Layout plan.

papaduc

New member
These folks are listed on the 80/20 web site as a distributor.
TECO Pneumatic
19439 SW 90th Court
Tualatin, OR 97062
United States
Phone: 503-928-5940
http://www.tecopneumatic.com/
The web site is for their CA location.
No personal experience but.....they may carry inventory.
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
Make your own brackets and buy the fasteners from local wholesaler. Another way to save money is ask 80/20 and T-slots if they have anyone in your area that buys 80/20 in volume. You may save some shipping costs by adding your order to theirs.

Repeat: Make most of your own brackets! Easy to do and you do not hve to wait for shipping. Just cut a length of angle or flatbar, drill the holes, debur and install.
I designed the base for lateral strength in case of a front collision so there are some beefy braces for example the brace plate for 15x30 to 15x30 extrusions has 12 holes. I am still working on the final design and am thinking to place long braces like on welded frame in lieu of plates.

My plan is to fill sidewalls with 1/4" bamboo plywood and have front and rear bamboo doors for storage so 45deg. braces from 80/20 would interfere. I found the local bamboo place with NC router to cut all my side and bottom filler panels, cabinet doors, sliding doors, drawer covers and 3/4" countertops all from matching bamboo.

George.
 

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GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
"The Board" TCH 1/4" polypropylene laminate.

I just received the 10” x 10” x ¼” sample from the TCH, it is mighty strong and light. My sample weighs about 1/2lb/SF. At that weight is at least 60% lighter than high grade aircraft or marine ¼” plywood. I will definitely consider it for modules' sides.

The edge is corrugatanly ugly but for 80/20 extrusion insertion this could be a perfect fit, extrusion will hide the ugly edge.

Samples are free and delivered within a few days.

http://www.tchweb.com/tchstore/product/510-4125/c900/1-4--Board--Black.html
http://www.tchweb.com/tchresource/files/pdf/SALES-SHEET-510-4125900.pdf

George.
 

papaduc

New member
That's an interesting material.
Any idea of the load bearing properties?
Would it be similar to 1/4" plywood in that regard?
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
Just use the lightest 1 1/2" square 80/20. The only need for rectangular sections would be places where there would be a large unsupported load which might be the bed support. Using 1" on the overheads may make the panels more difficult to install so not worth the weight savings. More important than the weight of the 80/20 is the weight of the panels. I used 1/2" plywood panel thickness but next time would use some sort of sandwich panel with thin skins and rigid foam core. Advantage would be insulation and much lighter weight. I do like the wood finish on my panels but would that would have to go.

The most important thing in using 80/20 is to isolate the 80/20 from the Sprinter body with wood insulators.

This is not rocket science so no need to spend too much effort with calculations. You will find the stuff to be very rigid when it is installed. Just cut, make connectors, bolt it up and proceed to the next phase of the conversion.

I do have a question on having all the cabinets removable. Will you have quick disconnects on all the electrical and plumbing? It is going to be a lot of work to remove seats and install the cabinets and the reverse if you will need to change back and forth very often. If it is one change each year for a vacation then it is not a problem. Maybe only some of the cabinets should be removable instead of all of them? The best part of our conversion is to have everything we need to camp ready to go at all times. Add food,water and clothes and go.
Could you elaborate on this point? Thank you.
George.
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
That's an interesting material.
Any idea of the load bearing properties?
Would it be similar to 1/4" plywood in that regard?
Good question. I took strips of 1” 3 core plywood (bending along the grain for 2 plies) and The Board. Under the same force the plywood bend about 1/16” and The Board about 7/8” so plywood is way over tenfold stronger in bending applications.

The plywood strip weigh 25g and The Board strip 16g so The Board is 36% lighter.

In my application I could use about 45SF for the invisible back/side panels which would bring 14lb of overall weight savings. A prefinished ¼’ 4’x8’ plywood sheet is about $25 so for my application The Board would cost $200 over prefinished plywood for 14lbs less weight. I can do better if go on a diet by myself.

George.
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
First I think you are being too conservative. Looking at your drawing it appears to have a lot more corner strength than you need. You have very large plates and 45 degree diagonals. I would suggest you get some 80/20 to play with and make some corner joints. You will be surprised how rigid it is with simple angles in the corners. A rectangular box with 4 corners is very rigid with angles. The large 1/4" plates in the corners could be 1 1/2" x 3/16" aluminum flatbar. Two holes on one piece of 80/20 and one hole on the other. I suspect 80/20 or a distributor would give you some short lengths to try. I have all my cabinets connected with 3/16" angle and 3/16" flatbar. It is very rigid and overkill. One connector that I did not use on a tee connection but should have is part # 3380. I used diecast inside corner connectors part # 3368 where I had panels. I would limit the use of the # 3368 because they use small set screws to lock in place. Not the same as a 5/16" carriage bolt deforming the 80/20 slot legs.

While the 1" would work for the overheads, why have two different sizes, connectors and hardware? The weight savings would be minor. I can drop in tee bolts anywhere to tie down cargo. Same bolt and female eyebolt works everywhere. I have strapped cargo to the bottom of the overhead cabinets. If you are using the slot for panels, then two different thickness panels would be required. My 1 1/2" upper cabinets have a piece of 1/4" plywood in the slot with the cabinet floor sitting on top of the 80/20. The space between the two panels have the wiring for the LED lights that are mounted under the cabinets. 1" may not allow hiding the wiring. Also could use up scrap 80/20 for the short pieces of the overhead cabinets. Just more cost for a little weight savings.
 

d_bertko

New member
Designing the modules with my dealer of choice being 200 miles away is not easy. I am finalizing the design of locks to OEM seat floor mount and need these 3 dimensions. I would really appreciate some help, thank you, George.
There is a certain elegance in re-using the seat mounts to attach your removable cabinetry.

I'll just offer the suggestion to ignore the existing seat mounts. Instead have separate mounting points located where they are ideal for the cabinet.

My worry is that reusing the seat mounts might be awkward for the second use.

My used van came with a removable bucket seat for the cargo area. It had its own quick-release floor plate. The floor plate used four 5/8" through bolts into thick spreader bars on the underside. (The semipermanent flattish floor plate captured the bucket seat with rear hooks and front quick-release bolts.)

Or use the equivalent of short runs of L-track or even individual L-track-boltdowns.

Through-bolts into spreaders for the nuts are simplest.

A step up might be welded nut plates on the underside to eliminate having to use a wrench underneath.

Not too hard to make nice filler plugs when you want seats instead.

The other alternative of routing some flush L-track or 1/2" 80/20 into the floor gives you some versatile cargo tie-downs when you aren't using them for cabinets.

Just some ideas---no advocacy here if you can engineer up the more complex seat mounts.

Dan
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
First I think you are being too conservative. Looking at your drawing it appears to have a lot more corner strength than you need. You have very large plates and 45 degree diagonals. I would suggest you get some 80/20 to play with and make some corner joints. You will be surprised how rigid it is with simple angles in the corners. A rectangular box with 4 corners is very rigid with angles. The large 1/4" plates in the corners could be 1 1/2" x 3/16" aluminum flatbar. Two holes on one piece of 80/20 and one hole on the other. I suspect 80/20 or a distributor would give you some short lengths to try. I have all my cabinets connected with 3/16" angle and 3/16" flatbar. It is very rigid and overkill. One connector that I did not use on a tee connection but should have is part # 3380. I used diecast inside corner connectors part # 3368 where I had panels. I would limit the use of the # 3368 because they use small set screws to lock in place. Not the same as a 5/16" carriage bolt deforming the 80/20 slot legs.

While the 1" would work for the overheads, why have two different sizes, connectors and hardware? The weight savings would be minor. I can drop in tee bolts anywhere to tie down cargo. Same bolt and female eyebolt works everywhere. I have strapped cargo to the bottom of the overhead cabinets. If you are using the slot for panels, then two different thickness panels would be required. My 1 1/2" upper cabinets have a piece of 1/4" plywood in the slot with the cabinet floor sitting on top of the 80/20. The space between the two panels have the wiring for the LED lights that are mounted under the cabinets. 1" may not allow hiding the wiring. Also could use up scrap 80/20 for the short pieces of the overhead cabinets. Just more cost for a little weight savings.
Thank you Dave, very convincing feedback,
Based on your comments I am going to change my design approach by going with minimal number of fasteners first and add braces later as seems necessary. I was planning using 3380 on a couple of corners but will use them on all 8. Using extrusions or flat Al bars for diagonal braces could be added later and likely at a much lower cost.

I also did not consider additional strength from the left and right panel inserts. It would take some mighty shear force to buckle tightly fit ¼" plywood panels.

It makes a lot of sense to stay with one product size, I agree.

George.
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
There is a certain elegance in re-using the seat mounts to attach your removable cabinetry.

I'll just offer the suggestion to ignore the existing seat mounts. Instead have separate mounting points located where they are ideal for the cabinet.

My worry is that reusing the seat mounts might be awkward for the second use.

My used van came with a removable bucket seat for the cargo area. It had its own quick-release floor plate. The floor plate used four 5/8" through bolts into thick spreader bars on the underside. (The semipermanent flattish floor plate captured the bucket seat with rear hooks and front quick-release bolts.)

Or use the equivalent of short runs of L-track or even individual L-track-boltdowns.

Through-bolts into spreaders for the nuts are simplest.

A step up might be welded nut plates on the underside to eliminate having to use a wrench underneath.

Not too hard to make nice filler plugs when you want seats instead.

The other alternative of routing some flush L-track or 1/2" 80/20 into the floor gives you some versatile cargo tie-downs when you aren't using them for cabinets.

Just some ideas---no advocacy here if you can engineer up the more complex seat mounts.

Dan
Adding more mounting points for cabinets will always be my fallback possibility. There are 9 OEM seat mounts so there is a good chance that they will suffice. Most of the cabinet modules will not need the type of mount strength as seats with the exception of the heavy galley module. Adding one long L-truck along the driver wall is a good option but I would need to dig into the floor modification to attach it directly to the metal floor or at least to a solid substrate. Time will tell.

About 20 years ago my wife and I built a house. This was the fully custom house with a very few details worked out by the architect about heating and AC ducting. HVAC subcontractor came in and started his work by drilling or cutting freshly framed house, ouch. At one point he cut 3 possible openings for one run, I stopped him. The framing crew called him The Cheese man.

We just spent a load of money for the van and I will be very careful not to become its cheese man; to some degree it is psychological.

Thank you for your suggestions,

George.
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
After writing my comments, I also thought I should have stated any additional corner plates could be added later if necessary. Thanks for sharing your designs. It will be interesting to watch our progress.
 

papaduc

New member
Good question. I took strips of 1” 3 core plywood (bending along the grain for 2 plies) and The Board. Under the same force the plywood bend about 1/16” and The Board about 7/8” so plywood is way over tenfold stronger in bending applications.

The plywood strip weigh 25g and The Board strip 16g so The Board is 36% lighter.

In my application I could use about 45SF for the invisible back/side panels which would bring 14lb of overall weight savings. A prefinished ¼’ 4’x8’ plywood sheet is about $25 so for my application The Board would cost $200 over prefinished plywood for 14lbs less weight. I can do better if go on a diet by myself.

George.
Thank you George for the observation.
It's great to see you working through all of these details while the van is still on order.
And about that diet thing.....:thumbdown:
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
The seat/bed design is practically finished and the 80/20 material ordered. Still need to get upholstery work done on 3 plywood panels and attached them to the 80/20 frames. Got some plastic springs samples from Froli to see if I can reduce the foam thickness by 1.5” in lieu of these rather expensive springs.

Attached pictures show locations of some of the permanently attached components which will include the wiring.

George.
 

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Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
144" WB? Just looked under my 144" and do not see space for 8D battery. I am sure you have it figured out but where? Spare tire relocated to door?

Where is the bed located? My bed is across the back and I have found having the fan above the bed is easy to open & close it while in bed. Reverse location of fan and solar panel? Fan should be above bed to get airflow at night.
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
144" WB? Just looked under my 144" and do not see space for 8D battery. I am sure you have it figured out but where? Spare tire relocated to door?

Where is the bed located? My bed is across the back and I have found having the fan above the bed is easy to open & close it while in bed. Reverse location of fan and solar panel? Fan should be above bed to get airflow at night.
Thank you for looking into it. Batteries – I wish to get a single 8D but these are other possible options. I am still shooting partly in the dark without being able to get under the van with a tape measure.

Possible batteries options are:

1. Single 8D with the spare relocated to the rear door hinges.
2. Split into 2 AGMs on both sides of the van below the floor.
3. Have one under the passenger seat and one under the van, total about 300Ah with the OEM auxiliary one.

The fan location is still flexible. I am planning on getting the deluxe model with the remote. I would like to have the solar panel(s) towards the rear of the van to minimize wire runs.

In our previous RV we had the Fantastic fan over our legs and during very cold nights condensed water was dripping from the fan even thou it was only partly opened. I replaced the domes with the double pane ones but sold the trailer before testing. Maxxair Deluxe has the built in rain cover which could behave as a semi double pane lid.

My whole conversion project is split into parts, things I can do now and after getting the van. The Seat/bed, galley and toilet modules I can do without having the van.

Everything else will have to wait with exception of getting known components such as Magnum, solar charge controller and few others.

George.
 

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GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
I am ordering Magnum MSS inverter/charger with ME-ARC50 remote and making a decision which of the battery monitoring options to get:

1. The Xantrex LinkLite which is likely the LCD version of the discontinued X-10 with which I have had about 20 years’ of experience.
2. Or the Magnum ME-BMK plug in.

The ME-BMK allows for the voltage measuring unit to be located very close to the shunt minimizing the mV twisted cable run versus Xantrex’ long twisted cable prone to noise - plus for Magnum.

The LinkLite seems simpler to use, it is dedicated by design to monitor amphours flow. I am afraid that monitoring function is deeply imbedded into Magnum’s software – plus for LinkLite

LinkLite is automatically calculating the Peukert’s exponent so real life calculation of charge and discharge amphours flow and SOC could be more accurate. I don't think ME-BMK does it, at least I did not find it in their description or they called it differently - plus for LinkLite.

Magnum's ME-BMK manual has 39 pages and LinkLite has 1 page - guess who the winner is on this one.

Any wisdom is very welcome.

George.
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
I am very pleased with the Magnum 1000 watt inverter/charger/transfer switch. I also have the ME50 remote and BMK shunt. I think you need the shunt to make the ME50 useful.

I do not pay any attention to the system unless I am traveling using power and the sun is not shining. The rest of the time I just ignore it. At all times I just set the ME50 to show SOC. I could care less how many amps are consumed or put into the system. Watch the SOC and add amps when battery requires. For my installation that does not occure very often.

I would buy a 185 watt panel next time instead of the 135 watt panel I now have. That would just make it even less often that I would need to add amps.

I turn on the inverter only when I need it, I turn on the water pump only when I need it and turn off the refrigerator when I am not traveling.
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
I did amphours calculation for my likely use. Based on this exercise I will get total of 200 amphours batteries (OEM +) and 300W of solar panels. I just got the quote for 3 x 100W panels 20.7”x40.8”. http://www.grapesolar.com/index.php/products/modulesandkits/gs-s-100-ts/

The panel I selected is using the new back connect technology and has a very good low light performance. Amsolar sells it for $277 ea. http://www.amsolar.com/home/amr/page_13_20/gs100_solar_panel.html but you can get slightly better price elsewhere.

Amsolar claimed that I would likely be OK with the MPPT Morningstar 15A most of the time but I will either wait for the Rogue controller or overkill it with the Morningstar MPPT 45 which has an excellent 99% efficiency but unfortunately costs $400. The 45A unit will allow me to connect them in series.

I was looking into 2 large panels but they all tend to be more that 52” long which would make them very visible from the street and possible interfere with the awning which I am planning to attach to the roof rail.

George.
 

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