Composite pop up project

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
#1
It's not like I needed something else to do, the shop is nicely full and I could relax a bit in the evenings, but I have a few guys I promised to look into the possibility of doing a raising roof for. Doing one off custom work is fun, and challenging, but carries a pretty hefty price tag, and as a business it's a very slow way to get a return on your investment, so it's expensive for the customer and the business at the same time. So if we can design something that we can put into production, possibly inventory (probably), and apply the knowledge to the custom side, we end up with a win win situation and I like that a lot better. The enquiries for the small truck market were the catalyst for this product, and I like the amount of fun and practicality involved in executing it. It also follows our small trailer line up nicely. This is being done slowly and surely in evening hours, when the crazy racket of my day is over, it's like cheap therapy! It gives me time to do what I enjoy doing most, building things.....with my own hands.

The first raising roof unit we will be doing is going to be a slide in 6' camper designed for the mid sized truck market. The Tacoma, the new Canyon/Colorado...or the old ones for that matter, Frontier, etc. Construction of the lower half will assembled with our extrusions, the floor and lower walls will be PP honeycomb core panels, upper walls will be XPS core. The skins on this particular unit for the lower part (the section below the top of the box side) have .040 aluminum skins on the outside and fibreglass on the inside. Above the bed side skins are fibreglass on both sides, this adds a lot of durability to the bottom part of the camper which is subject to getting banged around, and good durability with better appearance up top. I was going to do a XPS cored panel roof section, but I'm really leaning to a one piece hand laid fibreglass cap, this will let me incorporate a sloped top section for a little better aerodynamics, build in the roof vent location with a little raise for water run off, and incorporate the insulation and interior liner. As well I can put some structure underneath for cargo tracking/roof rack mounting, and lift mechanism points. The roof will be raise (tentatively) with a hydraulic system, there's some good stuff I'm looking at that is light weight and strong/reliable. Roof capacity is going for a 500 pound rating, not that it is needed, but reliability will be very high.

The canvas is something I'm not going to play around with. No matter what, hot or cold, we are trying to keep the opposite, so a well insulated (relative description considering its cloth) canvas will be used. Looking at 18 oz canvas with 1/2" insulation and an interior canvas of the same weight. I don't know about windows in the canvas, I love the feature but it throws the concept out the window....There will be Seitz windows in the lower, and a max fan in the roof, might be enough. With the roof design, insulated canvas, it should stay warm, and hopefully condensation issues will be minimized.

The floor plan will be very simple, but very functional, make the little space as big as possible! The roof cross section will be a little higher but that will enable closing up with all the bedding in place, the sloped front should help minimize the drag created by the extra height. The lower section is not sculpted over the wheel well, so we lose a little space that we will have to make up, but that is one of the things that offset the cost of labor and materials, and enable a price point that is competitive in a production environment. Here are a few pics, dialogue is always welcome!

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The mule, 2017 Tacoma Limited
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#2
Jeep,
Very interesting project! Why not a flatbed ?
Good luck with prototype and I'd certainly be interested to read and see pictures as things progress.
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
#4
Jeep,
Very interesting project! Why not a flatbed ?
Good luck with prototype and I'd certainly be interested to read and see pictures as things progress.
Flat bed will most likely follow, I have had a ton of inquiries and conversations for the slide in, so that's what we build first. The flatbed version will most likely be full size.
 
#8
Fun stuff Mark

Glad to see you going this direction.

Are you looking to use an "off the shelf" solution for the lift, of something you guys produce in-house? Research Ive done for pop tops lead me to the simple lift system Rieco titan is offering. Ive yet to set my hand on it, but on paper it looks real good. Its an electric system, using little more than high torque seat motors, and a smart controller.

I look forward to updates :ylsmoke:
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
#9
Fun stuff Mark

Glad to see you going this direction.

Are you looking to use an "off the shelf" solution for the lift, of something you guys produce in-house? Research Ive done for pop tops lead me to the simple lift system Rieco titan is offering. Ive yet to set my hand on it, but on paper it looks real good. Its an electric system, using little more than high torque seat motors, and a smart controller.

I look forward to updates :ylsmoke:
Thanks Kenny,

I'm looking at a couple options, I want it to be super simple to operate, relatively light weight, and reliable. Actuators will work, but there are a few really nice hydraulic systems out there that have my attention. Post up a link to the Rieco stuff, they make pretty robust parts, a little on the heavy side, but reliable. I have a really cool scissor that works with an actuator or cylinder designed, and that may be what we use.
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
#11
With the satellite radio antenna on the Taco, I raised the overhead enough to clear it properly, that started me thinking that it might fit some full size trucks. So I went into the back corner of my shed, and measured up my 87 Chevy, looks like it's a good fit with a 1/2" rubber bed mat! Gonna blow the dust off, change the battery and oil and see what it looks like once it's ready to throw on.

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Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
#14
A question for you guys following, in something compact like this, would you prefer a fridge, or a 12V cooler like ARB? I like the cooler idea as they are more energy efficient than a fridge which works to reduce battery requirements, which reduces weight, and you can use it in other locations/vehicles. Thoughts?
 

sg1

Adventurer
#15
I have 2 overland vehicles, one in South America for winter traveling and a pop up in Canada for summer. One has a fridge, the pop up a chest style cooler, both compressor. I would never use a fridge again. In real life when you open the doors quite often a fridge uses almost twice as much power. In addition you get more groceries into a cooler because you can stack the goods. On the other hand it is easier to find your stuff in a fridge. My vote is for a chest style cooler.
Stefan