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Just about everyone uses series 15 that I can tell. But as I mock up my design the extra 1/2" of room (1" across width of van) becomes somewhat critical in a couple applications.

Not to mention, its about
  • ~1/2 the weight,
  • sometimes ~1/2 the price
  • and yes 1/2 the strength
But based on estimated loads it still well within reasonable deflection parameters.
  • I plan on spending the $$ and having the pieces machined for integrated fasteners.
  • Will mount 1/4 plywood panels using 3/4" high Aluminum Z-bar (they'll end up recessed 1/8" from face).
Any first hand experience out there using Series 10? Horror stories? Obviously don't want to drop a couple k to have flimsy cabinets.

Thank you!
 

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Just about everyone uses series 15 that I can tell. But as I mock up my design the extra 1/2" of room (1" across width of van) becomes somewhat critical in a couple applications.

Not to mention, its about
  • ~1/2 the weight,
  • sometimes ~1/2 the price
  • and yes 1/2 the strength
But based on estimated loads it still well within reasonable deflection parameters.
  • I plan on spending the $$ and having the pieces machined for integrated fasteners.
  • Will mount 1/4 plywood panels using 3/4" high Aluminum Z-bar (they'll end up recessed 1/8" from face).
Any first hand experience out there using Series 10? Horror stories? Obviously don't want to drop a couple k to have flimsy cabinets.

Thank you!
 

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There is a significant difference in connection strength between the 1" and 1.5" lite and 1.5" standard profiles
The thickness of the material that captures the t-nut in the 1" profile is 0.087" vs 0.160" in the 1.5" versions.

8020 fastener strength

What is striking is the difference in connection strength for the 1.5" lite vs standard profiles given the only difference seems to be the small slots that are radial to the center bore. There is very little difference in deflection between these two profiles (which makes sense since the material removed is in the center of the structure).

Here are the profile drawings
1" 1004-S
1.5" lightweight 1504-LS
1.5" standard 1504
 

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I am biased and satisfied with series 15. Expensive machined connectors are not required. I have seen some builds that used series 10 and concluded that I was glad I used series 15.

Some information about using 80/20 that might be useful:

Using 80/20 | Orton Travel Transit (ortontransit.info)

The Sprinter-source site has a section about "Using 80/20" that provides a lot more information.

Using 80/20 | Sprinter-Source.com (sprinter-source.com)

Using 80/20 can get very expensive. To reduce the cost some things can be done to save money:

1. Make your own connectors.
2. Buy the fasteners from an industrial fastener supplier.
3. Eliminate shipping costs by making your own connectors and buying long extrusions locally.
4. Eliminate machining.
5. Use economy nuts when tapped hole is required in a slot.
6. For series 15 use the lightest extrusion.
7. Buy long extrusions and cut them to the length required.
8. Use one size extrusion
9. Make your own panels from plywood.
 

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2020 148 Mid-Roof AWD Crew
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I am currently building with it and have no concern with the strength of 10 series and I am designing with aesthetics in mind over structural design. The ability to make and modify your own connectors and fittings is essential to save $$$.
I am having trouble locating materials for my panels in the color and finish I am looking for but nothing a drum sander will not fix, I'm also still madly searching for hinges to work the way I would like.
So far I am sticking to my plans but currently on hold waiting for my 3rd order due to bad counting and modifying.
146456
 

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I'm also still madly searching for hinges to work the way I would like.
I used series 15 and bought aluminum hinges from McMaster-Carr:

hinges | McMaster-Carr

Easy to cut to length required. Used full length hinge equal to the door height. Bolts to extrusion. Did need to add a flat washer between the hinge and the extrusion to compensate for the tapered extrusion legs. Used 2 1/2" hinge with a 1/4" pin with series 15. Maybe there is a size that works with series 10.

First picture in second row of pictures shows the full length hinge for a door:

Refrigerator | Orton Travel Transit (ortontransit.info)
 

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We used series 10 in our build. With both of us being degree'd engineers -- who tend to overbuild everything -- we analyzed our designs and calculated point loads, moments and tried to account for fatigue and vibrations...and we're extremely comfortable as the 1" was more than adequate for our needs and design....which includes a bed frame....for which the outer parameter we bumped up to 1x2" black anodized for aesthetics, add'l mounting support to bearing blocks (our bed goes up and down via motorized controllers) and to all but eliminate flex across the span. We too didn't want to just give up a half inch of space on every single dimension.

Like most things, ymmv and adequate connection points to each piece is critical -- but so are adequate mounting to the van and whatever material covers the 'skeleton.'

And to each his own -- like Orton stated -- he's glad he used series 15 and we're glad we used series 10...and we had zero issues fabricating our own hardware either.

Cheers,
Jeff
 
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Orton, thanks for the hinge tip, but looking for an inset hinge to use thinner material for the doors.
 

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You might be surprised to find that you can have welded aluminum frames for roughly the same cost or less.

Work with the owner of your local welding shop to buy the aluminum through him for a fraction of what Home Depot charges, do the cut & fit yourself, have his guys wire weld it (less time than a pretty TIG job), and you can grind/sand smooth any exposed rough welds if needed. The result will weigh less and be more rugged.
 

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We used series 10 in our build. With both of us being degree'd engineers -- who tend to overbuild everything -- we analyzed our designs and calculated point loads, moments and tried to account for fatigue and vibrations...and we're extremely comfortable as the 1" was more than adequate for our needs and design

And to each his own

Cheers,
Jeff
Did you consider the dynamic loads of an otherwise survivable high g-force incident? That is a significant concern of mine. I am a engineer but that is an area outside of my expertise. If there is a certain value to base a design on, that you would feel comfortable recommending, I would really appreciate it.
 

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Did you consider the dynamic loads of an otherwise survivable high g-force incident? That is a significant concern of mine. I am a engineer but that is an area outside of my expertise. If there is a certain value to base a design on, that you would feel comfortable recommending, I would really appreciate it.
Ditto on the G-force thing. I've been directly and indirectly involved in a few situations where vehicles rolled, and that part of the decision making for design and components of the build are top of my mind, especially with a medium or high top van. Lots of compromises and risks assumed when building out these vans or modifying a vehicle in general, but it'd be nice to at least know what you are gambling with.
 

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Lots of great feedback, thank you!
I used series 10 every where in my 2015 build. It has performed with no problems on many miles of very rough unimproved roads. I would also say that the savings in cost of 10 series over the 15 series for a typical build is enough to buy a decent 7 1/4 inch miter saw with a metal cutting blade and make all your own fittings.
 

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Ditto on the G-force thing. I've been directly and indirectly involved in a few situations where vehicles rolled, and that part of the decision making for design and components of the build are top of my mind, especially with a medium or high top van. Lots of compromises and risks assumed when building out these vans or modifying a vehicle in general, but it'd be nice to at least know what you are gambling with.
I am not smart enough to know how to determine the ability of a build to withstand a crash.

I do feel comfortable that a 80/20 structure can be installed that provides a suitable structure inside the van. In my case I have a 80/20 series 15 floor frame that is bolted to the van at numerous locations through the floor and at each D-Ring tapped hole. All the series 15 cabinets are all bolted to the floor frame, to each other and to the walls and roof ribs. One large structure all bolted together and to the van. Would expect the series 15 would be better than series 10 in an accident.

I think this method is preferable to having separate individual cabinets. Hope I will never test the build so I could report back the results after an accident.
 

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Did you consider the dynamic loads of an otherwise survivable high g-force incident? That is a significant concern of mine. I am a engineer but that is an area outside of my expertise. If there is a certain value to base a design on, that you would feel comfortable recommending, I would really appreciate it.
Great question! Short answer -- not directly. What we did was use our static load values and multiplied by 4 ish or so to estimate 4 g's -- to see where we were...as a baseline...because without full blown cad -- we felt a number beyond that...with our differing materials (our cabinet face frames made of 3/4 inch solid poplar in some spots bolted to the 10 series and in others attached with #8 wood screws to thin angled brackets bolted to the Aluminum) all connected through plusnuts to the van frame -- we felt could easily provide false security that isn't warranted...in a rapid deceleration...things are going to break. Likely it would be the small wood screws long before the 10 series...but that was our estimates because good luck finding accurate sheer strength reports of generic wood screws :)
And we had no idea how to "handle" / analyze our countertop. It's 1" black walnut but with an epoxy "lava river" going right through the middle....Joanna and I could probably debate for hours what the failure mode there might look like...time better spent drinking beer :)

For us -- it reduces to further refinement via mitigation. We put more attachment points on everything than we initially planned...we don't drive with canned goods in any upper cabinets...only towels. Our 'fridge is bolted AND strapped...and behind two rows of 10 series thanks to our sink, water heater and water filtration while we purposefully designed our build to put our fresh water tank and diesel heater tank under the van. Our bed lifting rails (one in each bed corner) are quite heavy -- but they're each bolted to the van with no fewer than 20 1/4x20 bolts and would also have to get past all the cabinets...which stop several feet from the seats to give space should anything protrude forward but otherwise stay intact. And I drive with a watchful eye...knowing that a deer or other motorist might still cause an accident...at which point I'll hope that our composting toilet was empty :)
 

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Did you consider the dynamic loads of an otherwise survivable high g-force incident? That is a significant concern of mine. I am a engineer but that is an area outside of my expertise. If there is a certain value to base a design on, that you would feel comfortable recommending, I would really appreciate it.

I wish I has that ability or knowledge, to be honest, the thought of being skewered scares the **** out of me.
Would be nice to know there has been some testing or at least some standard to follow, until then, more fasteners & lock tite
 

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We used series 10 in our build. With both of us being degree'd engineers -- who tend to overbuild everything -- we analyzed our designs and calculated point loads, moments and tried to account for fatigue and vibrations...and we're extremely comfortable as the 1" was more than adequate for our needs and design....which includes a bed frame....for which the outer parameter we bumped up to 1x2" black anodized for aesthetics, add'l mounting support to bearing blocks (our bed goes up and down via motorized controllers) and to all but eliminate flex across the span. We too didn't want to just give up a half inch of space on every single dimension.

Like most things, ymmv and adequate connection points to each piece is critical -- but so are adequate mounting to the van and whatever material covers the 'skeleton.'

And to each his own -- like Orton stated -- he's glad he used series 15 and we're glad we used series 10...and we had zero issues fabricating our own hardware either.

Cheers,
Jeff
I'm seriously considering going the elevator bed route. Would you mind photo documenting your design for us sometime? Thanks!
 

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Great question! Short answer -- not directly. What we did was use our static load values and multiplied by 4 ish or so to estimate 4 g's --
I might be all wet, but looking through some NHTS and IIHS documentation I see things like 60G as an standard allowable force on certain body parts and measurements in the 90G range in parts of the vehicle (which admittedly may possibly not be passed through to the occupants). I believe these a values for crash tests that are survivable. I would think a well designed bulkhead would be a significant safety enhancement, unfortunately that makes for a much less flexible camper van layout, hence my interest in other measures to mitigate the safety risks.
 

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I am currently building with it and have no concern with the strength of 10 series and I am designing with aesthetics in mind over structural design. The ability to make and modify your own connectors and fittings is essential to save $$$.
I am having trouble locating materials for my panels in the color and finish I am looking for but nothing a drum sander will not fix, I'm also still madly searching for hinges to work the way I would like.
So far I am sticking to my plans but currently on hold waiting for my 3rd order due to bad counting and modifying.
View attachment 146456
Interesting Layout. Are those 2 twin sized beds in the back? Nice work with the AL.
 

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I'm seriously considering going the elevator bed route. Would you mind photo documenting your design for us sometime? Thanks!
Absolutely! We're getting closer to done and will post details regarding our bed setup. We love it -- but our specific design was not a piece of cake to get right. That said, if anyone can benefit we're happy to share. Due to our desires (lowers all the way to 15" from the floor for a dual couch mode--inward or outward via the back doors and then flat capable all the way to our back bunk window height (sleep mode) eliminated linear actuators (not enough throw) so we went with high torque windshield wiper motors in each corner. Hopes of just using limit stops at the top and bottom to "rebalance" were dashed as slight variations in speeds caused binding. I made my own encoder discs, added speed sensors and wrote code to control each motor to speed match via an Arduino Mega. It sounds daunting but it is worth it if you have the patience :) I'd be happy to share my code and whip up a parts list too.
 
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