Pop up camper build Oct 2019

Cooper2019

New member
So I started building my own pop up camper in October 2019.

I thought of building one many years ago and the thought went by the wayside until I saw a camper on a back of a Toyota Tacoma in a general store it look awesome .in July 2019 .

I approached the owner who was glad to show me his build, he also sent me some pictures ,his is a hard top though.

I had a rough idea on what I wanted to do and did a rough sketch and very rough planning .

If you plan to build one take extra time to plan it carefully, unfortunately I just found this forum a couple of weeks ago ,but did a lot of research on the internet and watched a lot of Youtube.

I also had to learn how to weld aluminium, I could barley weld steel.

I had a mig welder and bought the wire and switched the gas that didn’t work so well it kept bird nesting.

So I went to Canadian Tire and bought a spool gun, went to hook it up ,my welder wasn't set up for a spool gun.

Off I go and get a welder that will take the gun.( my wife thinks its the original LOL).

With a bit of trial and error I got not to bad at the welding ,thank god for grinders ,spent more time then I should on that.,but that did help find some places where the weld wasn't good so re weld and grind down.

I would have been a lot farther along but did some modifications as I went along, mostly things I wasn't happy with ,( structural) ,but probably could have left alone.

I did curved corners on the bed overhang which was a bit of a challenge but they turned out great ,one thing I should have done is made each end longer so I didn't have to add to the lengths .

I made a jig up to make cuts in where the curve was going and welded all 6 pieces together, I then attach a ratchet strap to each end and tighten it up until I was 90 dig. Then welded in supports to hold the 90.

If you decide to do this use a radial arm saw ,I used a trim saw and cut close to a couple of the outside edges and almost had one split ,but all worked out not too bad

I weighed the frame after completing cleaning up welds, not including the roof it weighed approx178 lbs

I went to Princess auto and bought some snowmobile casters which is great for moving it around, which works great.

I put 1/4 inch mahogany on the exterior with PL construction floor adhesive and self tapping screws, hindsight though I should have just used the glue ,but I sometimes don't have the patients to wait for things to dry and with colder weather it doesn't set up fast and my shop isn't heated .So I am just starting to fill in spaces and the screw divots ,getting ready for the exterior .

I am planning on putting on a bed liner spray on the exterior.

Still thinking on a lift system for the roof and the camper itself, its a bit front heavy and I want something that if we take it off and use it i don't want it tipping ahead.

I posted some pictures and they are not in any typical order and will post more as I move forward .

Hope to work on it tomorrow.
 

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Superduty

Adventurer
That looks like a very well made structure. Should handle anything you throw at it.

Thanks for taking us along on this build. Looking forward to the next phase.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

Bike_Mech

Adventurer
Very Cool!! I'll be following along closely.

I've been wanting to do something similar but in a flatbed version. I have a older Miller 211 that will work with a spool gun, but I don't have one yet and have zero experience with using a spool gun. I've tig welded aluminum, but that was 20+ years ago.

Did you use just normal wood cutting blades for cutting the aluminum?
What size/gauge aluminum are you using?


Keep rolling!
-Chris
 

MuleShoer

Adventurer
Very Cool!! I'll be following along closely.
I've been wanting to do something similar but in a flatbed version. I have a older Miller 211 that will work with a spool gun, but I don't have one yet and have zero experience with using a spool gun. I've tig welded aluminum, but that was 20+ years ago.
Did you use just normal wood cutting blades for cutting the aluminum?
What size/gauge aluminum are you using?

I’m sure the op will share his approach but heres mine: for the amalgamated wedge camper project the aluminum thickness varied from .090-.240 thickness, 5052 & 6061. If you can lay down a nice bead with steel mig you should come up to speed quickly there are notable differences: with aluminum it will take more current and faster wired feeds, unlike tig where you can start hot then back off current the spool mig start cold so your technique will need to develop. Also clean your aluminum well. When buying a spool gun try and buy the higher end qun as the are closer to commercial level

i cut my alum with a carbide 50 tooth blade a 30 tooth will work too. I also use a metal saw so it is a 5 1/2” blade
 

Cooper2019

New member
I used a non ferrous cutting blade on a Dewalt trim saw,cut good no issues ,used the same blade since I started .
The tubing is 1.5 " square 1/8" thick
 

Cooper2019

New member
Yes I bought a cheaper spool gun and had to replace ,4 days before the warranty was up .I found that the gas and amp were more critical ,but I did a lot of grinding .
I used both wires 5035 and 4043 ,I ran out of the 5035 and couldn't get any anywhere ,so I talked to my local welding shop and the guy recommended the 4043 ,it has a bit more flex and won't crack as easily ,A bit easier to weld with as well,but believe me I am not expert ,A lot of trial and error
 

VanIsle_Greg

I think I need a bigger truck!
I am liking where this is going...

Nice work on the frame, looks nice and light and more importantly, strong. Stalking...er I mean, following. ;)
 
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