Karin's Campster Renovation - Page 17 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-24-2018, 12:04 PM   #321
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Karin's Campster Renovation

You will love the cf50. I one have is the 12/24 volt, itís been in service for several years. Itís been the best addition to my camping gear.
You can say goodbye to your food floating in questionable water.
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Old 07-24-2018, 03:10 PM   #322
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Originally Posted by Patricia D. View Post
"realize that your overall tolerance when you are up at the countertop where it meets the wall is very likely going to be plus or minus a 1/4" due to the variations in shape of the fiberglass shell."
Exactly what happened to me, my kitchen counter runs along the front of my trailer and part way down the driver's side. The new counter top is snug in the corners and down the side but right in the front middle, there is a gap about a foot long and 3/16 in depth at its widest.
Congratulations on the Waeco score. Those portable fridges can be really pricey.
If I do the job right I won't have any gaps at the wall. I will scribe the edges. I have a nice scribe gadget from Fast Cap. You set the flat back against the wall and draw a line on the countertop. I have done house remodeling a number of times including scribing countertops to fit irregular walls. https://www.fastcap.com/product/accu...o#!prettyPhoto
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Old 07-24-2018, 03:27 PM   #323
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Originally Posted by BarbinBC View Post
Is your fridge 3 way Karin? My 2004 Trillium Outback came with a Waeco fridge that only runs on 12V. It has a small freezer compartment with no door that amazingly freezes things. It's Model RPD 1065U/F made in Germany. At one of the fiberglass trailer meets I attended one person told me that they were very good refrigerators. I mostly boondock with two 12V batteries and a 120W portable solar panel. When I went to the Arctic for 3 months only once, after it had rained for 3 days, did I have to find a place to recharge.

Looking forward to seeing your cabinet build. Take photos! How convenient to have all the right tools handy.

I'm gearing up for the Boler 50th Anniversary Event in Winnipeg in a few weeks. Looked at the list of 700 f.g. trailer attending but didn't see any Campsters!
Have fun at the Boler event, sounds like a good trip.

I don't think there were all that many Campsters built. They were made in Oregon but only for about 2 years so most of the ones I have seen photos of are still on the left coast. They are not like the Boler, Scamps and Casitas where there are a lot of them around.

My new fridge is not a 3 way. It does have a 12v connection as well as a 100v. It can sense if I am on shore power and will automatically switch over to that power source instead of drawing from the battery. Waeco has a pretty good reputation. It look like I will need to make my bed an inch or two narrower to get it to fit in. Good thing I have been working on making myself several inches narrower
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:23 PM   #324
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roll out toilet cabinet base

My cabinet on the opposite side of the kitchen has a pull out section on wheels on which the the toilet will sit. So the issu was figuring out what kind of rolling wheels to put under it. I did not want tall wheels as that would raise the toilet seat up too high for comfort. I did not want wheels that swivel, they needed to stay straight so it would stay in line with the opening as it was moved in and out. I wanted lots of wheels to spread out the load so that they would not imprint grooves into the flooring. Of course it needed to be good and strong, easily supporting the weight of a filled toilet and a person without having to resort to a heavy board for the base.

The other day when I got serious about obtaining wheels I remembered that there was a ready made set of wheels on brackets that would meet all of those criteria.....appliance roller wheels. Fortunately my local hardware store had them in stock. They are a little longer than I want but that is OK I can trim them to the right length, relocate the screws and at the same time add some aluminum angle to provide screw holes to mount them to a plywood base for the toilet to sit on.

This photo below shows the brackets sitting on the floor where that cabinet will be with them next to the toilet for size reference. That blue tape on the floor is marked with a line that represents the front lower edge of the front face of the cabinet frame.
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This photo shows two of the sets of 8 wheels at each end of the frame, for a total of 48 wheels on a steel frame. With a 2,000 lb capacity rating that is more than enough strength and stability but the set of rollers is still reasonably light in weight and only 1-3/8 inches high. If you needed to build a big pullout drawer, say for under a bed, then these wheels might be handy for that as well. To find some do a keyword search for "appliance rollers".
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:20 PM   #325
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Your creativity continues to amaze me. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:26 AM   #326
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Originally Posted by Dave Fish View Post
Your creativity continues to amaze me. Thanks for sharing.
Creativity ....not really, it was just a matter of dredging up a visual memory of having previously used appliance rollers under a refrigerator circa 1991. It sure took a frustratingly long time, more than a year of thinking about needing to make that roll out base, to remember those nice low sets of wheels that are all aligned in a row to distribute the weight. I was just getting ready to make my own small diameter wheels on the laser cutter for the project and was not looking forward to fabricating all the metal parts and then getting them all arrange and secured in alignment. Saved from the extra labor by a memory.
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:44 PM   #327
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baby picture of Campster

When the Campster is just a newborn its shell is still open, only attached along one side. As it develops the joint becomes fully attached and the shell hardens. At the early infant stage they are called "clamsters" for very a obvious reason as seen in this image.
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:58 PM   #328
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Old 09-09-2018, 02:59 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
I was able to install my door today. Whew, what job that has been to resolve a lot of the issues with the opening in the fiberglass.

But I digress...this posting is about getting lucky and finding a weatherstrip that is a perfect fit for the aluminum channel on the door's flange. I had been going backwards and forwards with what to do about that weatherstrip piece because I could not find any close matches. This time at Home Depot I was pretty much looking at anything and everything on the shelf. Then I spotted a weatherstrip piece that is made to fit into a routed groove on an outside door for a house. The Campster door frame has a T slot shape that holds in the weatherstip so I grabbed it to try figuring I could always return it. What can I say, I was desperate to try anything that had a potential of working. It turned out to be exactly the right width and thickness and it stays in place without needing any adhesives except to put some adhesive caulk in the 45 degree cuts at the corners to bond them together.

Well it would be just perfect if my door was not warped at the top and bottom but that is a tale for another day when I put it on a rack and torture it

Here is the product name:
M-D Building Products, Platinum Collection, Door Weatherstrip Replacement, it comes in 3 color choices, white 91890, brown 91891 and black 91892. Description: " installs easily into slotted door jambs".
https://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-.../dp/B00D8P21VU

I did not replace the section of weatherstripping on my hinge side as it was still in good shape. But to do the whole door or even just 3 sides you will need 2 packages of this product. Guess I will be heading back to Home Depot tomorrow for a second one.

Weatherstripping is a really big deal to get just right otherwise you get major troubles with water coming in. So I am jumping for joy this evening! I have a door, I have a door, no more tarp, I can lock the door!
I thought I would do a quick revisit of this posting from two years ago where I replaced the door weather stripping. This replacement part has worked out very good. I have a weather tight door that has no leaks, and I don't have a cap over the door either. At first I did have some leaks coming in from the top edge as there was a tapered gap, narrow on the hinge side and wider on the latch side. Also at the corners I could not find any caulking that would stick the the material this gasket is made from. I tried foam tape, this and that with no luck. But after a frustrating several weeks of experimenting I did come up with a quick and easy solution and it has held up great in summer and in winter too since the fall 0f 2016. The solution I came up with was to cut Butyl rubber tape to a narrower width and place it under the folded back over itself section of this weather stripping seal. If you look closely at the photo you can see where it folds over. The tape is not exposed, it is sandwiched underneath the gasket material. I made sure to extend it around the corners of the top on down the side as that too had a tapered gap.All I had to do was close the door and it compressed the butyl tape making a perfect, custom fit along all edges with no gaps. We have just started into Seattle's rainy fall weather this week and it sure is nice to open the door after a heavy rain storm and not see any water on the floor.
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Old 09-09-2018, 03:34 AM   #330
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wiring channels

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Can you see the wiring in the photo above? The raised up white on white areas are on the surface wiring channels. That is how I am securing the majority of the wiring that is routing from the right side with the power inputs over to the left side of the trailer for various outlets. The covers are rated for the wiring I am placing into the channel. The smaller diameter channel at the bottom is for the tail light wiring. The middle wide channel is the 12v wiring for cabin lights, fridge, radio, and various ports for powering and charging equipment. The top wide channel is for the 110v wiring for an outlet for the fridge which can run on 110 and for a couple of sockets for various small power tools I travel with.



The only reason I can do this type of wiring channel along the wall in my Campster is because I have added blocking and plywood paneling to the inside of my trailer. I wanted to use this system because there are no wires that can get snagged, pinched or chaffed when I move things in and out of storage underneath the bed area. If I want to add a new wire to power equipment I can pop off a cover and place the wire into the channel, put the cover back on, hook up the two ends of the wire and I am done. Since the trailer functions for full time living and working I wanted it easy to make changes.
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Old 09-09-2018, 06:32 PM   #331
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face frame for cabinet under the bed

Framing with aluminum extrusions is pretty easy. The metal can be cut with a carbide blade on my power miter saw. So that is not any different than cutting a piece of wood on the saw. In the long run I find that building cabinet framing out of aluminum is faster than building it out of wood, it takes less skill, but it does cost more than wood. In my opinion it holds up better to the vibration than wood. If you think differently then you are not realizing all the stress, flexing, jarring and vibrations aluminum framed aircraft go though.

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What I am building at present is the cabinet that supports the bed. The face frame is built first, it is a ladder like structure. It bolts through the floor and at the upper edge attaches to sidewalls screwed through angle brackets into furring inside of the shell. Of course there will also eventually be cross pieces at the top edge that go over to the front wall. Those will stabilize the face frame as well as support the boards the mattress rests on. I will show it installed in another posting.

For this face frame I have used several different types of extrusion. The upper rail is 1" x 1" x 1/8" U channel. I used the U channel to help resist bending since that forward edge will take the weight of one or more persons sitting on it for lounging. This face frame is much more stout than any other cabinet face frame in the trailer will be, it has to bear the most weight and do so frequently. There will never be anything sitting on the countertops that weighs as much as an adult human. I don't need a U channel for those, an L shaped angle is sufficient for their top rails. I also don't need square tube for the vertical pieces, an L shaped angle will suffice for the weight bearing loads.

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The vertical uprights are 3/4" x 3/4" x 1/16" square tubes except for the one in the center. That size of tube slips inside of the upper U channel for a snug fit. I made the center upright out of 1" x 1/2" by 1/8" U channel. I wanted it to be removable in case I ever wish to store something wide inside the cabinet.

The lower horizontal rail that is attached to the floor is a 1" x 1" x 1/8" angle.

I use a few different types of fasteners depending on what I am fastening to and if I want to have the pieces be removable or not. The majority of fasteners in this face frame assembly that spans the width of the trailer are aluminum pull rivets.

The uprights are riveted to the upper U channel using 3/16 rivets. I made sure the one on the front side was offset from the one on the back side so that they did not interfere with each other. At the bottom they are riveted to the lower angle with two 1/8" aluminum rivets. The rivet arrangement is such that it does not allow the framing to slant sideways out of square. When installing the uprights I made sure they were squared to the upper and lower frame pieces.
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The removable upright is installed with #8 stainless sheet metal screws. I don't really need this vertical support in the middle but it is not going to hurt having it, so I added it just in case. At the lower edge it sits on top of a small riser block as shown in the photo above. That allows me to slide that upright U channel piece sideways and then drop it down and rotate it to swing it out of the upper U channel. It required a little bit of figuring out what extrusion to use for that upright that would be strong enough to transfer the weight down to the floor without flexing, but would also be easy to remove should I want a wider access opening now and again.

You might be wondering about the cabinet doors for this under the bed cabinet. It will have lightweight poplar wood frames with a vinyl mesh center panel. The doors will not be hinged for this cabinet. Instead I will be using a variation on the concept used to install sliding cabinet doors that go into a track. On those the upper channel is deeper than the lower channel. So you lift the door up and then drop it down into the lower channel. The door stays captured in the channel as gravity keeps it there. But instead of a track I will have cleats on the backside of the door frame that fit over the upper and lower face frame extrusions. They will easy to remove when I want access.
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:29 PM   #332
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kitchen cabinet w stove & sink

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I spent the evening in my trailer hammering out the final design for the cabinet that houses the sink, fresh and grey water tank. 4 gallon diesel tank for the stove, the stove/heater, converter, the battery and misc small items.

Using my 3D CAD program, while sitting right next to where the cabinet goes, working with tape measure and having the converter on hand was essential to keep my thinking straight. I was getting too easily confused when not sitting right in front of the project area. I ended up turning the converter to a vertical orientation for the best fit that also created a visually pleasing arrangement of doors. How things look is important in small spaces as your eyes take it all in at once.

There is still one small cabinet to design that sits on top of this one, it is shallow and not very deep, it goes from countertop to the ceiling close to the window. It will be handy for use as a spice/medicine cabinet. But it has two other purposes. It will hide the wires from the solar panel comng down down from the roof. In addition I will put a 12v HD/FM radio with aux inputs inside that cabinet. I can use the rooftop clamshell fitting for the solar panel wires to also rout the wire for a rooftop antenna for the radio. One less hole in the roof is good Because I have metal reflective foil insulation inside the walls I need outside antennas.

There are a lot of framing pieces that went into this jigsaw puzzle of a cabinet. Standard household kitchen cabinets are so much easier to design, you don't have to fit all the functions into such a small space.

The image below shows the aluminum frame plus the wood cleat that goes on the sidewall of the trailer. I set my table saw to cut a 7 degree bevel on the wood to match the slope of the wall on the upper half of the shell. The lower half has a 12 degree slope on the sidewall except for that raised up section on the lower area. I will add more wood to the wall during the building process, some pieces get cut to fit when I start the installation. The cross pieces that go back to the sidewall will be measured in place one at a time as the sidewall wall has too much variation in it.
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The long horizontal cabinet door at the bottom is where the wheel well is. I have enough depth in front of the wheel well to house my AGM house battery. Someday I will replace it with a lithium battery but that is not in the current budget.

The converter is going into the cabinet area just above that battery. The converter could not go directly under the stove because of the heat from the stove. The shore power inlet is also very close to the converter. That keeps all those heavy gauge wires to fairly short lengths. There will be some wasted space behind it but maybe a hidden compartment back there? We will see, what I come up with later on, no point in wasting that extra depth.

My cooktop is ceramic topped, diesel fueled, and has a dual function as the cabin heater. It needs to have fresh air intake ventilation right next to the stove which is what those slots in the cabinet face just under the counter top are for. Also my cabinet doors have vinyl coated wire mesh inserts which allows for even more air movement. Those inserts are shown as beige colored in the CAD model, I did not take the time to create a custom texture map with an actual photo of the material but the image below is very similar in color and texture.

I even managed to sneak in a small drawer for utensils just above the converter at the end of the counter. It won't be the full depth of the counter as there is some wiring that routs back there over to the plug ins.

There is a step down at the end of the upper countertop in this cabinet. That is because I am going to have a workbench desk along the length of the wall under the window and it will integrate into that step down level. The length of the cabinet was determined by the forward end of the wheel well, at 56" from the back wall. I am taking advantage of that vertical height in the step area to use it for an electrical outlet and switch panel area. The solar controller and battery monitor will also at that location. While it is not my ideal layout at least it does keep a lot of the electrical wiring in a concentrated area and easy to access it for installation and maintenance.


So the next step is to cut and assemble all the pieces of the front face frame.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:42 PM   #333
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Name: K C
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Above is the drawing I made this morning for fabricating the face frame for the cabinet that houses the sink and stove. I did not put every dimension on the pieces of extrusion since there are only two sizes in the face frame, everything except the piece that fastens to the floor is 1"x1"x1/8" angle. The piece that fastens to the floor is 1"x2"x1/8". I decided to go with a taller piece at the floor so I could raise up the lower edge of the cabinet doors to keep my toes from marring the wood doors. There was not enough space to do a proper recessed toe kick and still fit in the battery compartment between the wheel well and the face of the cabinet.

That gap that shows in the lower extrusion is for sliding the battery out of the compartment without having to lift it off the floor. There will be a removable cover plate that fills in that gap. By leaving that extrusion piece continuous instead of making it from three separate pieces it makes it easier to keep everything aligned during the fabrication.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:48 PM   #334
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While I know that it is fun to see the finished project people did want to know how I build cabinets out of aluminum. Since there is no other thread in the forum showing this I am showing the process I used.

Assembling the face frame for the kitchen cabinet, I put some plywood down on the floor for a firm surface to work on. Then did a test layout.
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To get things nice and square I have several aids in addition to a tape measure. I elevated the frame up onto some cross member boards, that gave me a small gap underneath for using some clecos and cleco clamps. Clecos are small spring loaded clamps with two finger that extend through the holes I drill for the fasteners and then draw the pieces together with the holes perfectly aligned. The flat nosed clamp are also spring loaded, they are like other clamps they just pull the pieces together keeping the gap between them closed up so the piece don't move apart during the drilling. I used them all the time when I was assembling frames for airplanes. Very handy for sheet metal work of many types.

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A few years ago I saw some shelf brackets from the Fast Cap company and upon checking them out with a square I realized they truly were square. The design of these brackets leaves an open inside corner. That means they are very handy to use as a square for clamping up cabinet frames or boxes as you can access the corners with a drill bit and/or a screw driver into the corners for assembly work. These brackets are expensive but they are a real time saver. I good tool investment if you make a lot of stuff which is something that happens a lot around here. I wish I had several more of the smaller size of these brackets, but I don't so I have to do the drilling and riveting in stages instead of all at once.
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In the photo below I have already riveted some of the verticals to the lower rail and to the upper rail. Then I re-positioned some of the squaring up aids and clamps to drill and rivet the rest of the pieces.
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Here it is all riveted together, tomorrow I will start the process of installing it. The cross bars that tie it to the sidewall, the shelf supports, etc have to be measured piece by piece after the face frame is secured to the floor and the rear wall of the trailer. In addition to screws threaded into the plywood subfloor there will be two thru bolts that get secured underneath the trailer with nylock nuts and fender washers.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:10 AM   #335
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Looking good!
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Old 04-06-2019, 02:46 AM   #336
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Finally getting back to work on my renovation but I have not found my high speed DIY gears just yet. It has warmed up but of course Seattle in the spring is not truly warm weather and this whole next week has nothing but rain and wind in the forecast which will make for slow progress since I can't move my tools outside next to the trailer.

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But today put a smile on my face as I found a hardly ever used Engel/Norcold portable fridge, the 18 quart size, that is the perfect fit to put on a sliding pull out tray inside the cabinet over the wheel well. When I left off working last fall I had just about finished putting the face frame of the cabinet into position in the trailer. But I was at rather a stand still because I did not have an actual fridge to work with for designing and making the parts for that slide out drawer. The height is a tight fit due to it being over the wheel well and that area being limited in height by the lower edge of the window frame. There was really only one choice of a good quality fridge that was going to fit. That location over the wheel well is great because I don't have to bend over but I can also easily see inside it. Plus a top opening fridge helps keeps the cold inside when you open it. You can see the test fit of the fridge sitting on top of the wheel well, of course I had to set it at the location as soon as I got it ....just because I wanted to celebrate finding this treasure.

It was a two year hunt of constantly watching craigslist for one to show up! But the hilarious part is when I contacted the person who posted the ad the fridge turned out to be literally a 5 second walk across the parking lot from my trailer. One of the marine repair guys in the building had gotten it from the owner of a boat he was doing some upgrades on as part payment for the work. I did get a good neighbor, very deep discount price After I sell the larger fridge I got for free from another neighbor it will be exactly enough to pay for this one that is the perfect fit. I needed to find a used one because the price for a new Engel 18 quart portable fridge would have been $900. A friend who has been living full time in their van for a long time has been running an Engel 24/7, 365 days a year for the last 10 years with no issues. Plus they are the most energy efficient brand of portable 12v fridges. It will automatically switch over to 120AC when that is available. Well worth the time I spent keeping my eye out for one of them.

So tomorrow will be a day of measuring and then designing the pull out drawer the fridge will get secured to. I had already purchased the heavy duty full extension slides and I already have all the aluminum angle needed for that slide out drawer. Then on Sunday I can start cutting then metal and riveting it together. I also have to put in some slides for the other drawers but that is very easy to do. I found some at Rockler that are sufficient, not too heavy or expensive and more than strong enough for the loads that will be placed in those drawers. They can be trimmed to length which will need to be done.

https://www.rockler.com/delta-glides
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:54 PM   #337
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Sliding tray for my vintage Norcold portable

I got all the pieces cut, assembled and installed for my sliding tray. It fits into the cabinet over the passenger side wheel well. It slides in and out very nicely. I just need to add a safety catch to engage for when I am underway on the road. Of course I also have to build the doors and drawers but this tray was a major milestone on the cabinet building list, one I had to get through before I started the electrical work and making the door and drawer fronts.

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It is of course not the easiest thing to get everything perfectly squared up and level to the cabinet face frame on a trailer that is not sitting level and does not have a level floor but I eventually got there. Cutting and assembling the pieces was not that bad, it is just getting to the point where it can be drilled for the rivets and bolts that has to be done carefully. But it all worked out as I was careful when I put the cabinet frame together to get each piece of it put in square.

I will add some extra insulation around the sides and the bottom and a piece for the top too. The panels in my cabinet doors are made with a PVC coated wire mesh. Plus the portable fridge has lots of breathing room around it. That is why I was able to install it inside of a cabinet. I just have to unscrew 4 bolts if I want to take it out and put it inside my Honda Element camper conversion when I want to leave the trailer at home base.
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:40 PM   #338
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Today my back was sore from working on cabinets so I took on a different type of project, one that involved cutting, gluing and some sewing too. I made removable screens for the Campster sliding windows. Photo is of the interior of the trailer, I put a red tarp over the outside of the trailer so there was enough contrast to see the screen against the red. The photo shows the screen partially removed so you can see how it is held in place.

It was not an instant project as you will see in the description of the steps below. Making the screen was quick enough as I know how to sew and make patterns. Getting the Velcro prepared so it will stay stuck to the aluminum window frame on a hot summer day is what takes the most labor time.

The Campsters did come with bug screens for those windows but mine were long gone. After talking in the forum with some other Campster owners I found out that the spline groove that secures the screens is actually located underneath the interior aluminum clamp ring. Wow is that inconvenient, you can't wash the inside pane of the window without removing more than a dozen screws and then pulling out the spline and the screen. Which means you then need to install all new screening with new spline just to wash the window glass. Plus I am going to have wood trim around my window frames and that means removing that trim and then removing the aluminum frame. The heck with that nonsense, it was time to get creative and design and then fabricate some easy to remove screens.


This is also going to be handy if I ever decide I simply must put a small window unit AC into the sliding window opening. To do that I would need to be able to remove the window screen.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:11 PM   #339
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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campster easy to remove door screen

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I now have a screen for the inside of the window in the entry door. The original screens were on the outside and held in place with a spline. That meant there was no way to clean the outside of the window glass unless you removed and then replaced the screen and spline with new materials. I guess the designer of the window screens and frames was not someone who ever did basic housework chores.

It is secured in place with Velcro and it is very quick and easy to open and close the upper and lower half of the screen for opening and closing the sliding window.

I am using a vinyl coated screen that is strong, durable, UV and pet damage resistant. It is also rated for no-see-ums. I bought it at Lowes but Home Depot also stocks this type of screen. It is the same screening I used in the popup top screened openings. The black color is easy to see through but of course it does look darker in the photo than it does when looking out the window.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:50 PM   #340
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Name: Ellpea
Trailer: Bigfoot
CA
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I have been away for a while and have missed your detailed posts about this camper. Thank you for all of the helpful info you include.

EllPea
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