Teardrop Trailer – Build Day 4

INSULATION AND CURVES

R-techINSULATION
I wanted the R-Max stuff but settled with R-Tech 1 1/2 inch Insulfoam. It comes in small 2×4′ pieces that fit in my car, and the price is pretty good. This stuff also has a reasonably good r-value.

It comes with a shiny side, as I understand it this is to reflect heat. The choice is do I want heat reflected in or out. I choose out, here’s why: A cold trailer is quickly heated by a warm body and some blankets. A hot trailer is basically an oven, a very big slow cooker. I’d rather cuddle than cook.

NonToxicTHOROUGHLY TESTED
I imagine a man in a white lab coat eating handfuls of this stuff while another man in a lab coat holds a clipboard and watches. I love science.

FitsPERFECT FIT
This insulfoam is exactly the same thickness as the inside of the walls. They were really meant for each other. I’d thought I’d have a little bit of space, maybe even enough to creating an air gap. I’m not sure if that would help or hurt condensation issues so I’m not sure if I’m pleased or disappointed. Regardless, I am happy that the foam isn’t too thick. I don’t imagine attempting to sand down the foam would be a lot fun.

VarathaneVARATHANE
I had most of a can of this polyurethane spray kicking around so I put a light coat on the inside of the walls before I placed the insulation. I didn’t really have enough to offer much protection but I don’t think it’ll hurt.

Later I’ll sealing the outsides of the walls with marine primer and paint, fingers crossed there won’t be much moisture inside. I don’t plan to store the teardrop in the rain though I would really like it to hold up to some wet camping trips.

ChiselCARVING CORNERS
I finally took on framing out the longer back curves. I was sick of sawing wood so I grabbed the chisel instead and low and behold, a tool designed for carving wood really carves the shit out of wood.

chisel2FAST WORK
I made a good sized mess in no time.

bigCurveA CURVE COMING ALONG
It still needs a bit more shaping and some sanding. I’m going to do the final shaping with the pieces clamped together so they’ll be perfectly symmetrical shapes.

InulatedWalls
INSULATED AND MOSTLY FRAMED
The foam stuff went pretty easy but cutting it is quite a mess, I was sweeping up little white crumbs all day. The foam is just wedged into place and when the inside wall skin goes on it’ll be sandwiched in nice and tight so I don’t think I’ll even bother with glue.

There is still a more work to do framing the back curves and once those are complete I can spray-can in insulation to seal a few ~1/2 inch seams.

Teardrop Trailer – Build Day 3

MORE FRAMING AND THE FLOOR

FloorTHE FLOOR
The floor is made of 1/2″CDX and is a bit thin but ultimately it will have the steel frame of the trailer supporting it so I’m not too worried about strength.

I was only able to get plywood in 4×8′ sheets so I had two sheets ripped (with a large and a small side) and using the two larger pieces from each board I was able to get the correct 6×8′ coverage.

I found this 3M All Weather Flashing Tape which looks like the perfect stuff to seal the seam in the floor. I’m also going to cover the bottom of the boards with a few coats of marine primer.

Across the ends I have two 56″ 2×3’s holding the two halves together. These 2×3’s will also serve as beams to connect the base of the two walls.

TracingCurve02CARVING CURVES IN THE FRAME
I traced out the area I need to cut to make a a curve in the frame piece so it will fit the front curve. I’m using a hand saw to cut the curve, it takes a little effort but I’m getting decent results.

TracingCurve01THE CURVE TRACED OUT
Four straight cuts with the pull saw should approximate this curve.

CurveCutA CURVE CARVED OUT
I took some whacks at this piece with the chisel which really sped things up although I sacrificed some perfection.  The curve is a little rough but will work. I plan to sand the outside edges of the walls when I finish framing to clean things up enough so I can lay the roof down with a nice clean edge.

CurvePlacedA CURVED FRAME PIECE IN PLACE
Well, my curved frame piece fits pretty well. Some glue and a clamp and on to the next piece.

Curve02MORE CURVED PIECES CLAMPED AND GLUED
Lots of glue and clamping here. I’ve run a few strategically placed drywall screws in there as well just to make sure things hold together. Eventually this whole thing will have to bounce down the road.

Matches01FRONT CURVE LINES UP GREAT
The cutting went great! The curve lines up almost perfectly. It’s hard to tell from the photo above but those are two wall skins back to back, both of which are partially framed.

Matches02BACK CURVES LINE UP TOO
I’m really glad this is working out so well. The closer these are now the less sanding I have to do later.

TwoWallsTWO WALLS
I’ve got two walls trimmed and almost fully framed. Once I finish framing out the rest and cutting some doors it’ll be time to put in the insulation.

Teardrop Trailer – Build Day 2

FRAMING THE WALLS

I spent most of day two framing the rest of my first wall. The tricky bits today were framing the door and the front curve.

curve
FRAMING THE FRONT CURVE
Here is a close up of the front curve.  The framing is a bit messy but this gets covered up anyway. I’ll sand the outside edge of the curve with my power sander so everything will be nice and smooth before I wrap the roof skin over it.

doorFRAMING THE DOOR
First door framed. I might add a tiny upright to brace the bottom edge – it’s sure to get stepped on.

feelstallerthiswayFRAMING ALMOST DONE
I still have to complete the big curve in the back. I think I’m going to cut the bits for it from something wider like a 2×6″ and use a jig saw. Hand cutting the tiny front bits wasn’t a lot of fun and the fit is just so-so.

gluingside2BEGINNING SIDE TWO
I glued the bottom rail on wall number two. There is a bit of warping in the board which means loads of sanding later. Fixable, just time.

messytableI SHOULD PUT SOME STUFF AWAY
A busy workstation is a messy workstation.

precutsPRE-CUTS FOR TOMORROW
Before I finished for the day I pre-cut a few bits for the other wall. Above are my precuts labeled and ready to go for tomorrow.

smallspace
BUSY WORKSHOP
My busy little workshop. Back tomorrow to finish framing the walls.

Teardrop Trailer – Build Day 1

IT BEGINS!

WorkspaceTHE WORKSPACE
My workspace is not big but it’ll make do. The taped area is 5×8′ which will be the footprint of the trailer shell.

MaterialsLUMBER
I don’t have a truck and there was no way all of this would fit in my hatchback so I got a hand from a stranger with a truck whom I found on TaskRabbit. An interesting experience and now I have a go-to guy with a truck.

I chose the type of wood  by weight and cost. I want a very lightweight trailer and plan to get back some water resistance and longevity with really good wood sealer and marine paint.

In the blurry photo above you see: (7) 4×8′ 1/4″ Sheets of luan for the sides and the roof, (2) 4×8′ 1/2″ Sheets of CDX Plywood for the floor,  and (6) 2×2″s and (6) 2×3″s for framing the whole thing.

CuttingSkinCurveSLICING THE SKIN WITH A UTILITY KNIFE
The wall skins are 1/4″ 4×8′ sheets of luan and I’m cutting some curves in each corner for that fancy aerodynamic trailer shape.  I’m cutting the luan with my utility knife, it takes a lot of passes but it makes tracing the curve really precise.

ShapeWALL SKIN
Here is the first wall skin cut from the 8×4′ 1/4″ laun. I am modeling my design after the Moby-XC which inspired the silhouette you see above.

Bottom RailFRAMING THE BASE
And more gluing in action. I’m using a 2×3″ board for the base  which is attached with glue and drywall screws.

Gorilla GlueGLUE AND SCREW
I’m counting on some glue and handfuls of screws to hold this thing together. I’m using what I have on hand as much as possible, a combination of deck screws, drywall screws, and Gorilla Glue.

DoorFRAMING THE WALL
More framing in progress.  I’m using 2×2″s (which are really 1 and 3/4″) for the uprights. I’ll fill in the voids with solid foam insulation (the same stuff people build hexayurts with) and spray in foam to fill the remaining gaps. Foam core is a great insulator and will provide a tiny bit of rigidity.

If you look closely in this picture above you can see the outline of a door. I chose to cut and construct my own door instead of buying a prefab one, we’ll see if I regret this choice when I get around to building the doors.

Teardrop Trailer – The Plan

Teardrop Blueprints

MY BLUEPRINTS
After many hours of research (aka trolling the internet) I settled on a shaped and mocked up a rough design for my trailer. My teardrop shell will be 96″ long,  60″ wide, and 48″ tall.

NorthernTool

5′ x 8′ TRAILER
I found a  5′ x 8′ trailer kit from Northern Tool that will match up to the teardrop I’m constructing. I’d like to swap out the tiny wheels for something a bit larger to allow for freeway speeds.

PartsList

PARTS
I’ll need a lot of bits and pieces to complete the trailer.  I’ve started a list of critical items which include hinges, lights, and fenders

TrailerInside

INTERIOR
I’ll also need some bits for the inside. I’d like to have some LED light and a USB charging port.

Teardrop Trailer – Inspiration

Inspiration!

OFFROAD
I was inspired by the Moby XC trailer, shown above. I like the off-road no-nonsense design. Unfortunately I won’t be going off-road, at least not very far.  I’m also towing with a pretty small vehicle (VW GTI) so I’m going to forgo the cool off-road tires and diamond plated box,  I will borrow the silhouette and door shape.

VintageTeardrop

A VINTAGE LOOK
I also really like the vintage look of this silver and red teardrop.  The paint job does a great job of breaking up a big flat surface and nicely ties in the wheels.

teardrop-trailer-kitchen

SIMPLE KITCHEN
I am going to emulate this rear hatch design. Many teardrops have a larger hatch that opens to a fuller kitchen but I like the simplicity of this. I also hope to cut some weight with a minimal kitchen.

teardropInside

INSIDE
It’s basically just a big bed. I’m going to have large windows on both doors and at the front to help the tiny space feel bigger. On the wall at the foot of the bed I’d like to mount a small entertainment system powered by a tiny pc or tablet.