Ford Transit USA Forum banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting close to having to start the design of some cabinets using T-slot/8020 extrusions. The cost of the extrusions and the fittings, combined with the lack of a local supplier that would allow going in and loading a cart has me thinking of the importance of dialing in a design and materials list up front.

I've seen some CAD programs, both free and some very expensive. Paying for AutoCad is out of the question. Free design software from Parker T-slot or FrameDesigner don't work very well in my opinion. The time spent on a learning curve is equal to or greater than the cabinet build. I don't have any interest in learning a software package just to get three cabinets built.

I have fiddled around with some graph paper and scaled some drawings, but the lack of a third dimension complicates the visualization and doesn't give much in the way of itemizing connectors.

Just buying some extrusions, waiting for delivery and then chopping up some lengths as though they were 2x4's from the building supply store is possible but doesn't seem very ideal and likely includes some waste.

I thought I would turn to the forum to see if someone smarter than me has a secrete design weapon they will share.
 

·
Registered
2019 Ford Transit 250 with Quigley 4x4
Joined
·
10 Posts
Autodesk Fusion 360 is free for personal use. I found it to be pretty easy to pick up and there are lots of YouTube videos, etc. out there on how to design with 8020 in Fusion.

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,535 Posts
I have played around with Frame Designer and agree that software is not very intuitive/user friendly If I was going to use only 4 slot profiles and angle connectors I don't think it would be worthwhile. But just playing around with it has be helpful to visualize the possible connections and slot orientation with profiles with that have smooth sides. It seems to default to anchor connectors which I have figured out how to manipulate in the software. I only recently found the angle and end connectors and have yet to play them. I may use it to use it for conceptual purposes for my connections but will try to learn Sketchup (or hopefully my wife 🙏) to determine the actual dimensions and fit in the van. Time will tell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,134 Posts
I used General Cadd which is a $600 program. Free trial version. Relatively simple 2D program with 2 letter commands.


For a single build the time to learn any Cad program would take longer than just building the cabinets. Cardboard is your friend. Build the cabinets using cardboard and when done measure the cardboard cabinets to determine aluminum extrusion lengths.

Info on using 80/20:


There are also posts on the Sprinter site "using 80/20" that have more information than you will ever need.


Some more info on building 80/20 cabinets:


There are printable cabinet PDF drawings included in the above site.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Ok, this is VERY non-tech but I started with a mental plan and then sketched it out. Then took my time and built one cabinet at a time.

The only thing I would do differently is to use (I used the heavy series 15) is to use the light series 15 or even series 10. Keeping the build light is a bigger deal than some people think.

Have a friend with a Sprinter that has Series 10 cabinets and they are fine.
 

·
Registered
2020 148 high roof extended
Joined
·
48 Posts
I used OpenScad (free) but I can't recommend it unless you enjoy programming. After the CAD design, I built the complicated components out of wood 2x2's before cutting the expensive aluminum. The fridge cabinet worked as planned, but the sink cabinet had a few problems that I missed using CAD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I've read many of the builds on this forum and watched a lot of youtube videos
(ourkaravan, scott adamson, humble road, 8020.net,
seven o savage, others) but haven't found much on 8020 design principles/rules of thumb.
I ordered a few test bars from tnutz.com and did destructive testing with different kinds
of fasteners that I made and bought then did cardboard box mock ups of the cabinets,
graph paper, but no joy with my brief attempts at CAD design - just not willing to spend weeks on the arcana at this time. Spent time mentally visualizing loads and how to attach to van .
Then my first order of 6ft bars arrived and I learned more in a couple of fun days in chopping,
drilling and assembling. Here are a couple photos of the simple galley under development.
Now I'm making and fitting drawers for the larger cabinet under the bed
then will try high pressure laminate on plywood for facing.
"All experiments are successful." :)

IMG_20210503_165053.jpg
IMG_20210525_135834.jpg
IMG_20210604_162739.jpg
 

·
Registered
2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
Joined
·
895 Posts
Maytec has a designer that accommodates a bunch of profiles and stuff. (MayCAD | MayTec) I used it and a couple other 3D programs designing in the last rig. Then decided it just wasn't working for me.

First, I sketch on paper and pencil. Then we build with 1x2 and/or cardboard to test what the overall shape will look like in the rig. Then we get to cutting aluminum. We have stuck with lightweight 30mm profiles on this rig - though they don't have as many options as the 1-inch and 1.5-inch. Even though we get a lot of things wrong and have to re-build them, the material gets re-used on later portions of the project. Very, very little has been wasted out of many hundreds of feet purchased.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Every time i see a cabinet like the one above, all i can think is "i could have built that in cabinet plywood in 20 minutes" would love to know the time and money on just that cabinet, in that state?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
664 Posts
Every time i see a cabinet like the one above, all i can think is "i could have built that in cabinet plywood in 20 minutes" would love to know the time and money on just that cabinet, in that state?
Different strokes...

As a woodworker and metal fabricator, I guarantee your 20-minute plywood cabinet wouldn't look half as good as this. Again, people have different needs, and different fabricating abilities. 80/20 "levels the field" a bit for people who have little-to-moderate fabrication ability, and looks great when done (at a price).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Someone here recommended to purchase furring strips (they happen to be 1.5") and build the mock-up full size. It really helps to do this to figure out optimal connectors, layering of pieces and where to put supports.

I bought a nail gun to to expedite the process and it easily saved me the expense when I was able to purchase the main pieces pre-cut and didn't have much waste.

154311
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all of the responses. They pretty much mirror what I am thinking. Options are:
Learn a CAD program that I will probably never use again. Or,
Buy some extrusions and start cutting them up. I'm too cheap for that. Or,
Do a mockup with 2x2 lumber.

I've done the cardboard box mockups to help decide between the standard length van and the extended version prior to placing my order. Exterior dimensions are pretty well established but interior compartments are only vague and all those connectors! Oh my.

I've got some 2x2 lumber on hand and some 2x4's that I can rip down. That is the method I had defaulted to and these responses have kind of affirmed it.

Ideally, what I would really like is to find a source of a finished CAD layout based on my needs that includes a cut list and details the connecters. I give them my sketch and, for a reasonable price, they give me a layout and order sheet. Seems like somewhere in the universe, there's somebody sitting at a computer waiting for my call. Wish they'd call me instead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,535 Posts
Someone here recommended to purchase furring strips (they happen to be 1.5") and build the mock-up full size. It really helps to do this to figure out optimal connectors, layering of pieces and where to put supports.

I bought a nail gun to to expedite the process and it easily saved me the expense when I was able to purchase the main pieces pre-cut and didn't have much waste.

View attachment 154311
Good idea on the nail gun (or at least a good excuse ;)) Since I tend to be cheap I was originally thinking of using sheet rock my existing tools, but using a nail gun to eliminate all of that pre-drilling, screwing and inference potential of the larger fasteners at the corners has pried open my wallet. I see that you are using hardboard connectors. Are you also able to shoot the brads directly through the 2x2's to connect them without the hardbord? Did you get 18ga or 16 ga nailer?

I was wondering why your floor rails that run N-S on are spaced off of the floor?
 

·
Registered
2021 High Roof, AWB, EcoBoost
Joined
·
88 Posts
for me, it was drawings, mostly on iDesign or Paper on the iPad. This was rough work, but I don’t have the patience to learn a CAD program at this stage of my life- the “learn new skills” brain cells are committed to other things.

I ripped some 2x4s into nice 1-½ material, and went to work fabbing up the frame in the van. I used nice screws that I had on hand, and recovered for later use when done. When I was completely satisfied with the measurement, I ordered precut profiles from TNutz, and it all worked out. The connector planning was a little more free form, but I had quite a few on hand that I wanted to use up. this really helped in planning the anchor points in the Van too.

When the structure was done, I loaded up the electric equipment this cabinet contained, then began skinning it with the material I had chosen. This was another exercise in free form construction, since I began taking opportunities I could see for access panels, improved ventilation to the electric bits, utilizing the 8020 for anchoring other sections of cabinets and cargo, and beautifying the places I wanted to see no extrusions.

The galley is another story, this cabinet is all wood construction, Plyboo actually, with 8020 anchor points built in. It is built with cross dowel connectors so I can also break it down for removal.

overall, a hybrid, modular approach
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Every time i see a cabinet like the one above, all i can think is "i could have built that in cabinet plywood in 20 minutes" would love to know the time and money on just that cabinet, in that state?
You are right in one sense, sticking plywood together can be done very simply and once pieces are cut to size, can be assembled quickly too. But that's not comparing apples to apples.

Two points that immediately come to mind that relate to strength and adaptability.

It's very difficult to get a plywood cabinet that will be as strong as the T-slot/8020 frame. If you never drive on rough washboard roads and particularly never are involved in a collision, then properly built plywood cabinets could suffice. Personally, I'm going to be thinking about all of the pots and pans traveling at 60 miles per hour right behind my head. If everything else stops suddenly, I want the cabinet to stop suddenly and retain all of the contents. I can't trust a plywood cabinet that was made quickly to do that.

The other issue of adaptability comes into play when the cabinet is done or nearly done and you change your mind about the height of a shelf or the size of a drawer. With the T-slot/8020, just loosen the connections and make an adjustment. Not so easy with plywood if you have built with strength in mind and have glued gussets in place.
 

·
Registered
2020 350 SRW HR 148" AWD Eco
Joined
·
61 Posts
Someone here recommended to purchase furring strips (they happen to be 1.5") and build the mock-up full size. It really helps to do this to figure out optimal connectors, layering of pieces and where to put supports.

I bought a nail gun to to expedite the process and it easily saved me the expense when I was able to purchase the main pieces pre-cut and didn't have much waste.
I think aluminum is almost cheaper than wood around here. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
You are right in one sense, sticking plywood together can be done very simply and once pieces are cut to size, can be assembled quickly too. But that's not comparing apples to apples.

Two points that immediately come to mind that relate to strength and adaptability.

It's very difficult to get a plywood cabinet that will be as strong as the T-slot/8020 frame. If you never drive on rough washboard roads and particularly never are involved in a collision, then properly built plywood cabinets could suffice. Personally, I'm going to be thinking about all of the pots and pans traveling at 60 miles per hour right behind my head. If everything else stops suddenly, I want the cabinet to stop suddenly and retain all of the contents. I can't trust a plywood cabinet that was made quickly to do that.

The other issue of adaptability comes into play when the cabinet is done or nearly done and you change your mind about the height of a shelf or the size of a drawer. With the T-slot/8020, just loosen the connections and make an adjustment. Not so easy with plywood if you have built with strength in mind and have glued gussets in place.
Valid Points, I was really just looking for a dollar figure, but everybody is scared of that, LOL.
I'd be more worried about how either cabinet is attached to vehicle in a crash than is construction (like the guys thread recently were his floor is not attached to the van). I come from yacht world so I am aware of the violence that can occur to cabinets, and i build mine along those lines.
 

·
Registered
2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
Joined
·
895 Posts
Valid Points, I was really just looking for a dollar figure, but everybody is scared of that, LOL.
I'd be more worried about how either cabinet is attached to vehicle in a crash than is construction (like the guys thread recently were his floor is not attached to the van). I come from yacht world so I am aware of the violence that can occur to cabinets, and i build mine along those lines.
Price on extrusions for us runs pretty close to $4 per foot plus $1 per connector (with bolts and nuts). Plus finish material; in the photo below, a 4x8 sheet of 1/4" MDF dual-sided finished melamine gray was about $25 - enough to do a few cabinets.

Here's an example of an upper cabinet. Figure every corner / intersection has at least two connectors. Look at that back bit - quite a few connectors. It isn't an inexpensive way to build. It is /crazy/ strong and solid. And can be removed / changed / reassembled / moved very easily. Not that everyone might want to do that; but I love being able to remove the whole galley with 4-5 bolts.

154350
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,134 Posts
Where your cabinets are up against the van walls there is no need for a complete 80/20 frame at the wall. Just a front frame and the end of the horizontal 80/20's bolted to the wall.

Overhead cabinet front frames can hang from the roof ribs without any horizontal 80/20 back to the wall. Just a plywood cabinet bottom between the front frame and the van wall.

 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top