Here is my teardrop build. | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Here is my teardrop build.

Discussion in 'Overland Trailers' started by Todd & Meg, Dec 6, 2018.

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  1. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
    Member

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
    Map
    I was asked by a few people to do a build tread here, so let's get started.

    Below was a copy and paste from another build thread I started. I started building in Nov of 2017 so just over a year now. I've had a few setbacks in that time, foot surgery and my mom passing where I lost time working on the tear. I live in the Phoenix valley and for four months of the year it is tough getting home from work and wanting to work in a 120 degree garage. But I am still happy how things are going.

    If you have comments on how things can be done different go ahead and post them. It's probably to late for me to use them but might help out someone who is reading this and wants to build one.

    So let's get this started.

    So everyone tells me you have to have a name for the teardrop, I guess it's a thing in the teardrop community. Really wasn't planning on a name but came up with ODD, Off-road Desert Dwelling.

    The players,
    Me - Todd CEO, Supply chain manager, Builder, Designer, Quality Control, Electrician, Plumber, Welder, Janitor (I need to fire this guy, he doesn't do a very good job), Historian, Gofer.
    Wife - Meg CFO

    Why the Build
    We have done all kinds of camping, starting with a tent, getting a pop-up camper when we had kids. Back to tent camping off the KTM 990, and finally tent camping with the Jeep. We have been getting tired of sleeping on the ground even though we have very good sleeping pads. Most likely because we are getting old. We have our camping gear organized but it takes awhile to get packed for a trip. Because of motorcycle camping we camp very minimal. To be able to sleep in a rest areas or Walmart parking lots if needed.

    Goal for the Camper
    To be able to have all camp gear pack and ready to go. I want to be able to say lets go camping and just grab some clothes and food and be able to be on the road in under 60 minutes.
    To be able to go off road with the Jeep. Not rock crawling, forest roads, and easy to intermediate 4X4 trails. Camping in remote areas.
    Smallish but not too small.
    As narrow as possible would be a plus.
    To not store anything on the bed while traveling.
    Buy no wood from Home Depot or Lowes.

    Wants and Needs
    Off-road capable with lift and wheels and tires to match Jeep.
    CFO requires some type of toilet. A port-o-potty in an enclosure (tent) is acceptable.
    Water storage
    Shower with hot water.
    Useable stocked galley, with or without sink.
    Some type of outside table to eat at.
    Good quality mattress.
    Place to store clothes inside.
    1" wall insulation.
    Shade awing.
    12v system with one maybe two batteries, LED lighting, USB charging areas, 12v outlets,
    Will probably put in a 120v outlet or two but don't see much need for it.
    Heater, I say this is a want, CFO says NEED!
    Aluminum skinned.
    Keep cost under control, this isn't a budget build, but the CFO is watching the budget.
    I'm sure I'm missing something but it's all I can think of now.

    Design
    This was the easy part. My original idea was to build an expo trailer with a roof top tent. CFO said "no way am I climbing down a ladder in the middle of the night." So the expo trailer is out. She said she wanted a more traditional teardrop. We looked at them online and she said "that one", so we are building a Grumman style. I am using the Wyoming Woody plans and made a lot modifications to the plans. I started with the sleeping area and sized it to fit a full XL mattress. The XL is extra long for a full at 80" the same as a queen. Everything else was just eyed to the keep the same scale as the Wyoming Woody. I did go higher than 48" and am just under 10'.


    To be continued.
     
    Boort likes this.
  2. old_man

    old_man Rank III
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    Location:
    Loveland, Colorado
    Member #:

    8300

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    Since you are starting from scratch, think about adding a Webasto type heater for the CEO. It will make your life a ton easier. If you are interested, I can show you where you can get one for less than $200. It is really nice just setting the thermostat.
     
  3. Jku Ben

    Jku Ben Rank III
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    Location:
    Alpine, CA
    Member #:

    10566

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    Pictures pictures pictures
     
  4. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
    Member

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
    Map
    I looking into the Webasto type Chinese heaters. And for the price hard to beat. But there are a few things, I didn't want to have to carry another fuel, and I didn't find any gasoline in the same price range as the diesels. I have read people having problems with them at higher elevations where they just stop working. And they really need to be run every few months to keep them happy. I am the worst about that kind of maintenance. I see you are in CO have you had any problems with the altitude?

    I ended up going with a Propex, it just came in this week. I'm sure my wife will love this.

    IMG_9835.JPG

    I know it seems funny I live where we have over 100 - 100 degree days a year and I'm wanting to put in a heater and not AC. But I've always thought if I need AC to camp it's to hot to camp. We can be in the mountains in a little over a hour and 15-20 degrees cooler,

    I checked out your build and it looks great, I need to finish reading it.

    Todd
     
    Kent R and ArkansasDon like this.
  5. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
    Member

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
    Map
    Tomorrow for sure. I'm still figuring out how to post photos.

    Todd
     
  6. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
    Member

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
    Map
    This is how it all started. My first load of Baltic Birch plywood.

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    My first step was to come up with the profile. My wife liked to looks of a Grumman, and I found some plans for the Wyoming Woody that I ended up modifying to more what we wanted. Baltic Birch come in 5'X5' or some thickness in 4'X8'. I glued 2 - 1/4 pieces to make a 5'X10' pattern.

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    Love this picture. The green tape is the mattress witch is a full XL, then I kind of kept the same scale as the Wyoming Woody. I am a little taller and longer, the WW if I recall is to use full sheets of 4'X8' plywood, and that is a bit to small for us. The blue tape is the final shape and the cabinets.

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    Marking and cutting the pattern. I use the inside out method of building and it is the way to go as you'll see later.

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    There are a few ways to build the walls on a teardrop, I used 1" (25mm) Baltic Birch and pieced together the skeleton or frame that has insulation and the sandwiched between more Baltic Birch (inner and outer wall). I used Baltic Birch for all the wood in the build.

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    Here you can see the skeleton wall on the bottom cut to the profile. Then I cut down the pattern for the next cut, which the ceiling and roof spares sit on. You can see the mark for the spares (roof refers). Cut on the line with a jig saw and then clean up with a router with a flush cut bit.

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    Once that skeleton wall is made I used that as the pattern to route the other wall.

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    More tomorrow.

    Todd
     
  7. Jku Ben

    Jku Ben Rank III
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    Location:
    Alpine, CA
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    10566

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    Beautiful looking work ! Love the diy homebuilts.
     
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  8. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
    Member

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
    Map
    Let's continue.

    XPS insolation added.

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    Raceways are added for electric wires. And the door is framed out. It's hard to see but I also have my cabinets laid out.

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    Wood backing is added where needed. This is so I have something solid to screw the outside lights into. The plastic tubing is the raceway for the wires.

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    This is the skeleton with the outer 1/4" skin added, on the other side is another 1/4" for the interior wall. Here I am putting epoxy on the exterior. Three coats total. And the interior will get a few coats of varnish. It is much easier to do laying flat than if the walls were put up. Also noticed in the back ground is a 5'X10' table on casters I build for this build. I made sure is was flat across the whole table using shims. If the table had a warp or twist in it when building the walls and glueing them up that twist would be build into the walls. I also built the floor the same way. Frame built out of 1X3 Baltic Birch with 1/8 Baltic Birch on both sides and XPS insolation. If I were to do it again I would use 1/4 for the bottom. !/8" seems fine for the top. No pictures of the floor.

    [​IMG]

    I've always used West Systems epoxy for other projects and have been happy with it, and used it on the drop too. I'll probably use around two gallons total.

    [​IMG]


    Now that the walls and floor were done, all epoxied and varnished and leaning against the wall I started on the cabinets. First thing was a cut off jig. I don't have an easy way to crosscut long boards. I would rip the boards to width on the table saw and then camp in the jig.


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    Then rough cut with what ever saw was handy.

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    Then clean up with the router with a flush trim bit. I can tell you the BB is hard on router bits and saw blades.

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    Every hormonal board for the cabinets went through this jig. That way everything with fit perfect or everything will be off the same. Time will tell.

    Good place to stop.
     
    Jeff Swain likes this.
  9. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
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    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
    Map
    One thing I had to finish up on the walls was to cut the piece out for the hatch. This was a difficult cut because the cut off piece is for the hatch and no room for error both pieces are needed. This is one of the things if I were to do over I would use a 1/4" router bit over the 3/8" bit. I went a little bigger for extra weather strip. Im not as worried about water getting in as I am about dust. After all I live in the desert. The design I'm using for the hatch makes it almost impossible for water to get in. Dust seems to get in everywhere.

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    I was happy to be done this this.

    Next up was build cabinets. Not a lot of pictures of building them.

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    All the cabinets got a few coats of varnish. Up next was to mate up a wall with the floor.

    I put the one wall up on the floor and drilled holes up though the floor in the the edge of the wall for 3" deck screws and 1/2" oak dowel rods.

    This is the floor.

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    And the wall.

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    Now it is starting to look like a teardrop.

    [​IMG]

    So some of you may noticed something missing. Yep, no trailer frame. I built a frame out of 2X4's and put on 4" casters which later I had to upgrade to 5" because the 4"ers did not like the weight. Two reasons, first because it is easier to build closer to the ground. 2nd is you don't have to work around the bigger wheels and the tongue. 3rd I didn't build it yet. This was a tip I picked up on the teardrop forum and I would never build on one the frame.

    More to come.
     
    JDGreens likes this.
  10. Jku Ben

    Jku Ben Rank III
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    Location:
    Alpine, CA
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    10566

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    Great idea with not building on the trailer. Wish I had known that when I built mine.
     
  11. old_man

    old_man Rank III
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    Location:
    Loveland, Colorado
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    Nice to see another craftsman at work. Beautiful wood work. Baltic birch is one of my favorites. I used the 1/4" due to it being available in 5x5. Being a metal worker as well, I did a square steel tubing frame to keep things strong and light. Metal intimidates many but is not hard if you have or can make the tools.

    I wish I had used your plastic tubing idea for the wire runs. I need to add a couple of more wires and it would have been a ton easier.

    I look forward to following your build.
     
  12. ArkansasDon

    ArkansasDon Rank III

    I love our Heat Source H2000 heater. We have ours mounted in a large handheld tool box. We use ours for our RTT. Nice build too.
     
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  13. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
    Member

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
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    Thank you. I have found a place here that has good prices on Baltic Birch. Since I found the place that is all I use for all my projects now. They stock all sizes in 5X5 and even have some sizes in 4X8 like 1/2", 3/4" and the 1". Also most hard and soft woods. It's better than the wholesale places I uses to buy at in Chicago.

    I do metal also, you'll see that come frame time. I really liked your bender you made. I may pick your brain on that a bit for another project I have in mind. And maybe ODD v2.0.

    Todd

    PS I'll try to get more up tonight.
     
    old_man likes this.
  14. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
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    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
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    I left off with the cabinets built and one will put up.

    The next step was to install the cabinets. At this point they are all sealed, the door sizes are figured out and mostly cut.

    Fore cabinets and shelf.

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    The aft cabin and galley cabinets went in as one piece.

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    The next thing I did was build the door and temporarily install them. This was easy to do because I still had the drivers side wall off. Then I put the other side on. At this point probably 60% of all the inside work is done.

    CFO working hard. Does this look like a future Happy Camper, or what? Note the cheap HF stool, a must have.

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    I lost/misplaced a lot of pictures for the next few steps. If you look in the last picture, you can see a step on the top of the walls. Can also see in a few other pictures too. This is where the ceiling sits the the roof spares sit on top of the ceiling. So I glues to 5X5 1/8 Baltic Birch together and cut it to size. Then varnished it with a few coats or poly. Then from the outside the ceiling is installed. Glue and 1/4" crown staples. Very easy to do with just the two of us.

    These pic's have the spare cut and just temporally installed, you'll notice the ceiling is not installed here. You can see the framed opening for the roof fan, and harder to see are slots for wiring. Everything marked so it gets installed the right way.

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    Before I got that one wall up I had some foot surgery, that was last year on 12/10 so one year ago this week. I was laid up for 6 weeks then another 2 weeks with a little camper work. But I had a lot of time to think about the build. Our plans at first was to build an all out off road camper, that would be able to go anywhere. And the reason for that was because I go on sites like OG, Expo Portal and you get these ideas that you need to have what everyone else has. I really think a lot of people drink the "Overland" Kool-aid and think they need to do what everyone else does. And have these ideas of going where few people have gone. I know I did. We are not hard core off roaders, or rock crawlers. We like dirt roads, and intermediate trails, more to put one miles and not for challenge. With that said we started adding more comfort items which adds weight. And some form over function items. I'm sure the teardrop will be able to handle a lot more than what we are planning to do with it now. My neighbor says we are now officially Glampers. And he has a class A motorhome. If we are camping in the middle of nowhere why do we have to be roughing it? LOL

    Todd
     
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  15. old_man

    old_man Rank III
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    What I really needed was a 5x10 .25"/8mm
    I really would have liked to be able to do the top in one piece.
     
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  16. The other Sean

    The other Sean Rank IV
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    Looks great!

    Also, it's not glamping unless you need to pack a vacuum cleaner...
     
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  17. Todd & Meg

    Todd & Meg Rank II
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    Location:
    Mesa, AZ Near Usery
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    Yes 5X10 in 1/8” and 1/4” would be a game changer for building teardrops.
     

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