Rear canopy for sprinter barn doors

TPLennon

Member
Dhan - Three Sprinters in the family? I'm jealous.

Design update:
I'm excited about an improvement I'll be adding to the design. I have been testing increased strength magnets to help hold the privacy screen in place when it is windy. During this process I found rubberized grip fabric and made magnet pockets like this:

Mag Grip.jpg

This grip fabric is rubberized on one side and grips really well while also providing better cushion for when the magnet attaches to the van. The improvement in resistance to slipping was awesome...how awesome you ask? At least 6x verses the prior design. How do I know? I bought a digital force gauge and measured the force required to slide the original and new design across the painted metal.


Why do you care? Here are some pictures from a breezy day using the new Mag Grip design:


Mag Grip Test.jpg


You can see the top of the privacy screen billowing out in the wind yet the magnets didn't move at all and kept the fabric tight. You can see the horizontal stretch line below mid point - there is one magnet on each door where that line is and another set near the bottom of the door.

Here is a side angle view.

Mag Grip Test2.jpg


Both pictures were taken on a ladder to give a better view of the roof.


This kind of stuff makes me happy. I'm weird that way.
Pat
 

GSWatson

2013 144
Awesome- thanks for the updates!

Where did you find the magnets? I’m looking for some for making a wind-proof bulletin board inside and a few other projects -


Greg
 

TPLennon

Member
Hi Greg - Hopefully I don't turn this into a magnet forum but here are some considerations for your search. I've done a lot of research and bought many different types and configurations of magnets but I don't consider myself a magnet expert - I'm sure there are people here that know more than me.

Where to buy? I've purchased many from Amazon for prototyping due to reasonable price and fast delivery. These magnets have consistently not met their claimed pull/attractive/holding force by a significant margin (some were 30% of claimed force). The reason I bought a digital force gauge was to check performance of the magnets I was getting to help me finalize the magnet specification. I'm currently having a factory make magnets that I will check to make sure they are acceptable.

If your project is a one-off item then I would look at a better source than Amazon and likely pay a little more to get a better magnet. Dura Magnets Inc has great and easy to understand information: https://www.duramag.com/techtalk/tech-briefs/magnetic-pull-force-explained/

K&J has pricing, size and force that can help you figure out what you might need: https://www.kjmagnetics.com/categories.asp?cat=9

Neodymium magnets are classified by their N rating - N32 has less attractive force than N52. The price goes up as you move up the N scale. So there is a balance of size vs. force needed - tiny and strong = spendy.

For your applications: Is it static (van not moving) or will there be vibration from driving? You'll need a stronger hold for moving. Wind - big or small surface area exposed to the wind? If it is flat against a surface then you shouldn't have a lot of exposed area for the wind to peel it off - if it is sitting away from a flat surface then wind can get behind it and have an easier time blowing it down. Thickness of material that the magnet is trying to hold is another consideration. The magnetic attraction force drops off rapidly (exponential, not linear) with distance from the metal mounting location so you'll want to factor that in. Slippery-ness of the material you want to hold in place (assuming magnet is not in direct contact with the metal)? A grippy layer (like rubber or vinyl) between the magnet and metal surface can help the magnet stay in place and keep your bulletin board from sliding down if it is heavy. Coatings - if it is going to get wet then you might want to get a coated magnet to reduce/prevent rust. Ni-Cu-Ni is fairly common.

Sorry for the stream-of-consciousness reply - I hope something here is helpful. PM me if you want to talk more specifics.

Pat
 
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TPLennon

Member
April Update: I have created version 4 of the rear door cover which should be the final iteration. I rented a Sprinter van and took the family camping in Vantage Washington to test it out. For those of you who have camped at Vantage you know how windy it can get. Here is a picture of the wind trying to push the privacy screen into the back of the van but the new magnet design stayed in place.

VANtage 1.jpg


Here is a picture with the awning extended (and my son skateboarding in the background):

Vantage 2.jpg

A previous post asked about how tall one needs to be to install the door cover. My wife, 5' 7", installed it while standing flatfooted on the ground. I also had a beta tester who was about 6' tall install it on his 4x4 Sprinter while also standing on the ground (my wife wasn't around to test that scenario so I don't have a lower height limit yet).


There are over 43 unique components in the current design and sourcing is taking some effort to get the parts I want at good prices. I've started to receive some first-article samples and I'll post detailed pictures of those and some of the new design details soon.

Thanks,
Pat
 
Hi Ged,

How about something like this?

View attachment 93036

I made this prototype for a friend. It seals rain out along the roof and covers the gap between the door and van body providing some covered outside space. It rolls up pretty small and goes up in about 3 minutes. My friend likes to sleep with the doors open so we made this to keep his bed dry in case it rains during the night.

I'm curious if there is any interest in Sprinterland for a rear door canopy and if so I may make more.

Thanks.
I would be interested in one!
 

TPLennon

Member
GeorgeRa - Regarding fit with ladder - I haven't had the chance to work with a ladder equipped van but I have studied them when I've come across one in anticipation of your question. It is possible the cover may fit if the ladder was low profile (close to the door), didn't extend much above the door and was mounted on the right hand side of the passenger side door (or left hand side of the driver door). Unfortunately I don't know for sure so would need to try it out and see if there is a possibility of getting it to fit. Probably would look a little funky/lopsided though with a ladder lump even if we could find a way to make it fit.

Thanks,
Pat
 

TPLennon

Member
MsNomer - Good idea. Shooting assembly and installation videos are on my list. I'll also try to figure out how tall someone needs to be before having to use a step. My 12yo son is 4'10" - I'm pretty sure he would need a boost to install it - I will have him try it out.

Thanks,
Pat
 
GeorgeRa - Regarding fit with ladder - I haven't had the chance to work with a ladder equipped van but I have studied them when I've come across one in anticipation of your question. It is possible the cover may fit if the ladder was low profile (close to the door), didn't extend much above the door and was mounted on the right hand side of the passenger side door (or left hand side of the driver door). Unfortunately I don't know for sure so would need to try it out and see if there is a possibility of getting it to fit. Probably would look a little funky/lopsided though with a ladder lump even if we could find a way to make it fit.

Thanks,
Pat
I think you're going to be getting this question a lot, so thanks for looking into it. Your design looks absolutely fantastic from the posted pictures. I'm very much looking forward to availability and/or final details. Like GeorgeRa, there are a number of us who have various implements on the rear doors to consider (I, for one, intend to be mounting my spare on the driver's rear door with the help of the Owl Vans mount). I think you would reach the largest market if you keep the transition from vertical (the gap where the door hinges are) to horizontal (the canopy draped over the upper door) as low-profile as possible. Either way, thanks for working on this. There really aren't many commercially available options for a quality rear canopy, and it seems like it would be awesome to have one! And thanks for keeping us updated.
 

sparkplug

Active member
I really like that TPLennon

would definitely be interested, depending on costs and shipping to the UK

You've clearly put a lot of time thought and effort into that

In fact, if there's sufficient interest in the UK I'd be happy to take a batch and re-distribute if it saves shipping costs. I don't mean re-sell, you would take the pre-orders and payment, discount mine by the cost to me to post the others in the UK. Should work for everyone...

Even if you don't want to do that, or if there's not enough interest here to make it worth doing, I'd still be interested in one!
 

rui

Rui
I really like that TPLennon

would definitely be interested, depending on costs and shipping to the UK

You've clearly put a lot of time thought and effort into that

In fact, if there's sufficient interest in the UK I'd be happy to take a batch and re-distribute if it saves shipping costs. I don't mean re-sell, you would take the pre-orders and payment, discount mine by the cost to me to post the others in the UK. Should work for everyone...

Even if you don't want to do that, or if there's not enough interest here to make it worth doing, I'd still be interested in one!
Count me in for the UK batch!
 

TPLennon

Member
Hi All - Thanks for the additional comments.

Life_goes_on - I hadn't thought about a rear mounted spare tire but it looks to me from the Owl Van site that the door cover would slip between the rack and tire and could work.

Sparkplug - I like your positive outlook. I fly through Heathrow fairly regularly so maybe I could make a side trip to meet you once the Sprinter Forum community blesses the actual product.

Update: I received first article samples of the poles. In this first picture you can see that I'm color coding parts to aid in assembly. The red poles go to the red pole pockets and strap:



In this picture the blue pole is the door brace and the blue strap is to hold down the door cover if windy. I'm hoping to replace the black C-clip with a blue one:



And here you can see the door brace pole tips being 3D printed. Over five rounds of design improvements on these tiny parts - 3D printing has been great for refining the design.



Thanks,
Pat
 
While you are 3D printing, how about some front cab ac/heat vent replacements that don't break so easy? Carbon fiber? Kevlar? Anything would be better than the originals. Off topic for sure, sorry, not sorry much though.

Love your ideas about the extra space created with the rear door coverings. Couple that with a slide out bed mechanism for even more interior space opening up if needed. The possibilities are endless.
 

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