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How to: DIY Wedge Camper

Discussion in 'Tonneau Covers, Caps and Shells' started by Ripcord, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:45 AM
    #1
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Member:
    #54120
    Messages:
    1,436
    First Name:
    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR
    [​IMG]


    Introduction:

    I am fortunate enough to be able to camp an average of 40+ nights a year. I have tried many types of tent, but I was looking to make my camping setup faster and more livable. Wedge style camper toppers seem to be the perfect balance between improving comfort and preserving the truck’s capability. With their prices and lead times ($7k+ and 12+ months) being deal killers for me, I decided to make my own. How hard could it be?

    I originally planned to make an aluminium fabricated camper, similar to Vagabond or AT, but the more I looked at the GFC I realized it would be a good starting point to DIY with minimal fabrication work and basic tools. GFC has a lot of custom parts made for their campers. By finding more standard replacements for them, you can keep the spirit of their camper design and keep costs down.

    I will be making a few other changes from their design as well:
    • I don’t like having to move bed sections around, so I will make the whole camper longer to enable a fixed opening and a fixed sleeping area. There will still be a removable panel to cover this opening.
    • More room for blankets/pillows/tent material when closed, making it easier to close.
    • Non-translucent roof. I want to be able to make it dark in there.
    • Larger tent windows. I don’t agree with GFC's "Venturi" reasoning for their tiny tent windows on such a small volume, plus having a better view is more important to me (and many others).



    Parts / Retail Cost:

    Realistically you could build this for $3,000.
    This is assuming you do EVERYTHING yourself. You will need access to a welder & sewing machine at a minimum. Having a router, mill and laser cutter helps a lot as I’ll show, but isn’t necessary.


    With that said, I am freely sharing my spreadsheet which has my recommended part numbers, quantities and vendors to build this camper at that price.

    Materials Spreadsheet on my Google Drive
    (This is the 2nd camper I've made, version 1 was nearly identical but with worse material choices and not as refined. It can be seen on the V1 tab)



    Time:

    This camper was A LOT of work, do not underestimate that fact. Took me at least 8 full days of work. It will be many more if you don’t have the special tools I mentioned. This is also my second build, so I was more efficient with my time. So depending on how often you have free time, it could take months.

    DO NOT ask me to build one for you! If you are willing to pay the labor for one to be made, then buy one from an existing brand. This thread is for DIY people.



    Tools: (* optional, but helpful)
    -Sewing Machine
    -Bandsaw
    -Welder
    -Grinder
    -Rivet gun
    -Drill bits: 3/16”, 3/8”
    -Countersink drill bit
    -5/16”-18 thread tap (spiral flute)
    -3/16” allen wrench
    -1/2” socket
    -*CNC Router*
    -*CNC Mill*
    -*CNC Laser cutter*



    =============================================================



    Here is the completed product.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/1iiZJ7xa0jk


    And my initial 3D model.

    Blueprints and router files for the Floor / Roof / Lower panels / Spaceframe / Brackets & Canvas are available on my Website. Longbed & shortbed files ready!

    [​IMG]





    =============================================================



    The Wedge:


    The wedge will be made of 1.5" wide (15 series) 8020 aluminium extrusions. You all know them as the material Sherpa Racks and Prinsu use for their crossbars, but they are more commonly used to make frames for enclosures in industrial settings and are also used to make some durable storage solutions. These extrusions are really easy to work with and make this stage of the build go by quickly!

    I am using 4.5” tall extrusions on the bottom and 1.5” tall extrusions on the top, for a total wedge height of 6”.
    To save some money, you could use 3” tall extrusions top and bottom (I did this on the first camper I built), but be advised that the lower half of the wedge is the main structural part especially with all the overhang this camper will have. Using 3” extrusions for the lower half can lead to it having more deflection under high loads (hitting potholes & rocks). The top half (roof) doesn’t need much support.


    The first step is to cut the Extrusions to length (50” & 100”, 2 of each) and tap the ends with a 5/16”-18 spiral-fluted tap. The extruded holes in the ends are already the perfect size for this tap.

    [​IMG]


    There is a whole suite of accessories for 8020 extrusions such as hinges, latches, seals and device mounts to structural parts like corner pieces and flanges. The entire setup is very modular and easy.

    [​IMG]


    Everything attaches using slot nuts like these. All of the fasteners I am using are stainless steel also.

    [​IMG]


    The interior corner brackets attach like so, both the short and tall ones.

    I have since changed the spreadsheet to show a 4 hole interior corner for this short extrusion due to the gas struts wanting to twist things up with the 2 hole bracket shown here.

    [​IMG]


    Frame halves fastened! See? I told you it was easy.

    [​IMG]


    Place the wedge hinges close to the outside.

    [​IMG]


    Fitting the gas struts. The struts for the wedge are 100 lbs 36”. One strut per side. The ball ends that they attach to are the same thread as the 15 series slot nuts (5/16”-18). The mounting position is defined by the desired open height of the wedge (canvas width) and the struts being near fully compressed when closed. It can take a bit of fine tuning to get it where you want.

    You’ll need to stack a few washers, the studs are a tad long.

    [​IMG]


    I used some of these bulbed seal strips to seal the wedge opening. This seal is designed to sit in the extrusion slots as shown.

    [​IMG]


    Aluminium Jeep JK hood latches work really well!

    These latches do require a little tweaking. The top pivot had two tabs on the back that had to be ground down while the hook part needed one hole drilled out and countersunk (only using 1 bolt on that part). Also, depending on the quality of the parts you receive, you may need to clearance the hook part with a drill bit for the clamp to seat correctly.

    [​IMG]


    I also added another latch on each side of the wedge, the gas struts want to push up on the small upper extrusion when closed and these extra latches help keep all of the seals in contact.

    [​IMG]


    The Roof and floor are made from 3mm Aluminium composite panels called MaxMetal (AluPanel is another brand of this panel type). It is a plastic core sandwiched and bonded by two thin sheets of aluminium. It is much lighter and stiffer than equivalent sheets of plain aluminium. I got the sheets from a local sign shop. The max sheet size is 5’x10’ which is needed to do the entire roof & floor in one sheet each. My friends at Sherpa Equipment Company helped me router the panel out the sheet. I had all of the bolt holes and corner contours cut out as well, which is WAY better than having to drill those by hand.

    Blueprints and router files for the Floor / Roof / Lower panels / Spaceframe / Brackets & Canvas are available on my Website. Longbed & shortbed files ready!

    If you do not have a router, it is doable by hand with a jigsaw and drill but takes a lot of time and measuring.

    GFC uses a composite honeycomb sheet (such as alumapanel-lite) that is lighter, stiffer and more expensive, but GFC’s custom extrusions have a flange that the panel sits inside so you cannot see the edges of the panels. My panels are mounted outside of the extrusions and the edges are exposed. That is the primary reason I did not use honeycomb.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I fastened the roof to the 8020 extrusions along every edge using the slot nuts and short machine screws. The floor will be done similarly but the bolts will be longer where they go through the spaceframe.

    Along this whole interface I used an extrusion weather seal similar to the bulbed seal above, but this one is meant as a fixed seal against a flat surface like these panels. Cut it into short pieces to fill the gaps between slot nuts.

    [​IMG]


    The corner pieces are not quite the same height as the extrusion, not sure why! So you will want to fill the small gap with some of the cork/rubber gasket on each corner.

    [​IMG]


    Here is the floor. The sleeping area will be 50in x 78in (close to a Full mattress that is 54in x 75in).
    The remainder of the 100” floor length is for the entry/exit opening, which I mentioned has a cover. Another benefit to the dedicated entry/exit section is that it provides tons of room for the tent material when the tent is closed, making it really easy to close! The holes in the middle are where the floor will be bolted to the spaceframe which provides extra support.

    If you plan to make a Roof Top Tent by this method instead of a full camper, you should substitute this panel for something stronger like a honeycomb panel. Since it will not have the support of the spaceframe. With the frame, the alupanel has plenty of support and works great.


    Blueprints and router files for the Floor / Roof / Lower panels / Spaceframe / Brackets & Canvas are available on my Website. Longbed & shortbed files ready!

    This one is even more tedious to cut and drill by hand than the roof, but doable.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The lower extrusion’s exterior corner pieces are not available in the 4.5” tall version, but you can get the uncut lengths of the triangle shape and drill the holes yourself. This is where the CNC mill comes in handy. Can also be done with a basic drill press if you take your time.

    Another option is to stack 1.5” and 3” tall corner pieces. Probably the best course of action if you are lacking machining equipment.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  2. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:45 AM
    #2
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Member:
    #54120
    Messages:
    1,436
    First Name:
    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR
    .


    Spaceframe:

    For the spaceframe, I first made this welding jig out of some 2x6 planks. The fixture was needed because there are a lot of angles to keep under control, the sides tilt in and the front/back tilt forward. The only orthogonal parts are the horizontal sections at the top and bottom.

    Blueprints and router files for the Floor / Roof / Lower panels / Spaceframe / Brackets & Canvas are available on my Website. Longbed & shortbed files ready!

    [​IMG]


    Making progress welding. Tube is 1.5” Square 0.065” wall steel. I decided to go with square tubing because IMO it was easier to fixture, cope, attach seals to, drill through and latch onto compared to round tube.

    For the open tube ends, I made some weld-in end caps. Though a better option would be to do miter joints on the corners. If I made another I would do that.

    GFC uses 1.5” Round 0.065” wall steel tube (same wall thickness).

    [​IMG]


    The gas strut mount balls need to thread into 5/16” threads. This was easy on the wedge part with the slot nuts, but for the spaceframe I had to add some weld nuts. For these you just drill a locating hole then weld the nut on all sides. Do this before welding on the diagonal tubes.

    [​IMG]


    The diagonal tubes are optional, but are good to have if the truck goes off road a lot. I used 1” square tubes for the diagonal pieces, same wall thickness. The spreadsheet shows all 1.5” tube though, do what you want. This was done to save weight and was possible because these tubes do not interact with any seals.

    Be sure to leave a flat space in between the diagonal tubes as shown, since you will have a bolt going up through there!

    [​IMG]


    I also made these fancy bed rail mount brackets, laser cut and press brake bent at my work. CAD model picture, because I forgot to take a real one. This is the 2nd gen version, the 3rd gen version has a much longer slot.

    Position these carefully to not interfere with the latches on the lower panels later on.

    Blueprints and router files for the Floor / Roof / Lower panels / Spaceframe / Brackets & Canvas are available on my Website. Longbed & shortbed files ready!

    [​IMG]


    Welding done. Frame weight: 73 lbs.

    My V1 frame used 1” square everywhere (same wall thickness) and was 54 lbs. I switched because the 1.5” tube lined up with the 1.5” wide extrusions much better and the 1” looked a bit out of proportion.

    [​IMG]


    Be sure to drill ALL your holes before painting!

    For through bolts, upsize the hole (⅜” for a 5/16” bolt) but for rivets the hole needs to be exact (3/16”).

    Here I am using the floor panel that was cut on the CNC router to line up positions for the through bolts that will mount the wedge to the spaceframe. For tasks like this, it is handy to have the floor with holes done on the router!

    [​IMG]


    After getting all my holes drilled and grinding the exterior welds flat, I painted the frame. Get a primer that is good for bare metal, and be sure to clean the metal before painting.

    The groups of 3 holes are 3/16” holes for the hinge rivets and the large ones are ⅜” for the through bolts for the wedge. Again, drill before painting!

    [​IMG]


    I went with black on the original camper and wanted to change things up. I tried a Rustoleum dark green in an attempt to match my truck’s Spruce Mica green paint, it didn’t. So I had some paint match spray cans mixed to my paint code (6V4) and put a coat of that over the rustoleum green.

    Here is a photo from when I was applying the rustoleum green though.

    [​IMG]


    Now the project starts to get exciting, this is where we combine the wedge with the space frame!

    I used a cork/rubber gasket here to seal the fixed interface between the space frame and the wedge.

    [​IMG]


    Easiest way to mount the wedge to the frame is to flip the wedge upside down and set the frame on top of it.

    [​IMG]


    I mentioned in part 1 that the wedge would mount to the spaceframe with long bolts and the slot nuts.

    *You’ll need to stack 2 of the washers for the correct bolt length as the next shortest bolt was too short. You could also substitute one of them for a lock washer if you want.

    [​IMG]


    I also did some countersunk bolts through the floor in the middle section going through the space frame. This is the extra floor support I was talking about in part 1.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  3. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:45 AM
    #3
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Member:
    #54120
    Messages:
    1,436
    First Name:
    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR
    .


    To prep the truck for the camper, I had to do something about the shark fin antenna for the Satellite Radio. The fin part itself is useless actually and contains no antenna parts, only plastic. I got the bullet cover from this page, a much lower profile option.
    https://totallyradproducts.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-bullet-cover

    You must remove the headliner to do this.

    [​IMG]


    I also took off the plastic bed rail caps because they suck for the following reasons:
    *No seal between them and the bedsides, creating another path for dust.
    *Moves around and can scuff the paint.
    *Adds about ¾” to the bed rail height.
    *Fugly

    (if you have a 3rd gen, it is best to leave the caps on otherwise there will be a height difference between the front and sides of the bed.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    At this interface, I used some window flashing butyl tape to seal the holes on the bed rail (thanks Jim Bob for the tip) and a “double bulbed” seal for the spaceframe to bed rail interface, bed rail at the front (behind the cab) got a single bulbed seal. With the design of the OE bed sides, you want the weight to be primarily towards the inside of the rail as shown here. There is much less strength towards the outside.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    ========================================




    The Lower panels are made from the same 3mm Aluminium composite panels as the roof/floor, but black.
    4’x8’ sheets were all I needed for this and again Sherpa Equipment Company helped me router out the panels from the sheets.

    GFC uses aluminium sheets which are pretty similar in cost but weigh more. I do like the textured powder coating they use though...

    Blueprints and router files for the Floor / Roof / Lower panels / Spaceframe / Brackets & Canvas are available on my Website. Longbed & shortbed files ready!

    [​IMG]


    For the front bulkhead, I used a cork/rubber gasket again since it is a fixed position panel.

    To mount the bulkhead, I just riveted it to the spaceframe with the same flush-mount rivets I used on the panel hinges below. Location of these rivets is not critical, just get good coverage. Again, drill these holes before painting and remember that the holes you drill for rivets should be the same size as the rivet itself.

    GFC uses Dzus fasteners here.

    [​IMG]


    Now it was time to install! You’ll need a few people to help.

    [​IMG]


    The stock bed rail tracks are what I am using to fasten the camper to the truck bed, 3 per side and 2 up front. The two mounts up front really aren't necessary and I mainly added them to support the front of the bed for adding a tire mount.

    [​IMG]


    The rest of the Lower panels move so regardless of what material they are, panels this thin could benefit from some supplementary stiffening, especially with the gas struts pushing on them. I got some thin angle aluminium from the hardware store and used black 3/16” rivets to attach them. I also cut the angled aluminium stock so that I could bend it around the corners, which is much better than doing individual straight sections.

    Having the holes for these pre-cut on the router helped streamline the process a ton!

    [​IMG]


    Some stainless steel Home Depot hinges. I specifically got hinges that would sit flush against the panel & frame and leave a gap in between that the bulbed seal could fit through. You ideally want to position one hinge close to each gas strut mount, then another in the middle of the panel, so 3 per panel. I did 4 hinges per panel, but that is unnecessary. Their location isn't super critical as long as the panel can open.

    I used the same flush-mount (countersunk) rivets as the bulkhead to keep a good flat surface that the bulbed seal could work with. Again, drill these holes before painting and remember that the holes you drill for rivets should be the same size as the rivet itself.

    GFC uses something called “PolyHinge'' here, a strip of rubbery material that acts like a long piano hinge. I decided against this product because I feared it would not provide enough force on the bulbed seal and that the durability would be poor (which was confirmed when GFC customers unfortunately started having polyhinges tearing).

    [​IMG]


    On the panel-side of the hinges, I used #10-32 bolts. I chose not to use rivets on this side because I wanted the ability to remove the panels if necessary. For example if one gets accidentally bent and needs to be replaced, which happened on V1.

    [​IMG]


    Gas Struts on.

    Ignore the fact that the weld nuts shown here are at different heights, they should ideally be at the same height when you make yours.

    [​IMG]

    Panel “bulb” seals on.

    For the gas struts, just drill through the stiffeners. But do a lot of measuring to ensure you have the opened height you want and that the gas struts will have enough space to close also.


    [​IMG]


    Now for the Southco Latches. These are really neat low-profile latches and are the same type that GFC uses. I used small pieces of gasket where the latch clamps on to the frame to prevent scratching.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The latches at the back of the hatch took some planning to get everything to fit between the 2 latches, 2 gas struts, and stiffeners.

    You may need to trim your panel stiffeners in the corner, depending on how you positioned the diagonal tubes on the spaceframe.

    [​IMG]


    The rear hatch is where I am mounting the brake light.

    On the first camper I had it mounted to the extrusion, which required drilling through the extrusion for the wires. The rear hatch is a much easier place to put it!

    [​IMG]


    To wire the brake light, I just removed the driver side tail light assembly and probed the pins to see which one jumped to 12V when the brake pedal was pressed then spliced into that wire and the ground wire. I then ran that wire up the diagonal tubes (to not interfere with the latches/struts) and up to the light.

    If you get the same brake light that I did, note that the white wire is the ground, not the black wire. The black wire is alternate power for the dim running light mode, which I did not connect.

    [​IMG]


    I added another bulbed seal here at the bottom of the hatch where it meets the tailgate. This seal I put on the bottom of the stiffener, so it would face the right direction down towards the tailgate.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  4. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:46 AM
    #4
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Member:
    #54120
    Messages:
    1,436
    First Name:
    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR
    .


    Canvas:

    You have two different paths you can take with the tent material.
    • Traditional sewing: Gives you more control and access to many material options but takes a lot of sewing. This is the method I will show you.
    • Vinyl cement: Limits you to using vinyl coated fabric but is faster and involves much less sewing (still requires some though). GFC uses this method.

    I had a lot of help sewing, and still don’t fully grasp the intricacies of hems and stitch settings. There are a lot of layers on the windows from the canvas to the mesh to the zippers and all the hems to take into account. It is highly recommended to seek advice from someone who is experienced before undertaking this part of the project, regardless of which method you use.




    ==============================================



    The material I am using is 600D Polyester with Polyurethane coating for waterproofing, the green sheet is for a second canvas I was making for a friend. There are tons of color and pattern options online, the sky's the limit! The width of your material will dictate how tall the canvas is (mine was 59”), which in-turn dictates how much the camper can open. Be sure to leave an extra 2” of margin all around, for later use.

    If you go the vinyl cement direction, use something like 10-14oz VCP but note that vinyl gets pretty stiff in cold weather and can be slightly heavier.

    Blueprints and router files for the Floor / Roof / Lower panels / Spaceframe / Brackets & Canvas are available on my Website. Longbed & shortbed files ready!

    [​IMG]


    After cutting out the shape and cutting the line that the window zippers will follow, the first step is to hem all of the edges around the windows.This hem will also create a gap that the zipper will occupy.

    All of my hems are around ¼”, and I used a quilting needle for everything.

    [​IMG]


    Doing the zippers requires far more detail and care than I feel like typing out, so I HIGHLY recommend you watch this video!

    [Skip to 7:55 since the first section of the video is not applicable here]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUuKqdOMbTg&t=28s


    Laying out the length of the zipper. As the video recommends, I am using basting tape to secure the outer edge of the zipper to material then sew it.

    [​IMG]


    Sewing the zipper on that edge.

    If you are doing the Vinyl cement method, you can sew each side of the zipper to a thin strip of vinyl material then cement those strips to the main tent part. Or just sew it directly to the tent.

    [​IMG]


    And the window-side of the zipper now.

    [​IMG]


    Finished this zipper, waterproof side out!

    Take your time sewing! Your craftsmanship will pay off in the end.

    [​IMG]


    Now repeat that hem and zipper process for the mesh on each window. Ditching the mesh (and its associated zipper) would remove this step, but you would of course lose the bug protection with open windows.

    If you struggle with the sewing machine wanting to eat the ends of the mesh, try putting a piece of paper in there for it to sew through at the start and finish. The paper is removed after you get your stitch on there.

    [​IMG]


    You’ll want to unzip the canvas part of the window to allow access for the mesh to be sewn on.

    If you are doing the Vinyl cement method, you can sew the zipper and mesh each to a thin strip of vinyl material then cement those strips to the main tent part.

    [​IMG]


    Installing the zipper sliders per the video, I got double sided sliders so that they could be operated from inside or outside. Make a mark on the zippers so you know you got them aligned in the slider!

    [​IMG]


    To finish the zippers, you need to trim the end off and run a stitch across the zipper.

    [​IMG]


    The rear window is a tad different. I have the mesh in a U shape while the canvas is a larger rectangle on top of that with one zipper on each side and velcro at the bottom (rolled up in this pic)

    I did this so that I could prop it open even while raining! (see finished pictures at the end).

    [​IMG]


    The zippers for this rear door flap are the only ones that end on an open section, so to stop them from being slid all the way off I added a small piece of fabric over one half of the zipper.

    [​IMG]


    Added some small vents to the top corners. Not necessary, but nice to have. I also put some more of the mesh in these vents.

    [​IMG]


    For attaching the material to the camper, I am using a method known as Keder rail / Awning cord, the same way that traditional roof tops tents are fastened.

    Now we use that extra 2” margin we left when cutting out the material. Hem as shown, leaving enough room for the awning cord to slide through.

    [​IMG]


    This thin strip is for the front of the camper. It is much more material-efficient to cut this out separately and sew on than it is to cut as all one piece with the main canvas section.

    [​IMG]


    These tracks slide onto the canvas like so:

    [​IMG]


    Canvas ready to go on!
    The tracks come in 48” lengths, so you’ll use 2 on each of the long edges, unless you can find them in something longer like 96” lengths.

    Blueprints and router files for the Floor / Roof / Lower panels / Spaceframe / Brackets & Canvas are available on my Website. Longbed & shortbed files ready!

    [​IMG]


    Tracks all attached to the inside of the wedge. Shows how these extrusions mount to the main 8020 extrusions with the slot nuts and short machine screws. I used 4 per track. Also you can see why I went with a short internal corner for the bottom, to ensure the tent material was held tight all the way to the corner.

    GFC uses snap fasteners here instead. I decided on the awning cord because I thought it would hold the tent material more uniformly and the snap fasteners would leave air gaps.

    Also you can see the anti-condensation mat I used, roofnest’s “small” mat. These mats are necessary because without them the mattress warmed by your body can produce condensation underneath it which can lead to mold! The roofnest mat is the thinnest and most affordable mat I could find.

    [​IMG]


    I also added a small skirt going around the bottom to aid in rain water drainage. Made from some of the long scrap pieces. Be sure to have the skirt hang lower than the material it is sewn to, so that it can be an effective drain once installed.

    This would be very easy to add with the Vinyl cement method.

    [​IMG]


    The final piece of this crazy puzzle is the mattress! This one is an Exped Megamat, a 4” hybrid air / foam mattress that is very comfortable. Another cheaper option is a 3” high density memory foam mattress topper, but that will be much heavier (9 lbs vs. 40 lbs).

    Since this mattress is 4” thick and the closed inside height of the camper is 6”, there will be 2” of space for blankets, pillows and tent material. However most of the tent material will stow in the area of the entry/exit opening which leaves tons of space! I can also deflate the mattress for even more room!

    GFC’s can be difficult to close due to lack of space for the tent material, let alone any blankets you want to leave up there. They offer a thin 2” mattress to compensate for this.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  5. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:46 AM
    #5
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Member:
    #54120
    Messages:
    1,436
    First Name:
    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR
    .


    IT IS FINISHED!

    .

    My V2 camper: 295 lbs.
    GFC's camper: 275 lbs. The difference is their custom extrusions are lighter as well as the expensive honeycomb floor/roof panels they use.
    Vagabond / AT: 340 lbs. All aluminium construction.
    My V1 camper: 370 lbs. The plastic panels and foam mattress I used on V1 were very heavy.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    Still BARELY fits in the garage! I have a standard 7 foot garage door for reference, and i’m on 35s.

    [​IMG]


    Moar pics. Here you can see the filler panel that covers the entry/exit opening.

    [​IMG]


    Added some filler strips to the front of the camper, to help create one smooth surface.

    [​IMG]


    I used some elastic cord to make a loop around the canvas that helps to tuck in the material when closing the camper.

    [​IMG]



    .

    For more Photos, visit my Flickr Albums! Link here.


    ===============================================


    For those interested in building their own camper to this spec, I am offering my cut files for all of the routered & laser cut parts as well as basic blueprints for the spaceframe and canvas.
    These aren’t necessary, but help a LOT.

    Available on my website:
    RipcordHQ

    • Spaceframe dimensions .pdf (longbed & shortbed versions available)
    • Canvas critical dimensions .pdf or .dxf
    • Exterior 4.5” Corner piece .x_t & .pdf
    • Bed Rail mount bracket .dxf & .pdf (No Logo / text - feel free to add your own. 2nd & 3rd gen Taco versions available)
    • Roof & Floor .dxf files
    • Lower panels & Filler panel .dxf files (longbed & shortbed versions available)

    These are NOT step-by-step detailed instructions, if they were I would charge a lot more. Beyond writing this thread, freely providing the material list, and offering these files there isn’t much more I can do to help you.



    The full 3D model is NOT available, only what is listed above.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  6. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:46 AM
    #6
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Member:
    #54120
    Messages:
    1,436
    First Name:
    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR

    DIY Camper Hall of Fame


    @jmartin2076
    [​IMG]


    @literallynothing
    [​IMG]


    @wmphoto
    [​IMG]


    @russellin (RTT version)
    [​IMG]


    @lightnfast
    [​IMG]


    @Taco Camper
    [​IMG]


    @caleebra (lower frame portion with hardshell RTT)
    [​IMG]

    @rn2727
    [​IMG]


    @joeink
    [​IMG]


    BrokenHorn on expeditionportal
    d3b7f74c1aad78d2ee03a866d26fdf3e_361786943d3de2c6dedda36c196c119cb0570583.jpg

    Annotation 2020-07-29 0835122.jpg


    Annotation 2020-07-29 083512.jpg


    https://www.instagram.com/p/CDT4M1kjjs7/


    https://www.instagram.com/p/CDlqK15B1UY/


    https://www.instagram.com/p/CCpBaM1nRl6/


    https://www.instagram.com/p/CAGkpGRgecr/


    https://www.instagram.com/p/CBtwDMAA785/


    https://www.instagram.com/p/CC4mrm2HHN3/


    https://www.instagram.com/p/CCuQLqdgqp4/


    https://www.instagram.com/p/ByyAC6ngqo5/







    ============================================


    I am reserving this post for future additions to my camper setup that don’t relate directly to the camper construction.

    .



    Sherpa Equipment Company already sells awesome roof racks for Tacomas. They used my truck to make a short rack for trucks with campers. There are two sizes available, depending on which camper you have.

    The rack adds some much needed wind deflection. I may mount a small solar panel on it eventually, if I can find one that is narrow enough.

    https://sherpaequipmentco.com/


    [​IMG]9A0A9979 by alex fleming, on Flickr


    A medium size Tepui Anwing. The 80/20 extrusions make it really easy to mount stuff like this!

    [​IMG]


    My HAM radio antenna is mounted to the camper, with a motorized mount (more info in my build thread, link in signature)

    [​IMG]


    Bedside Stiffeners are very important to add when placing this much weight on top of the bedsides, to prevent them from bowing out. These are from At The Helm fab, and are the best ones to get because they have a built-in bottle opener!

    [​IMG]


    I got a roll of cheap outdoor carpet from home depot for $20, cut to fit the bed and the bed bolts holding it down.

    [​IMG]


    Added a WaterPort and a little first aid kit. The waterport has been a great purchase so far, highly recommended.

    [​IMG]


    This is the only spare tire mount I could find that I like, since I'm personally not a big fan of swing outs on pickups. From Wilco, it mounts to the track at the front of the bed.

    My tires are 35’s. 37’s are probably the max you could fit inside the camper with this style mount.

    [​IMG]


    Added a small handle to make it easier to close the hatch from the inside.

    [​IMG]


    I got this electrics panel online ( https://amzn.to/3lGSWqD ) and I made this bracket to hold it, also a couple random 12v LED lights I had laying around. I added some amber film to the light to make it easier on the eyes at night.

    The switch on the panel controls the power to the panel & the lights, then the lights also each have their own built in switches. Switch is rated at 16A so I have a 15A in-line fuse behind it.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Also added a fridge, Costway makes really good budget fridges. This 44qt model was $340. It draws 4-ish amps max, so factor that into the electrical panel above.

    And stickers, many many stickers. I try to keep the outside of my truck clean and sticker-free. But inside is a different story!

    [​IMG]


    I made a flat tailgate panel out of some spare 3/16” ABS plastic sheet from the V1 camper. It is a huge improvement, no more broken knees or spilled cups.

    [​IMG]


    I picked up these 16” collapsible stools ( https://amzn.to/3kBmDIx ). Makes getting in much easier.

    [​IMG]


    Got some magnetic hooks to hang my cutlery kit.

    Magnet Hooks: https://amzn.to/3pzHJuq
    Front Runner Camp kitchen set: https://amzn.to/2IK6OCl

    [​IMG]


    Sealing the cubbies is an important step to dust-proofing the interior.

    [​IMG]


    And some bulbed seal around the edges of the tailgate.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020 at 6:29 PM
    Vandy321, d.shaw, RoughRder and 32 others like this.
  7. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:48 AM
    #7
    ChadsPride

    ChadsPride Tacoma Owner & Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2014
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    #143119
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    126,301
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    Sponsored by TacomaWorld.com
    Got dang that's awesome
     
  8. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:50 AM
    #8
    inesshell

    inesshell blah blah blah

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
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    #60986
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    All stock Superwhite 10' AC
    thanks for sharing man, looks good

    might attempt this down the road on my downtime
     
    Ripcord [OP] and ChadsPride like this.
  9. Apr 15, 2019 at 6:55 AM
    #9
    Derpiful

    Derpiful Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    #125973
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    61
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    Male
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    Hayden
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    '15 Taco TRD OR
    Awesome write up, super detailed!

    Also the camper itself is amazing, definitely makes everything a bit easier.
     
    Ripcord [OP] likes this.
  10. Apr 15, 2019 at 7:09 AM
    #10
    EatSleepTacos

    EatSleepTacos Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Randy
    Hampton Roads, VA
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    4x4 2005 SR5 AC 6MT
    Amazing work and congrats on getting it finished. Looks dang good.
     
    Manfred and Ripcord [OP] like this.
  11. Apr 15, 2019 at 7:17 AM
    #11
    Nimble9

    Nimble9 Keystone State Adventures Vendor

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    Male
    Lebanon, PA
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    2006 4x4 DCSB
    enough to have fun
    epic! :cheers:
     
    ChadsPride likes this.
  12. Apr 15, 2019 at 7:22 AM
    #12
    113tac

    113tac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Stephen
    Northern Virginia
    Vehicle:
    2017 Magnetic Gray Tacoma
    Mostly Stock for now, 265 75 16 Falken AT3W, Tinted fronts...
    This is awesome! I’ve been wondering how’s hard it would be to do this on your own. I know I’ve seen people on here build their own trailers so it was bound to happen.

    Do you think it would be possible to use the extruded aluminum for the frame instead of steel? Makes it a little more accessible for people that don’t have a welder, although probably a bit more expensive.
     
  13. Apr 15, 2019 at 7:25 AM
    #13
    Beretta4x4

    Beretta4x4 What makes the green grass grow?

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    Temple, TX
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    6-speed death mobile
    Wow! Awesome!
     
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  14. Apr 15, 2019 at 7:41 AM
    #14
    Squeaky Penguin

    Squeaky Penguin Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

    Joined:
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    Brett
    Steamboat Springs, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    '01 4WD, SR5, TRD
    Lots of dust and custom dents, Check Build
    Awesome work!

    How do you think that thin wall square tubing will hold up in comparison to the DOM round tubing GFC uses?
     
    Manfred likes this.
  15. Apr 15, 2019 at 7:42 AM
    #15
    ripcalifornia

    ripcalifornia Trok

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    Cal (Kyle)
    HB CA
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    patches
    Awesome write up, been following this on your IG since it started

    Looks great man enjoy it!
     
  16. Apr 15, 2019 at 7:56 AM
    #16
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
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    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
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    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR
    Thanks for all the help dude!

    due to the angles that the tubes are at in relation to eachother, I would say no. If you made a completely rectangular spaceframe then yes but that would look ridiculous.

    Based on all the math I did, it will be more than enough.

    My theory is that GFC is marketing their camper as something you could damn near slap onto a trophy truck, so the round tube makes it look all racey. If I made another I might go with 1.5" with a slightly thicker wall, just for peace of mind. But i'm really not that worried about it.

    Thanks for following along the journey!
     
  17. Apr 15, 2019 at 8:35 AM
    #17
    Horger12

    Horger12 Well-Known Member

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    Albuquerque, NM
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    2017 Barcelona Red OR-DCSB
    5100s, Toytec AAL, Falken Wildpeaks, CaliRaised Ditch Pods, BAMF Sliders and Bed Bars
  18. Apr 15, 2019 at 8:40 AM
    #18
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
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    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
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    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR

    Because I have never heard of that haha. I'll keep that in mind if I ever make a V2, that looks much better than ABS. And thanks!
     
  19. Apr 15, 2019 at 8:43 AM
    #19
    Horger12

    Horger12 Well-Known Member

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    2017 Barcelona Red OR-DCSB
    5100s, Toytec AAL, Falken Wildpeaks, CaliRaised Ditch Pods, BAMF Sliders and Bed Bars
    Well I'm sure with your setup if you ever want to change them you could easily do it. You can cut through it like butter using that CNC and your existing CAD file. It's pretty lightweight too if I recall. It's been a few years since I used it when I was working at some sign shops. Oh, and if you do, go through a signage distributer for it like Denco Sales. They have a shop in there in Denver.
     
  20. Apr 15, 2019 at 8:44 AM
    #20
    Ripcord

    Ripcord [OP] KM6PIM

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
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    #54120
    Messages:
    1,436
    First Name:
    Jim
    Parker, Colorado
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    Spruce Mica 2013 TRD-OR
    Yeah definitely, if it comes in large enough sheets could also do the roof with that. Pretty easy to swap out all the panels on this.
     

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