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 > Considering building camper from scratch...

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free radical

Canada

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Posted: 10/18/20 10:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I built my own TC,so would say go for it.

I Used 3/4" plywood for botom part and 1/2" ply for sides and roof,glued together using PL construction adhesive,,
coated all outside with Cold cure epoxy and marine enamel.

Not the best idea unfortunately as no paint last very long,

It,would be much better to use truck Bed Liner coating light in color as thats very tough sun uv resistant and can be easily touched up if scratched.

Also use only Exterior rated plywood,in case of leak it wont rot any time soon.

I glued R10 rigid insulation everywhere and was down to minus 20 with no problems.
Sprayed in Insulation would be easier,obviously.

Whole camper cost me couple thousand
Plus 1500$ for Espar diesel heater,its worth every penny as its very eficient and uses litle electric power.
Got also 100W solar panel and one deep cycle AGM batterry.
Use Engel 12V fridge.


Eeverlanders YT chanel has home built TC on chasis,check thats for ideas

* This post was edited 10/18/20 10:35pm by free radical *

KKELLER14K

BEAVERTON OREGON

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Posted: 10/18/20 10:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Regardless of your choice on build material...wall structure is something to take a quick look at. Thermal break is what I have been looking at with a T stud design. take a quick look. It kind of looks like a truss..A lot of work to do..wood or metal but I am leaning toward making wood studs with a jig and dowels..seems a lot easier...but there is the skin, moisture control, insulation and interior walls that have to be considered...either way..Buy a plastic Tuff shed and go to town...throw it in the bed...LOL!!...or what about LINEX? Just build the box and have it coated...thought about that since I have a Linex in the bed of my truck...just throwing it out therejust for fun.

free radical

Canada

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Posted: 10/18/20 10:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I built my own TC,so would say go for it.

I Used 3/4" plywood for botom part and 1/2" ply for sides and roof,glued together using PL construction adhesive,,
coated all outside with Cold cure epoxy and marine enamel.

Not the best idea unfortunately as no paint last very long,

It,would be much better to use truck Bed Liner coating light in color as thats very tough sun uv resistant and can be easily touched up if scratched.

Also use only Exterior rated plywood,in case of leak it wont rot any time soon.

I glued R10 rigid insulation everywhere and was down to minus 20 with no problems.
Sprayed in Insulation would be easier,obviously.

Whole camper cost me couple thousand
Plus 1500$ for Espar diesel heater,its worth every penny as its very eficient and uses litle electric power.
Got also 100W solar panel and one deep cycle AGM batterry.
Use Engel 12V fridge.


Everlanders YT chanel has home built TC on chasis,check thats for ideas

JIMNLIN

Oklahoma

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Posted: 10/19/20 06:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Depending on the units size by the time you finish a respectable looking camper you can have several thousand invested. One question you may want to look at is "are you expecting to resell" at some point. Will the unit even sell.
Some years back we had a member who built his own and had pictures every so often. What he built was pretty shoddy looking and TC I sure wouldn't be interested in.
Make your plans and run a cost analysis...then add about 20 percent. Even good plans can change as your building a structure and adding appliances and more options.


"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

'03 2500 QC Dodge/Cummins HO 3.73 6 speed manual Jacobs Westach
'97 Park Avanue 28' 5er 11200 two slides

northshore

northshore

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Posted: 10/19/20 08:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First off, go for it.build what you want how you want it.
If I was doing this, (I built our home) I would point out a few pit falls that got me in the past.
First thing I truly believe you could not build a camper less expensively than buying a used one, a camper that is in good shape with no water damage. There are some out there.
If budget/expense is your main focus, I don't think you could do it for less money than buying a good used unit. If a custom built, what you want, how you want it built, where the budget is no object, camper then you are on the right track.
I think $5000 is probably wishful thinking, materials add up like crazy these days, $5k would not go far when buying quality materials. Im sure you could build it for less than $5k but I don't think it could compare with factory built unit in looks, utility, comfort. and quality.

I think it all boils down to what you want, how much you want to spend and being happy with the final outcome of the unit you decide to build.
I am retired now but when working for a large organization, capable of building anything we needed. We always ran the numbers on "build/buy" and what made the most economical sense of the item we needed. Its surprising how many items were cheaper to just buy vs building in house.

mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 10/19/20 08:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

KKELLER14K wrote:

Jobless to consider such a build? You got to be kidding me..wow! I can't believe the statement..shocked. I built the entire house I live in, everything from the ground up. Golden parachute..no mortgage, not enslaved to the bank. You think I or someone couldn't build something if we had a job?


I don't often find Kayteg1's comments helpful, but in this case he does have a point.

Jobs take time and energy. Even one where you work set hours. For many of us jobs can consume 10-12 hours a day, and 6 or even 7 days a week.

Building a camper from scratch takes time too. If you want to get the camper done by next season, you better be putting 8 hours a day in on the construction too. This isn't something you can knock out in a couple of weekends with the boys and a case of beer.

Who wants to go work on a camper all night after an exhausting day at work?

The only way you can realistically get this camper built and not have it turn into a 5-10 year project is if you don't have a job.


Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 10/19/20 08:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

urbex wrote:

This isn't about proving that I can do it, or doing it better than the manufacturers. Or even any kind of "bent on doing it, come hell or high water!", lol. It's much more about considering all my options, and that after 40 years of experience on this big spinning rock, I've come to realize that there are better ways to learn than "the hard way". Though there's also a component of doing it exactly the way I want it....


You have strong point here.
I did own lot of RVs in the past and each of them had to be remodeled to some degree to fit my needs better.
Now if you plan to build TC with steel frame, that will add significant weight.
On other hand, if you start with flatbed truck, who has bigger wheel base (?), you are ahead of main TC problem who is weight distribution.
Utilizing wide floor you can put batteries and W/H right behind the cabin, where in most of factory designs are behind rear axle.
You will put most of the weight in front of rear axle and be king of the game.





noteven

Turtle Island

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Posted: 10/19/20 09:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Take a look at Total Composites’ website.

A kit will run more than $5000 but you would have a desirable camper resale wise.

urbex

Glendale, AZ

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Posted: 10/19/20 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hahaha...my life has been one never ending project after another for as long as I can remember. No one wants to deal with the fallout of my mind running wild with free time on my hands, lol.

I also learned at a very young age that buying/making things with future resale in mind is a guaranteed way to greatly limit my enjoyment of said items, and I stopped doing that a long time ago. If I decide to sell something at a later point, and get something out of it, great. But if it becomes scrap, that's OK too. I also learned a long time ago that anything custom built tends to have little to no resale market anyways, as I'd have to find someone that wants something set up exactly the way I wanted it, and modifications tend to have a habit of destroying resale value as well unless it's modified just like every other cookie cutter whatever out there.

Frankly, I could not even begin to care less about how things look. These are tools to me, not status symbols or garage art to sit and stare at. I don't sleep any better at night because something looks fancy, not does it make my meals any tastier. But oftentimes, the things that look goofy tend to perform better at the task at hand. Such as the angled front on many campers. I get that part of it is aerodynamics, and I'm sure most people will agree that it sure looks better than a flat front too. But that also sure cuts into sleeping space, or storage space in that area. I've never once found myself thinking "yeah...it sure sucks getting crammed into that curve because my wife hogs the whole bed..but it's OK because it looks so much nicer on the outside!" [emoticon]

As I mentioned earlier, there hasn't been a single camper I've found out here more than a few years old that doesn't have some level of existing water damage, and those few that don't come with asking prices close enough to new that I'd just buy a new one. This is a large part of what's driving me towards building rather than buying.

Truck is a crew cab long bed F350 diesel dually. Tons of wheelbase on it. Bed is 8ft wide, 8.5ft long. It's a biggin'. Taking advantage of that space is definitely part of my thinking, by moving heavier things up front, having room for larger water tanks, more batteries, better general storage, aux fuel tank, etc.


1990 Ford F350 CCLB DRW 7.3 4x4
1990 Lance LC980 truck camper


TenOC

On the road -- Full time

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Posted: 10/19/20 10:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do a school bus conversion. You have a solid strong base to start. Google for some design ideas. Lots of photos and videos.


Please give me enough troubles, uncertainty, problems, obstacles and STRESS so that I do not become arrogant, proud, and smug in my own abilities, and enough blessings and good times that I realize that someone else is in charge of my life.

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