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This is very much a work in progress but I have a bed over dinette situation that I'm building. I'm using 1.25 inch square steel tubes from home Depot (1/16-in wall ). The idea is that the mattress will be the bench seat cushions when it's in dinette mode. You can see on the left side that I've got the left bench seat up on top of the tubes to demonstrate. when we're using the dinette the tubes will be stored in the back of the van vertically as I'm showing with one of the tubes in the photo.

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Don’t ignore the other side of that bed sandwich—the mattress. A good 4” foam can be just as comfortable as the 8-10” mattresses some people use. When it comes to mattresses, Americans have been sold a bill of goods.
Can you remind me again what mattress you used? I plan on sticking to a 4-in mattress as well so quality is important!
 

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2019 250 Cargo MR LWB Quigley CCV pop-top
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Hi,
I am working on a bed platform now and trying to figure out the best design. Wondering what you came up with and any photos?
My plan is to use a sheet of 3/4 birch on both walls to bed height and then span the walls with 80/20 (1 inch). There will be 5 or 6 cross members. There will be a center support that will separate MTB from surf. On top will have 1/2 ply for the. I try not to get my head into the weight calculation because its difficult to calculate given there are many support members.
How high did you raise the bed. I have a Lg 29er and a seat dropper.
Thoughts?
1/2" ply is generally okay for supports 16" on center (assuming 2X lumber,1.5" supports) https://socomi.com/wp-content/uploads/APA_LoadSpanTables.pdf. For a bed, you could likely get by with 20" on center, so that's perfect for an 80" bed with 5 supports.
 

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2016 Ford Transit 150 Medium Roof 148” Wheelbase
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A sheet of 1.125" plywood will span the width of the van without any additional support.

I also used 1.125" plywood (because I had some extra available) as the vertical supports (let's call them "sidewalls"). The sidewalls are attached to the van with two bolts on each side into the factory standard threaded provisions. A 2x4 "rail" is attached to each sidewall flush with the top of the sidewall. The 2x4 rail could be placed on either the inside or outside of the sidewall. The platform sits on top of the sidewalls and is attached down into the 2x4 rails. I might do it differently if I started from scratch, but for various reasons I put the rails on the inside of the sidewalls. I added metal angle braces to stabilize the platform so it doesn't rack from side to side. My setup also allows half of the bed platform to hinge back out of the way in case I need to haul something large. I placed the platform about 36" off the floor, but obviously you could locate it wherever you needed it.

I can provide more details if anyone is interested.
What width might you have used for the sidewalls if you hadn’t used the leftover 1.125”? And how did you work that into the framing for the walls around the bed? Thanks
 

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2016 Ford Transit 150 Medium Roof 148” Wheelbase
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@PDub here's a 3/4 inch (at the edge) approach" At the back and front door edges of the bed, use a 2.5 x 2.5 x 0.25 inch aluminum angle. For the support(s) in the middle of the bed use 1x2 x 0.25 aluminum rectangular tube. Then put 1/2 inch baltic birch over this. You will lose only 3/4 inch of height at the front and back, and 1.5 inch of height at the supports in the middle. You could, of course, also use steel if you like working with it.
Hey there I was wondering if you could clarify a couple of things for me from this comment. What orientation would the 1x2 rectangular tube be set up? Would it be horizontally so that with the Baltic birch the total height of the platform would be 1.5”? I think that’s what you meant but I still don’t see where the 3/4” measurement is coming from so I’m second guessing myself. Thanks so much!
 

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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.

View attachment 147856

View attachment 147857
 

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I used Unistrut for a lot of stuff, but the bed is a thin steel one from Amazon- used outside as a "foldup bed", only about 1' thick square tubing. The bed mounts/pivots on the upright unistrut-supports and can be adjusted to any height along the unistrut. This is an early pic that still has the original legs- that I no longer use, preferring straps to am eyebolt on the top of the struts.
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2021 Transit 148 HR AWD
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Hey there I was wondering if you could clarify a couple of things for me from this comment. What orientation would the 1x2 rectangular tube be set up? Would it be horizontally so that with the Baltic birch the total height of the platform would be 1.5”? I think that’s what you meant but I still don’t see where the 3/4” measurement is coming from so I’m second guessing myself. Thanks so much!
I'm trying to remember the original context. I think the OP was most concerned with clearance at the very edge of the bed frame for getting things in and out of the garage, and less concerned with the center of the bed. So, my suggestion was to use 1/4" thick aluminum angle at the edges with 1/2 inch plywood on top. That gives you 3/4" depth at the edges. Then depending on the dimensins of he bed you would select the the additional supports. You could use an aluminum rectangular profile, or also strong enough would be 3/4" oak. If you used the oak in a 3/4" actual thickness, your maximum thickness would be just under 1 1/4", with 3/4" at the edges where the aluminum angle is.
 

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2016 Ford Transit 150 Medium Roof 148” Wheelbase
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I'm trying to remember the original context. I think the OP was most concerned with clearance at the very edge of the bed frame for getting things in and out of the garage, and less concerned with the center of the bed. So, my suggestion was to use 1/4" thick aluminum angle at the edges with 1/2 inch plywood on top. That gives you 3/4" depth at the edges. Then depending on the dimensins of he bed you would select the the additional supports. You could use an aluminum rectangular profile, or also strong enough would be 3/4" oak. If you used the oak in a 3/4" actual thickness, your maximum thickness would be just under 1 1/4", with 3/4" at the edges where the aluminum angle is.
Okay I was looking at getting some 1.25x1.25 square tubing but then I saw your comment to get 1x2 rectangular tubing and so I just wanted to know the orientation you would use the 1x2 tubing. If I used it horizontally that would save height but I wasn’t sure if that’s what you had meant.
 

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2021 Transit 148 HR AWD
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Okay I was looking at getting some 1.25x1.25 square tubing but then I saw your comment to get 1x2 rectangular tubing and so I just wanted to know the orientation you would use the 1x2 tubing. If I used it horizontally that would save height but I wasn’t sure if that’s what you had meant.
1x2x 0.125 rectangular tubing laid flat is very strong. It's essentially like 4 1x1 aluminum angles, with all the twisting potential controlled already. I'm pretty sure that it would be stronger than 1.25x1.25x 0.125 square tubing, and it would be pretty close anyway.
 

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Deflection is key in these conversations and subsequent span across the van. For those looking to 'suspend' a bed platform, the span in a Transit wall to wall is approximately 66 inches at a height of around 37 to 38 inches from a finished floor. Reputable van companies like 'Outside Van' use 1x1 steel to span the width of their builds and square steel tubing to support the platform on either side because it can handle the deflection to support over 400lbs. If you plan to rest the platform on battery banks, water storage units etc, similar to companies like Titan vans, you can get away with thinner or lighter tubing because it takes the span down from 66 inches closer to 40. Our build does not leverage resting the platform on any mechanicals because we wanted maximum flexibility to reconfigure the rear based on 1)the gear we were hauling and 2) ability to stack or remove the bed platform. For those looking to install a fixed bed, 36-40 inches from the floor is the ideal range. At 38 inches we can put bikes under without having to drop posts and there is room below the bed to hang other items such as a solar briefcase. If you plan to use aluminum tubing to span the full 66 inches,1.25 inch thickness cross braced square aluminum (1/8 thickness) should hold a weight range over 400 lbs. In photo: Bed in photo consists of 3 removable panels and can adjusted to full size or king size. Platform is 1/4 ply over 1.25 aluminum. Side rails are steel. Hope this helps others looking to do similar.
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Another way to save some height is to inset the panels within the structure. We glued up some hollow panels using 1/4 skin and plane'd internal structure. Super light and flush with the top of the structure. They sit on 1/8" thick brackets attached to our 15 series 8020. No noticeable flex. We've got a 5" memory foam mattress on top and have slept like rocks for 7 months.

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This is one in progress on a jig we made for glue-up, so the hollow actually has more volume than what this looks like.
 

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Another way to save some height is to inset the panels within the structure.
This seems like a brilliant idea, particularly for those of us with tall bikes. Would you mind providing a bit more detail? A cross section would really help. To match the 1.5” thickness of the 15-series 8020, is your stack up the following (top to bottom):
1/4” skin,
7/8” stringer or 7/8” air gap,
1/4” skin,
1/8” bracket?
Thanks!
 

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2016 Ford Transit 150 Medium Roof 148” Wheelbase
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This seems like a brilliant idea, particularly for those of us with tall bikes. Would you mind providing a bit more detail? A cross section would really help. To match the 1.5” thickness of the 15-series 8020, is your stack up the following (top to bottom):
1/4” skin,
7/8” stringer or 7/8” air gap,
1/4” skin,
1/8” bracket?
Thanks!
it really is such a good idea. that's basically what I was going to do with the ate ramps but now that I'm going with aluminum I hadn't figured out how to set the panelling in-i was also wondering about putting the brackets a bit higher and just laying in panels of 5/8" ply or something but maybe that's not as structurally sound
 

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This seems like a brilliant idea, particularly for those of us with tall bikes. Would you mind providing a bit more detail? A cross section would really help. To match the 1.5” thickness of the 15-series 8020, is your stack up the following (top to bottom):
1/4” skin,
7/8” stringer or 7/8” air gap,
1/4” skin,
1/8” bracket?
Thanks!
We skinned with Okoume, which is 6mm (not true 1/4"). We also have a layer of the 3M "super velcro" between the bed panels and the 1/8 inch brackets they rest on that we accounted for. This left us with:
6mm skin + 13/16 stringer + 6mm skin + 0.9" super velco + 1/8" bracket = 1.5"

We used a planer we had access to to dimension the stringers...a table saw would probably be fine with a good jig.

But yeah, you have the right idea. I'd just throw some calipers on whatever you end up with for your stackup and adjust the stringers to make it work out. Also, for glue up, if you can sandwich it between two very flat, very stiff surfaces, while it dries you'll get perfectly flat panels coming out. We inverted sandwiched between a heavy table and and inverted heavy table on the ones that came out best/perfect. No fasteners, just wood glue. Super light and stiff.

Structure with the top skin removed looks like this:

Table Rectangle Wood Wood stain Beige


We also cut the corners to clear our gussets.

Hope that helps, at some point soon I'll have it documented properly.

EDIT: Protip: dimension your stringer lengths to all be equal for athwart and fore-aft pieces to make your "cut-to-length" operation on a table saw super fast and repeatable.

EDIT2: A cross section:
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I inset the mattress so that most of the structure wouldn't end up as wasted space underneath. A floating bed was necessary to avoid the AP of deciding what else I need to build under it. I don't have a great photo of the bed. The mattress is pretty thick but a lot of it sits down into the frame. Repurposed Ikea slats and center support for max airflow.
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Ample bike clearance but will get tighter once there's a drawer:
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If I wanted a thin fixed bed platform I would reduce the span by building short walls just inside the rear wheel housings to reduce the platform unsupported span. The shorter the span the less thickness required. In my case the electrical is installed in front of and above the driver side wheel well under a bench seat. On the passenger side the freshwater tank is located in front of and above the wheel well under the bench seat.

I would make a composite panel with 1/4" plywood faces with a 1" polyiso core for a 1 1/2" thick panel. The polyiso insulation would be useful to reduce heat loss.

My bed platform consists of four 26" wide fold down panels that rest on top of a removable table. The panels use a 1" polyiso core with a top face of 1/4" plywood and a bottom face of indoor/outdoor carpet. Carpet looks good as a wall covering when panels are stored up against the van walls and prevent damage to the tabletop when in the down position. I can kneel on the panels without damaging them.

 
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