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Discussion Starter #41
Cabinet Laminate, counter, and back splash

Went with ikea butcher block for the counter.

Routing the sink hole.




Prepping the kitchen for laminate





Coming together





Upper cabinets



Kitchen with backsplash


Counter extention


The fridge needed a latch to keep it from sliding open. I picked up a 12 volt gate latch solenoid, a little chip that allows you to program a delay in the circuit and the lady friend found a pinball button. I notched a piece of flat bar and mounted it to the drawer and put the solenoid in the back of the cabinet. Works awesome! I want a black pinball button though.



I added some seat belts to the couch/ guest bed.


Bed down
 

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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
Bed &Lift

So to get us a usable bed a built one out of 3/4 ply and 2x4s. It weighed a million pounds but was sturdy and got us camping. We had extra memory foam mattress so we deiced to throw that in the van. I have never slept so well :).

I originally thought I would use aluminum but after running the numbers the cost/weight saving of aluminum was not worth it and it also posed some additional engineering problems. So steel. I got some thin wall 1 inch and started chopping and welding.




We welded the lift mechanism right to the bed frame.

Bed Up


Bed Down


Video in action
https://goo.gl/photos/B7t6j4NuDotXkF3B8

Blocks to hold the bed fram in the e-track brackets

 

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Great looking build - I like the raising bad idea, very cool.
 

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Thanks for the update! My lift just arrived from Amazon today, haven't even unboxed it yet, so it's really helpful to see how you approached the build. I can't weld, so either I'll go with your initial lumbar design, or pay someone to weld it for me. On bright side, with a E450 I have some weight leeway. A few questions...

1) what did you replace the pulleys with? You said it was done for better quality pulley, and also to even things out...what did you mean by that?

2) I'm not sure I understand the 4 big columns of Etrack. I see how it provides a resting spot in down position, but do you need to move those brackets to support it in the up position as well? I've been toying around with ways to make the "rests" adjustable some to allow for leveling the bed, but thinking it would need to be a bit more incremental than the Etrack...

3) Any further thoughts on how to adapt a motor to this?

4) On different subject, is that water heater propane or electric? If propane, how did you vent it...and if electric, how's it powered, shore only?

Thanks so much, after a year of researching I'm actually building it and finding your Build couldn't have been better timed :D
 

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we've found, on my similar bed lift setup, that cranking the bed up and down by hand really isn't so bad. i've done it with a drill (while doing initial setup -- well worth it then), but it isn't _that_ much faster, and the drill works pretty hard. my gearbox may have less mechanical advantage, though -- i think it's 7:1.

paul
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Thanks for the update! My lift just arrived from Amazon today, haven't even unboxed it yet, so it's really helpful to see how you approached the build. I can't weld, so either I'll go with your initial lumbar design, or pay someone to weld it for me. On bright side, with a E450 I have some weight leeway. A few questions...

1) what did you replace the pulleys with? You said it was done for better quality pulley, and also to even things out...what did you mean by that?

Because I was under mounting the lift i needed the cables to clear the end of the arms. So I cut notches in the end of the arms and swapped the cheap plastic pulleys for metal pulleys with bearings. These pulleys were a larger diameter than the original effectively moving the cable away from the bed and the arm.

2) I'm not sure I understand the 4 big columns of Etrack. I see how it provides a resting spot in down position, but do you need to move those brackets to support it in the up position as well? I've been toying around with ways to make the "rests" adjustable some to allow for leveling the bed, but thinking it would need to be a bit more incremental than the Etrack...

The problem as I saw it with a bed lift is that if you fix the four corners of the bed inside a channel or some other guide system then your lift unless it is very rigid with a drive system that can be tuned down to the millimeter at all four corners will have a propensity to bind. Happijac does this with a steel channel hard mounted at each corner and then two drive shafts linked with a chain drive and gear driven at each corner. The problems with that as I saw it was your bed width is limited to the width of the drive shafts that are mounted at the top of the van which narrows so either the bed does not go high enough or you have pillars in the middle of your storage.


I side stepped the whole issue by letting the bed float so that it does not bind. The cables when rolled under the bed leave the storage area clear when the bed is lifted. To move the bed I lift it to just above the desired height and then move the blocks in the e-track to the final height then lower the bed onto the blocks.


3) Any further thoughts on how to adapt a motor to this?

I have ordered this motor: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005M09QDA/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2YOQJANPWZAKX

I plan to weld up a motor mount and fab a coupling link to connect the motor to the drive mechanism. For power I am thinking a wire on a spool or a strechy spiral wire on the bottom of the bed so I can plug the bed in, move it, then put the wire away. More than likely I will try a few things before I finalize it.

4) On different subject, is that water heater propane or electric? If propane, how did you vent it...and if electric, how's it powered, shore only?

The water heater is propane fueled. To vent it I plan to open the back door and swing the heater out of the cabinet. This worked fine in testing. We plan to hang a curian across the back doors to shower so this will have the added benefit of heating the shower space :)



Thanks so much, after a year of researching I'm actually building it and finding your Build couldn't have been better timed :D

Good luck with your build!
 

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Discussion Starter #48
we've found, on my similar bed lift setup, that cranking the bed up and down by hand really isn't so bad. i've done it with a drill (while doing initial setup -- well worth it then), but it isn't _that_ much faster, and the drill works pretty hard. my gearbox may have less mechanical advantage, though -- i think it's 7:1.

paul

I don't have a crank handle short enough to fit inside the van. It is likely I will fab one or modify the long handled one that came with the lift as a back up for when the electric motor fails me.
 

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yeah -- our crank is really too long even for our van, where the gearbox is fixed to the ceiling. it's workable, but the working parts are definitely not at the preferred height.
 

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Lots of updates. That sink area really came out great. Love the slide out fridge and counter extension. Grats on the bike, I ride a 250L too. Just picked my van up Monday and will also be doing a (slow) simple moto van build.
 

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Thanks for your response! That's a good point on guide tracks likely binding up...probably saved me some headaches there as that's exactly what I was thinking of doing in some fashion.

I looked at the motor you got and almost clicked "buy" but decided to hold off. I figure I can probably come up with a way to mount it, but I really can't picture how to fab the coupling link and I'm not sure I have the tools/skills to even copy it. But if when you're making the mount and coupling you're inclined to make an extra set, I'd be very happy to purchase them from you!
 

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Berk

What a great build you have going here. Some nice innovations, and well matched to your many skills.

Something to watch for before you box in some of your mechanical pulleys and the like, is to take lots of test drives on bad roads to identify any and all rattles. It is surprising how a rough road can identify stuff you are not aware of on freeways. It's important to get them before the build advances too far.

I used lots of peel and stick draft stop and similar cushioning. I also use removable packing foam wedges in a couple of places.

Rattles can make a beautiful camper sound like an old boneshaker.
 
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I ended up getting the motor you got, figuring I'll figure something out to connect it ...

Any more updates on the bed lift? I'm neck deep in solar and electric stuff for some weeks yet, but kinda hoping you post more before I get to that stage :)
 

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I came up with these rollers to weld in the 4 corners of the bed frame and plan to fix 4 x 1" vertical square tube rails for them to run on. There made from skateboard washers spacers and bearings = super cheap


 

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I came up with these rollers to weld in the 4 corners of the bed frame and plan to fix 4 x 1" vertical square tube rails for them to run on. There made from skateboard washers spacers and bearings = super cheap
I like it! We need to see more of this project.
 

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Cool build - thanks for sharing! The bed fab is rad. I also used an Ikea wood counter top with about the same dimensions as yours, so I thought I would pass on this experience: As I said, I used what appears to be the same Ikea countertop. Following the directions from Ikea, I sanded and sealed it with several coats of linseed oil. I built everything in Berkeley, CA which, has some humidity. Very soon afterwards, I camped on Tioga Pass in very low humidity conditions. The countertop shrank at least 1/8" front to back (not much side to side). Because I had mounted it very firmly on a frame of 1" aluminum angle, the countertop cracked on its glue lines. When I returned to Berkeley, the countertop eventually expanded back to its original size. Unintentionally, I repeated this experiment a few more times and, watching the cracks grow and shrink, I became convinced that humidity was the issue. I wasn't very happy with the linseed oil anyway, so, as an experiment, I reglued the countertop, sanded every bit of the linseed oil off, then encapsulated the entire countertop with "bar top epoxy". I haven't yet returned to Tioga Pass for the big test, so I can't say if my scheme will work, but without some similar moisture barrier, I'm pretty sure your countertop will expand and contract a lot if you change ambient humidity levels, so be ready for it! I always wondered why the wood in our old professionally converted vans was so thickly coated with polyurethane (or epoxy or whatever they use), but now I believe moisture/expansion control is the reason.
 

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I haven't seen your results with my ikea wood countertop. I sealed with Polyurethane though if that makes any difference. More than a dozen trips over Tioga.
 

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I haven't seen your results with my ikea wood countertop. I sealed with Polyurethane though if that makes any difference. More than a dozen trips over Tioga.

@rondo, that is encouraging as I do believe the Polyurethane seals against moisture in a manner similar to the epoxy I'm trying now. IMO, the epoxy looks really cool. I'll post pics eventually.
 

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Looks great!

I love your build and the attention to detail. This is really motivating! I'd have a bit of a learning curve to do all the work you're doing myself, but that's how you learn things, right? It looks like you're enjoying it in style!
 

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how is your vanrug holding up? I put mine in over the weekend but it does not have the support I was expecting... foam on the bottom seems rather weak - i can still feel the peaks and valleys of the floor. I'd like to hear how its doing for you.
 
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