Climber's Teardrop Build

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

Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby friz » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:46 pm

Our coolers tend to live in our tow vehicle. Snacks and beverages for day adventures.

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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby dvdpeiro » Wed Jul 28, 2021 8:37 am

Yes Toni, that is the plan now, only green cooler. I had both so I thought I would make it fit either, but the white one is too big.

I have been sporadically working on the TD and haven't posted regularly as I intended, but I have taken pictures to document the process. Here is an update:

Here is the board attached with pocketholes

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And then I cut another piece of 1/2'' plywood to make the countertop and shelf in the cab

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Once I was happy with the size, I added some edge banding with solid maple to the galley side, and to the cabin side I added a lip to hold anything that goes on the shelf.

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Here it is varnished and pit in place

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I cut some extra framing to support the countertop on the ends, and screwed it in place with pocketholes. The screws help clamp the frame to the inside of the wall while the glue dries as well.

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Next I decided where I wanted the partition to be, this determines counter and shelf depth as well as how deep the cabinets can be and how much room they will take up. I added framing the same way I did for the countertop, but vertical.

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Using the finished cooler drawer and slides, I could screw in the partition for the galley under the counter. Then I installed the drawer and tested the cooler on it. It opens fully and works well. My only worry is it might drag when the cooler is full since it is quite heavy. might need to reinforce the slides or come up wih something else if it is a problem. We shall see...

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Next I finished up the framing around the window and fan

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Finally I can put in the ceiling! I varnished a sheet of 1/8'' plywood and ripped it to the correct width (about 46'') and shoved it in from above the galley walls. It was surprisingly easy, as all I had to do was push until the end slotted in the lip of the framing at the head of the cabin. Then more pushing made it tight against the studs across the roof. I saw I would have a gap, but it ends up being inside the cabinets, so the seam won't even be too visible.

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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby dvdpeiro » Wed Jul 28, 2021 8:58 am

Cont:

Bob helped out while I cut out the openings with a flush trim bit in the router. I also added rounded corners to the framing of the window.
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Now I am ready to start on the cabinets inside the cabin. I will only make the base, since that determines where I need framing in the walls. But since I am sort of in a time crunch before I have to leave for my internship, I will finish the cabinets after the TD is road worthy and "finished". So here I am adding framing to screw the base of the cabinets into. I made a frame (ooooh cherry! fancy) and a base from 1/4'' plywood. This is very lightweight and quite strong enough to hold some shirts and towels.

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In the middle of the shelf I want outlets to charge phones and this makes it a convenient central spot to have wiring. So I made this prototype box to make sure everything fit in a compact space as possible. I will have the fuse box, two 110 outlets, three usb charging ports, and a switch in this box.

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Happy with the dimensions and layout, I cut the holes for the galley outlets on the partition. I got a bit of chipout on the plywood, but I just glued it back and it's not visible.

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I made the box out of wood, here it is varnished and ready for installation of components:

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Now I could cut the lid from the base of the cabinets. I used my circular saw since it has a thin kerf. I was able to do a plunge cut and since the wood is so thin, I didn't get dramatic cuts where the blade radius over-cuts.

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Then the box is installed, and a pipe I found laying around was cut to size to allow wires to go down to the box from the roof. I attached it to the wall with a bracket, pocket hole screwed into the wall. This worked amazing, and the pocket holes are hardly visible as the pipe runs through them. I also installed all the components I could before putting in the box. I found I could fit the fuse box on the side instead of the lid, so I did that to keep things simple.

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On a tangent, I installed the coat hangers by adding a small support to the wall.

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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby dvdpeiro » Wed Jul 28, 2021 9:15 am

Cont'd

Between steps I have been cutting foam and fitting it to the walls and roof. I just used a utility blade knife and it worked ok. quite a messy process... I also routed channels for wiring in the studs, and cut slots in the foam as well. One of the last thinks that needs support in the roof is the cabin ceiling light. I positioned it inside, and drilled where the mounting holes are. Then I put some strips of wood and screwed them in place from the inside, clamping them down and letting the glue dry. I also drilled a hole for wiring to come out of.

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I measured how much wire I needed to reach each location, and fed them through the pipe to the box. This was REALLY tight, I could not put in another wire if I wanted to. But anyway, I got it done. Then I wired everything up to the fuse box.

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Finally I ran all the wires and put them in their grooves, held down with some tape. Note I also used some points to hold down the foam in the curved areas. This worked great! I already had this point driver for making picture frames, and it was way better than the tape I had tried to use before.

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I also installed a switch above each door for a porch light. I didn't get any pictures but it was straightforward.
Next I put up more 1/8'' plywood on the side and traced the shape. With this I could rough cut it on the ground, and make glue-up easier.

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Leaning weight on the walls made some clamping pressure in the center, so the studs would glue to it better.

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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby dvdpeiro » Wed Jul 28, 2021 9:40 am

Cont'd

Now I can glue the roof! I set a sheet of 1/8'' plywood on the roof and clamped it. I aligned the edge at the galley wall, and saw that it would reach all the way to the bottom of the window. This was good as I had gluing surface for the end of this sheet, and the additional piece needed.

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Then I applied glue to the frame, and placed the sheet the same way I have above, and added ratchet straps to press it down. They were just long enough and worked quite well. I added some wedges under them to increase and focalize the clamping pressure on the studs where it was not getting great contact. I also cut holes in the openings to add clamps and make sure it glued down well in those areas.

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Nice! Now I can start on PMF!!! My girlfriend helped me roll on Titebond 2 wood glue to the side. We had to iron the canvas sheet as it was way too creased. Then we folded it and just set it on top of the TD waiting for the glue to be applied. Once ready, we just unfolded the canvas down the wall and it stuck well. Then pulling creases away was quite easy, actually. I'm quite happy with this process so far.

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Tada!! I trimmed the edges 1.5'' and glued it on the roof. This will be the overlap with the top canvas and prevent water getting through. The bottom had a sort of skirt as well. This was a bit trickier to cut flush, but worked out ok. Note that the floor already has PMF wrapping around the bottom.

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The top was easier to do in terms of applying glue as it is a more horizontal surface and you can pour it on. But it was awkward reaching, and putting the canvas on (this time alone) was a bit more tricky, but still quite easy. I was lazy and didn't measure or test the canvas size, and turned out it was too short. HF sells longer canvases so this seam could have been avoided. But I just patched it with some scrap from the walls. It will be concealed by the tongue box anyway.

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I let that set, and proceeded to size the canvas. I did water down the glue this time. Not an exact amount, I just poured some glue and then added some water. I was aiming for 80% glue 20% water. This made it go a bit longer and made it easier to apply and soak in the canvas. The whole PMF took about a gallon and a half of glue, maybe a bit less.

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Trimming the extra canvas was easy after sizing. The glue made the fabric stiff, and a utility knife nearly glides as it cuts it. The galley area will be visible, so I was extra careful to get it nice and flush there.

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Finally, bringing you up to date, I started on the galley hatch. I traced the curve on a piece of cardboard, and then offset it by 3 inches to get the inside radius. I cut it by hand at the bandsaw, but it came out way too wavy. So I cut another piece and tried my best on the inside corner, as I didn't know how to get it any better. But for the outside radius I clamped it in place and flush trimmed it to the shape of the TD. This worked ok. When I was happy, I cut three more and refined them on the router with a flush trim bit and copied the shape of the one I just made. Here they are mocked into position

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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby Bezoar » Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:09 am

It's really coming along and looking great! You'll be camping in it in no time!
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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby dvdpeiro » Sat Jul 31, 2021 8:29 pm

A couple days ago I started gluing and screwing the galley frame together. This was a bit awkward to get started since everything is so curvy. Nevertheless I persevered! The cross members are pocket-hole screwed in place.

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One of the cross members needed a notch cut since it hit the divider in the galley. Now it sits well without hitting anything. I shim it in place to test the fit.

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At first the top plate was square on the top edge. this was a mistake as the hinge wouldn't have anything to go into, so I needed to cut another one with an angle to imitate the curve of the TD. Here it is properly angled. I had to take it off again tho, to trim it a bit more as originally it was butted up against the wall. Now i have a 1/4'' spacer to account for the thickness of the hurricane hinge.

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The issue now is that when the hinge goes in, the cabin side will be fine, but the hatch side is not 90 degrees, because of the angle. this creates a gap where it needs to screw into the hatch. I thought of ways to fix it, and the best solution I could come up with was cut a wedge that would fill that gap. I just placed a piece of scrap behind it and traced the angle. Then I cut a piece of maple to the right angle and glued it on. now the hinge fits good enough so I can proceed. Here is the gap I was talking about:

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Next I cut and glue the skin on the frame. this was a bit awkward as well, but I got er done. I then trimmed the edges with a flush trim bit.

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PMF going on:
I got it glued down and sized in one day.

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I had made a hole on the outside wall to feed wire to the "porch light" over each door, so I found them and cut the canvas around them. I fished the wires out of the first one, but on the second hole, when I pulled the wire, it came off the switch it was soldered to. Shoot.

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This switch was *inside* the wall, so the only way to access it was to cut a hole in the inside wall. I did this with a utility knife. I decided to give up on the mini toggle switches I got. They are cute but the terminals are just tiny little posts that you solder to. But the heat from my soldering iron kept damaging and melting the switches, the wires wouldn't stick... just a nightmare. I went to Menard's and got some proper switches with screw terminals. they had to be low profile as I only have 3/4'' of room in the wall. Well 7/8'' now that i cut a hole in the wall. I wired everything up and went to make some plates to install the switch on, and cover the hole I had made. I had some thin cherry in my scrap drawer that I used as it will match the cabinets later on. I was going to make a simple square plate with rounded corners and screw it to the mounting points for the porch light. But while laying out the corner radius, I thought I could make it a bit more interesting... So a bit of time later I ended up with these TD "easter egg" switch plates!

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Finally, I made sure the doors fit. They had some screw tips poking out the side from the lock mechanism which I had to grind down. I also removed one screw from each side on the bottom plate since the head protruded and wouldn't let the door go in the wall. For the other screw down there I just notched the outside of the wall, as this would be covered by the flange on the outside.

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Now I think I will install the hatch with the hinge, to make sure it works. But then I am ready to paint!!!! After that I can trim the hatch, install doors, fan, and window, and hit the road! Very excited.
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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby dvdpeiro » Tue Oct 19, 2021 6:02 am

I stopped posting in order to rush the tear drop along before an internship would pull me away from the build. At this point (10-19-21) it is mostly finished but I took pictures along the way to show the process.

I fit the hinge and I was happy with the action. It opens and closes. So I taped off the galley inside edges and gave it 3 coats of white exterior latex paint over the glued canvas.

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Put the hatch on and lay down some tape to make a chevron like design in the back. I have seen some old trailers with a similar design I wanted to imitate. Looks mildly Marlboro packet but oh well haha.

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Installed the porch light fixtures, dropped in the fan from the top and added the trim:

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Take the tape off and it is quite a crisp line. time to add the doors

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Adding the aluminum to the hatch was a bit tricky, specially with only one person. Also the screws holes I made ended up being right in the seam where the 1/8'' plywood meets the frame of the hatch so the screws were going into iffy wood... But I kept working it until it did fit well enough. Butyl tape helps hold it and keep it watertight.

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Here is the gap I am left with. I went back and countersunk the screws on the bottom trim piece further since they were hitting the threshold. This helped, but the top of the hatch had very tight contact, and the bottom was still quite wide. I should have gotten an offset hinge since my design didn't include an offset for gasketing material to go in. I ended up fixing this later.

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I installed the tongue box by cutting a piece of plywood that fits on the bottom. this lets me screw things in directly to it. It is bolted to the frame with two big bolts.

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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby dvdpeiro » Tue Oct 19, 2021 6:42 am

Now I drilled a hole in the back of the tongue box to feed wires through. A grommet protects the wires from the metal edges. Here is the main wire to the fuse box, the 120v wire, and the wire for solar that ends in the fan housing. I also added a piece of mdf I had laying around, stuck with vhb tape. This will let me mount the battery charger/maintainer and any solar controller or whatnots.

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Now I had run out of time and I am headed out to Spain to visit family, so I put away the TD and to my delight it fits in the garage with all the cars, so I do not need to find a storage place elsewhere!

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We had fun in Spain, we even got to do some climbing in the form of via ferrata.

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But when we got back, I had 2 days to make this thing road worthy or I won't be able to use it in a while since I will be out on an internship for a while... Lucky it only really needs the window installed. Kendall helped push while I screwed it in place.

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Now it is road ready. Still a lot to do, but we can sleep in it! A few pics of the first and second camping trips on it.

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It's so narrow and little!

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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby dvdpeiro » Tue Oct 19, 2021 7:25 am

I don't have a picture of the face frame I made for the cabinets. It is just pocket holed together and made of 1/2'' cherry. For the cabinet doors I used a half lap and recessed plywood panels from leftover 1/8'' plywood.

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I find myself using every clamp I own surprisingly often...

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Here are the doors installed with both lighting options, overhead bright light and the string lights I installed. The door pulls are actually climbing hangers, they go on bolts placed in the rock and is where you attach a carabiner and your rope.

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On the first trip we encountered some rain, and it made it into the galley. The gap is uneven and needs to be fixed. I bought an $8 piece of flat bar aluminum 1/4'' thick and 6ft long. cut it to size and glued it with construction adhesive to the underside of the roof-side hinge. This opens up a gap near the top and closes down the gap near the bottom. It worked great. I had to get some thicker gasketing material but it has now been in some light shower and it water did not intrude. Removing the hinge was quite hard with the butyl tape. I had to be careful not to bend it too much and I did rip the canvas a little bit in one spot and pulled up the plywood in another. It is all fixed now but that stuff is tough... I will post more pictures of the gap and hinge installed when I am back.

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At this point we have been going on weekend trips quite regularly and enjoying the TD in perfect Fall weather. We stay warm at night and it is a massive improvement over tent camping for so many reasons...

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In these trips I noticed the tongue jack tends to kick out from the weight. It was bending the frame member. I opted to weld a support right in between the brackets of the jack. this worked to stiffen it up and it doesn't kick out much at all anymore. It was hard to weld overhead with my old stick welder. It turns out molten metal is molten and likes to drip on your face or explode on the ground into millions of molten metal pellets. This can result in brooms catching fire...

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I have now also installed gas springs / struts to hold up the galley hatch. I used the calculator excel file that is on this website and it worked well to take the guess work out of it. I will post pictures when I am back. Next up is furnishing the galley.

One last picture we thought was quite comical of the TD next to a big camper in a barn... If you look closely you can see the tear drop is a bit smaller in comparison.

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Re: Climber's Teardrop Build

Postby western traveler » Tue Oct 19, 2021 8:23 am

David,
Thanks for the update. I checked in a few times to see progress. It looks good. Nice cabinet work!
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