Tip Top Tier Drop

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

Tip Top Tier Drop

Postby WizardOfOdds » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:37 pm

edit 2 Oct 2015 -- Old title was "Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed"

My first trailer was a used 1964 Apache Buffalo pop-up and ever since I have been fascinated with the idea of building an expanding trailer. I finally had my fill of drawings and cardboard models and decided to experiment with three designs:
  • TD-100 (100% increase in interior volume, like a Hi-Lo),
  • TD-75 (elevates 100% in rear but only 50% in front) and
  • TD-50 (elevates 100% in rear but only a few percent in the front).
The TD stands for "Tier Drop" because the upper tier drops over the lower tier for travel.

My primary goals were to
  • Be able to see over the top when traveling and backing up
  • Have as much head room as my pickup camper shell
  • Adequate door entry height
  • Elevated bed (storage under bed, no sleeping on the floor)
  • Target weight 600#, Max 700#
  • At least 4.5 feet wide


edit 2 Oct 2015 -- I failed to mention a major requirement I had to meet: the entire operations of opening and closing had to be accomplished by an elderly 135# weakling (me) without any assistance.


I built a rectangular base about 32 inches high (above the frame) and then 'framed' the different tops with firing strips using an overlap and bolt method to allow for the many many experimental modifications. All 3 designs worked out pretty well but our truck became unreliable and the wife got tired of the experiments chewing up our vacation time, and encouraged me to finish the TD-50 so we could do some camping. So I put a floor in the base, sealed the space between the walls and floor, and used what plywood and masonite I had left for the top skin and roof. When I ran out of ply, the rest became windows.

The TD-50 worked out pretty well, I think it is just about 600#, is about 4'-9" wide at the bed, but I had to elevate the base walls about 1.5 inches to meet my lowest point headroom goal. We've taken it out on eight trips, in several different experimental configurations. In the first, the rear panel doubled as the door, in the latest the roof is a tarp. I even tried a foam door -- remember this is a test bed for trying crazy ideas, not a build. Once I get our next tow vehicle, I will probably opt for a real build and it just might be a TD-50.
Image
Image
Last edited by WizardOfOdds on Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby Greg M » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:20 am

Darn. Your pictures didn't come through.
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby WizardOfOdds » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:11 am

Darn. Your pictures didn't come through.


Hummm.... Sorry, but until I figure this out, you can see the pictures in my album by clicking the camera icon under my ID info in the left bar (but that icon only appears if you are a member and log in).
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby danlott » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:14 pm

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Hoplite Traveler Build thread
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby aggie79 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:01 pm

Very nice!

Do you have any other pictures of your TTT while under construction?
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby wyldesyde007 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:50 pm

I have this same obsession! I am particularly fond of the property caravan and the expandavan campers.
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby pchast » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:14 pm

Nice Job. :D

How did you seal the sides to make it relatively insect proof?

Thanks,
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby WizardOfOdds » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:10 am

Thank you danlott for putting in the correct links to display the pictures within this thread. I compared the links in my post with yours and see the difference, but something tells me you know a quick and easy way to get the proper link that my cut and paste method failed to deliver correctly. It's probably in the FAQ or in some help file, but how did you get the needed link??
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby WizardOfOdds » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:20 am

aggie79 wrote:Very nice!

Do you have any other pictures of your TTT while under construction?


Thanks for the reply. I recall using the camera for recording the numbers on the wheel bearings, how I had it wired before making some mods, and the like, but I doubt I will find any pictures worth posting. I admire those who make an album of each step of their build, but I am just experimenting at this stage. My next steps are probably to try a foam roof and a new door and I'll try to keep pictures in mind.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby WizardOfOdds » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:53 am

pchast wrote:Nice Job. :D

How did you seal the sides to make it relatively insect proof?

Thanks,


The sort answer is I made no attempt so far. Originally I was going to have overlapping lips on the top and bottom, but changes made to the back wall were incompatible with that because latching now requires raising the top about an inch (at the rear) beyond its resting place. The TD100 design had a bigger problem with this and I was going to use an inside hinged seal that you flipped over the gap. I'll bet those who built a Winter Warrior will have something to say here.

In the interim (TD50), I was going to just place a towel over the gap on the ledge formed by the top rail of the bottom, but never did. The good news is that in the 8 trips and about 20 nights of camping in rather buggy locations (some around here consider the mosquito the state bird), it has not been a problem. I am not sure why, but the fact that I have about a 4 inch overlap between top and bottom probably helps.

A related issue is that I did not extend the lower walls totally beyond the tire, so I really should replace the fenders to avoid upward spray from the wheels. A good solution should address both these concerns. All these issues need some attention for a final "build", but the basic idea of a test bed is to solve one or two at a time. I wasted far too many years tossing designs and not building anything because I was unsure about one or two minor issues.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby High Desert » Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:26 am

Very cool 8)
Shaun

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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby mezmo » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:50 am

The TD-50 is a very nice straightforward design.
Maybe the easiest way to weather-strip it would be
to concentrate on the travel watertightness, with some
simple travel rest strips corresponding to the bottom
shape of the lift roof that would allow "D" profile or
dense foam weather stripping attached to the underneath
of the lift roof's wall bottom to compress against it.

A simple way to close the gap on the interior, when opened,
without doing a ying-yang type gasketing between the bottom
body box and the lift roof body box, would be to get some
of those large foam noodles they sell for a kid's water
toy. They usually have a hollow center. Just slice them
lengthwise and slip them over the internal top edge of
the body base. That should cover the gap easily. If need
be, the 'slice' could be a small section taken out lengthwise
if that is needed for a better fit.

Cheers,
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby WizardOfOdds » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:08 pm

Norm, Thanks for the reply, and the helpful ideas.


Maybe the easiest way to weather-strip it would be
to concentrate on the travel watertightness, with some
simple travel rest strips corresponding to the bottom
shape of the lift roof that would allow "D" profile or
dense foam weather stripping attached to the underneath
of the lift roof's wall bottom to compress against it.


I agree, the water spray is the primary concern even though we have not had any problems despite traveling in some pretty heavy rain. I was always worried the the trailer might create a vacuum at highway speed and draw the water in. I was going to try putting a length of J-channel (used with vinyl siding) on the bottom (base) wall so it would catch the bottom edge of the top in the closed (travel) position. It might be a bit unsightly when opened and it does nothing for the raised position seal. The idea of using a seal along the inner edge of the top is the one I like best because it has potential to seal in both travel and camp positions automatically.


A simple way to close the gap on the interior, when opened,
without doing a ying-yang type gasketing between the bottom
body box and the lift roof body box, would be to get some
of those large foam noodles they sell for a kid's water
toy.


I like that idea, it is something I can try with little to no effort - should work really well if I can cut a thin 'pie slice' the length of the noodle. The wedge shape would be just the ticket. I purchased a number of them a few years back when they marked them down for winter. I used a section of one as a thick gasket at the bottom of the door entry (one of the problems with 'overlap and bolt' is it seems everything is in a different depth plane). It worked well, but I used a pink noddle that was a bit unsightly when the door was left open, so I replaced it with gray foam.

Again, thanks for the interest and helpful suggestions.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby WizardOfOdds » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:14 pm

High Desert wrote:Very cool 8)


Thanks for the reply, it is always nice to know the post did not go unnoticed.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Tier Drop 50 Experimental Testbed

Postby Junkboy999 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:54 pm

Wow.


Now that is thinking outside of a funny shaped box for ya. I love it. Looks like a prototype for the winter warriors.

We do have one request when you start your TD-50 final camper. Give the camera to your lovely wife and have her take pictures.


You know. If you have a forward facing, center part that raises up, Kinda in reverse of what you did now. RTD-50 (R for reverse ) elevates 100% in front but only a few percent in the rear. like Sharon’s or the compact II. You and the misses could stand up full height. It would be like the pop-up on the A-liner but at a lower angle.


Image


Image

If my picture bother you let me know and I can remove them. If they cause you to toss and turn at night trying to figure out how to incorporate it into your camper, You're hooked. :lol:
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