Building up the camper - 2013

So, I unfortunately got so heads down on this project I forgot to document everything... so here's the jist of my work during the year of 2013.

The entire project began with me getting into welding. I hadn't welded since a class I'd taken in high school back in 1999, at the age of 14. I was a miserable welder, or so I thought. My welds sucked, everything I did was weak. I wanted to get better... so I took the plunge and purchased a harbor freight welder on sale with a big tank of gas and all the essential basics. I built an adapter from my dryer plug with a long cord to get it to the welder, and I was welding!

Turns out, I wasn't all that bad at welding. My teacher was old and retired the next year, and obviously had lost his shit. I was welding on a mig welder with NO GAS and non-flux core wire. So of coruse my welds looked like shit and were miesrable, I had crappy instruction. Thanks to some good teaching from my friend Old Man Mike, I was on the road and welding in no time.

The trailer I had was simple enough to work with. It had a fairly robust solid steel frame already in place. Unofunrtately, it had some annoyingly shitty shelving overly welded into place. I spent a good day cutting that out and grinding everything smooth. Once that was clear, I began the work on the bed frame.

It should be no surprise that as a gun totting, burritto loving, first generation American... that I'm not exactly light weight. Even more so, I don't date the smallest girls either. Now I'm not talking dragon slaying levels of husky, but I like a girl with a nice pair and a dairy air. When it comes to beds for two though, this of course can cause some problems, namely with air beds and other soft framed beds and dipping in the middle with our combined weights... also for whatever reason typically towards the butt of the girl I'm dating... casual observation. So I needed a solid bed frame!

I found a ton of very solid angle iron, 1"x1", and 1/4" thick and welded up the perimmeter. I welded up some 3/4" thick angle iron for some cross support, and then gusseted the whole thing. This puppy was going to hold god damnit! I then picked up some 3/4" thick plywood, cut two sheets to the needed size (the bed was larger than 4x8) and stepped back to enjoy my work. The design was simple, the welds were strong, and the whole thing was solid as hell. Hell yeah steel!

Then I tried to lift the damn thing, only to discover I'd over engineered a monster. This bed wasn't going to flex for 8 fat chicks... and my own ass could barely lift the damn thing. Rut, friggen row.

Given the close proximity in time to a festival I wanted to attend, I wasn't about to rebuild it. So, I went ahead and built some equally sturdy, overengineered and gusseted rests for the bed to drop down from the cieling. I welded them up, and made sure they lef tan inch of clearance over your average sized cooler. That was plenty tall for most anything I'd want to leave below the bed at night.

I put the bed in place, and added some overhead cabling and pulleys in the hope I could easily lift the bed. Welp, turns out my over engineered bed didn't get any better with multiple pulleys, and was surely a stuck down bed. Again, given the close proximity to a music festival i wanted to have a camper at, I just did some basic tack welds to hold the damn thing in place and called it a day.

Next up were Windows


Windows were an interesting score. I'd looked around online endlessly and all I got was nowhere fast. Crappy prices, crappy selection, wierd measurements... I wasn't digging what I found. Then, through some random luck... I found a place not all that far away from me that specialized in yarding out ruined RV's and selling the parts from them. What luck! I ran right over, and was happy to find two windows in fine working order to attach to my camper. Excellent!

Needless to say, they weren't a perfect fit. Camper windows are designed to work with insulted walls with a layer on both sides... so they've got a good amount of depth. Far more than my 1/2" wood walls, by a good 1.5". This left me in a predicment. How do I make it all fit? Welp... small strips of wood to the rescue. I built frames to mount the window frames to, and put everything in. I added tons of water proofing for the windows, and attached it all. The fit was good, and over the next few months everything proved to be quite waterproof. I did add one little ghetto touch (to go with all the other ones) of taking some cheap angled screw driver thing and just welding it right onto the mechanism for winding open or closed the window. Who says you need a knob!

Future plans for the project in 2014

So at this point the project is on hold. Later that summer my father passed away and I had to move accross the country, leaving behind my house and posessions for a year to help my famiy out. This project will resume in later 2014 however, with some fun additions. I'll be looking to add a crank and multiple pulleys (4, since you asked) to allow for cranking the bed up and down. It simply is too heavy to be done on sheer strength and needs a mechanical assit. Once the bed is up I will devise some sort of ingenius (okay, more like downright dangerous) method of securing it to the cieling. That will leave lots of room to transport a ton of items and have space left over.

I also purchased myself a vastly superior welder after my harbor freight welder bit the dust. Linclon SP185 I believe. Better power, more adjustments, better internals. This beast will deliver vastly superior welds in no time!