Betty loves going to the lake but isn’t interested in swimming. This was after she fell off the dock trying to get the fish. Unfortunately I didn’t have the camera on for that.
I used Google Sketchup to design the shape and layout all the features. The steel trailer frame started out as a pre-built 5′ X 8′ trailer with no floor from Northern Tool. I added some 2 inch square tube to strengthen the frame and tongue of the stock trailer. The floor is framed out of 2X4 then coated in a creosote sealant. Everything attaches to the floor and can be completely removed from the frame if needed. It ended up weighing around 800 pounds when done. The walls are a one inch thick plywood sandwich made from a 1/2″ thick CDX sheet for the center core, and a 1/4″ thick ACX sheet on both sides. Since the overall length is over 8 feet, the plywood had to be stretched using a router and some 3/16″ plywood in the slot to put two pieces together. Foam sheathing is stuffed in the cutouts of the center sheet. The three parts are glued together with Tiebond II. The roof is .05″ thick 5′X10′ sheet aluminum. I laid the aluminum over the top of the cross ribs and screwed it down on the edges using trim from the local RV dealer. I used two layers of Styrofoam sheathing between the outer roof and inner ceiling for sound and thermal insulation. Total thickness is 1.75 inches. The doors are pre-made doors specifically for teardrops that I bought from Little Guy Teardrops.
I wanted all of the electrical to consume as little as needed so it doesn’t have to be plugged in everywhere we camp. So I converted the lights inside to use LEDs that draw 0.2 amps. The bulbs that came in the light fixtures drew 1.3 amps at 12 volts. It does have one standard 120 volt outlet in the galley and two inside the cabin. I added them mostly to recharge the battery but it might be useful for watching movies on the laptop or powering a toaster oven. I found the radio at the thrift store for $6. It has outputs for two speakers instead of the usual four and receives AM, FM, weather band, and it has a line-in for any other source. I used a set of 4 inch Infinity speakers. The roof vent is also a powered three speed fan capable of pulling air in or out. I’m adding solar panels to make it a true off grid, backwoods camper.
For sleeping comfort it has two different types of foam mattress toppers as padding. The bottom layer is a denser foam and the top is an egg carton type memory foam. Its only a couple inches narrower and about 6 inches longer than a queen size mattress. The upholstered headboard doubles as a couch. Upholstery work was done by my girlfriend Amanda. Perfect for us and the two dogs.
We were able to get out and use it twice before it got cold outside. There are a few things like the cabinet doors and some trim work that are not finished in the pictures. Ill post more pictures after I finish the loose ends and get some more use out of it.
If you’re interested in building one, check out this forum http://www.tnttt.com/
A video from my old Nikon L4 mounted on the front of my kayak. This was taken while kayaking the mainland sea caves of the Mawikwe Bay, Lake Superior.
The video is from a keychain camera stuck to the front of my Dynam Hawk Sky RC plane.
My 5th ever RC flight.
The landing wasn’t perfect but it survived without a scratch.
My Yamaha XS650 after some work.
A couple years ago I bought a beat up Yamaha XS650 from a scrap collector on craigslist. The bike looked like it was a hacked up project someone else gave up on. I bought it as a not running bike with no title. The first step was to get a title. No point in putting money into it if the state wont let you call it yours. I went to the Minnesota DMV in Roseville and the guy said “Nope we cant get a title for it”. So I went to a different DMV in Circle Pines. They said all I need to do is fill out a “statement of facts” and the title application. I Did all that then started ripping it apart while I waited for the state to say anything about the title. About a month later I got the title in the mail. That was easier than I thought it would be.
I built the whole bike with basic hand tools, a mig welder and a cheap paint sprayer. The engine ran ok after going through the carbs but it leaked oil out of the side of the head and the cam chain was loose enough to make noise. I rode it like that for a season and took it apart the next spring. I was surprised how little wear was on the engine. I have no idea what kind of mileage was on it because it didn’t come with the gauges. Very low low from the looks of the internals and brake disks. I cleaned all the carbon off the pistons and the head. Honed the cylinders, new cam chain, new rings, new gaskets, and some new all brass head bolt washers instead of the rubber ones from the factory. The rubber ones are the cause of the oil leaks all XS650s have, had, or will have. Now it runs like new and rides like an old classic.
Heres some build photos.