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It has been months since I mentioned my progress with my 80/20 based build. Mostly because it took that long to make any progress! So here is some of my experience - in the hope it will help someone...

In my original build post I mentioned I wanted to use 80/20 with minimal damage/mod of the Wagon body. Storm Van Build. So I removed the rear seats and anchored the 80/20 using the seat mounts and U bolts. I built the bed platform (With a hinged top for garage access - during a storm ;-)) and 'kitchen unit'. Originally I wanted the kitchen unit to be in the side doorway, but eventually realised the floor mounting point locations made it better to have it all behind the driver.

I found the best way to mount the 80/20 to the old seat mounts was by running the 80/20 parallel to the mount bars, and I found just the right size Ubolt to fit the 80/20, bar and gap, and didnt need to drill holes or add angle joints. No play at all - my main worry.

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I used alot of the carriage bolts to attach the angle joints, but found they would jam in the slots - especially after tightening. One of the reasons I'm using 80/20 is to allow for mods as I go, so the jamming was annoying. In the end I preferred the FBHSCS and Tnuts combo, much more movable, and better looking, but is alot more expensive.

The whole thing is rigid enough without having to attach to the walls of the van. In some places I have added braces in the corners to achieve this.

One nice bonus of the 1515 80/20 is that the Lagun table wall mount fits nicely onto 2 parallel extrusions.

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And while plywood also nicely slots into the extrusion to make a work surface - the rattling is unbelievable offroad - but that's what pillows are for right?

I do need to improve the locking of most of the nuts. After a 10 day trip to Death Valley and other rough roads, some retightening was necessary. Presumably a dab of locktite on each is sufficient??

By the way I successfully bought my 80/20 in 97" lengths from Amazon. 3-4 week lead times, arrived well wrapped and protected. Although the delivery driver just dumped them in the street and ran, without even ringing the doorbell!
Cheaper than my local supplier who wanted to add delivery charges even if I went to pick up!

Plenty more for me to do, but it all worked for the trip.
 

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I used alot of the carriage bolts to attach the angle joints, but found they would jam in the slots - especially after tightening. One of the reasons I'm using 80/20 is to allow for mods as I go, so the jamming was annoying. In the end I preferred the FBHSCS and Tnuts combo, much more movable, and better looking, but is a lot more expensive.
Interesting. Almost all of my connectors were DIY flats and angles with carriage bolts. Used series 15 and put the holes in the angles 1" from the vertex so I could use carriage bolts. Did not have any issue with the carriage bolt jamming in the slots during assembly. Wonder if the bolts you were using were oversize?

I have not removed or changed any of the installation once it was built so do not know if they jam after tightening.

Almost all of my extrusions were T-Slots brand and the carriage bolts came from a industrial supplier. Were both your extrusions and carriage bolts bought from 80/20?
 

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Interesting. Almost all of my connectors were DIY flats and angles with carriage bolts. Used series 15 and put the holes in the angles 1" from the vertex so I could use carriage bolts. Did not have any issue with the carriage bolt jamming in the slots during assembly. Wonder if the bolts you were using were oversize?

I have not removed or changed any of the installation once it was built so do not know if they jam after tightening.

Almost all of my extrusions were T-Slots brand and the carriage bolts came from a industrial supplier. Were both your extrusions and carriage bolts bought from 80/20?
8020 brand 15 Series profile drawing shows slot at 0.320 typ. (did not search for any general tolerance statement)
Tnutz brand 15 Series profile drawing shows slot at 0.320 +/- 0.012
Drawing for square section on 5/16" carriage bolt (Fastenal et. al) is 0.307 - 0.324
FYI - 8020 brand slide-In Flanged Economy T-Slot Stud is 0.308 (no tolerance stated)

It looks like jamming may or may not be a problem depending on the where in (or how far out of) the specified range the parts are. So I guess the take away is, if ease of disassembly or adjustment is desirable, it might be a good idea to check the feel of the fit for interference or take some sample measurements of the parts. Of course if the ease of disassembly or adjustment is not a concern then an interference fit might be serendipitous.
 

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8020 brand 15 Series profile drawing shows slot at 0.320 typ. (did not search for any general tolerance statement)
Tnutz brand 15 Series profile drawing shows slot at 0.320 +/- 0.012
Drawing for square section on 5/16" carriage bolt (Fastenal et. al) is 0.307 - 0.324
FYI - 8020 brand slide-In Flanged Economy T-Slot Stud is 0.308 (no tolerance stated)

It looks like jamming may or may not be a problem depending on the where in (or how far out of) the specified range the parts are. So I guess the take away is, if ease of disassembly or adjustment is desirable, it might be a good idea to check the feel of the fit for interference or take some sample measurements of the parts. Of course if the ease of disassembly or adjustment is not a concern then an interference fit might be serendipitous.
I wonder who Tnutz using to make the extruded aluminum for them? I assume they are just dropshipping from Misumi or Faztek. I love Tnutz for hardware. I did just have to wait 10 days for a order to ship tho. Sounds like they are swamped with orders right now.

I ordered 4 bars of black 80/20 on 3/1 for a roof rack. I called last week and they said it would ship around 4/20. Yikes. Their lead times can sometimes be crazy. So I ended up ordering from Misumi. Shipped in 2 days. Too bad they only offer metric extrusion.
 

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I wonder who Tnutz using to make the extruded aluminum for them? I assume they are just dropshipping from Misumi or Faztek. I love Tnutz for hardware. I did just have to wait 10 days for a order to ship tho. Sounds like they are swamped with orders right now.

I ordered 4 bars of black 80/20 on 3/1 for a roof rack. I called last week and they said it would ship around 4/20. Yikes. Their lead times can sometimes be crazy. So I ended up ordering from Misumi. Shipped in 2 days. Too bad they only offer metric extrusion.
You are correct about the brand/marketer and manufacturers of aluminum extrusion not being the same entity many cases. A while back I spoke with an integrator that has their "own" extrusions. They were upfront about the fact that they contract out the extrusion (as do most brands). I did not get into whether or not they owned the dies or the extruder did and was probably making the stuff for many companies.

This is the company I spoke with. T-Slot Aluminum Framing & Fabrication by Framing Tech
I have no actual experience with them but I did have a positive impression of them from my phone conversation. They are in Rochester, NY so possibly an option for us East Coasters. Once I have a design I might get a quote from them to provide a kit of the materials and machining .

They might good for those with unlimited budgets and build weight concerns that want carbon fiber profiles 🤓 💲💲💲
 

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This is the company I spoke with. T-Slot Aluminum Framing & Fabrication by Framing Tech
I have no actual experience with them but I did have a positive impression of them from my phone conversation.
95% of the extrusions in my conversion are T-Slot brand. No issues. Bought T-Slots because I found a local source and eliminated the truck shipping cost for the long extrusions. The local source cut the 20' extrusions into 12 and 8' lengths so they would fit in the van when I picked them up.
 

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95% of the extrusions in my conversion are T-Slot brand. No issues. Bought T-Slots because I found a local source and eliminated the truck shipping cost for the long extrusions. The local source cut the 20' extrusions into 12 and 8' lengths so they would fit in the van when I picked them up.
I will look to find a local(ish) source too. I have not found any "retailers" other than the large general supply houses and 8020 has distributers, most of whom are integrators. I am not adverse to extending the search radius and use the saving for picking up the materials as a justification for a road trip to an interesting area or to visit family (now that we will have completed the vaccination process in another month)

I am leaning towards doing a first pass design using the 8020 Frame Designer software and prototyping the build in cheap 2x2 lumber and corrugated paperboard. I'll then go back an revise the plans based on findings form the prototype so that I will have a high level of confidence that I have good BOM including machining services to solicit some itemized quotes. Then I'll decide the what level a types of machining I will contract out or keep in house. If the cost is not prohibitive, I am leaning towards contracting almost all of the machining out. Getting the structure built is a key part of me being able to start using the van for it's intended purpose, so there is is a significant value to expediting that part of the build. Many of the other aspects are more "discretional" and can be done as downtime permits.

Based on your experience, how much time do you think having the structures cut to your drawings would have saved you on your build? If you were contract out that part of the build do you have any suggestion as to what you would look for or ask to vet out the potential contractors? Thanks.
 

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Based on your experience, how much time do you think having the structures cut to your drawings would have saved you on your build? If you were contract out that part of the build do you have any suggestion as to what you would look for or ask to vet out the potential contractors? Thanks.
In my case it would have taken a lot more time to have the extrusions cut to length. Much easier to quickly cut the length I want with the chop saw. No wasted time ordering and then waiting for delivery. Even if the cost was the same I would prefer to cut the extrusions.

As I have stated before I see no need for any machining for a conversion connection when using series 15.
 

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In my case it would have taken a lot more time to have the extrusions cut to length. Much easier to quickly cut the length I want with the chop saw. No wasted time ordering and then waiting for delivery. Even if the cost was the same I would prefer to cut the extrusions.

As I have stated before I see no need for any machining for a conversion connection when using series 15.
Was your design all "dialed in" with your drawings and built exactly to them or did you fine tune and demine some actual dimensions by fitting during the build process (similar to the way a finish carpenter might work)? I could see where that would be the preferred method for some of the members. For example a piece that was constrained due to the actual width of van.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
orton said:
I have not removed or changed any of the installation once it was built so do not know if they jam after tightening.

It looks like jamming may or may not be a problem depending on the where in (or how far out of) the specified range the parts are.
Just to be clear, initial assembly with carriage bolts was not an issue. This is my very first time constructing with 80/20, so almost everything has been moved around after some level of tightening. I used 5/16 carriage bolts from McMasterCarr and real 80/20 extrusions. After heavy tightening of the bolts they rotate a little and jam that much more. A good whack with the hammer is often needed to get them moving again.

I should add this is only an irritation. The whole concept is awesome and has allowed me to prototype well and minimise the weight to find a strong light design.
 

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Just to be clear, initial assembly with carriage bolts was not an issue. This is my very first time constructing with 80/20, so almost everything has been moved around after some level of tightening. I used 5/16 carriage bolts from McMasterCarr and real 80/20 extrusions. After heavy tightening of the bolts they rotate a little and jam that much more. A good whack with the hammer is often needed to get them moving again.

I should add this is only an irritation. The whole concept is awesome and has allowed me to prototype well and minimise the weight to find a strong light design.
Thanks for the clarification. So maybe to bolts are undersized? 🤓 I am looking forward to when I get my new erector set to play with. I am leaning towards prototyping with 2x2 lumber. I think it is good way to get a real world feel for the layout and make any changes (and mistakes) quickly in cheap material. I also have some experience working with with wood, but none with extrusions. I just prototyped wooden spacers for my seat swivel install and even for something that simple, it was very helpful.

BTW - your U-bolt method is great (unfortunately I can't copy for my cargo van). The 45's you added are a good idea given that you probably have no or few connections to the wall. Even though my structure will be bolted to the wall, seeing what you did, I might add a few one in some key areas. Now I need to try to figure out if I can make your Lagun table setup work for my layout. I have a drivers swivel so my galley will end where your last galley section is and will not be as deep so much more reach will be needed.

FYI, the 8020 is designed with a 2 degree drop, that is the slots angle in a bit towards to center of the profile
and there is a specified torque to achieve this. None of which probably has anything to do with the jamming issue you encountered.

151079


151080
 

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Was your design all "dialed in" with your drawings and built exactly to them or did you fine tune and demine some actual dimensions by fitting during the build process (similar to the way a finish carpenter might work)? I could see where that would be the preferred method for some of the members. For example a piece that was constrained due to the actual width of van.
Built from the drawings. The rear benches, sink and refrigerator/shower cabinets were first bolted to the 80/20 floor extrusions and once installed then I measured from the structure to the wall to get the wall connector length. Usually not critical because I was connecting to a horizontal slot.

The upper rear cabinets are just a 80/20 front face frame. No top or back. Hung each face frame from three ribs. Temporarily connected the two face frames together to get them square and parallel to each other. Then measured between the face frame back to the van wall to obtain the bottom plywood width.

The 80/20 floor frame provided a reference point after it was installed. The bottom extrusion of the cabinets bolt to the floor 80/20 frame. The cabinet bottom extrusions were installed first . Once the refrigerator/shower cabinet bottom extrusion was installed, I could measure from the bottom extrusion up to the roof to confirm the cabinet vertical extrusion lengths. Only the refrigerator/shower cabinet was full height from floor to roof so that extrusion length was checked before cutting the extrusion. The other cabinets either bolted to the floor or the roof so vertical extrusion length was not critical.

Using this method I did not need to know the exact contour of the walls or the roof. No need for a careful measurement or 3D scan of the interior.
 

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I wonder who Tnutz using to make the extruded aluminum for them? I assume they are just dropshipping from Misumi or Faztek. I love Tnutz for hardware. I did just have to wait 10 days for a order to ship tho. Sounds like they are swamped with orders right now.

I ordered 4 bars of black 80/20 on 3/1 for a roof rack. I called last week and they said it would ship around 4/20. Yikes. Their lead times can sometimes be crazy. So I ended up ordering from Misumi. Shipped in 2 days. Too bad they only offer metric extrusion.
There are multiple companies in the aluminum extrusion business in the US. Many more across the world.

Some specialize in smaller parts and others in larger size parts.

Anyone willing to make a drawing can hire them to have a die made and have parts produced.

Black adds to the lead time over clear anodizing.

Everyone is backed up right now, including shipping. Even fedex and UPS, long term pros in the shipping business can't hold a schedule right now.
 

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Anyone willing to make a drawing can hire them to have a die made and have parts produced.
It is not expensive to buy a die.

10 years ago I paid $1800.00 for a die to extrude an aluminum conveyor housing. I was very surprised how inexpensive it was.

Sold the company 6-8 years ago but this is the web site:

Quick Conveyor - Modular Conveyor System

The crossection shows the extrusion.
 

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It is not expensive to buy a die.

10 years ago I paid $1800.00 for a die to extrude an aluminum conveyor housing. I was very surprised how inexpensive it was.

Sold the company 6-8 years ago but this is the web site:

Quick Conveyor - Modular Conveyor System

The crossection shows the extrusion.
Looks like FlexLink or Rexroth. Great stuff.
 

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Looks like FlexLink or Rexroth. Great stuff.
The difference was I used standard tabletop tab chain instead of special propriety design chain.

Web site hid the fact I was running a conveyor mfg. business out of a barn with one employee. Web site made it look like a real business.
 

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The difference was I used standard tabletop tab chain instead of special propriety design chain.

Web site hid the fact I was running a conveyor mfg. business out of a barn with one employee. Web site made it look like a real business.
Ooops
 

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Just to be clear, initial assembly with carriage bolts was not an issue. This is my very first time constructing with 80/20, so almost everything has been moved around after some level of tightening. I used 5/16 carriage bolts from McMasterCarr and real 80/20 extrusions. After heavy tightening of the bolts they rotate a little and jam that much more. A good whack with the hammer is often needed to get them moving again.
...
FWIW, I'm pretty sure McMaster-Carr doesn't sell "real 80/20" extrusions. I can't recall which brand they said it is... Faztech, maybe? No, that's not it... can't remember. I've bought quite a bit from them and the attachment hardware is not 8020 brand. Not that it matters... just sayin'. I don't know if that has something to do with connectors coming loose... but some of ours do eventually as well. Of course, I'm also not using a torque-wrench on every bolt... 🤔

Our last rig was a passenger Sprinter we did very similarly to your design - mounting modules to the seat rails and D-rings. Wanted the same this time, but didn't want dual rear wheels (only way to get extended length passenger Transit), so had to order it as a cargo with windows.

We abandoned the panels inside the aluminum slots this time - they just don't come out as clean as we'd have hoped (when working around mounting brackets) and they rattled like crazy. Still doing a bit of it - but only when there's enough pressure on the panels that they don't rattle. We're trying to find a method of attaching panels that we like. Bolting to "panel mounts" is a pain. There are rubber "panel gaskets" we have yet to try. Also have some z-clips to try; I'm hopeful on those.

Nice work thus far! Looking forward to your future progress. 😊
 

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@njvagabond I went this route of testing with furring strips first to get the design mostly nailed down. It was really helpful to figure out optimal ways on how things should be layered, what should connect to what and where and finally to get the dimensions nailed down.

I found a local supplier that charges $2 a cut and I had them do all the pieces that I knew were set in stone, it was nice to have those ready to go and the cuts were exact. 7 legs, all 29.5" came out exactly the same. Then I purchased 12" lengths for any of the places where I wasn't sure of the length or if I thought I was going to change it in some way.

Progress this week has been fast because of the prep work. I wanted to avoid cutting a bunch of extrusion wrong and the cost of the furring strips was minimal.

With all that being said working with this stuff is great, chopping it, drilling access holes and tapping ends is easily done with the right tools. If you are going to do anything needing access holes the little jig for $20 they sell is perfect. You get the exact placement of an access hole, .75" from the end for square corners.
 
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