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Having scrolled through about 40 different bed threads, I'm still somewhat stumped. Building a bikes-below-bed east-west system, and as always, every single little inch seems to matter. My current rough build is just using Ikea rails, which are about 2.5" deep. However, even w/ my dropper post lowered all the way, there isn't a ton of space up top. What's likely the narrowest/thinnest approach to solving this? Would 1"/25mm 80/20 be suitable (presumably I'd need more than 3 braces)? Does anyone know of a narrower option that is more of a sheet?
 

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You're ahead of me build wise as my van is still on order but one strategy I plan to research more is to buy one of these harbor freight loading ramps, split it into three sections by removing the hinges, and then spacing each of the resulting 15" wide ladder frames with 1/2" birch ply over top to create a ~60" wide queen bed. They would likely need to get cut down a bit lengthwise and then supported with aluminum angle or channel ledgers fastened to the walls of the van.

 

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I have the same concern as you regarding bikes below vs space above. In terms of a sheet solution that you requested, I'm considering aluminum honeycomb panels, although it appears to be a pricey solution. Check out this site if you're interested. Lots of options in terms of edge enclosure, etc.

Another option is simply sandwiching polyiso board between two 1/4" sheets of plywood using Loctite PL adhesive. I think I first saw this in Orton's build pages, although he did not try to span the full width of the van. I did a test run and made a panel 24"x68" and the result wasn't too bad. When you sit on it there is some deflection if you try to span the fully 68". But it gets alot better if you only span say 44", with the assumption that you will have some intermediate supports set in 12" on either side of the garage for putting water and electric on each side.
 

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Just curious, how much clear space is needed for the bike?

Unistrut would work.

Two sizes they usually have at home depot are around 3/4" and 1 5/8" deep. The 1 5/8" should be strong enough, not sure about the thinner option. I also think the 1 5/8" is made with a thicker gauge material.

Cheap, easy to get, strong, but on the heavier side.

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You're ahead of me build wise as my van is still on order but one strategy I plan to research more is to buy one of these harbor freight loading ramps, split it into three sections by removing the hinges, and then spacing each of the resulting 15" wide ladder frames with 1/2" birch ply over top to create a ~60" wide queen bed. They would likely need to get cut down a bit lengthwise and then supported with aluminum angle or channel ledgers fastened to the walls of the van.
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Discussion Starter #7
Just curious, how much clear space is needed for the bike?
I need about 36" minimum for my XC bike, front wheel off, dropper completely lowered. For road bikes I'll need to take the seat post / mast off (I have long legs, so the saddle is about 39 or 40" high with the front wheel off). I can also pitch to my wife that I just need to buy another longer dropper post. :)

But, the higher the bed is, the less room I have for my head in the bump out, so the lower the better. I'll check out the Harbor Freight site as well. Thanks!
 

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Having scrolled through about 40 different bed threads, I'm still somewhat stumped. Building a bikes-below-bed east-west system, and as always, every single little inch seems to matter. My current rough build is just using Ikea rails, which are about 2.5" deep. However, even w/ my dropper post lowered all the way, there isn't a ton of space up top. What's likely the narrowest/thinnest approach to solving this? Would 1"/25mm 80/20 be suitable (presumably I'd need more than 3 braces)? Does anyone know of a narrower option that is more of a sheet?
It depend on how much weight needs to be supported. ;)
This tool will calculate the deflection of profiles under different scenarios.
Best to use profiles with 2 or 3 closed sides with closed sides in vertical orientation. Securing the ends of the beam very well will result in less flex less than if the ends are just supported. The nice thing about 8020 is if you find your design flexes more than you like it is easy to reconfigure and add additional beams. . Not sure how the 8020 profile compares to the strength of square tubing.

For a given set of dimensions steel will be stronger than aluminum so steel can have smaller dimensions to achieve the same strength as aluminum. A central (or multiple) n-s beams supported by columns to reduce span/required strength will allow smaller e-w beams

Thinner or no floor where bike sits. Not familiar with the details of dropper post but can the top portion with the seat be removed for storage.

The top of my seat tube on my 29" wheel bike is lower than the wheel. I think it's about the same height as my horizontal top tube 26" bikes when the front wheels are removed. It's good to be short when it comes to van layouts.
 

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You're ahead of me build wise as my van is still on order but one strategy I plan to research more is to buy one of these harbor freight loading ramps, split it into three sections by removing the hinges, and then spacing each of the resulting 15" wide ladder frames with 1/2" birch ply over top to create a ~60" wide queen bed. They would likely need to get cut down a bit lengthwise and then supported with aluminum angle or channel ledgers fastened to the walls of the van.

Wow. Price has gone up. I paid $79 each for the 2 I purchased 1.5 years ago. (After a 20% off coupon.) I left one up at the cabin, and the other I started using as a ramp, and never got around to using it as a bed frame.
 

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Wow. Price has gone up. I paid $79 each for the 2 I purchased 1.5 years ago. (After a 20% off coupon.) I left one up at the cabin, and the other I started using as a ramp, and never got around to using it as a bed frame.
I always search for coupons with harbor freight and I couldn't believe it when I saw that $79 one come up. I have some time so I'll watch for a deal on it and buy a couple.
 

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Probably a better choice to buy two ramps and use four of the ladder sections than trying to spread three out as I had proposed.
I used one ramp/three panels (kept the hinges), and added Skorva beams to make up the width for an E-W queen. A bonus was that the Skorvas are adjustable, and thus I could easily work around the ductwork in the back of my wagon. This stuff sits on a Unistrut frame bolted to the wagon seat anchors. (Yes, three Skorvas are overkill in terms of support, but cheap and easy to use)


IMG_3180.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What is the thickness of the actual beams on the harbor freight parts? Their site says 2.5", but that seems high.
 

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I'm in the middle of trying to fit bikes under bed with reasonable clearance above in a mid roof. Transverse beams or supports gobble up valuable inches. I'm pretty confident my plan will work - 36" high wheelwell boxes (~48" in between), center partition, with some cantilevering in the rear, hardwood trim supports front and rear edge, 1/2" baltic bunk bottom. If you can afford a center divider, maybe no need for transverse supports. Wish I was further along and had pictures.
 

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Harbor Freight --- no more 20% off coupons, no more buy one item get this for free ( tarps, screw drivers, flashlights or what not.) And the magazine pages with multiple coupons expire in about a month, not 5 and 6 months or longer like used to be.
 

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I Use 2 x 4's flat with 1/2" cabinet grade plywood, that's 2" for them that can't math. Supported at edges, and across front but nothing in back. my bed runs from front doors to back, massive bunk. My bikes fit under, no seats, i think 36" clearance at back. Actually road bike can fit with seat fully lowered. MTB has a kink in seat tube (on purpose) so i can't use a dropper. I am also huge.
 

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Like Greenvan, I used 2x's laid flat with 1/2" ply for panels spanning the back of my Sprinter. Worked fine. 2x2 24" O/C, but I made three 24" panels, so the support span was double width where they butted together.
 

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With the cost of wood and ply these days, steel or aluminum frames might be cheaper!
 
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