Friday, July 20, 2007

Construction Cost's Estimated

1: 40 2x6's fir, 30 1x6's yellow pine , ripped into 2x2's & 1x2's, frame construction $420.00
2: 9 sheets of luana 1/8" plywood sheating $ 90.00
3. 2 gals of outdoor Titebond yellow glue $ 85.00
4. 2 Hehr double pane living room area windows $82 each $164.00
5. 2 bedroom windows $60 each $120.00
6. 22" wide back door $220.00
7. Thetford cassette toilet $312.00
8. 3 burner lp gas stove, used but like new $ 10.50
9. 5 sheets of plywood to build box $200.00
10. 4 gals of Helsman outdoor varnish $120.00
11. Thetford hatch door, exterior door $ 79.00
12. Gimp or sometimes called welpping or corner bead... $ 30.00
13. 2 sheets of 3/8" plywood for bed area construction $24.00
14. 10 bulk wall recepticles (only used 5) $20.50
15. 5 sets of cabinet door hinges $25.00
16. Xtreme 55amp converter box, with battery charger & 12 volt $125.00
17. screws & 2 tubes of Liquid nail $23.00
18 cabinet latches $22.00
19. 2 sheets of 1/2" plywood & 3 more sheets of 1/8" Luana plywood $54.00
20. Misc screws and fastners $40.0
21. 30' 8awg battery cable $15.00
22. 36' 50amp power cord $42.00
23. 5 more tubes of Liquid Nail $20.00
24. 1x8's, 5 more sets of door hinges $63.00
25. 2 sheets of 3/8" plywood, screws, sand paper, Liquid Nail $93.00
26. 10 more cabinet door hinges and pull handles $43.00
27. dogbone cord 50amp to 30 amp $28.00
28. 2 ceiling lights, 12 volt cheap plastic white in color $17.83
29. 13" toshiba color tv from Best Buy $119.00
30. DVD player $25.00
31. J molding $30.00
32. Magic Chef 110 volt Fridge mod#MCBR415S bought at Home Depot $199.00
33. 1x8's x 5 $40.00
34. Emerson 700w microwave mod#mw8781SB bought from Target $49.99
35. 3 piano hinges, chrome plated, 5' long each $25.88
36. sink with faucet and all the plumbing, used, stainless steel double bowl $65.00
37. more glue, steel wool, sand paper $40.00
38. 2 spools of 16awg d.c. wire 350' spools, plus 10 tubes of Liquid Nail $110.00
39, 50' roll of 12ga 110 volt electrical wire $25.00
40. 3 12 volt flourscent light fixtures 8" double bulb $37.00
41. plumbing supplies, hoses, clamps, elbows, glue, etc $140.00
42. Stable Lift Jacking system....raises and lowers camper onto bed of truck $2,495.00
43. roof vent with built in fan $145.75
44. Carrier 13,500 btu A.C. unit with Heater option $533.00
45. Satellite dish, manual crank up style $216.00
46. table support collumn with base $18.00
47. outdoor porch light yellow lens $9.00
48. fiberglass coat the inside of the propane tank box area $35.00
49. 10 more panels of 1/8" luana plywood $95.00
50. 110 volt breakers, wire nuts, ties, plastic loops, electrical tape $48.00
51. custom made cushions for couch area and battery box cover $387.00
52. clearance running lights on outside of camper $70.00
53. 12 panels of pink insulation board $10.99 ea $131.88
54. 4 sheets of 3/8" plywood for the roof $50.00
55. water fill, city water hose fill, and drain hook up brackets made of plastic $80.00
56. 2000 watt Vector inverter $230.00
57. 3 large deep cycle marine batteries $69.00 ea from Academy $210.00
58. 1 spool of 3awg battery cable, 25' long, from Tractor Supply $35.00
59. 1 pkg of 30 battery cable ends $12.00
60. Aluminum siding Arctic polar white 2" mesa 1score with pittsburg cut, plus
rubber roof, rubber roof install kit, all the aluminum corner molding, drip rail,
and crating charge of $155.00....
bought from The Metal Company (TMC) 5509 HARLAN STREET
ARVADA, COLORADO 80002 $1,796.32
61. Shipping charge, by DHL $185. 00, 1 crate 16' long, 2 tubes 16' long, and a 50lb box of
glue and tubes of caulk

Thursday, June 28, 2007

First campout with camper

on 6-18-07 i took my truck camper to the scales, it weighed 2600 lbs. So now i finally know the weight of this camper. Of course the Stable Lift system added 450 lbs to the weight of the frame. The A.C. unit weighed 110 lbs. I added 3 large deep cycle batteries and a 2000 watt inverter. Those 3 batteries probably added 150 lbs to the weight of the camper also. Also the shipping weight of all of the aluminum siding, edge molding, and roof materials was 400 lbs. So just those items added 1000 lbs to the frame work. Of course i put an oversized fridge in the rcamper also. This weight also included a 13" t.v., Satellite dish, and Receiver, plus the Thetford cassette toilet, and a microwave oven.

On 6-21-07 I took The camper out for it's first camping trip. I also towed a Jayco pop up camper behind it, Mother in law and Aunt's camper. Of course I drove thru some winding curves, up and down hills to the Lake. I was a little nervous due to the fact this was the first outing and I had to get use to the top heaviness of this camper. Plus I had my 6yr old grandson in the truck with me. I had added air bags to the rear leaf springs and this helped with the weight of the camper plus the pop up I was towing. Well everything turned out alright and we arrived at Lake Livingston whithin an hour from the house. I drove most of the way between 55mph and 60 mph. On the curves i had to slow down to 30 mph at times. WE camped out at Wolfe Creek Park on Lake Livingston, Texas, for 4 days, Family Reunion time. I got to say that the fridge i put in worked perfect. I had plugged it in a day before we left and then loaded it up with food. I kept it plugged into 110 volt until departure. I then plugged it into the inverter and it ran perfect. I ran it on the inverter for 4 hours and everything was kept cold and everything in the freezer was still frozen. I bought the fridge from Home Depot for $199.00. Well when I got Home Sunday, i was wore out and tired. I just let the fridge run on the inverter and the 3 deep cycle batteries. I wanted to see just how long it would run. Well it ran from 9am Sunday till Monday at 3pm and was still running when i unplugged it from the inverter. Everything was still frozen in the freezer and cold in the fridge. So i don't know how long it will run off of the inverter, but I am impressed so far. Also I installed a 13,500 btu Carrier A.C. unit on the roof and it will freeze you out, just like i like it. We had rain everyday while camped out and there were no leaks, another good omen. On Friday morning I was the short order cook. I cooked up a pound of bacon first and then when family woke up I was cooking them eggs and toast to go with the bacon. I was Yelling out the window, Order up, Dan's chuck wagon. I also had my coffee pot going, had to make 5 pots. Well we all had a good time and everyone that came up and looked at my camper was impressed. Most said it looked like a store bought camper and couldn't believe the detail. I had to give about 30 tours while at the camp site. I did some rough figuring and i would say that it cost me $12,000 in materials to build this camper. That does not include saw blades, drill bits, sand paper and other items you will need to have a finished product. But the one thing i can say, it was a rewarding project that kept me busy for about 8 months. I enjoyed the project and the Glen L camper plans were very well written.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Photos of Camper Launch

Removed garage door header to get camper out of garage/shop.

Jacking camper up - 4" at a time on concrete blocks.

Backing truck up - underneath camper.

Profile shot of camper on truck.

Another shot of camper on truck.

Front view of camper on truck.

Inside camper - view of A/C unit mounted on ceiling.

Interior - custom-made cushions and table.

Stable-lift jack system - assembly in progress.

Moving Camper out of Garage and onto Truck

Ok, I have now done as much work on the camper that i can do while it is in the garage. I had to tear the Header off the top of the garage door to get it to clear. I bought 15 3/8" wooden dowels, jacked the camper up and started to roll it out. I took 4 of us men to push and guide it while rolling it out. I was happy just getting it outside for the first time. But my neighbors wanted to see it on the truck. I had prepared for this day by buying 40 concrete blocks and 2 more bottle jacks. Well we went to work jacking it up 4" at a time and kept blocking it up till we got it high enought to back the truck under it. We let most of the air out of the back tires and i let all the air out of the air bags over the axles. This lowered the truck another 6". It took us 2 hours but we got it in the bed of the truck. As you can see i just had a Blue tarp on top to cover the holes for the A.C. unit, vent fan, and sat dish. I put the A.C. unit, sat dish, and vent fan in place the next couple of days. I included 3 profile shots of the camper on the truck. Of course i couldn't go anywhere with it on there because i only had 8ply tires and they would not support the weight. I took a photo thru the back door showing the A.C. unit from the inside of the camper, also the fan vent over the bed area, and to the left the sat dish crank. The next photo shows the cushions and small table I built. I didn't want a big table, this one is small and stores under the couch area in the storage bin. I had the cushions built for $400. Note the cut out cushion at the bottom right of the photo. This cushion can be pulled up by itself and then the lid to the thetford toilet can be lifted without having to move the 6' long main couch cushion. Then the last photo shows the Stable lift system mounted on the right side of the truck. In this photo you can see the hand cranks. I have not installed the motors as of yet or wired them in. I will have to post one more blog with photos of the lift system and more profile photos of the truck and camper. I also plan on going thru my notes and give a price break down of all the money spent on this project in case anyone else wants to know the cost. I had planned on building this thing on the cheap, but i got carried away. One thing led to another and before you know it i have spent about $11,000.00, but hey, it's not like your ever going to build one of these things again.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Siding Pics

First 3 pieces of siding go on.

Left side siding on, window openings cut-out.

Back wall siding - with openings cut-out.

Beginning of front-wall aluminum siding.

Front wall complete - clearance lights installed.

Used boat rub rail molding on corner curves.

Left side roof - glue rolled on.

Right side roof - glue rolled on.

Rubber roof glued on. Set to dry.

All siding on. Windows dry-fitted.

Corner molding and clearance lights.

Rubber roof on - and cut-outs for A/C and fan vent.

Aluminum siding goes on

I now have been working on the camper for about 6 months, the inside cabinet work is done, wiring done, and some of the plumbing. I have ran all the wires for the clearance lights that go on the outside of the camper and have insulated all the outside walls. So now it is time to put on the siding I ordered from "The Metal Company" out of Alvardo Colorado. I paid approx $1,800 for the siding, corner modeling, rubber roof, and the rubber roof kit. It cost me another $200 to have it shipped via DHL to my house. I ordered the siding with the Pittsburg Lock. You start at the top, putting the first sheet on which was a full 16' long. I used an air stapler, 1/8" staples, 1" long. After i got the first sheet up, and made sure it was level, the second sheet slides up into the Pittsburg lock and you staple it at the bottom and that holds it. I started on the right side and then did the left side. Then i used my router with a 1/8" flush trimming bit to cut out the window openings. I found out that if you route about 2 or 3' and then spray your bit down with WD 40 the aluminum will not build up in the bit. You can tell when the bit gets clogged because it will quit cutting and he have to stop and dig the aluminum out of it. But using the router bit made fast work of the cut outs. I then put the siding on the back wall the next day. Then used the router bit to cut out the doorway, propane tank door, and thetford toilet door access. Now I couldn't do the front until i put on the rubber roof. Before I spread the glue I shop vac'd the plywood roof and then went over every square inch. I found 4 screws that were not recessed to my liking so i reset them. I wanted a smooth roof with no bumps in it. I rolled the Rubber roof material up on the roof. I noticed that it had some waves in it. this was due to it being rolled up when shipped in a tube. So I let it stay up on the roof for 2 days and the memory lines were gone, it was now flat. I rolled it in half, right down the center of the camper. I then rolled on the glue with a paint roller like the instructions said to do. Well when i got this one half side rolled i noticed that the plywood had absorbed most of the glue. So I rolled on a 2nd thicker coat and that did it. I then folded the roof over on the glue and then folded the other side on top of the side i had just glued down. I then spread two coats on this side and rolled the roof back over on top of the glue. I let all the edges hang over about 3". I then got a large 4' wide shop broom and started working the air bubbles out, from the center to the outside edges. The job turned out perfect, and this was a first for me. It was fairly simple. I let the roof dry for 3 days before i did any more work. I then put on the front wall siding starting up on the roof just over the cabinets on the front wall and then wrapped around all the way to the box area. It took me two days to finish the front. I am slow but sure. Then i put the putty tape on all the corners and started putting on the corner molding. I bought the molding with predrilled holes every 4". I think i drove around 400 screws into all the molding. The molding process took me about a week to do. I would work on it a little each day plus i ran into a major problem with the corner bends. I tried making the bends myself but you cannot just make a bend with this stuff, it is aluminum, but still very rigid. I called around to machine shops and never could find anyone who had the right machine to make my bends here in the Houston, Texas area. Well I had to put my thinking cap on and i came up with the idea of using rubber boat rub rail molding. I got on line and found some J molding and ordered 10' of it for around $35. I had to wait another week for it to come in. Well it would bend but not very much so i thought of heating the rubber up to get it to bend around my corners. I put it in the microwave and kept pulling it out every 15 seconds until i found that if i heated it up for 2 mins it was flexible enough to work with. So I predrilled a bunch of holes in it, heated it up, then ran over and screwed it down while bending it around the corners while it was still hot. Once it cooled off it was very rigid again. It worked out perfect, as you can see in the photos. Actually you could do all the camper in this stuff and it would probably be cheaper that the aluminum modeling. After i got all the molding on, and of course it was backed up with 3/4" putty tape, I had to cover all the screws with a plastic insert molding. I bought 100' on line for $12.00. Took another week to get it in. After I got all the insert molding in the groves to cover the screw heads i started caulking. Now if you have never used the special RV caulk before you are in for a surprise. It has to be the stickiest caulk i have used in my life. It is a rubber based and it sticks even to grease, says so on the tube. Well it is hard to get off your hands too. I found that if i kept my hands soaked in Mineral spirits it would not stick as much to my fingers. So i had my hands soaked in mineral spirits for two days while working with this stuff. Well i got all the siding on and all the corner molding, it took me about 5 weeks due to having to order parts and wait on them to come in. See on going photos of this project. I will enter just one more blog after this that will show the finished project.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pics of Roof, Electrical, Insulation

Dry fitting first roof panel.

All 3 roof panels varnished and installed. (Interior shot.)

Exterior shot of all 3 roof panels and rafters.

Backside of electrical box wiring.

Front of electrical box with wiring.

Wiring of vent hood over stove. Running wires thru cabinets.

Insulation between rafters and walls.
Note: electric wires run for clearance lights.

Roof sheathed in 3/8 " plywood. Dry fitting A/C shroud and satellite dish.

Side view of position of satellite dish.

The Roof goes on, electrical work, insulation

I have now finished up all the side wall cabinet work and spray varnished everthing and then put all the cabinet hardware on. Now it is time to put the roof on. The roof is three full sheets of luana plywood. I built the roof panels on my work bench, the 2x2" rafters are glued and air nailed to the back side. Then the panels were flipped over, sanded, and 4 coats of varnish sprayed on. Then the panels were lifted up on the roof, glued, and screwed down with a screw about every 4". All of the screw holes were predrilled and then a countersink bit was used. I bet there is 300 screws holding the roof panels on. Not only did i screw them to the outside walls, I also screwed them to any Cabinet work that was touching the roof. This pulls the whole structure together and makes it rock solid. I then ran all my clearance light wires by boring holes thru the 2x2's all along the top edge. I also ran wires to the roof vent, A.C. unit, and Sat Dish. Then i used the pink foam board for insulation. I had to cut each piece to fit each gap in the 1x2" side walls and between the roof rafters. I doubled up the insulation on the roof and very front of the camper. After i got the camper all prewired i put the roof on which is 3/8" plywood. I then dry fitted the A.C. shroud to see where to put the Sat Dish, which I ended up putting up in front of the A.C. unit and to the left. I did this to leave me room on the back of the camper for some Solar Panels i might put on at a later date.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pics of Cabinets on Right Side

More pics of cabinet construction. These are the cabinets on the right side of the camper.

Boxing in refrigerator. (Fridge doors are off.)

Refrigerator boxed in and the doors back on.

Upper right-side cabinets installed, boxed-in and dry-fitted microwave.

Boxed in and installed toilet.

Built lid cover for toilet box.

Toilet completely boxed in - concealed.

Boxed in water tank and battery compartment.
Built below step-up for the bed.

Left side cabinet counter top installed.

Another angle of left-side cabinets - varnished.

Right side upper cabinets varnished.

Cabinet Work Continues

ok i have finished up the cabinet work on the left side, which is the kitchen sink and stove area. now i have started on the right side. I bought an electric 110 volt fridge for $199.00 and then built a frame out of 1x2's to box it in. Then sheathed it in the Luana plywood. Then i started building the top cabinets from the fridge to the back wall. I built the cabinets in three sections and screwed them into the wall. then i put the doors on and all the hardware and the microwave over which i bought for $49.00. All of this was just dry fitted together, later i took all the hinges off and then sprayed everything with about 4 thin coats of varnish. As you can see the roof is not on yet. Luckily i have 12' ceilings in my garage. The next photo is of the Thetford cassette toilet i bought off of ebay for $330.00. I boxed it in and made a lid. Also i built a small box down the side of the seating area. This was built to hold Hoses and such. Then i put piano hinges the length of the two covers. The tops will be covered with cushions for seating. I also built a step up box to get up into the bed. This box will hold my water tank and a 12 volt battery to run ceiling lights when not hooked up at a camp site. My intention is to always stay at a place that has power and water hookups. I will not have a generator, no room for one. This camper only has an 8' box and the tailgate should be able to close. I added the last 3 photos showing the cabinets sprayed with varnish. I had to tape everything off first and all the doors were taken off and sprayed by themselves after all the hardware was taken off. I found that on this project it is better to dry fit everything together, tweak it, put it back together till it fits just right. I am no cabinet maker so it was a learning experience.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Photos - cabinets

More photos of the cabinet installation.

Bed Platform Frame

Front Cabinets over bed connecting 2 side walls

Framework for base cabinets

Framework for top cabinets

Base cabinets with cooktop range and dry-fitted.
Electrical power box installed

Upper cabinets and base cabinets installed with
sink, cooktop rangetop and range hood.

Added shelf for TV

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Construction continues

I can not stress the importance of buying all your windows and door before you start this project. You will need the dimensions of these windows before you start to build the walls. If you are going to build this camper on the cheap like I did you will be bidding on the windows on Ebay. You can save a lot of money buying off Ebay, even with the shipping charges included it will be about 1/2 the price of a new one from the manufacturer. Case in point, I called one of the suppliers listed on the Glen-L web site. He wanted $285 for one window and $45 to crate and ship it, and I needed two that size. I got on Ebay and bought two windows made by this manufacturer for $85 each and $30 to ship both. And these were double paned, tinted, and never installed, brand new. You will find that you will be spending a lot of time on Ebay every night looking for parts to your project. I spent a good 6 months on there every night. Also you have to plan about 3 weeks in advance so that your parts will be there when you get to that phase of the project.

Ok on this phase of the project all 4 walls are attached to the box using Liquid Nail and screws. Now the next step in the project is to build the cab-over bed area. The frame work is 2x2's, glued and screwed together. Then covered with 1/2" plywood. The next phase is to build the cabinet work that goes at the very front of the camper and it ties the two front sidewalls together. You will find that the sidewalls are kind of flimsy before installing the cabinet work. I used some 1x2's to prop it up and square it up. I cannot stress the importance of always double checking to make sure everything is square and level. I used 3 levels while building this project. After the cabinet is glued and screwed into place the next phase it to install the first panel to the front of the camper boxing in the front of the bed area. I cut a piece of 1/8" luana plywood and dry fitted it first. Then I put it on the work bench and glued the 2x2 structure support to the outside. I used a 18ga air nailer to hold the 2x2's to the plywood while the glue dried. I used Liquid Nail for the glue. Then I flipped it over and I used a spray gun to spray on about 4 thin coats of Hellsman varnish to get that glossy look. I let it dry for a couple of days and then glued and screwed it on. Now you have a complete boxed in camper except for the roof which is 3 sheets of 4' wide plywood. The ceiling/roof goes on last after all the cabinets are built. Next I built the kitchen cabinets. The beauty of these Glen-L plans is you can build the cabinets any which way you want, or none at all. There are several builder photo projects on their web site. Well I looked at all of them and then looked up campers for sale on Ebay. I came up with my own idea of what I wanted for cabinets. Also it might be noted that I bought the double bowl sink with all the fittings for $65 off Ebay. So I had to incorporate it into the plan. Well after looking at several campers on Ebay I came up with the idea of putting the sink at an angle towards the bed area. This way I could mount my t.v. up over it and I could swivel it around to watch it in bed or while sitting on the couch area. I built the cabinet frame work out of 2x2's as seen in the photos. I then skinned it with 1/8" luana plywood and routered out all the openings with a flush trim router bit. All the cabinet doors are very simple to make. I used 5/8" plywood and skinned it with the luana plywood then routered all the outside edges. The back side I cut a 1/2" dado to recess the doors. There are 18 cabinet doors in this project and three slide out drawers. Also I mounted my converter box under the sink. This way the power cord can roll up inside under the sink where all the plumbing is located. So that takes care of that wasted space and there is plenty of room to coil up the 36' 50amp power cord. I went with the 50amp converter box because I bid on it on ebay and won and it was a lot cheaper than the 30amp power boxes. For this project a 30 amp box will do fine.

After finishing up the kitchen cabinet workI started on the overhead cabinets. I built the frame work out of 1x4's cut to size. Note the slope of the roof line that the cabinets must adhere to. With the roof off it is easy to just lay a board up to the side wall and scribe the roof line onto the board to get your slope. I built each cabinet framework one at a time in sections and then screw them together. There might be an easier way to do this but I found it worked for me. Well here is some more photos of the project. I will continue to add to this blog.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Photos of Construction of Box and Walls

Here are a few photos of the construction of the box and walls:

Box finished.

Lay-out of framework - on top of Glen-L plans.

Framework for side wall with corner braces.

Framework for back wall with corner braces.

Skinned walls with 1/8" Luana plywood.

Back wall with door opening put in place.
Note: Windows were cut out with plunge router.

Front wall added to box.