Nest Caravans Building a new FG trailer, step by step - Page 9 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-30-2014, 01:37 PM   #113
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Folks, I do appreciate your comments about the waste water tanks. Obviously, now is the time to resolve these decisions. Given your thoughtful reasonings, I will once again re-visit this issue. Thanks.

Now back to the build! Tomorrow we pull our first parts from the molds!
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:56 PM   #114
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Smile Just found this thread

It is interesting to see how one goes about making something like this. Like most things the devil is in the details and there is a lot of work not immediately apparent to a casual observer. As a former engineering technician, I have some concept of how much work you are putting in. I do like the idea of a frameless design because that always struck me as strange that you have a rustless body and then a frame underneath which could rust right out from under you. I used to work where they made transformers and they use a powder coating to prevent rust.
I also see that there is much money that has to be provided up front with a long time before any income will be seen.
Wishing you all success with your innovative design.

As to the grey/black water issue. We use a portapotti for yellow water and a bucket for grey water. Have never had any problem with either. There are parks that require a totally contained rig, but we have found don't ask, don't tell works. I have found that it is easy to pour down the sewer connection every morning. I don't think handling something that has sat for days is disireable. We didn't empty one morning and things got rank rather quickly.
What a thing to talk about in public.

PS: I thought you had prototypes built already. That shows how good the computer design programs are.
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:04 PM   #115
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Here's Phil putting some finishing details onto the mold of the rear cap. After a little trimming, like the top and bottom molds, this too gets a steel frame put around it.
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:18 PM   #116
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These shots show how the the shell floor will get some of its structure.

Super dense foam panels have been cut to shape and laid into temporary position to check for fit. When the shell part is set up for infusion tomorrow, this foam will be sandwiched between thick layers of FG.

Look closely at the open areas between the wheel wells and foam here is where long blocks of hard plastic-like material will be laid, also embedded between FG layers. It is through these blocks that the axle bracket below will be mounted.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:59 PM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Johans View Post
Here's Phil putting some finishing details onto the mold of the rear cap. After a little trimming, like the top and bottom molds, this too gets a steel frame put around it.
Robert, Now that you have the mold for the rear cap, how wide will the rear entry door be? Wide enough for a youth wheelchair to fit through (say at least 29" clearance)? I can't help but believe that there is a market out there for a small camper that would accommodate a parent with a wheelchair-bound child (with appropriate interior modifications). It seems it would have to be rear-entry design (wheelchair ramp mounted to the rear bumper with a straight shot in to a center aisle), so that means Nest, Lil' Snoozy, and perhaps the upstart Happy Camper depending on how it materializes (advantage Snoozy because when you remove the love seat, there is no interior wheel well hump taking up space needed for a wheelchair to maneuver around).

So back to the Nest - how wide is the rear entry door clearance going to be? Just curious....
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Old 10-03-2014, 03:42 PM   #118
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Dale, the Nest is about 81" wide, and the entry door is 27". Not quite wide enough for a wheel chair in this initial design.

However, because the rear cap is a separate component, we have the capability of creating alternate entry designs someday... like double doors perhaps, for those that wish to customize their Nest for more "toy hauling" capabilities.
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Old 10-03-2014, 03:52 PM   #119
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With the molds complete, and prepped for production, the first step is to spray into the mold the gelcoat, followed by a barrier coat.

The top shell is coated with a "silver" gelcoat, while the bottom gets white.

The black barrier coat prevents any "print through" of the fiberglass layers, which are applied after the spray coats are dry.

Fiberglass layers? Right, instead of the old-school "chopper gun" production process, we've chosen to go with the latest infusion-method technology. Roughly speaking, chopper gun produces something of a 65% resin to 35% FG ratio, whereas infusion provides the opposite. This makes the infusion product significantly stronger and lighter in the end. Of course, it is much more expensive and labor intensive, but we believe the pay off is worth it.
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Old 10-03-2014, 03:58 PM   #120
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With the spray layers now dry, the layers of fiberglass materials are cut to shape and laid into the mold.

A variety of materials are layered one over the other to provide as much strength and stiffness as necessary.
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:04 PM   #121
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Because the floor of the Nest carries the weight/load in lieu of a steel frame, extra reinforcement is required.

After a couple layers of FG cloth and/or matt is laid down, rigid foam is brought into position. This then is also covered with more layers of material. Ultimately, we will have a floor about 2" thick.
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:19 PM   #122
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After all of the FG layers are in place, everything gets covered with "peel" cloth. This provides a barrier between the FG layers and the plastic infusion "bag," making removal of the bag and infusion tubes easy.

The bag is in fact a large sheet of plastic that is ultimately completely sealed along the perimeter of the mold. This plastic is cut and/or manipulated as necessary to follow the basic form of the mold.

But before the bag can be sealed, vacuum and resin infusion lines are laid into position throughout the mold.
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:35 PM   #123
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Infusion technology uses a vacuum to pull the resin through supply lines inside the controlled environment of the bagged and sealed mold.

Given that this was our first attempt, and the unknowns associated with a mold of this size and detail, many feed lines were introduced into the bag to ensure a good "pull" and a full wetting of all of the FG layers within.

About 22PSI of vacuum was maintained for about an hour to ensure that all the air within the bag was removed before the introduction of our resin.
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:48 PM   #124
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Wow your trailers wont have that new polyester resin smell. Looking good. Nothing like sealing a large vacuum bag. I wonder if any other makers are using epoxy's?
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Old 10-03-2014, 05:11 PM   #125
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Catalyst is added to the resin and the mixture is then sucked into mold. The flow of resin is introduced in stages, allowing the bottom of the mold to fully wet first before pulling up the sides. At the appropriate time, other supply lines are opened to aid in the flow up to the top edge.

You can see the pinkish resin as it is being pulled through the FG layers. The constant vacuum ensures that all layers are completely infused with resin.

Each shell took about 12 gallons of resin.
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Old 10-03-2014, 05:26 PM   #126
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About an hour after the resin has been sucked through the entire mold it begins to gel. Two hours later, the FG layers are fully infused, and the resin is cured, hard and dry. All of the tubes and plastic bag material are then pulled away.

We rolled the mold assembly outdoors and flipped it over... The newly infused part slipped from its hold and two men eased it to the ground.

Our new baby! About 13.5' long and 250lbs. Woohoo!
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