Truck camper build.

Canvas covered foamies (Thrifty Alternatives...)

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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby Philip » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:43 pm

Poly resin is not something to use. It outgasses for a very long time. Epoxy is the only one to use.

Total Boat is about the cheapest brand of epoxy. It is a lot thicker than most brands. If you want a smooth finish you will need to sand.
Here is my build.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=67073
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:50 am

Philip wrote:Poly resin is not something to use. It outgasses for a very long time. Epoxy is the only one to use.

Total Boat is about the cheapest brand of epoxy. It is a lot thicker than most brands. If you want a smooth finish you will need to sand.



I'm not shy of sanding... I am not looking for show car quality finish, but I don't want to look like a dust bowl refugee either...
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:00 pm

Philip wrote:Poly resin is not something to use. It outgasses for a very long time. Epoxy is the only one to use.

Total Boat is about the cheapest brand of epoxy. It is a lot thicker than most brands. If you want a smooth finish you will need to sand.



Just looked up at the availability of this. They have 2 different hardeners for it, there is the slow and fast hardener. Not sure which one to use.

At the gallon size, they seem to go for about $125.00 / kit. How much resin would a typical foamie, let's say a teardrop, use?
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby Philip » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:44 am

If you look at my 1st camper build. I used about 1.5 gallons. That was just the outside, no inside glass work. The glass work inside the lower frame work was a gallon. That was a practice area. Having never done epoxy glass work before I needed somewhere to practice.

The fast hardener is what you want. In a 70 degree shop you have about 30 minutes work time. It the temps are higher use the slow hardener.

Do not use a roller to apply this epoxy on the first coat. It is thick. It will roll the fiberglass up on the roller. Just use a brush to apply. Sand to smooth as you can get. Then apply next coat with a squeegee.

My camper was outside width of 7'4", long was 7'4", camper body was 4' tall. The top was 8" tall
Here is my build.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=67073
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:14 pm

Philip wrote:If you look at my 1st camper build. I used about 1.5 gallons. That was just the outside, no inside glass work. The glass work inside the lower frame work was a gallon. That was a practice area. Having never done epoxy glass work before I needed somewhere to practice.

The fast hardener is what you want. In a 70 degree shop you have about 30 minutes work time. It the temps are higher use the slow hardener.

Do not use a roller to apply this epoxy on the first coat. It is thick. It will roll the fiberglass up on the roller. Just use a brush to apply. Sand to smooth as you can get. Then apply next coat with a squeegee.

My camper was outside width of 7'4", long was 7'4", camper body was 4' tall. The top was 8" tall


So a W.A.G. for resin for my camper design, which is effectively 82" wide, 10' long, and 54" tall from bedrail to roof would be approx 6 gallons, for inside and outside. Fair enough.

That helps me figure out required budget of the build.

It looks like the OTI Epoxy Fiberglass Resin 1.5gallon kit with hardener is about 2/3 the price of the Total Marine kit. So 4 @ 89.99 to get 6 gallons of resin / hardener.

Still considerably more than PMF, but it alleviates the concerns I have with PMF durability, and poly resin offgassing.

I need to figure on stringers / reinforcing members to hold things like windows, the AC, door, attachment points for the awnings and support members for the ceiling and overcab storage area. Most specifically, what sort of wood to use, and how to properly treat it to prevent water intrusion and rot.

I have to apologize ahead of time, I probably tend to overdesign and overanalyze things. I only want to do this project once and be done with it, not have an ongoing maintenance headache, or regrets for not doing this or that...
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby Philip » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:41 am

I would suggest rethinking the hard mounted A/C. Any type of A/C mounted into a trailer or truck might give off enough vibrations and sound to keep you awake. The A/C setting on the ground attached by hoses will keep those type of vibrations out of the sleeping area.

The only place you will need wood is for mounting points. Window opening, door opening, bed mounting rail, cab overhang area. With glass you are putting a hard shell around the foam. That will provide all the stiffness you need in the most part.
Here is my build.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=67073
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby GPW » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:01 am

small QUOTE : “ the concerns I have with PMF durability” ... DB, 6+ years in the southern Louisiana Sun and rain … still in great shape … :thumbsup:
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:24 pm

GPW wrote:small QUOTE : “ the concerns I have with PMF durability” ... DB, 6+ years in the southern Louisiana Sun and rain … still in great shape … :thumbsup:


What kind of load / use are you putting it to? My intended use is off road and while I doubt the PMF will support my weight, ever, I will be having the overcab to support misc gear such as chairs, sleeping bags etc...
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby RJ Howell » Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:45 pm

dbhosttexas wrote:
GPW wrote:small QUOTE : “ the concerns I have with PMF durability” ... DB, 6+ years in the southern Louisiana Sun and rain … still in great shape … :thumbsup:


What kind of load / use are you putting it to? My intended use is off road and while I doubt the PMF will support my weight, ever, I will be having the overcab to support misc gear such as chairs, sleeping bags etc...


Okay, I'm lost again. PMF or fiberglass over foam is not a structural element as is steel, aluminum or wood. These do not compare. As for a overhang supporting weight, I would not rely on either alone. As for over foam we're dealing with esthetics', not structural weight.

What I found in a foam build was adding my 1/4" plywood gave it so much strength. As far as holding body weight over the cab, probably not. That would take additional elements. Some sort of skelton framng.

The choice of PMF or fiberglass is not one of structural on a supporting cargo or bodies, yet one of cosmetic's and final look. Both will support snow, wind or rain.

Are you still thinking of building with foam? If so I'd think the flexibility of the foam compared to the skin material. Do you really want a hard skin on a flexible base?
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby wysedav » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:25 pm

For epoxy help I'd do some research into strip canoe or kayak building. They are experts on techniques for laying down epoxy and fiberglass with minimal/no sanding. There are many videos. I'd get the slow hardener if I were you. The trick is to make small batches, pour it onto the glass and spread it tight with the squeegee. You don't want any extra resin, after it hardens, you should be able to feel the weave. Second coat fills the weave. If you get runs on the vertical surfaces use a razor blade to scrape them, don't sand. Do the scraping as soon as it's hard enough, so the job isn't too hard.

Good Luck
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:37 pm

RJ Howell wrote:
dbhosttexas wrote:
GPW wrote:small QUOTE : “ the concerns I have with PMF durability” ... DB, 6+ years in the southern Louisiana Sun and rain … still in great shape … :thumbsup:


What kind of load / use are you putting it to? My intended use is off road and while I doubt the PMF will support my weight, ever, I will be having the overcab to support misc gear such as chairs, sleeping bags etc...


Okay, I'm lost again. PMF or fiberglass over foam is not a structural element as is steel, aluminum or wood. These do not compare. As for a overhang supporting weight, I would not rely on either alone. As for over foam we're dealing with esthetics', not structural weight.

What I found in a foam build was adding my 1/4" plywood gave it so much strength. As far as holding body weight over the cab, probably not. That would take additional elements. Some sort of skelton framng.

The choice of PMF or fiberglass is not one of structural on a supporting cargo or bodies, yet one of cosmetic's and final look. Both will support snow, wind or rain.

Are you still thinking of building with foam? If so I'd think the flexibility of the foam compared to the skin material. Do you really want a hard skin on a flexible base?


I need to dig up the specs on it, but I know that properly resined fiberglass cured will bear a considerable load and is structural in nature. You see this quite often with fiberglass over foam boat building, but you ALSO tend to see a lot of wood stringers, a skeletal structure in fiberglass / no foam boat construction.

I'm seeing more and more info on the builds, and mind you, part of this project will have to be, because I am married, met with the aesthetic approval of my wife. That is going to be the tough nut to crack for sure... We are painting the living room and she is driving me nuts over paint drips...

Just how flexible is foam once it is bonded to the PMF or Fiberglass skin?

Without a doubt, as the questions get raised, and answered, the design changes... And I am leaning toward the wood / plywood rib skeleton framing, with foam and ? skin over it...

I am not talking about using the overcab as a sleeper by any means, rather as a storage cabinet for things that come out in camp. Bedding, clothing etc... I may house the campers electrical there so support for a small battery bank and inverter would be a good idea...

I do hope I am not confusing too many folks with my confusion. I am just trying to sort it all out.
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