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Not in the least.

I suspect I'm about half your age, but the comment also applies to myself no less for many things. To take that comment personally implies a considerable amount of insecurity.
No insecurity. If you are less than 41 years old you are correct about half the age.

You are correct about the generational thing. Us older folks do not need new fangled tools to build a conversion. I can assure you my chop saw 80/20 extrusion cuts were not within +/- .004 tolerance. I would need to do something different than eyeballing the pencil mark on the extrusion to the edge of the saw blade. Pencil mark was marked using a tape measure so that is also very suspect for accuracy.

The bottom line is a conversion does not require precision measurements.
 

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No insecurity. If you are less than 41 years old you are correct about half the age.

You are correct about the generational thing. Us older folks do not need new fangled tools to build a conversion. I can assure you my chop saw 80/20 extrusion cuts were not within +/- .004 tolerance. I would need to do something different than eyeballing the pencil mark on the extrusion to the edge of the saw blade. Pencil mark was marked using a tape measure so that is also very suspect for accuracy.

The bottom line is a conversion does not require precision measurements.
You're still missing the point, though I'm not sure that repeating it will make any difference if you're already set in your ways.

You keep incessantly highlighting this idea of precision to a few thousandths, and I keep reiterating that the PRECISION is not the important part.

If a tape measure and 2D CAD is your style, more power to you. You've done a good job and inspired many others. Accept my virtual handshake. Yes, it absolutely CAN be done this way.

There are lots of things that can be done different ways, but it doesn't automatically invalidate one way or the other.

When someone ASKS about the availability of 3D CAD models, replying that they aren't necessary is entirely pointless and counterproductive, no matter the accuracy or precision of said models.
 
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When someone ASKS about the availability of 3D CAD models, replying that they aren't necessary is entirely pointless and counterproductive, no matter the accuracy or precision of said models.
I think it is important to point out that spending a lot of time with 3D models is not required. Should I be silent and let people believe that they can not build a conversion unless they spend the time learning and spending money on 3D software?

I have nothing against 3D software. If a person has that knowledge it would be stupid not to use that tool. It is a great way of visualizing what the build will look like. Some people have the ability to visualize the finished product without the need for 3D software so that tool is not required.

Many people use cardboard to determine what they want to build. If that works for them it is a good method.

We will beat this subject to death with both of us refusing to change our opinions. Best to acknowledge that there are many ways a conversion can be built. A person should use the method that works for them.
 

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So if we were to say do a group buy, the model would be worth the purchase? for an individual that is, not that I would use this for monetary gain or youtube status.
I'd be much happier with being able to drop my model confidently onto the 3d router than my hack measurements with a tape measure and caliper.
You can have my Sketchup hack of my measurements, but factory precision at a 32nd of an inch would be cool for me.

Would that model be in US imperial or SI metric? sorry, I'm Canadian ;)
 

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Would that model be in US imperial or SI metric? sorry, I'm Canadian

Doesn't matter what units it is modeled in these days. With 3-D models you can change the units back and forth.
But: In the USA we still typically model based on english units because the majority of our readily available, cost effective, raw materials are in english units. OTOH, for vehicle components, I usually try to design in metric if the car is modeled in metric, I personally like milimeters better than fractional units of 10th/100ths of an inch.
 

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Hey guys. I skimmed this pretty quickly. Wasnt suggesting CAD models were needed but wanted to anser the thread author if they hadn't received one. Didn't expect to see so many replies. Ive been using these type models for 15 years doing conversions on various platforms. Ive done pencils, scales etc. and Ive done pure CAD design before lifting a finger. Personally have always achieved better results with CAD. Also just to clarify, .004 was in reference to the best tolerance I can guarantee in the models I have produced vs. the van/s measured against. This is typically based on the area in concern, the level of detail needed, and metrology equipment available. Figured it would go without saying that general area error of the models would be up against the van/s paint thickness, irregularities, change of FORD tooling, mfg processes etc. I should have clarified that sorry. Quick snipit of the rear frame structure. We are a very small family owned business. Sure hope no one has taken offense by any of these statements. We love vans and all conversions that have had their personality poured into them. STAY RAD OUT THERE
 

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So if we were to say do a group buy, the model would be worth the purchase? for an individual that is, not that I would use this for monetary gain or youtube status.
I'd be much happier with being able to drop my model confidently onto the 3d router than my hack measurements with a tape measure and caliper.
You can have my Sketchup hack of my measurements, but factory precision at a 32nd of an inch would be cool for me.

Would that model be in US imperial or SI metric? sorry, I'm Canadian ;)
What ever tickles your fancy my dude. Either works. Full van is a little ways out but a lot of area details available. Would rather sell individually for what I would say is cheap compared to the 1000's of hours invested. Lets say 100's max ;)
 

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I think it is important to point out that spending a lot of time with 3D models is not required. Should I be silent and let people believe that they can not build a conversion unless they spend the time learning and spending money on 3D software?

I have nothing against 3D software. If a person has that knowledge it would be stupid not to use that tool. It is a great way of visualizing what the build will look like. Some people have the ability to visualize the finished product without the need for 3D software so that tool is not required.

Many people use cardboard to determine what they want to build. If that works for them it is a good method.

We will beat this subject to death with both of us refusing to change our opinions. Best to acknowledge that there are many ways a conversion can be built. A person should use the method that works for them.
Couldnt agree more. Its all fun no matter how you do it. Grab a air mattress and mr buddy heater. Live in it. (I have) Save ton of time and money :)
 

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The real question is: Do you need accurate interior dimensions to build a single conversion?

I spent several hours inside a van at the Ford dealer with a tape measure to obtain all the dimensions I needed to do my build. Did that before my van was delivered so I could work on the design before I had the van. Used 2D CAD to design the build with 80/20. All cabinets fit as designed without any modifications. Certainly no need for 3D or accurate dimensions.

Dimensions were needed to build the 80/20 floor structure. Then cabinets were designed to bolt to the floor structure. Where cabinets were bolted to the van walls you simply use a tape measure to determine the extrusion length required when installing. Hung the two overhead cabinet front faces from the roof ribs and then measured back to the walls to get cabinet floor dimension.
Absolutely not needed to complete a conversion believe the author was asking for them. Bet your van looks cool. Can you send me a pic link would love to check it out. 80/20 is cool.
 

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Absolutely not needed to complete a conversion believe the author was asking for them. Bet your van looks cool. Can you send me a pic link would love to check it out. 80/20 is cool.

There are free PDF drawings of most of the conversion on the site.

I have used a 2D CAD program for 20 or so years in my conveyor manufacturing business so naturally used that when building the two conversions. The program I use is GeneralCadd which uses simple two letter commands. 2D worked well for the application.

 

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If one had access to a CNC table, having the legit model would be amazing. For my purposes, 3D design allows my brain to process space and use and therefore allows me to be much more creative. I am a mechanical engineer though, and so spent a large amount of time using CAD from the time I went to school. Others brains work differently. For my build, I used the accurate floor plan, then built everything in my model with vertical side walls with the assumption that everything will be custom scribed to the curvature of the walls upon install.
 

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my sarcasm gets lost in conversion.

Dan, your model details are spectacular! I'm sure well worth the cost given the mount of time to produce but at the of the end of the day it's detail is overkill for a DIY builder. If I was producing multiples or designing products for the van you model would be indispensable and worth every penny. I do find that more complex models become clunky and I often break them into chunks when detailing to improve speed. Kabouter's model is very similar to my own and is really all that is required for most if not all design work and proof of concept.
I am in a unique situation where I do have access to a millwork shop with a CNC machine, the details I would like are the wall profiles with the contours to make wall panels and gable ends. No doubt this can all be done with basic tools, but new technology is cool.
 

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I am in a unique situation where I do have access to a millwork shop with a CNC machine, the details I would like are the wall profiles with the contours to make wall panels and gable ends. No doubt this can all be done with basic tools, but new technology is cool.
The old school method I used to get the contour of the van body sides:

1. Buy a 3' wood folding ruler. Robert Larson Co. 650-1167 3-Foot Folding Ruler - Construction Rulers - Amazon.com

2. Put marks on a piece of cardboard every 1" vertically.

3. Clamp piece of cardboard to a vertical cabinet with one edge vertical and other edge of cardboard touching the van wall at closest point.

4. Using the 3' ruler mark the cardboard every 1". Pick a dimension on the ruler that is longer than the biggest gap between the cardboard edge and the van wall. Mark the cardboard at every 1" increment.

5. Connect the dots to obtain the wall profile.

The old fashioned 3' rule is very useful to have when building a conversion. Great for accurately setting the fence on a table saw. Much easier to use than a tape measure for some uses.

For shorter profiles you can buy a multi pin tool to obtain the profile: General Tools 10 in Contour Gauge Profile Tool-833 - The Home Depot

Useless to send profile to a CNC shop but works very well with a jig saw at home.
 

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If one had access to a CNC table, having the legit model would be amazing. For my purposes, 3D design allows my brain to process space and use and therefore allows me to be much more creative. I am a mechanical engineer though, and so spent a large amount of time using CAD from the time I went to school. Others brains work differently. For my build, I used the accurate floor plan, then built everything in my model with vertical side walls with the assumption that everything will be custom scribed to the curvature of the walls upon install.
ME as well and have to agree.
 

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I spent a bunch of time looking for a good model. Then I actually got the van and saw places where the left and right sides were different by ~10mm. Then when I installed the Scopema swivel: the swivel holes were correct but Ford's seat mount holes were out of square by almost 1%.
CAD seems good for planning but in this case starting from a model isn't a shortcut around "measure twice cut once". Unfortunately.
 

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I spent some time at the dealer last weekend measuring and photographing. I have it all up in github repository here:
https://github.com/natecostello/van_two_point_oh/tree/master/reference/vehicle_dimensions/manual_measurements

I've also started producing an interior sketchup model based on these measurements that can be found in this part of the repository:

https://github.com/natecostello/van_two_point_oh/tree/master/arrangements
(the file you probably want is "Transit_Dimensions_measured.skp" right click the 'raw' button and save as if you aren't familiar with github or don't want to fork the entire repo)

Assumptions and disclaimers on the model here:
notes_on_dimensions.md

Hope this helps. I wish I could have found the same info without a field trip. Also feel free to poke around the repo and offer any suggestions..its a work in progress and just away to capture thoughts and concepts.

(This is a 2020 AWD Extended)
 

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I spent a bunch of time looking for a good model. Then I actually got the van and saw places where the left and right sides were different by ~10mm. Then when I installed the Scopema swivel: the swivel holes were correct but Ford's seat mount holes were out of square by almost 1%.
CAD seems good for planning but in this case starting from a model isn't a shortcut around "measure twice cut once". Unfortunately.
yes agree with you that Ford has some "Funny holes" . We have captured most of them (tool holes, mounting holes for passenger van vs cargo etc.) in an average distance that works for our custom sheet metal parts, but in some cases they are so different from van to van especially 15 vs 18 we have to keep measuring per van but there is a pattern that is emerging. Once again just trying to help out and enjoy this thread debate haha. For the most part 90% of any van is accurate enough to produce a model that captures the curvatures and most tooling holes, mounting holes, lightening holes etc. for us to produce parts/entire customer custom builds without touching a van or even needing it at the shop (we have models for sprinter, promaster and transit). The other 10% of the data was captured by multiple data points across many vans we have and have had. These same techniques are employed with composite aircraft legacy design so just doing what i was taught to me as a young ME in big name aerospace. We are not done with a full model yet but I can estimate for every 1 hr spent in modeling it has produced years of positive return for my company already so thats why im passionate about it.
 

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Just in case people are finding these snip its cool. Posting a few more of our current rear frame structure as it meets the rear doors on a high roof Transit. Some features are still at a "thin state" but this shows all curvatures to per-fect custom metal design almost exactly as designed. For example all of our cabinets have a built in 2 degree upslope at the base when installed compared to the floor that helps keep goods in place when traveling. There are so many curves and angles that come into play when moving from roof to side wall to floor datums this helps soooo much. We are providing most of our specific area models through patreon to our of DIY patrons for 10 buxxxxx just in case anyone is into "tech" builds hahahah. My company is made up of Myself (Dan), My father(the godfather of #vanlife), my wife, twins babies, and my best friend who is a third generation wood worker & ex Lear Jet in the sky custom cabinet maker. We make almost zero money and all still have day jobs. We truly just love vans. My first words to potential customers is can you build it yourself?? We love all builds and by no means think we know everything. Its just cool to finally get to talk about my passion (mechanical engineering) with others. Thanks for the posts. You are some smart puppies!

STAY RAD!
 

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