have any moisture building up in hidden spots. For first class manufacturers like Mark with a capable team behind him it's easy to fabricate outstanding metal cabinetry. For "normal" folks wooden cabinetry is still easier to work with. This comes from daily conversations with people building their own campers.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
Wood done right is not heavy by any means.

Nor is it easy, or cheap, from a labor standpoint.



You pay for it either way.
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
Wood done right is not heavy by any means.

Nor is it easy, or cheap, from a labor standpoint.



You pay for it either way.
That is correct, good and cheap do not fit in the same sentence.
 

xtremexj

Adventurer
The final product looks amazing Mark. Too bad I haven't had time in the last several weeks to track more of the thread let alone finish my trailer build. :(
 
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