Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby rowerwet » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:55 pm

Having a tear is great, I still do at least one trip a year canoe camping, unless I figure out an easy way to put the tear on floats, I will still be tent camping.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:02 pm

rowerwet wrote:Having a tear is great, I still do at least one trip a year canoe camping, unless I figure out an easy way to put the tear on floats, I will still be tent camping.


I used to live in Minnesota and could get up to the BWCA at least a couple times a year for canoe camping. Now I'm in WI so it's quite a drive just to get there. Plenty of lakes and rivers in WI to explore. Some quality snowshoe-in winter camping nearby too.

I coated the bottom of the platform with roof coating. I did it outside in the cold because of the fumes. Even at about 20F it has started to dry. I thought I'd have to set up a tent and a heater to get it to dry. I have the 2" or so on the sides uncoated for adhering the body canvas.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:16 pm

The bottom coating is mostly dry so I flipped the platform and covered the bottom with heavy muslin which is similar in weight to light canvas but with a finer weave. The stuff I used is only 45" wide so it doesn't overlap the canvas glued around the perimeter. Glue would not flow through the muslin easily so I applied it by rolling on TB2 onto the wood and unrolled the muslin onto the wet glue. Then I stuck down the center by rolling another coat of glue onto the muslin and worked my way out to the edges in a "V" pattern, rolling on more glue and smoothing out the muslin as I went. Finally, I rubbed down the cloth with my hand to make sure it was stuck and to squeeze out any excess glue or air bubbles. I was working with about 2 feet of cloth at a time.

I figured that now would be a good time to cover the bottom rather than waiting until the sides were on. I'll be using the platform as a workbench to work on the sides and build the slide out shelves.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:25 pm

The primary purpose of my trailer is to haul RC planes around. That role depends on making some lightweight but strong, slide out shelves. I'm building a torsion box of 1/8" hardboard faces with 1" x 1.5" wooden frame and 1" EPS foam core. If I could have gotten hollow core doors of the correct size I would have used those.

I tried Weldwood "Non-flammable Contact Cement" to glue the foam to the hardboard. It's supposedly FOR STICKING FOAM to things. I followed the directions on the can and it FAILED COMPLETELY. Even after a second coat it wouldn't stick foam at all! Interestingly, it stuck wood to wood and hardboard to wood just fine.

Plan B is to spread a very light coat of Gorilla Glue on the hardboard, wet it, and hold the foam down with weights.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby rowerwet » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:19 pm

I found adding water to the gg joints caused heavy foaming and swelling, just running a bead of gg and leaving it works fine. Of course I'm in a damp basement, it may depend on your local humidity levels
I would save some money though and do the fabric coating bonding with titebond II, save gg for foam to wood or foam to foam joints..
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:50 pm

rowerwet wrote:I found adding water to the gg joints caused heavy foaming and swelling, just running a bead of gg and leaving it works fine. Of course I'm in a damp basement, it may depend on your local humidity levels
I would save some money though and do the fabric coating bonding with titebond II, save gg for foam to wood or foam to foam joints..


When I say a light coat I mean basically what you can't scrape off the surface with a plastic putty knife. Picture a puddle of GG the size of a quarter spread out to 1 or 2 square feet. Anything more than that is a waste on foam because the foam is so weak. Once it's that thin, you want it to foam up to bond to the foam surface so I spritz it with a mister.

Speaking of TB2 and canvas, I had a test piece of canvas stuck to wood with TB2 and then another piece of canvas glued to it to simulate the bond I'll get around the perimeter of my platform. Bottom line is the canvas to canvas bond is as good or better than the canvas to wood bond. Bonding my wall canvas to the 2" of exposed canvas around the perimeter of the platform should be adequate. (I have already painted the bottom of the platform with roof coating so I can't really wrap the canvas around the bottom.)
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby GPW » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:22 am

"so I can't really wrap the canvas around the bottom.” .... Sure you can , just add more roof coating ... :thinking:
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:10 am

True. I suppose I could unbolt the platform from the trailer and raise it up for the canvasing. Of course, canvasing the edges first and coating the bottom was supposed to avoid that step. I'll have to try using the roof coating as an adhesive for canvas just to see how well it works. I should lift the camper off the trailer to paint that bottom edge, not to mention the trailer itself. I would like to repaint it but that will have to wait for warmer weather.

The way I'm doing things may seem strange but there are reasons. Where I work is in the back of my business where it's warm. But the trailer can't stay there during the day so I drag back to the garage when I done working on it. So glue drying times etc all have to conform to this daily 65F-20F temp swing. (I can't stink up the place either so that also dictates materials and methods.) Also, the platform itself is my flat work bench, so getting it bolted to the frame was necessary.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:45 pm

Here is the first of the shelves. 43" x 84", 1/8" hardboard skins, 1 x 1.5" wood perimeter and cross pieces, gaps filled with 1" foam. Wood to hardboard glued with TB2, foam to hardboard with GG.
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Second skin glued on and trimmed with flush trim router bit.
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I'll let it dry for a couple days and see if it's rigid, and strong enough.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby KCStudly » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:15 pm

It may flex some when you pick it up by just one corner, but once you mount it to your glides that will all be moot. What you have there will absolutely meet your needs, I am sure of that! :applause:
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:08 pm

I need to do some woodworking before I can start assembling the sides. For the Yakima rack supports I'll laminate (2) 1.5" x 2" wood supports with a 3" wide piece of 2" foam between them. When that dries I'll section in a couple plywood plates to bolt the Yakima mounts to. The door frame will be 1.5" thick wood framing with 1/4" plywood inside and out. I leave a lip on the inside for a seal. The door will be 1" thick wood with 1/4' plywood skins. That will give me 1/4" for the seals. One of the Yakima rack mounts will be incorporated into that assembly. I'm thinking of putting Wiley windows on either side. Maybe in the door, maybe not.

I ditched the rear hatch in favor of barn doors as KCStudly suggested. The ease of use trumped any improved aerodynamics (plus only one hurricane hinge required.) Just have to figure out how to mount and hinge them. It would be nice to mount the doors between the sidewalls to get the gap out of the wind while towing.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:41 pm

Here are the supports for the Yakima racks and rear door hinges. I sectioned in two 1/2" plywood plates to bolt the gutter rails to for the Yakima racks. The screws are there to hold them in place while the GG dries. I'll remove the screws so they aren't on the way when I drill for the gutter rail mounts.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:55 pm

I glued together the parts of the left side. I used the trailer platform as my work table. I clamped the parts together by screwing down 2x4's at either end and tapped in wedges to squeeze the parts together. It turned out the extra long side members for use with a bumper came in handy when it was time to clamp everything together.

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While the glue was drying I spent about a half hour steaming the stamped in writing out. The writing was pressed in almost 1/16" and would definitely have shown through the covering. I used a piece of wet cloth and a hot iron. Lay the wet cloth over the writing and press with a hot iron. As long as steam is being formed you're OK. As soon as the cloth starts to dry out the temperature can go up rapidly and melt the foam. The foam will expand back to it's original size and the depressions will be gone (works for dents too.)

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After that I gave it a quick sanding with 80 grit on an RO sander. Then I covered what will be the inside surface with my heavy muslin. I rolled on a coat of TB2 and smoothed out the fabric, then came back with a second coat of TB2, and finally rubbed it down with my hands to get rid of any bubbles or wrinkles. An occasional mist of water kept the surface from getting too sticky. I worked with about two feet of cloth at a time.

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Last edited by Pmullen503 on Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby ghcoe » Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:51 pm

Pmullen503 wrote:While the glue was drying I spent about a half hour steaming the stamped in writing out. The writing was pressed in almost 1/16" and would definitely have shown through the covering. I used a piece of wet cloth and a hot iron. Lay the wet cloth over the writing and press with a hot iron. As long as steam is being formed you're OK. As soon as the cloth starts to dry out the temperature can go up rapidly and melt the foam. The foam will expand back to it's original size and the depressions will be gone (works for dents too.)


Good idea. :thumbsup: I will have to remember that. I filled mine in with spackle. Most where not very deep like yours though luckily. Could be because I had the trailer out in the sun some before painting.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:16 pm

ghcoe wrote:Good idea. :thumbsup: I will have to remember that. I filled mine in with spackle. Most where not very deep like yours though luckily. Could be because I had the trailer out in the sun some before painting.


Raising the depressions turned out to be more important than just for cosmetic reasons. I had a few bubbles when the glue dried and they were where there was a low spot in the foam. I was able to get them mostly stuck back down by applying a hot iron (with the release liner from some UPS sticky label stock to keep the glue off the iron) but the temperature that the glue was reactivated was very close to the melting point of the foam. I got one divot where I let things get too hot and the foam melted underneath. The spots that lifted looked to have less glue so I'll need to keep that in mind when I cover the other side.
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