Nest Caravans Building a new FG trailer, step by step - Page 38 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-11-2015, 12:24 PM   #519
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Yep, that $5K is actual manufacturing cost. The expense comes from the vacuum-infused process. The process required a more complicated mold, is labor intensive, and requires higher cost materials vs chopper gun.

The benefits of the infusion process are a stronger, less brittle end product, with better FG-to-resin proportions (65%/35%. The inverse of chopper gun!)
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:43 PM   #520
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Robert, it certainly looks beautiful and integrated, very clean on the outside.

Is it the whole shell that's $5K more expensive, not just the frame-less design? What does the frame-less design save in weight - 300 lbs in frame weight?

Would saving the $5K require going to a 'chopper gun' shell?
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Old 06-11-2015, 01:22 PM   #521
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It is a cute trailer, but I wonder if the additional $5K would reduce the number of buyers significantly.
If it were less than 2000 lbs ready to camp perhaps, but I am not equipped to judge because I am firmly in the I can afford to fix one up, but not buy new category. Perhaps is is my aversion to borrowing money to play?
The problem with many eggs campers with the frame cracking on the right kink where the frame bends towards the hitch is the cutout for the door and the flexibility there concentrating the stress on the other side. Many do not realize the damage and the cracking of the tubing on the door side where the frame reconnects to the tube under the door entrance.
Your design with the rear door eliminates that problem.
The other main problem is the loosening of the rivets that hold the various bits together and the window leaks. This shows up as rotten places in the floors and mildew.
A composite floor with no wood and interior bonded in place reduces the modify ability, but would make it more monolithic and sturdier. There is no reason the frame and the shell cannot complement each other in adding stiffness. I have attempted to do this on my rebuild of the 16' Scamp.
As to the air conditioning I feel that this is a must have item and it needs to be well thought out. Perhaps not important in Oregon, but in the South it is a no go item!
I chose to build in the mini-split heat pump unit and place the inside part high in the ceiling.

The condenser could perhaps be built into the shell. Of course the use of a window unit would be less money as well.
I like your ideas, but too high of an entry price limits the exposure. For that matter a a new Scamp or Casita is out of my league and is not optomized for my use either.

Best of luck with your endeavors!
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:35 PM   #522
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You don't have a cost issue you have an image issue. People buy Air-streams for the image of wealth. If they raise the price $5000 people will still buy them. People buy new Casita's because their friends have one. People buy Scamps for the same reason. All these have long lasting reputations. You are new, no one knows you, your marketing sucks. You need marketing work really bad. Have you considered writing some articles and submitting them to the trade magazines, and senior living magazines. People have to see the value before they will commit to buying them. How many rallies have you committed to. You need 3 more trailers to loan to travelers for a year or so to hit the summer rally circuit. North, south, east and west. After that pull them back in clean them up and sell them off used. Establishing not only new price but resale value. Making a brand is very expensive. Get that trailer out, get some pictures in amazing places. Places where money resides. Sturges, the balloon festival in New Mexico, the Indy 500, our national parks, even Quartzsite in the spring. At the high end your customers need to see you as successful to be successful.
Wish you the best of luck in your adventure.
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:45 PM   #523
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I think Steve has some great ideas. When Reace&Tammy first started Escape Trailer Industries they made it a point to go to the Oregon Gathering for the first 6-7 years. Yes, it seems like every year for the past several years they were bringing a new model to show off, but it paid off! I remember the very first 5er off the line. Those first owners toured the USA and posted where they were going to be if anyone was interested in a tour! I was, I did and I was hooked. Nothing absolutely nothing beats the see and sit test. No matter how glossy the brochure or fantastic the website, folks who are spending money on an asset need to SEE it to decide for themselves if it's the right decision. Once you build a reputation for a quality build you could then build different models and folks will buy site unseen based on the reputation. It's working for Escape, it can work for you as well Robert.

Best of luck!
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Old 06-11-2015, 10:58 PM   #524
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[QUOTE=Robert Johans;528381]So while I'm here, let me post an update:

Since the completion of our prototype and the launch of our initial and modest PR efforts, we have had lots of interest, but no buyers yet.

By a huge amount, the cost of the shell body is our largest expense. Though the "frameless" monocoque building methodology reduces weight, it adds significant costs ($5K) to the production. We initially thought that this construction would add long-term value to the trailer. But now we're wondering if that's important to folks.

I've been very open to your comments throughout this entire process. So I invite you all to weigh in here with your opinions regarding the "frame vs no frame" conversation.

Thanks.

I like the concept of no frame, but how much weight does it save over having a frame? I think a time will tell approach is what people are waiting for. Our Lil Snoozy is built using the same building methodology, but it is mounted to a boat trailer frame. This makes for a very strong self supporting body, but heavier than the thin hand laid fiberglass models. Lil Snoozy found early on that they had to make the floor thicker after finding that in the real world (camping use) the floor developed cracks. I would hate to be the one to discover this happening on a frameless trailer.
Dave & Paula
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Old 06-12-2015, 02:33 AM   #525
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Donna & Dave, both exlnt posts. We did stop by the Oliver trailers at the Q rally 2 years ago to see them for ourselves after reading about them. Pictures are nice but putting an eyeball on something and getting the feel in person has to be first hand. As a possible customer living on the west coast, I wouldn't travel 3000 miles to see an Oliver at the factory. That's where the rallies make such an impact on new models/layouts or brands you haven't seen in person. I was able to see Dave's Lil Snoozy last year at the Q rally. Because of that viewing, I wouldn't have a problem ordering one from 3000 miles away. Call it marketing and it cost $ but we are in a very small market in the RV world.
Just as an example to first hand experience. Had a brother-in-law that just had to have this new sports car that just came out. He did all the reading up on it and was drooling to buy it. He found out when he went to the dealer that he couldn't get in the drivers seat because of the steering wheel and seat location.
You have a beautiful trailer and I'm really glad you've ask and done some of the things that we molded trailer owners have commented on to fine tune the end product. Get three or four out to the rallies around the country and watch the good results you get.
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Old 06-12-2015, 09:33 AM   #526
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Check out current edition of Gizmag!

Nest Caravan delivers a monocoque-built glamping adventure
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Old 06-12-2015, 09:39 AM   #527
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Thanks all for your wonderful feedback. Unfortunately, with so much spent on R&D, the initial marketing efforts have been admittedly weak. We are working on that now.
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Old 06-12-2015, 09:56 AM   #528
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Bed

Robert,

I recall that the original design was not a permanent front bed but a sitting area convertible to a queen bed. Is that still optional?
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:05 PM   #529
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Hello Norm,

In reply to your specific questions:

To reduce a significant amount of production costs, I would have to revert to old school FG either chopper gun or hand lay-up. In either case, the "innovation" behind the monocoque design gets tossed. (Does anybody care?)

Because most people asked for it, it's always been our intention to make the "full-time" queen-size bed the standard set-up. The more traditional bench/table-to-bed conversion always an option.
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:24 PM   #530
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Personally....just jumping in... would you not be better off with an aluminum frame and forget the other $5k? Still a strong but light frame (OLIVER?) but one that wont rust and corrode. I wouldnt pay $5K more for that design if I could find the EXACT camper (just being theoretical here) with the alum. frame. Probably too late now...but maybe some pre-costing could have helped here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Johans View Post
So while I'm here, let me post an update:

Since the completion of our prototype and the launch of our initial and modest PR efforts, we have had lots of interest, but no buyers yet.

By a huge amount, the cost of the shell body is our largest expense. Though the "frameless" monocoque building methodology reduces weight, it adds significant costs ($5K) to the production. We initially thought that this construction would add long-term value to the trailer. But now we're wondering if that's important to folks.

I've been very open to your comments throughout this entire process. So I invite you all to weigh in here with your opinions regarding the "frame vs no frame" conversation.

Thanks.

Thanks.
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:34 PM   #531
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In my opinion,

Your cost Issue isn't a materials issue its an uncontrolled labor issue caused by your outside contracted services. Whether its on a frame or not at this point isn't a cost issue. You probably have less material cost in your new process for making a tow-able shell. Unless you went to epoxy's then you probably have a $500 uptick there. Problem is material waste not used in the finish product and aircraft labor rates to produce the shell. Until you get labor under your own roof this will continue to be a problem. It takes you 2 hours to produce the shell but 2 days to set up for it and a whole lot of expensive trash to prove you did a good job. I may be wrong on this, but this is what I see from a manufacturing stand point. We sell fiberglass reinforcement into the pipeline industry its a hard sell to move aircraft technology to pipeline mechanics let alone aircraft technology to a hard sided tent trailer mindset. For your survival marketing is the key and targeted goals need to be tightly aimed at the right people.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:29 AM   #532
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The initial rationale for employing the more modern (and expensive) vacuum-infusion process was to build a better product. The FG-to-resin ratio for infusion is 65% FG/35%resin. Old school chopper gun is the converse: 35%FG/65%resin delivering a measurably weaker, more brittle end result.

We're also trying to deliver some innovation to the industry. The "frameless" construction methodology is one of those concepts.

But all this comes at a price. And perhaps is completely unimportant to most folks.
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