Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

lukeyslide
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Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by lukeyslide » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:05 pm

Hello Everybody,

I thought it was about time I started my along waited caravan. I mentioned in my "Intro thread" that I wanted a caravan that had certain needs but could not find one so building one was a really good option.Once you have a look at some of these vans you realise that a good handy man could do the job. So I have biten the bullet on my way to a new van,built by me.

I wanted a van that sleep 4 ,light to tow with all the good stuff i.e air conditioning. It started off as a 3 metre that folded out into a 4-5 metre solid wall van.On paper it looked ok but in reality I think I might have biten off more then I can chew. So it has turned into a 4.1 metre full size van. Alot easier being my first van and quicker end date as well. The kids are already asking when the can sleep in it.lol

I am building it from scratch.Running Al Ko independent suspension, under RHS chassis. The walls and floor will be Monopan. As far a costs go its expensive,but I did a rough comparision to other materials and its about on par once you factor time and effort. The layout will be bunks at towbar end double bed at tailend. Slide out kitchen to the great outdoors, L shaped lounge part of which converts to bunks. Some cupboard space and bench space inside too.
I have had alot of people tell me that I can't do it nor have the skills but my wife has backed me if I don't I'l never reget it. So here goes. Here is about 4 full days work.

P.s I would like to thank "robali" and "pedro2-5" for there help.Both have been there done that. Thanks again for your input and advice.

Image Steel ready to go

Image Cut and roughly set

Image Let the tacking begin,had to use stands as the floor turned out not be flat or square. Garage turn workshop.

Image Tacks

Image Sitting together with tacks. Starting to look like something.

ImageLevel

Image and square

Image Method for holding

Image Lets start welding

Image vertical weld.

Image

Image on the way

Image I'l call it square.

Sorry about the photo bomb. More to come when time allows.

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J.REEVES
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Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:05 am

Hi Lukeyslide,
Congratulation on making the first blow! Well I imagine there has been a lot of lead up work before you started.
Welds look good and by using the blue painted steel you don’t have the spatter problem of gal covered stuff.

Robali and Pedro are great for advise but just in case you need a third opinion don’t hesitate to drop me a private email. I have no idea about Monopan.

JR
:razz:

robali
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Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by robali » Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:09 pm

Hi Luke,

Go to see you have made a start. Have you given any thought to the front shape of the van reason i ask is if the bunks are going across the front (and i am guessing here) they wont sit on top of each other unless the front is square shaped. Dont listen to the ones who say it cant be done it is a piece of cake. Are you using the fix seal? if so make sure you prep the monopan correctly or it wont stick do it on some scrap pieces and you will know if it works or not.

Cheers Robert.

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TassieD
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Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by TassieD » Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:36 am

Our Coromal has 2 bunks across the front and it is not square shaped. You wouldn't get 3 bunks in but 2 is fine. http://www.coromal.com.au/files/4413/00 ... s_open.jpg
Tess & Craig.
06 Landcruiser Sahara & looking.

Our blog Distributor and volunteer for Operation Photo Rescue

lukeyslide
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Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by lukeyslide » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:01 pm

Thanks guys,

J.REEVES hello, I have put alot of thought into this almost too much. I have been researching for about 18months. Its a hard nut to crack.Not too many manufactures will tell you anything. The chassis build was time consuming looking at heaps of chassis to see what size steel is used and where and where not to weld there seems to be no real rule book like say building a pagola. Granted there is the http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/ ... index.aspx for laws but there is more info on where to stick the lights then there is on what thinkness steel to use and where to weld and so on. I have been practicing my welding on scrap steel. I did take on one of those welding courses that they offer for the home handyman a couple of hours a week last year but it looks like my practice has made perfect. Welding the chassis myself was a concern especially with the amount of people saying that Iam not qualified to do so. But in the end its seemed to have turned out for the better,thanks. I will take you up on your offer your caravan looks very well engineered. That chassis is not going to break anytime soon ;)

robali hi, thanks. I have given thought to the shape of the van. I was looking at something similar to yours if thats ok?? The lower bunk(along the front) will be wider then the top or I could have the front squared off and use it as storage with a side access door. I have added an extra 300mm to the orginal length to make for the loss and my wife also wanted it bigger too. The top bunk will either lift on gas struts or fold back like they do on some Windors or even the Coromal like TassieD suggested. I was looking at a shape similar to the one TassieD owns but the curve might be a bit harder to do ( read very expensive if I stuff it up) with your shape it seems easier to do.I have found it hard not to listen to the "downers " but once they seen my welds and the chassis they seem to eat their words. Fix seal like sicaflex stuff Iam not sure yet, but Iam sure I'l be firing some questions your way when it comes to doing the monopan :)

TassieD thanks for the suggestion. Are your bunks fixed or does the top one fold back??

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J.REEVES
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Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by J.REEVES » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:40 pm

Hi again Luke,
I can’t agree more about there is more info on where to stick the lights than welding a chassis. Probably a good thing for the home builder not getting too hung up on forces and stress, much easier to copy a proven design and eliminate any destruction testing on the first chassis.

I was OK with the old stick welder from my fitting and turning days and thought the MIG was a piece of cake until I tested my first weld but after a couple of weeks practising I became confident enough to even do the high stress areas with the MIG.

JR
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TassieD
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Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by TassieD » Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:05 pm

Our top bunk is a bifold. You can see it in the photos here.
http://www.coromal.com.au/caravans/fami ... s/gallery/
Tess & Craig.
06 Landcruiser Sahara & looking.

Our blog Distributor and volunteer for Operation Photo Rescue

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Bussy
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Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by Bussy » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:50 pm

Hi Luke,
Good to see another van builder in here and having a go. Your welds look good to me so I don’t think you need to worry too much about them or your technique it’s working. I know how hard it is to work you butt off all day trying to get as much done to your project and then take some photos. Then get the time to log in here and update your thread but hey, have you got any news for us to look at?
Also have you got a sketch of what it will look like when it is finished?
Keep up the good work & all the best with it.
Cheers,
ALLAN
Computer Engineer. 200Series TTD Altitude SE with TAJ in tow.
Home built 21.6ft off-roader "The Taj Mah AL".
Steel Chassis, Simplicity Suspension, Aluminium Frame.
Paulownia Cabinetry, 800 W solar.
Its finished, now WE retire.

lukeyslide
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Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by lukeyslide » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:42 am

Hey Bussy,

Thanks mate. Your van is a master piece as well as the others on here. I can see why building a van can put some people off. One stage at a time but remembering the big picture. Sorry for the lateness in reply have been real busy with life in general, kids, holidays and so forth.I agree its hard to remember to stop and take photos and then up load them. I Have not got any more photos of the chassis at this stage. I have been out buying the little things here and there. Wind down legs, coupling. Finally ordered the IRS ALKO hopefully I have the weight right. Weighted at 800kg, min at 675kg. What looked good on paper is not quite working out in real life i.e spare wheel location and method of attachment. I have a landcruzzer I think wind down winch and I wanted to mount it at the back but it looks like it might hang to low. Back to the drawing board.

Van design is pretty rough sketch I'l put up the chassis drawing its not the best and has since been modified but when am happy with the van look I will up load that as well. Using momo pan has made me rethink the look don't want to stuff up the cuts and throw away a couple of grand. Kiss principle might come into play as well.

Thanks again.

Lukey

lukeyslide
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Location: Brisbane Northside

Re: Here's my 4.1 metres of caravan from scratch

Post by lukeyslide » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:26 pm

Well i have finally been able to do so more work on the chassis. November and December have been really busy. 8 days of the 3 months I have been able to play hopefully this year will be alot better. Here is some more pics and some big pieces to the puzzle
Image

Chassis plans have changed in length and width

Image

Started the wall supports
Image

Was not able to obtain 75 by 30mm angle so I made my own from 75 X 50 X 2mm cut with a demo saw

Image
Image
Image
Image
corner steadys normally welded to chassis but Iam making them serviceable
Image
Image
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to this which will be welded to the crosss pieces and the the corner steady will be bolted to this. Trying to use a much of the steel I have already have.
Image
Big piece has arrived took a month to build. Bruce has been very good from Couplemate.
Image
Mind the mess, no shed and heaps of stuff does have its draw backs. wall supports in and welded.

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