My version of a teardrop

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

My version of a teardrop

Postby Weirdnerd » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:43 pm

It all started on a trip to lake McConaughy in Nebraska, we were lured by a friend who had a sailboat with the promise of a nice lake, with sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and a nice camping.....everything was true but the wind, the frogs, the huge biting flies, and a massive category five thunderstorm that soaked us inside the tent, my wife said she had it with the tent and unless I find something else to camp, she was out.

Enter internet, I needed something like a popup camper, but my Honda was limited to 400 kg...humm...search search..wait...what was that?...a teardrop camper...humm, looks cool, a little small... I can make it a little different, for the three of us...I may be able to pull that with the honda......here is the story....

First, with my helpful neighbour ( he is a veteran of Craigslist) we found a dilapidated popup camper, the thing towed nice, but ( caveat emptor) when I removed the siding to inspect, it just fell apart like a deck of cards, that made it easy, tear the whole thing apart and sell the metal to fund some of the new material...

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then I started building the floor..... but first , I sanded the whole frame and put a couple of coats of rust stop primer, and a coat of black oil based spray paint...also removed the bumper, that was about one foot longer than what I needed..

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then the vinyl flooring, was on sale at Big lots, 10 bucks a box..only four boxes needed...

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attached the floor to the frame with 10 1/2 inch diameter hardened steel bolts, that is going nowhere...

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then I got creative with the cardboard, make a template for the walls....that was something actually funny....


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With the templates I made the walls, my wife was almost in tears about the amount of sawdust it generated.....hence " tear drop".

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attaching the walls by myself was worth a comedy video, finally I stuck a couple of screws to the walls, to set them up, measured several times to make sure they were parallel, and at the same location on the frame...fell a couple of times in the ice, and scraped my elbows sort of bad..., another 10 3/8 inch diameter hardened bolts there....

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after that, I started the internal skins, lots of glue and brass nails ( like the ones they use for boats).

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painted the whole bulkhead interiors with elastomeric roofing paint, to prevent dry rot.... ( the floor got the same treatment, all inside and outside)

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then...insulation, 1.5 inch styrofoam, set with silicone on the edges, to prevent rubbing and squeaky noises....

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Then the exterior plywood ( Luan,) 1/4 inch thick....

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after that, I set to build the clam shell....

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The interior bunk...on top of the wheel wells...

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the window...it's 3/8 of an inch thick on a 3/4 birch plywood frame, routed to fit the window flush...

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after that I started to build the cabinets, with some nice pine obtained from "Alley mart"...somebody was dumping a water bed, and the wooden frame was excellent for my purposes....

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the sink is a stainless steel kitchen bowl, from wally martinez, 7 bucks flat, beats having to pay 120 dollars for an RV sink...a dremel tool was good enough to trim the hole for the drain...

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Then played a little to install the shock struts...

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and coated liberally with several coats of Exterior polyurethane, to seal the whole thing up, after that, my neigbor let me use his garage to pait the exterior with marine paint, color chosen by my wife ( I wanted white)

:cry:

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had to install one of those fancy " make a breeze" fans, they work nice....

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Recycled airplane reading lights...

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custom made switch plate for the lights and the fan...

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Power inverter and 12/110 v outlets...


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Finished the kitchen...

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The interior...

sleeps 3, and it's something very comfortable, even my wife is surprised ( she is my resident QA)

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on my first move, I banged my hand quite painfully between the trailer hitch and a tree...

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I went to weigh it...surprise!..1740 lbs...almost 1000 pounds more than I was thinking....( In my defense, I just winged it, no plans whatsoever, so my imaginary weight didn't stand a chance against real world weights...)

so I had to buy a truck that could pull it...

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and search for a tow hitch on a junk yard...

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took me a couple of hours to make the pig tail and wire the truck for the trailer lights...

and that weekend we went camping....everything was like " test for problems"...but everything worked as advertised


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and the first coffee from the kitchen tasted like accomplishment!..

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so far we have gone five times camping with it, and I am feeling quite happy of having decided to build the teardrop....I may have to build another in the future....I have learned a lot during this adventure.
Last edited by Weirdnerd on Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
This is my build thread...
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Welcome, Nice Build !!!

Postby down under tech » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:40 pm

Weirdnerd: Dang, You are an extremely super fast builder. You did this all in one day ??? I am dumbfounded at the speed you work at... LOL. I have seen many builds done using old pop ups. Yours is as good of a build I have seen. Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting your build here.
We all love to see builds as they progress and yours is no exception. :thumbsup:
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Postby Weirdnerd » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:47 pm

Not one day, but six months, cold has this effect to make you want to do things as fast as possible to go back inside...hehehe, and having 1 gb of pictures to give you ideas, has its benefits.
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Postby CliffinGA » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:46 pm

Very nice tear Weirdnerd!!! :applause: :applause:

Cliff :thumbsup:
In God we trust, shoot the rest and he will sort out!

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Postby Sam I am » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:24 pm

Very nice teardrop! I like the shape, and it looks quite roomy and bright inside. I would add a stripe or some graphics on the sides to break up all that white. Just a thought. Good work, enjoy it!
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Postby Weirdnerd » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:44 pm

I will have to either remake another clam shell, or build up my mistake with fiberglass, I had the dreaded " spring back" on the shell, there is a .75 of an inch gap at the bottom part of it, I used rubber strips to tame it a bit, but it makes my eyes twitch when I see it... :oops:

Instead of using 1 inch oak as I wanted at the beginning, I used a sandwich of 2 pieces of 3/4" oak plywood ( thought it was better and it was way cheaper), well, the plywood acted as a bow with the plywood skin, and flexed the whole thing almost an inch out of shape....

My wife had a bunch of bumper stickers that she wanted to use, so we are covering the kitchen door with them, some are fun, some are already fading....luckily there is a "goof off" type of gel that removes sticker glue safely, and won't damage the paint.
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Postby TheOtherSean » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:34 pm

Nice teardrop! Is that Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in your camping photos?
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Postby Weirdnerd » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:44 pm

Yup. indeed, we also went to Sedalia, Colorado, the Upper Arkansas river headwaters, and Pike national forest, my wife has had several life threatening surgeries, and recently she is in better shape, so we are using the teardrop to go places she haven't been able in more than ten years. And surprisingly, she is not complaining about it :lol:
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Postby jss06 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:47 pm

:applause: Excellent work. Hope mine turns out that nice.
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Postby Senior Ninja » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:03 pm

You might be a "Weirdnerd," to others, but here you are a hero.
That's one beautiful teardrop!
I'm glad you've taken so many pictures.
Let the good memories begin.
Steve
Building the TD was the best thing I ever made.
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Postby tearhead » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:33 pm

Beautiful! Love your switchplates! :thumbsup:
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Postby MKE_Tear » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:45 pm

Very nice job -- super impressive!!
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Postby Weirdnerd » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:51 pm

Thanks!, Im planning on taking more pictures, as there are lots of small details that are not seen on the pics, for example, the door is a double pane, the right size to haul my tool box to job sites (hehehe..utilitarian) one door opens fine for normal use, the other opens with a couple of door latches, behind that door there is a shelf for the heater/DVD player and two bags to store small items, like keys, flashlights, sunglasses...the wheel wells double as storage for non essential stuff, also the windows are totally scratch made, all in all, spending it was quite frugal.

My main goal was having the family together, and the " Pihuicho-1" is doing it well.
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Postby teardrop_focus » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:17 am

When I saw the words "Honda", "400 kg" and saw the first bit-O-build, I was skeptical... but you did weigh it then bought the appropriate tow vehicle.

Your build is most sound, watertight, sleeps three comfortably, and MOST OF ALL your wife isn't complaining.

Your mission, sir, is a success! and I applaud you.

:applause: :lol: :thumbsup:

Very well done, sir, and the camping pics you've posted are stunning. What a beautiful place...

:campfire:
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The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away like autumn leaves..." - John Muir, 1898


Chris Squier / teardrop_focus :-)~
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Postby Weirdnerd » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:41 am

For some odd reason, after working on composites almost four years, I tend to underestimate the weight of most other materials :oops:
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