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.