All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Design & Construction of anything that's not a teardrop e.g. Grasshoppers or Sunspots

Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:18 pm

The trailer is still coming together, despite the manager of the project being an incompetent moron. It's a shame that the manager is me. My (weak) excuse is that I'm busy thinking about my job situation and have put my brain on vacation.

After more than the usual bungling (e.g., attaching the third wall with a 1/2 inch gap under it, breaking two of the screws off, breaking the head off one after notching it, and then sawzalling them all in order to properly position the wall), I discovered that the left wall needs to be (and now is) 1.5" longer than the right. It comes down to the length of the frame extension in the very back (the part that angles up from the original frame). I knew this was a problem area due to minor movement when the welding started, but I have no idea how it got to 1.5". I'm sure I measured for that. Anyway, frustration is irrelevant. The walls look okay, and I can't see the difference yet except with the measuring tape. I don't think I can fix the steel work, so I'm going to seriously consider leaving the walls as they are. The biggest accommodation will be making the back part of the roof less than square. Maybe it'll cause problems with the interior too.

So I planed down the rough edges at the front/right corner and then used fiberglass Bondo to smooth that out. (I was unable to find appropriate angle steel or aluminum to cover the corners.) I also touched up screw holes, minor gaps, and that funky spot from where I cut the hole for the front windows upside-down. I also painted around the door opening with topside paint so that if the door ever leaks, it'll be less likely to delaminate the plywood. I spent an hour or so cleaning up my messy silicone window jobs with a razor blade, and then I drove around for various supplies. I'll eventually need to do all of that for the right side too. I'm pretty excited about putting the doors in soon.

My research has convinced me that I don't want to try epoxy for the plexiglass roof. The epoxy is scary and potentially too thin, and the other off-the-shelf product I've found that would do that well cures way too quickly. So I'll do some final planning for using screws in oversized holes and silicone between the plexiglass and the wood. I hope the plexi doesn't expand enough to mangle the silicone over time. I also bought some 2x4 supports that I'll modify for the smaller beams that will go under the plexi. Meanwhile, I've also started planing down the surfaces where wood will meet plexi.

I'm still having fun, and this is still a good distraction (and a bad one, from the home projects that need to be finished before the rain starts). And I suppose I'm learning a lot. Maybe I'll be better at measuring things as I go next time.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:47 am

So this morning, door gap is the issue: viewtopic.php?f=38&t=66764&p=1179930#p1179930
:( :NC
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:31 pm

More progress today, though the problem with the size of the door rings will make it impossible to install the doors until there's a solution. First, I applied a bunch of Bondo (fiberglass) to smooth out various screw holes and minor gaps. Then I finished adding insulation and supports to the parts of the floor that weren't complete. I don't have any more 3/4" chip board, so I used some 1/2" and 1/4" plywood.

Then I planed down the front wall and side walls to make them all match up nice. I think they're ready to accept the plexiglass once I get everything else in order.

I also removed a wheel and shoved the inner fender in there. I used a BFH to align it and then screwed and riveted it into place. I had ended up bringing the floor out further than I had planned, so the bottom of the fender barely reached the frame. I cut some vertical notches in the fender to allow more form-fitting. I was only able to get one rivet in, so I broke out the welder and spot-booger-welded them together. Sticking thin stainless to thick mild steel was a challenge, but it stuck. So then I mixed up my third batch of fiberglass Bondo for the day and used that to seal the seams. I still have the top parts to do - the Bondo hardened prematurely. I also cut off the remainder of the fender that stuck out past the body - the plan is to either leave that setup as it is or buy some used rear Wrangler TJ fender flares to match the tow vehicle.

Crikey, is that all I did today? It felt like more. Anyway, I don't think it'll be long before I finish the sides with diamond plate, insulation, and interior floor/wall panels.
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trailer_fender_interior.jpg
trailer_fender_interior.jpg (35.32 KiB) Viewed 1354 times
trailer_with_complete_floor.jpg
trailer_with_complete_floor.jpg (45.13 KiB) Viewed 1354 times
trailer_fender_bondo.jpg
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby 39Ratrod » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:52 am

:thumbsup: Keep the pics coming!
The biggest difference between a dreamer and a doer is the follow through.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:12 pm

The other day, I noticed that the Bondo fiberglass stuff was setting up before I'd finished applying it. So yesterday I decided to add less hardener. It worked - I was able to apply all of it before it hardened. Unfortunately, it has yet to harden. So this morning when I started sanding the exterior, the sanding pads immediately got gunked up.

So I finished up the left fender instead. I sanded down the filler, and then sprayed it with self-etching primer, gloss black, and bedliner. Then I put the wheel back on so that I could level the trailer to draw the lines where the kitchen countertop will go. All of these steps are intertwined, just like a home renovation. How annoying. Anyway, I decided that I couldn't do much work on the countertop without the doors in place and without the 12v cooler (so I'd know how much space to leave to open the split cooler door). I later ordered the cooler online. And a whole gallon of the Bondo crap. I swear I could build a whole trailer out of the stuff. It's lucky that I'm not an auto-body guy - I'd probably make whole fenders with it.

Then I set the add-on portions of the side walls into the frame extensions with big bolts, which of course pulled everything out of alignment. I did some more planing of the plexiglass mating surface and then the other part of the top. There wasn't much else to do while the filler dried (I hope it dries), so I built the rear roof panel. I opted to set it between and not on top of the walls simply to keep the clearance such that the trailer will fit in the garage (rain is coming again). In the photo, you can see that I forgot to put 12v wiring in the panel for the galley and cabin lights. I actually ended up taking out some screws and adding that later. The wires to the battery are just hanging loose, so I'll have to find a way to recess those later.

I was going to finish this part of the roof in fiberglass panel, but I think I'm going to use some of the rubber pond liner I have around instead. It's just too tempting to use something that I have already, and I'm encouraged by tales of success on TNTTT. Plus the price is right. I might get a paycheck this month, but it's likely to be two digits :(

To wrap things up, I ripped a bunch of fancy ($7) 2x4s and laid them all out for a sort of butcher-block kitchen counter. I glued them all together, piled a bunch of heavy stuff on top, and clamped it all up. With luck it'll come out good enough to finish all nice and smooth and epoxy the heck out of it. The sink and faucet are ready to go and looking good, so it would be nice to set them in. I can also probably cut out more diamond plate for the bottom/sides. I just can't rivet them on yet before insulating a little space between the fender and the floor. I literally couldn't sleep last night thinking of little critters burrowing into the insulation in the floor. If I didn't have this project, I guess I'd have to worry about real problems.

On that note, I think I'm done for the week - after walking around the motorcycles about 1,000 times this week, I feel like taking a long motorcycle ride tomorrow.
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trailer_raw_roof.jpg
trailer_raw_roof.jpg (37.81 KiB) Viewed 1302 times
trailer_inside_top_panel.jpg
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby 39Ratrod » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:09 am

Ride on! Sometimes a break is necessary.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:48 pm

I got to work on the trailer today. First, I worked on the kitchen counter. I'll post photos of that when I've finished ...the finish.

I finally gave up on the Bondo fiberglass that never hardened and started scraping it off. In some cases, it's under hardened stuff. It's like pounding sand removing it. The photo below shows an example area.

Also a tedious process, I'm cutting out the diamond plate, drilling holes, and riveting the panels to the frame. Both of those processes will continue next time. There are gaps between the diamond plate and frame at the top and bottom. The remedy might be Bondo and/or trim.
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trailer_with_diamondplate.jpg
trailer_with_diamondplate.jpg (33.77 KiB) Viewed 1222 times
trailer_bad_hole.jpg
trailer_bad_hole.jpg (27.64 KiB) Viewed 1222 times
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby S. Heisley » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:38 pm

...Interesting design! Looking forward to seeing more! :SG
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:38 pm

Thanks! "Interesting" is my middle name.

I just did a little work on the trailer. First, I fixed up some wiring and drilled/screwed a new electrical ground. Then I filled up some more sanding discs with Bondo. Then I spent a few hours brushing topside paint all over the semi-finished parts. (I need to pick up the gallon of Bondo I ordered, but I'm waiting for the 12v cooler/fridge to come in so I can do it in one trip.) I also dragged out the pond liner, so I guess I have to figure out how I'm going to stick that to the roof.

Yesterday, I pounded in the fender where the tire had been rubbing a little. While I had the wheel off, I sealed up the corners inside and out. Once I insulate the fenders, I can start on the interior trim down there.
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trailer_sealed_fender.jpg
trailer_sealed_fender.jpg (27.13 KiB) Viewed 1181 times
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:23 am

Since I've updated here, I've done two days of work on the trailer. The second fender is installed, undercoated, and sealed up. I cut out insulation for inside the fenders but haven't installed it yet. I finished cutting out all of the diamond plate and installed all but the back portion (the drill bit broke). I also finished insulating the sides and cut out interior panels for those bottom corners (not in photos).

I decided to run the plexiglass across the front of the trailer rather than make it narrower from the sides. So I built a little roof portion at the front. I think it will look good when finished. Everything is ready for the cross beams and plexiglass roof to be installed now, but I'm waiting to finish other interior stuff first so I don't have to work in a greenhouse.

I got the new gallon of Bondo, but it's way too hairy. It's like trying to plug screw holes with huge shower-drain hairballs. The can was dented and the lid raised slightly, so I think it hardened a bit. I may take it back today when I pick up the 12v cooler/fridge finally. Meanwhile, I got tired of waiting and just filled holes with wood filler. I'll topside paint the heck out of it and hope for the best. If the siding looks bad or falls apart, I'll just stick some fiberglass panels on in the future.

I also started welding on the motorcycle support structure, if only to figure out how much space I'll have for front storage. I didn't factor in the front jack when I planned the electrical box to be on the left side, and it should be on the right. No biggie, except that all the wiring comes out on the left. More finesse is required up there. The motorcycle is longer than the trailer is wide, so making a rack that will fold up will be the challenge.
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trailer_front_roof_2.jpg
trailer_front_roof_2.jpg (20.55 KiB) Viewed 1118 times
trailer_front_roof.jpg
trailer_front_roof.jpg (27.82 KiB) Viewed 1124 times
trailer_diamond_plate_corner.jpg
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:21 pm

I just called it quits early. About everything I accomplished today is in this one photo.

First, I spent a couple hours shopping. Plumbing supplies were the hardest to figure out. I ended up setting a female fitting flush in the side of the exterior - I couldn't find a male plug for that. When I set up camp, I'll get the jug out and put it on the roof and run the hose to the flush fitting. That'll supply the faucet with cold water. I didn't shop for the drain yet because I couldn't remember what size the sink drain is. So the sink will go on the left side, and the fridge will go on the right.

Then I did a lot of sanding. The fiberglass Bondo crap is still clogging sanding pads like crazy - it's as if it sets up too quickly to work with and yet never gets hard enough to not clog the sandpaper. I really wish I'd never heard of the stuff.

At some point, I got curious how much it would bother me to have somewhat rough parts on the interior, so I primed the walls. I left brush strokes, and those distract from the rough parts. I think it's going to be good enough.

I trimmed the countertop down to temporarily place in the trailer. I haven't epoxied it yet. The fridge/cooler needs that space to open up, so I'm going to cut and hinge the countertop to allow access to it. So I'll have to finish the new edges too.

I've been gluing plywood over the insulation in the bottom corners by holding them down with sandbags. I haven't put the front/right window in yet because I still like reaching through to grab stuff.

I cut the beams that will go under the plexiglass and put those in temporarily too. They need sanding and finish on three sides. Then I'll glue and screw them in before planing them flush with the roof.

I bought a oscillating saw (for $18?!) and used that to notch out some plywood to hide the front ceiling light wire. I'd love to install lights, but first things first. The little gaps are going to be a problem. I'm not sure what to fill them with now that I'm avoiding the fiberglass Bondo. It's years too late for me to start making things fit perfectly. And the next step is making cabinets, which I've never done. What could go wrong? :NC
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:22 pm

I didn't have a whole lot of time today for the trailer, but I made progress anyway. First, I installed the floor. It's cheapo stick-down laminate, and I think it'll do fine. I planed the floor a little first to make sure it was nice and flat.

Then I did a bunch more hole filling and sanding. The exterior is ready for more paint, and the interior just needs a little sanding first.

I also installed the right-front window after finessing the opening a little. Hopefully I'll hear back from Vintage Technologies soon about my spacing ring issue, otherwise I'm going to try improvising somehow pretty soon.

And I threw a tube of Liquid Nails at the trailer, basically using it as caulk to fill potential leak spots like under the taillights, between the diamond plate and frame, where walls meet frame, etc. I also glued the fitting in where the fresh water comes through the wall.

I removed the kitchen counter and reinforced the underside of it. I might do a final install of that before cutting into it for the stove, sink, and hinged fridge access. It just occurred to me that I might have to lay a little tile on top for the stove. I can't think of a better way.
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trailer_right_front_window.jpg
trailer_right_front_window.jpg (32.29 KiB) Viewed 1188 times
trailer_finished_floor.jpg
trailer_finished_floor.jpg (24.86 KiB) Viewed 1188 times
trailer_clogged_sanding_pads.jpg
trailer_clogged_sanding_pads.jpg (13.07 KiB) Viewed 1188 times
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby furbucket » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:41 am

artquixotic wrote:Then I did a lot of sanding. The fiberglass Bondo crap is still clogging sanding pads like crazy - it's as if it sets up too quickly to work with and yet never gets hard enough to not clog the sandpaper. I really wish I'd never heard of the stuff. :NC


http://www.eastwood.com/body-file-rasp-kit.html


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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:55 pm

I worked on the compartments that cover the inner fenders and extend to either side of the bed today. I didn't take any photos because I didn't have the phone out there. Plus it looks terrible. I'm hoping it looks better when it's finished being trimmed out and painted.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:43 pm

Today I roughly built the other side compartment. I still need to trim the top surfaces and decide whether to have a hinged lid on top or an ovoid opening on the side. I'm leaning toward the former so the compartments could easily hold pillows.

I also finished trimming the diamond plate for the rear and riveted that on. I threw another tube of liquid nails at those exterior seams, and I'll need to stuff some fiberglass Bondo crap where the bottom of the front diamond plate pieces meet the frame with a 1/2" gap. We must not have mice burrowing into the carefully insulated walls!

I worked for my (non-paying) job for half of the day, so that's all I got done on the trailer.

The photo is from early in the day.
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