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Want To build a Teardrop camping trailer

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  • Want To build a Teardrop camping trailer

    I have always wanted to build a tear drop camping trailer to pull behind my mini cooper. Currently i am enrolled in a tech school for welding and we get to make a final project in metal fab class. This is what i was thinking. i have a trailer all ready and just build a cabin to sit on top. One inch square aluminum tubing really thin walled as thin as i can go build the frame out of it then skin it with AL sheet like 20 gage. then foam for insulation on the inside then more al sheet for inside the walls. the key is as light as possible. Any ideas thoughts concerns please share them. im not totally sure what im getting myself into any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance,

  • #2
    Sounds like you have a good plan so far...Bob
    http://www.teardroptrailers.net/part...s/trailers.htm
    Last edited by aametalmaster; 09-21-2009, 07:43 PM.

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    • #3
      I actually used to have something similar. I had a old 1930's tear drop trailer that was aluminum skin and shelving with 1/2 angle iron steel frame. It was light enough I could maneuver the shell around myself until I installed the flooring anyway. I ended up giving it to my brother who decided to cover everything with tin for whatever reasons.

      From that experience, I think your framing and exterior covering materials are good choices. Hopefully you can find foam that is an inch thick so your interior walls aren't thicker than they need to be. If I may suggest though, the floor and interior are where your weight is really going to add up. I used 3/4" plywood for my floor, but I wasn't as concerned about weight as you are. I also spent quite a bit of time inside an unfinished teardrop with bare aluminum walls- it was noisy. Perhaps you should consider interior wall of bamboo paneling. It's relatively light weight, super strong, and would add a unique look to what will be a unique camper and car combination.

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      • #4
        Thank your for the suggestion i probably will use some sort of paneling on the inside not the metal that was one of my concerns noise how loud it would be. any idea any one on how thin i can go on the tubing and will like 20 gage sheet stay flat if welded on every foot? thanks

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        • #5
          I always thought that this would make a cool streamlined trailer. If it was there in my drinking days, I might even have tried to hitch it up.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by spotsineyes View Post
            I always thought that this would make a cool streamlined trailer. If it was there in my drinking days, I might even have tried to hitch it up.
            Thay say that sculpture is forged? Interesting how it appears with no seams I wonder how exactly it was made? Im sure it requires polishing on a regular basis.Mike

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            • #7
              Originally posted by crawdaddy View Post
              Thay say that sculpture is forged? Interesting how it appears with no seams I wonder how exactly it was made? Im sure it requires polishing on a regular basis.Mike
              It has 168 plates welded together...Bob
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bean

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mini-number1 View Post
                Thank your for the suggestion i probably will use some sort of paneling on the inside not the metal that was one of my concerns noise how loud it would be. any idea any one on how thin i can go on the tubing and will like 20 gage sheet stay flat if welded on every foot? thanks

                I would not be looking to weld the flat sheet to the frame of anything.
                You will end up with a twisted mess. 20gs sheet welded every foot the weld will telegraph to the outside with a pucker.

                Think adhesive.
                Bolt the aluminum frame together and use industrial urethane adhesives to attach the skin to the frame, and the paneling to the inside.

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                • #9
                  Time for a little reading, from people who have done it ....

                  http://www.hobartwelders.com/weldtal...light=teardrop

                  http://www.mikenchell.com/forums/

                  http://www.teardrops.net/

                  It took me two minutes to find these, copy and paste here. With a little effort, should be easy to find plenty of other sources of information.

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                  • #10
                    Look up vids on youtube of RV-7 riveting. The skin will look sweet with AN426 rivets, and you'll have a blast installing them.

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                    • #11
                      for welding on the side sheets i was thinking plug welds drill a small hole in the sheet and then just tig it closed then a little bit of polishing and all good. does that sound like it would be good.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by spotsineyes View Post
                        I always thought that this would make a cool streamlined trailer. If it was there in my drinking days, I might even have tried to hitch it up.
                        At 110 Tons, you'd need quite a rig to tow it!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mini-number1 View Post
                          Thank your for the suggestion i probably will use some sort of paneling on the inside not the metal that was one of my concerns noise how loud it would be. any idea any one on how thin i can go on the tubing and will like 20 gage sheet stay flat if welded on every foot? thanks
                          My teardrop the interior frame was welded (steel, but your planning aluminum) and the aluminum exterior was riveted. Had I been the one to reskin, I would have used a glue. Most professional trailer builders use glue not just because of ease of use, but because it holds the shape better. Welds chance warping from heat, rivets mean you spend a lot of time drilling. Glue bonds to the entire surface at similar pressure.

                          For the tubing- depends on your total design. The perimeter frame should only need to support the weight of the skin, insulation, and paneling, while withstanding wind forces. Just playing with the square tubing I have in the garage, 1/16" seems pretty sturdy. I'd use something thicker for door frames and any stud that will be holding a shelf or something.

                          Will the tear drop have a galley in the rear or anything? Mine had a rear clamshell door that was about 3.5 long. Something like that would need some pretty good reinforcement.

                          Do you have any sketches or plans yet?

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                          • #14
                            yea i am planning for a rear door/gallery thing. i curently have some sketches and i am working on drawing it up in google sketchup i should be able to post them up tomorrow. the size i was going for was 4.5' by 8' so there would be a full size bed inside and then a small kitchen thing under the rear door. also i was thinking only one side entry and then a sun roof pulled from like a suv for air ventulation and then be able to lay in there with my sweety at night and watch the stars. thanks for the help so far=]

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                            • #15
                              the plans i drew up

                              this is a side view of my design, the green as cabinets, the door is in the middle and the back curve will open as a kitchen type thing. i think i have decided on 1in square tubing 1/16 wall. then alum sheet on the outside (not sure how thick yet) and then foam insulation in the walls then 1/4 plywood of the inside wall.
                              Attached Files

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