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Building a Caravan

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Advice' started by David Smith, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. David Smith

    David Smith New Member

    hello to all

    I am going to build my own caravan without using a mould.

    I would like to know how I can get a reasonable finish on the outside.

    I will be using a woven cloth and epoxy resin for strength on both sides. I intend to make two frames 100mm apart using PVC piping (one the outer and the other the inner). Once I have constructed both frames and achieved the shape of the caravan I desire, I will split them up into their sections, walls, ends, roof and floor to enable me to fibreglass on a horizontal level (as it would be impossible to do this on a vertical level).

    I intend to use what the builders use, fibreglass mesh, to cover over the frames, both outer and inner, and then either use expanding foam or polystyrene/styrofoam between the mesh as core material. I will then fibreglass using the woven cloth and epoxy resin over the mesh on both sides. I will then put all the sections together.

    Might seem a little mad but I am not rich but want a challenge and a caravan that will not leak, use vast amounts of gas to heat, be lightweight and aerodynamic.

    My question : - how can I achieve a reasonable finish on the outside and what products should I use to do so.

  2. John Dickens

    John Dickens New Member Staff Member

    If you want a perfectly smooth surface you need to laminate the sheets against a smooth surface such as Conti-board. If this is not possible then you will need to use Flowcoat to cover the surface left by the laminating materials. This will give a finish similar to brush painting.
  3. David Smith

    David Smith New Member

    Thanks john

    Is it possible to use an epoxy filler and then sand it down to get a good finish. Also if I where to use a final layer of tissue paper would this improve the final surface?
  4. John Dickens

    John Dickens New Member Staff Member

    You can use a filler if you wish but there will be lot of sanding involved, especially if you use epoxy as it's much harder.

    Surface tissue can smooth the surface somewhat but the final result will still depend on the contours of the surface underneath the tissue.
  5. Fastpedaller

    Fastpedaller New Member

    Somewhere within the gallery there were pictures of the folding caravan I made in 2011 - I'll try to upload a photo now. John is spot on with the con ti-board advise IMHO. QuantumSleep 2small.jpg
  6. David Smith

    David Smith New Member

    Hi and thanks for the advice.

    Fastpedaller - Looks an interesting trailer. Did you make the chassis or was it one you purchased? I did think of making a popup caravan but due to the shape I want. it would be very difficult. Are the sides fibreglass or fabric?

    There does seem to be fillers in the market place that can make the job easier. I have come across one called, Easyfair Spreadable filler, which according to the manufacturers, "This is an epoxy paste that is incredibly easy to sand and is commonly used to fill and fair boat hulls".

    If anyone has used this I would love to know what you think about it.
  7. Fastpedaller

    Fastpedaller New Member

    Hello David,
    I made the chassis to my own design incorporating drop-down props (standard parts from trailer outlets) and jockey wheel. All the body including the white hinged sides is made from GRP. I didn't use filler because the female moulds were made from Conti-board (as advised by John Dickens). To me it was more important to get the height so I can stand in it than create a fancy shape, although some agree that once packed down to towing mode it does look quite aero! The windows frames were also made in GRP with a 2-part mould, and acrylic sheet bonded in. The only non-GRP parts in the body are the brass hinges, s/steel over-centre clips, and the aluminium window stays (oh, and the cushions of course!). Total weight under 200kg

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