New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0 (lotsa pics!)

Whether it's brand new and stock, or customised for your needs, show us what you tow!
Heifer Boy
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Joined: January 6th, 2005, 4:15 pm
Location: Jervis Bay, NSW

Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Heifer Boy » June 16th, 2011, 5:50 pm

Thanks everyone for your support. I'm enjoying the build but it's cool to know others are too. Cheers.

Stage Twenty – Trimming

Now the box is actually a complete box I trimmed all the overhanging edges with a router and then went around it a second time with a round edge bit. This is so I can easily wrap the fibreglass cloth over the edges and it makes it look a whole lot better too.

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2004 RA Rodeo TD, 2" OME Lift, Long Range Tank, Snorkel, Cooper ST's, Custom Camper Box

Camper Box Ver 2.0 Build Thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=106588

Heifer Boy
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Posts: 176
Joined: January 6th, 2005, 4:15 pm
Location: Jervis Bay, NSW

Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Heifer Boy » June 16th, 2011, 5:58 pm

Stage Twenty One – Floor Support and Filling and Filleting

Now the box is upside down I added a reinforcing strip to the front edge of the floor at the main door opening This is going to take a bit abuse sliding the drawers in and out over it so I am adding a piece of alloy angle to the edge and reinforcing underneath. This reinforcement is just another strip of marine ply laminated to the bottom and filleted to finish it off which will also have a layer of fibreglass over it.

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I also started filling in all the little screw holes and dents and chips with thickened epoxy and filleted the internal corners on the outside of the box for strength and to make a transition for the fibreglass cloth. I’m getting good at this now. I then sanded the whole box top to bottom. Then I did it again...then I touched things up and did it all again.

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Why does filling and sanding always seem to take so long!!! :confused:

Lastly the whole box was coated with epoxy thinned with TPRDA to get good penetration into the ply and it got a light sand when dry. The end result was a very nice, flat surface ready for the fibreglass.
2004 RA Rodeo TD, 2" OME Lift, Long Range Tank, Snorkel, Cooper ST's, Custom Camper Box

Camper Box Ver 2.0 Build Thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=106588

Heifer Boy
Been here a while
Posts: 176
Joined: January 6th, 2005, 4:15 pm
Location: Jervis Bay, NSW

Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Heifer Boy » June 16th, 2011, 6:16 pm

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Stage Twenty Two – Fibreglassing!!!

So now it comes to a stage I have been quite apprehensive about. It's obviously the final surface so I really don't want to stuff it up at this stage and although I'm comfortable enough with the epoxy now, I've never done any fibreglass lamination before. I was worried about how to actually wrap the box and what to do about joints in the cloth and corners etc. The main goal was to ensure that the joints in the box were wrapped properly as a lot of the boxes strength was coming from this.

So do I cut the cloth and tape the edges with say, a 50mm overlap and then infill the panels later or do I try and lay out large pieces of cloth and cover multiple panels in one go? Try and trim the cloth to do butt joints or just do lap joints and fair it later? I've been surfing a lot of wooden boat building sites (http://www.woodworkforums.com/f32/) again and asked a few questions on what to do and got excellent answers that both processes would be fine. So I'm doing a mixture of both but mostly large pieces of cloth. Everyone recommended that the lamination be done horizontally so I'm rolling the box around the floor to do just this and it makes it easy to lay out the cloth too. Other advice was that any overlaps be top over bottom to ensure waterproofness in the rain. Campers that can't be rolled around the floor are usually wrapped around the bottom working up to the top so you get a 'weatherboard' effect.

I started with the camper upside down and did the floor first. This way, hopefully by the time I get to the top and door frames I will know a bit more what I'm doing and any stuff ups won't be seen. The fibreglass cloth does not wrap around the edges from the bottom panel as the side panels are going to do this. It does wrap around the front of the main door frame though.

The cloth was laid out dry and trimmed to a basic shape and the epoxy mixed up. I poured the epoxy on and spread it out with a squeegee and brush. I took a lot of care at this stage as I didn't want too much epoxy. Just enough to wet out the cloth and ensure it sticks well. Inside corners and joints are by far the hardest part to get right. After a few hours the epoxy is still tacky I did the second coat just using a foam roller. By contrast, this was really easy. When this was dry I trimmed the edges with a Stanley knife and feathered a 50mm edge by sanding for the overlap to come later.

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Then I flipped the box on its side, taped off the 50mm overlap using masking tape and laminated the side panel the same way as before wrapping over the bottom panel. When the second coat was dry I trimmed along my tape edge with a Stanley knife and pulled off the excess. Excellent. This overlap was also feathered flat by sanding.

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Then I flipped it again and did the other side.

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Then the bottom of the overhangs was done the same way and then the back panel. This overlapped all the other panels except the top. I did this as these corners and edges will be forced into the wind and rain when driving down the road at 110kph.

Last of all I covered the top wrapping over the front, back and sides to create a nice “hat” for the camper. This took two pieces of cloth so there is a joint down the middle.

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Oh yeah…I did the doors too.

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All this took me quite some time because of the change in the weather. Those of you in Australia will know that the South East coast has been getting hammered by freezing cold southerly weather system and the temp has dropped to freezing and below. Record low daytime temps have followed to and this is not good for epoxy. I’m just working in a cold metal garage so it’s been taking 3 days to get the epoxy to set hard enough to sand so I can overlap the next layer. At least I could do second coat wet on wet after a few hours but it’s taken me 3 weeks from starting the floor to finishing the top!!!

So now I have to lightly sand the whole thing again and feather the overlap joints flat and will then I will roll 2 more thin coats of epoxy over everything to fill the weave properly and seal the whole box up. It’s important that I get the edges between outside of the door and the inside of the frame coated nicely to weatherproof it well. Then it’s time to paint!!!

But after all that I might clean up the workshop a bit first... :eek:

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2004 RA Rodeo TD, 2" OME Lift, Long Range Tank, Snorkel, Cooper ST's, Custom Camper Box

Camper Box Ver 2.0 Build Thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=106588

Mud Salami
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Mud Salami » June 17th, 2011, 12:01 am

as i was reading down i was thinking "i wonder if the weather affects the epoxy??" - then you answered my question!!

its Looking awesome mate!! will the join in the top not be seen after you roll the other layers of epoxy on?

also im dying to know.... with the paint - WHAT COLOUR?? hahaha

Heifer Boy
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Joined: January 6th, 2005, 4:15 pm
Location: Jervis Bay, NSW

Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Heifer Boy » June 17th, 2011, 11:16 am

Thanks Muddie!!

All the joints will be sanded smooth and then the extra layers of epoxy will go over the top leaving a flat surface. Then with primer and paint and some light sanding in between it should come up nice and smooth with no visible joins.

Paint is going to be boring white to match the truck but all the hardwares black for detail. Can't wait!!!
Last edited by Heifer Boy on June 17th, 2011, 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2004 RA Rodeo TD, 2" OME Lift, Long Range Tank, Snorkel, Cooper ST's, Custom Camper Box

Camper Box Ver 2.0 Build Thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=106588

STEELJOCKEY
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by STEELJOCKEY » June 17th, 2011, 1:23 pm

Looking real good there! Gotta love feeding that split tubing!! Can't wait to see it out on a "Roundup".
My 2007 Rodeo RA7 build threadviewtopic.php?f=27&t=76391
My home built Slide-on camper viewtopic.php?f=134&t=84792

4.2GUst
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by 4.2GUst » June 17th, 2011, 9:34 pm

wow just found the thread and all i can say so far is i like what i see ill be watching with interest for sure !

Mud Salami
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Mud Salami » June 20th, 2011, 12:28 pm

Heifer Boy

yeah, it will make it look sexy as!! haha

are you using an epoxy based paint or two pack type of thing or going the standard gloss white?

no msatter what, its going to look great IMO.

Heifer Boy
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Location: Jervis Bay, NSW

Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Heifer Boy » June 20th, 2011, 1:00 pm

Good question :thumb:

I've been reading up on paints and what people use for campers and obviously the 2-pack automotive is the bees knees. Next popular would be single pack epoxy and then marine paints. But these are all expensive, sometimes hard to apply and it's not a boat so isn't sitting in water all day. I won't be spraying either.

Very popular in US is Rustoleum which is similar to our Kill-Rust and Hammertone paints. It's a really hard enamel available everywhere. The problem is it so hard it can crack with movement and although I like the simplicity and finish I'm not sure it's right for this wooden box coated in a nice flexy epoxy even though the box seem extremely stiff. It's still a big contenter though as I can roll it, it has good knock protection and I can even polish it.

But then I read a post from a guy who had worked in the paint industry for 35 years and I was able to confirm his thoughts elsewhere. He said that the industry spends 90% of there research dollars on house paint because that's where the market is. External paints in particular have to be able to be applied easily and last for years and years with no maintainance because homeowners expect it. So a high quality, brand name external latex paint is some of the most advanced, long lasting and hardwearing on the market. Easily found, easy to apply and easy to repair if needed. So maybe a high gloss exterior latex is the way to go.

I'm going to be rolling it over a coat of a White Knight epoxy grip primer and I'm a good painter so am happy I can get a good finish this way.

So what does everyone else think? Kill-Rust or Exterior Latex?
2004 RA Rodeo TD, 2" OME Lift, Long Range Tank, Snorkel, Cooper ST's, Custom Camper Box

Camper Box Ver 2.0 Build Thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=106588

Mud Salami
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Mud Salami » June 20th, 2011, 3:34 pm

being a construction site supervisor, i can agree with the latex paint being extremely hard wearing and 'touch-up' able...
i had sprayed an home-made ice box with the enamel (although my ice box probably had more 'give' in them then your Fort-knox style box)
if the enamel does crack, it looks pretty bad and will continue to crack. and if it has some sort of slight impact even though your box with epoxy and fibreglass is solid, i think you may get 'spiderweb' style cracks in the paint.

i'm in no way a paint expert, just telling you my experiences. and maybe i didnt give sufficient undercoat which may have led to the cracking of my enamel...

maybe get some opinions on the best way to apply it, as sometimes using the wrong roller could give you a more 'textured' affect then a flat one.

Heifer Boy
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Heifer Boy » July 19th, 2011, 6:15 pm

Stage Twenty Three – Final Sand and Painting!!!

Once the epoxy was nice and hard the whole box got a rough sand to feather all the joints and I then sanded it again with a fine grit paper to give a good surface to paint on.

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In the end I decided to paint the box with Kill-Rust Enamel and I read in many places that a primer was not required over epoxy at it is a suitable enough surface to go straight into the top coats. So I sanded the box, dusted it down, wiped it down with meths and vacuumed the whole workshop before starting but it wasn’t going to be that simple.

Something contaminated the paint!!!

As it dried small craters called ‘fisheyes’ started appearing in the paint surface and investigation suggested it was something like silicon or aerosol or oil on the surface. I couldn’t think what it could be because I was so careful with the prep. Finally decided it was either the cloth I wiped it down with or the anti-rust additives in Kill-Rust reacting with the epoxy. Unfortunately I had painted all the bottom surfaces and the three doors. AARRGGHH!!! :confused:

Because it is so cold I had to wait 72 hours for things to harden enough to be able to sand it all off. Out came the belt sander, detail sander and sanding block and as carefully as I could, that’s exactly what I did. There are a few gouges and over sanded bits but overall I was happy with it and I got it all off. Sad after I had such a good surface before. There were no craters in the epoxy so it was just the paint surface that was the issue. Then I cleaned and vacuumed everything again and wiped it down with new, washed cotton rags and a proper automotive ‘Degreaser/De-waxer’ and I was finally back to where I started again.

This time I just painted the small hatch cover and used Norglass Weatherfast Premium Enamel Gloss. It’s designed for this stuff so epoxy issues should be a non-issue.

I waited a bit and…same thing again!!! What the…!!! :mad:

This time I wiped the paint off with thinners so I didn’t have to sand again but then it was back to the paint shop for some Norglass NoRust All Surface Primer which is suppose to stick to anything and perfect over epoxy. All this paint is getting expensive!!!

I painted the primer on a different test piece…waited a bit and… it was perfect!!! YAY!!! :thumb:

It was the nice smooth finish I was after in the first place. So everything got a coat of primer and two top coats of the marine paint with a light sand between each coat and now I had a nice, shiny, gloss white box. Why couldn’t it have been this simple 3 weeks ago?

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So in hindsight I don’t think it had anything to do with using Kill-Rust or not using primer or painting straight over epoxy. It was some external contamination and I still don’t know what it could have been. I do have to say that the Norglass paints are absolutely wonderful to use and I won’t hesitate to use them again. Goes on really easily, paint right to the edge, no runs and it sands beautifully. Lightyears ahead of anything I’ve ever used before and I’ve painted a lot of things over the years.

But...there’s always a but…all is not perfect. When I flipped the box over and was doing the top panel there still appeared a lot of fisheye craters. Every other panel is fine except for the top. All the panels were prepared the same way and wiped down the same way so there is still a mystery going on in my garage. None of the craters will be seen as it is underneath the RTT but it’s really disappointing and I know it’s there and not right. I didn’t take any photos of all the mess first time around as I was busy sanding it all off.

Before I flipped the box I also attched the pine runners to the bottom that will help it slide into the back of my ute. These are just bolted on and are expendable if necessary.

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At least all the doors and visible stuff looks great. The box looks fantastic and I’m super happy with it. I love the contrast between the gloss white exterior and the wood interior. It’s going to have a real ‘wow’ factor when I open it up. Yippee!!! :)

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Next step…assemble all the pieces!!!
2004 RA Rodeo TD, 2" OME Lift, Long Range Tank, Snorkel, Cooper ST's, Custom Camper Box

Camper Box Ver 2.0 Build Thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=106588

oncedisturbed
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by oncedisturbed » July 20th, 2011, 12:25 am

I am loving this build, would be sweet to make something like this. The compact camping site you linked has some good ideas

King Triton
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by King Triton » August 23rd, 2011, 7:38 am

Any more updates????
The thread has been a bit quiet, looks like you are just about finished.

Heifer Boy
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Joined: January 6th, 2005, 4:15 pm
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Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Heifer Boy » September 23rd, 2011, 10:47 pm

Remember Me?

Well it's been over 2 months since I last posted but I didn't fall off the edge of the planet or go bush and never come back. I just got very sidetracked with life and all work on the camper ground to halt for a while.

I got caught up having to unfortunately move house which is always a pain but especially so when you are part way through a project like this. I ended up with a lot of trips to Sydney nearly every week and in the middle of it all I had to train and compete in a 100km MTB race with only a months notice!! It seems like minor stuff but it sucked all the momentum out of the camper build which just got packed away and moved.

Thanks to those who wondered where I was. I have finally been getting back into it all and there are updates to follow. Nearly finished too...
2004 RA Rodeo TD, 2" OME Lift, Long Range Tank, Snorkel, Cooper ST's, Custom Camper Box

Camper Box Ver 2.0 Build Thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=106588

Heifer Boy
Been here a while
Posts: 176
Joined: January 6th, 2005, 4:15 pm
Location: Jervis Bay, NSW

Re: New and Improved Camper Box Build - Ver 2.0

Unread post by Heifer Boy » September 23rd, 2011, 11:29 pm

Firstly, An Apology and a Belated Thank-you

Way, way back at the end of May I posted about doing my electric system and I included a photo of my Baintech fuse block. I soon got a pm from a fellow forumite who commented how crappy my labels were (I'm paraphrasing here LOL) and how it let down the rest of my build. He also said he could do better as he was a Industrial Engraver so a few emails later and he had sent me a few strips of black-on-white, metal, self-adhesive labels to fit my fuse block and also label the all switches I had installed.

My intention was to finish the camper very soon after and was going to post before and after photos and a thank-you. As you are all aware, that time frame has blown out somewhat.

So, a huge apology and many, many belated thank-yous to Aaron (King Triton on this forum) for his great labels and for helping make my build look so much more professional. The labels are really cool and look great so if you need quality labelling then be sure to get a hold of King Triton here memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=16586.

Check out the difference below!! Thanks Aaron.

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2004 RA Rodeo TD, 2" OME Lift, Long Range Tank, Snorkel, Cooper ST's, Custom Camper Box

Camper Box Ver 2.0 Build Thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=106588

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