Explorer Pod Build

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

Explorer Pod Build

Postby schaney » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:38 am

It�s time to move from the sketch stage to the build of a new trailer idea of mine. There are a few themes that have bubbled to the top from the feedback on the Explorer Box. First, it looks like a box, hence the name Explorer Box. Second, I don�t want storage shelves, I�d rather use removable storage box to organize my stuff.

For this one I want more of an off-road look to it and of course be Tent Topped. It�s designed with a main rear storage area sized for Arko-Mils lidded storage boxes and a nose box storage area.

Here are sketches of the basic idea.
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I�m building backwards from what most people do. First, I�m building the trailer box on a flat bed trailer I have, then I�ll build the frame. The basic build approach is to create the main box structure, then the rear overhang and access door area; next move to the front, creating the overhang and the nose box. I�ll then build the nose box lid, seal the inside and put the top on. The final step will be to seal the exterior with Durabak.

I began by cutting out the floor. The nose box sides have a 60 degree angle and are set in 1�. The 60 degree angle corresponds to the tongue a-frame braces. Next I added the corner blocks to the floor to which the walls will attach.
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I added the front wall. Before attaching it, I added a portion of the overhang structure. I made the walls 24�, maximizing material usage and providing proper clearance for the Arko-Mils storage boxes I plan on using
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Here is a close up of the front overhang partial built.
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Here is a close up of the corner blocks
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That's it for now ...
Scott
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Postby schaney » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:42 am

Next I added the side walls. Wherever I have exterior wall joints that needed to be smoothed out I glued them in place with thickened epoxy. The epoxy seals the edge grain of the plywood, fills any gaps and is waterproof. For all other gluing I use Titebond III.
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When ripping full sheets of plywood down to size and cutting angles, a lot of time I just use a straight edge and circular saw.
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Postby Miriam C. » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:42 am

:applause: :thumbsup: This is a great concept and build. Now I think I am gonna nag you to build a normal Teardrop. Gotta feeling it would be fantastic. 8)
“Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.â€
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Postby schaney » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:07 am

Miriam, Thanks ... I do have some ideas for a hardsided tiny trailer. If (OK, when I finally build one) it will have more of a Grasshopper influenced shape than a traditional Teardrop shape.
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Postby schaney » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:39 am

Now I moved to the back for working on the rear / access door area. This is one area I wanted to get away from the basic box shape by having a sloped back and angled corner.

I started by making and adding a portion of the rear overhang
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Then I added the main rear panels, they have a 10 degree angle to them.
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To do the corners I used a tape and glue method. The angle pieces are cut to size, shaped and then taped in place. On the inside fillets of thickened epoxy are applied to the edges. This glues the piece in place and provides a radius so the fiberglass cloth will lay flat. Once the fillets get to the tacky stage, I epoxy fiberglass reinforcement in place.
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While the epoxy was curing I added the door side wings and taper panel above the door area.
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Postby onemanbander » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:08 pm

I love your explorer boxes, I may ultimately find myself building one of these instead of a teardrop...

Quick question-
What advantages do you find with the rooftop tents over a traditional grounded tent?
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Postby schaney » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:45 pm

Thanks Onemanbander, The main advantages from my perceptive are:

- Instant open design, you simply remove the cover and pull it open. No assembling and threading poles, no stakes or guide-lines to trip over.

- The built-in flat sleeping surface translates into no clearing rocks and branches or digging and grading out a level spot. Anywhere you can pull in; you can have a flat, level sleeping surface.

- Getting off the ground moves you out of the critter zone. No more surprise visitors like coons, skunks, snakes and ants in your tent.

- In rainy conditions, no more worrying about the strange “natural attraction” run-off has for ground tents or digging protective moats.

- Tents stay cleaner when off the ground and out of the dirt. Have you ever setup camp in the dark only to be dealing with the mess of an old fire pit too close to your tent in the morning?
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Postby onemanbander » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:36 am

Now then... let me play the devils advocate and ask - have you discovered any disadvantages to the roof-top tent as opposed to the ground?

The two that strike me right away are 1) getting in and out and 2) cost.
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Postby schaney » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:16 am

When compared to a large cabin tent, one trade-off is you can't standup to change in a Tent Unit of this style, although this is the case with many dome style ground tents also. I'm actually designing a Trailer Top Tent with an integrated changing room to deal with this.

IMHO getting in and out is easy.

Yes they do cost more than most ground tents. Now to be fair, if you compare one to a tent of similar grade fabric, the gap is less. Also take into account they come with a nice foam mattress. When it comes to cost, from my perceptive, you balance needs / features and decide what is right for you. Another exampe is TV's, my 10 year old 21" is fine for me, although I know many people who "can't live without" their 60" flat screen, I would never spend my money that way.
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Postby schaney » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:13 am

Next I moved to front for adding the nose box walls. I started by fitting the walls, then flipping the box on it’s side so I could install the corner blocks for mounting the walls.
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Then I built and installed the vertical area under the front overhang where the nose box hinge will mount.
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Then using thicken epoxy, I glued the side and front walls in place.
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Postby schaney » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:04 am

Next I sealed the interior floors with a penetrating epoxy called CPES.
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While that was drying, I added the corner blocks around the top of the main and nose box and did a pass of filling screw holes and gaps with thickened epoxy.
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Postby dsmith » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:10 am

I like the idea behind your explorer box, I considered something similar with the roof mounted tent, but opted for storage and multi-tasking instead.
Q; how do you weather seal your doors?
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Postby schaney » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:44 am

Dsmith, I normally make doors flush and use a D-type seal in a channel cut into 1x2 stock. I've also used aluminum L-channel for holding the seal.
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Lately been testing a ribbed and D-type with a wing seal, they seem to seal a little better than a D-type.
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Postby dsmith » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:53 am

Thanks for tip!
I not sure where I'm going to land with mine.
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Postby mikeschn » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:37 pm

We need to see more progress. It's been a whole day since your last post. Where are the new pics? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Seriously though, it's looking good!

Mike...
The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten, so build your teardrop with the best materials...
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