Poptop with folding hard sides

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Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby msaxton63 » Sun Nov 06, 2022 8:18 am

I'm planning to do a 5x8 foamie 4 foot tall popup roof with folding hard sides of another 24-28" for head room.
I want to do it kind of like the one in this video, but am having a hard time wrapping my brain around how he did it so that the end folding walls come most of the way up when the roof is lifted,,,, any ideas?
https://youtu.be/FCNSqn_NUa0
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby S. Heisley » Sun Nov 06, 2022 8:58 am

It looks like it's done with hinges at the top and bottom. I would make a very small cardboard unit with some hinges to test your design...nothing fancy.
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby msaxton63 » Sun Nov 06, 2022 9:04 am

S. Heisley wrote:It looks like it's done with hinges at the top and bottom. I would make a very small cardboard unit with some hinges to test your design...nothing fancy.

Yes definitely hinges at bottom, but not top, somehow it rolls outward at top as the roof is lifted.
Was thinking maybe some garage door track and wheels in corner, but not sure
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby GTS225 » Sun Nov 06, 2022 9:13 am

msaxton63 wrote:Yes definitely hinges at bottom, but not top, somehow it rolls outward at top as the roof is lifted.
Was thinking maybe some garage door track and wheels in corner, but not sure


I agree. Garage door track and rollers at the top of the end walls. Nice little conversion to eliminate the canvas rot problem.

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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby Pmullen503 » Sun Nov 06, 2022 10:04 am

There are also pistons on the front and rear walls to lift them. You may not even need rollers and tracks if everything is light enough. Note too how the hinge points at the front and rear walls are higher than the side walls so the ends can fold on top of the side walls.

Here's an example where there doesn't appear to be any tracks or rollers: https://youtu.be/mGd2WAWNNB4
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby msaxton63 » Sun Nov 06, 2022 10:39 am

Pmullen503 wrote:There are also pistons on the front and rear walls to lift them. You may not even need rollers and tracks if everything is light enough. Note too how the hinge points at the front and rear walls are higher than the side walls so the ends can fold on top of the side walls.

Here's an example where there doesn't appear to be any tracks or rollers: https://youtu.be/mGd2WAWNNB4

Ah yes, I did miss the difference in height of the walls, makes perfect sense for folding ease.
I guess if the end walls are in a track with wheels, as the roof is lifted they would have no choice but to follow the track most of the way.
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby S. Heisley » Sun Nov 06, 2022 9:52 pm

You're right. No hinges up top.

The video below may help a bit more as you can see if from the inside and when it's folded back down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-1JsqdUPqU

And, here are two more videos that show even more. It may just be strong gas struts that lift the end walls.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7zPaey3ayM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAS-uUpGuAM (part 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbbQdg1jROM (part 2)

That's a pretty innovative trailer, especially for the 1980's! (But a lot of work and you'll notice he needed a helper, when folding it down.)
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby msaxton63 » Mon Nov 07, 2022 7:03 am

Nice, thanks for posting the videos. Mine would be significantly smaller and more simplistic, and with 4 foot high lower walls i won't need to have any folding lower cabinets, might have a few small upper cabinets that would just hang on simple French cleats.
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby RJ Howell » Mon Nov 07, 2022 7:10 am

I also saw this as I researched my lift-top. It has it's plus points as it's a hard side and the sides create the wind support once deployed. Full paneled so minimal leak points. Downside to me is it requires the assisted piston lifts due to weight of panels. You could do foam panels, yet I believe you'd end up gel coating them to stiffen them up enough to operate cleanly.

My thoughts were the E/W panels have standard hinges and the N/S panels have off-set hinges to allow the stacking (or visa versa). I tested this before I built my lift-top and ended up abandoning this system. For me (and I mean what worked better for me) is the Aussie system of a N/S folding hinge (my lift points) and a flip up support on the E/W sides.
I'll continue to search it, but I found someone that did this system as a hard side with folding panels N/S and lifting full panels E/W.

At 2:30 you can see the brace on the east wall and then the folding lift brace on the north wall. As I said, this is an Aussie system that I adapted for my use. No gas pistons or spring assist required.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4byZJ4md04&t=171s

I also decided to go soft side due to the space the stacking would have taken up and deploying from the outside only. My issue my not be yours due to mine is on my truck camper. A towable is easier to work with from the outside..

I will be following your build!
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby Squigie » Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:31 pm

Those trailers are factory built.
If you want English language hits, search for "esterel folding caravan".

I don't like that you cannot open the door with the top stowed.
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby Postal_Dave » Tue Nov 08, 2022 2:58 am

I came up with a two paragraph response on how I believe this camper's walls fold down and yada, yada,yada. Then I thought, I'm sure that the good people on the Esterel Facebook Group would be glad to tell you. :lol:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/150260614996771/
Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby msaxton63 » Tue Nov 08, 2022 4:10 am

Squigie wrote:Those trailers are factory built.
If you want English language hits, search for "esterel folding caravan".

I don't like that you cannot open the door with the top stowed.


I had a tent camper before and we could open the door on that one by just popping the corner latch closet to door and lifting just a little. I think that could work the same on this one, the only time we had to do that was to load last minute items,
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby Squigie » Tue Nov 08, 2022 10:51 am

Aye.
I am aware of designs that 'lock' the door with the top down. But none of the pop up tent trailers that I have owned have been like that.
The current one did not allow the door to open without lifting the top slightly, when we bought it. But I quickly discovered that it was a hinge alignment issue, combined with an improperly aligned striker plate that was lifting the door when latched.

I have a large, noticeable scar on my belly from that door. Lifting the top (very heavy /w no handles) and swinging the door when on a slope was not always easy, and it managed to take flesh one day during loading in the driveway.
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby dbhosttexas » Thu Nov 10, 2022 8:42 am

I'm a little thick in the head here so please explain are you trying to get it to where the door can open without the top up or with the top partially up? I know on rigs like the Aliner the door will open with the top partially up to allow you to be able to go into the camper and push the roof pieces and sides into place.
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Re: Poptop with folding hard sides

Postby msaxton63 » Thu Nov 10, 2022 10:28 am

I took the sidewalls off leaving just the first board all around in case I need to use it until I get started on the build.
The trailer has an inverted aluminum pan floor that i was going to remove, but now realize that it is pretty much integrated and connected to the framework. It does have some gaps and has settled some throughout the middle but its all still solidly attached. Being that its aluminum there really can't be a whole lot of weight to it, so now I'm kind of thinking I might leave it be and build on top of it.
I do plan on going wider with the build most of the way over the wheel wells(welding or bolting some supports to the side rails)
I had some pics but don't know how to put them on here?

If I build my floor on top of it all, suggestions for insulated floor? Foam board sandwich?
Last edited by msaxton63 on Thu Nov 10, 2022 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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