Aluminum Only

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Aluminum Only

Postby Poche29 » Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:59 pm

I am in the planning stages of building my first tear drop. I plan on going with a square drop similar to the hiker trailers but with a 45 degree cut out of the upper front corner. I just bought the steel to weld up the frame and I am planning on welding up a 1" square tube frame for the walls and roof of the trailer. I haven't seen a ton of this but I was thinking of using the composite aluminum sheeting for my walls with no wood. Then putting insulation and some thin plywood or plank on the inside. I wasn't sure if this would be stiff enough though, and that is why I haven't seen much of it. Also, wasn't sure how to attach the aluminum sheeting other than screws similar to a cargo trailer. I figured if this was a good method I would see some people doing it so my main question is why not? Wall strength issues? I am hoping to be one and done on builds.

Thanks in advance, I have enjoyed reading threads so far and have been learning a ton.

Steven
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Re: Aluminum Only

Postby halfdome, Danny » Fri Mar 05, 2021 5:43 pm

The Five Wide teardrop club that use to show up at The Dam Gathering made there’s with just an aluminum skin over steel tubing. Haven’t been to that gathering in years.
It’s at Shasta Dam in central California.
:D Danny
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Re: Aluminum Only

Postby Pmullen503 » Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:27 pm

I have a sample of a composite aluminum sign board material. The stuff I have has aluminum on both sides and a plastic core.

There are adhesives that will bond it to just about anything so minimum fasteners needed. It does not bend easily but an angled design would work. It can be bent if a channel is routed on the back first.

I would not attach it to steel because of galvanic corrosion. If you are careful to avoid any steel to aluminum contact and/or use sacrificial zincs, it could be done. I'd use an tig welded aluminum frame or just use a wood frame. I was thinking of building it inside out. Frame and panel the inside, insulate and run wiring then cover the outside.

I can get it in 5x10 sheets and know a local sign maker who can cut it on his CNC router and has an account with the vendor of this material.
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Re: Aluminum Only

Postby halfdome, Danny » Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:38 pm

Go on YouTube and search for 3M VHB tape.
I understand you could attach the aluminum with VHB tape.
Stronger than fasteners and quieter.
:D Danny
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Re: Aluminum Only

Postby Pmullen503 » Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:02 am

For my application, I plan to use VHB on the corner trim pieces.

For the OP, VHB would be the way to use his welded steel structure with aluminum covering.
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Re: Aluminum Only

Postby Poche29 » Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:06 am

Pmullen503 wrote:For my application, I plan to use VHB on the corner trim pieces.

For the OP, VHB would be the way to use his welded steel structure with aluminum covering.


So do you not plan on having any fasteners then? Only the tape?

I would think having some fasteners on the corner molding that is then covered by the rubber trim piece would give me more piece of mind.
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Re: Aluminum Only

Postby Ottsville » Mon Mar 08, 2021 8:05 am

Poche29 wrote:
Pmullen503 wrote:For my application, I plan to use VHB on the corner trim pieces.

For the OP, VHB would be the way to use his welded steel structure with aluminum covering.


So do you not plan on having any fasteners then? Only the tape?

I would think having some fasteners on the corner molding that is then covered by the rubber trim piece would give me more piece of mind.


VHB tape is used in some pretty heavy duty applications, and is solid. Also look at Sikaflex - that is essentially the stuff used to install windshields. Properly applied those should give you a solid and watertight bond.
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Re: Aluminum Only

Postby Chief-John » Thu Jun 16, 2022 4:59 pm

Poche29 wrote:I am in the planning stages of building my first tear drop. I plan on going with a square drop similar to the hiker trailers but with a 45 degree cut out of the upper front corner. I just bought the steel to weld up the frame and I am planning on welding up a 1" square tube frame for the walls and roof of the trailer. I haven't seen a ton of this but I was thinking of using the composite aluminum sheeting for my walls with no wood. Then putting insulation and some thin plywood or plank on the inside. I wasn't sure if this would be stiff enough though, and that is why I haven't seen much of it. Also, wasn't sure how to attach the aluminum sheeting other than screws similar to a cargo trailer. I figured if this was a good method I would see some people doing it so my main question is why not? Wall strength issues? I am hoping to be one and done on builds.

Thanks in advance, I have enjoyed reading threads so far and have been learning a ton.

Steven

How did your build go?
My cargo trailer is tough as nails and only uses 'Z' studs in the 1" walls. .025 AL is screwed to the sheetmetal and 3/8 ply inside the cargo bay.
for insulation, I filled the wall with spray foam which adds to the tensile strength!
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Re: Aluminum Only

Postby edsel99 » Wed Sep 06, 2023 12:38 pm

I am also considering aluminum only straight to the studs of the walls. I plan on foam board insulation but am struggling with how to attach the aluminum to the studs for both functional and looks. I keep bouncing between some sort of screw with a neoprene washer similar to how they do steel roofs. Or just attaching at the edges with trim pieces. Would love to hear what others have experienced.

Thanks!
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