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Old 08-14-2013, 08:54 PM   #1
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Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

I am purchasing a SMB (next week) with a penthouse roof, but it does not have the platform/bed for the penthouse. SMB charges $466, which seems a bit high. I'm looking for ideas on building one myself, or feedback that would indicate it's worth the asking price. Thanks for your help or insight.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:53 PM   #2
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

3/4" marine grade ply (lots of layers makes it less flexy) or similar, foam layers to suit your needs, and then upholster. Super cheap? Just put the plywood up with a camp pad.

I'd suggest pricing out the materials and see what the difference is, and then you can determine whether it is worth it to get the SMB factory one. I'd guess that the materials end up adding up to more than you'd think.

If you DIY it, remember to run the plywood spanning the strong way.
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:33 AM   #3
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

just for feedback,

It would cost me more to build one than buy one at that price. That is assuming I want it to look good. Just the cost of the plywood and Foam would probably run $200 then labor cost on top of that.

Just to give the other point of view.

Of all the things they charge for, I think this is one of the more reasonable items.

Of course I am biased, as I recently bought one for my prior SMB.

Good luck if you build one, and be sure to post pics.
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Old 08-15-2013, 06:46 AM   #4
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by copescobra
just for feedback,

It would cost me more to build one than buy one at that price. That is assuming I want it to look good. Just the cost of the plywood and Foam would probably run $200 then labor cost on top of that.

Just to give the other point of view.

Of all the things they charge for, I think this is one of the more reasonable items.

Of course I am biased, as I recently bought one for my prior SMB.

Good luck if you build one, and be sure to post pics.
I pretty much agree. Finding the wood is not a problem. I think birch ply would work as well if they make it in 3/4 and you can get it at Lowe's. 3" (at least) foam is your basic camper bed foam, remember I said basic, it's not quite like a home mattress but it's what is generally used for camper couch beds/bunks etc. Google an upholstery shop in your town and see if they have it. We have a place called Fabric and upholstery Superstore or something like that that has all kinds of foam cut to order while you wait. 3" is pretty cheap, maybe 20-30$ for a bed. The upholstery will be the big cost. Finding a material to match your van and having someone sew some zip covers used to be simple, but I find these people getting hard to find. Any upholstery shop can do it, but their prices are often crazy and I've never been given a time frame of less than a month to get to any small job. I think I'm in the wrong business here, I'm pretty sure I could put most every upholstery shop in my town out of business by simply working now and then. One place that had good reviews closes 2 hours for lunch everyday and works 4 days a week!

Good luck and keep us posted, you might get a lot of satisfaction out of building it yourself if you decide to go that route.

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Old 08-15-2013, 08:14 AM   #5
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

The one we made:



Prior to putting carpet on the top and ends and painting underside white.









Plywood: $44 Home Depot
Carpeting: $30 plus cement
Thermorest pads: ~$100 each .... any thick basecamp type

Design: reinforced head end with 3" strip of plywood. reinforced foot climb down end with 4" strip of plywood. Put pine rounded ends at both ends --- have had to many head wounds in vans over the years. Put strip of plywood on sides to set on rail for extra support. This design buys extra 3/4" of head room under bed when it is setting on the rails.

Thermorests are multi-purpose. Can also use tenting.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:55 AM   #6
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

Threw my original SMB one in the dumpster. Invented/made a new one from 4 stackable aluminum pieces.

Raw material cost just for the aluminum was more than your new-from-SMB cost. My "system" doesn't hang from the ceiling and and is only padded by carpet... soooo, I'm thinkin' SMB's price is reasonable if you want to go back w/ OEM style.
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Old 08-15-2013, 01:20 PM   #7
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

LenS, the photos are very helpful. Did you have to install the footman loops in the ceiling...or were they installed by SMB? Did you buy the "hanging" hardware from SMB? I don't know if my van has the loops...I'll need to call the owner and ask.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:02 PM   #8
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

Installed the hanging stuff myself. SMB did not install because I did not order bed. Made the hangers adjustable but have never adjusted them, could have had wife sew the straps in loops and not buy plastic clips. Just had to make sure screws went into roof plywood strips. All hanging hardware came from local ACO.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:06 PM   #9
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

Rug burns????
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:47 PM   #10
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Re: Is there a DIY Penthouse bed?

Because SMB Bed was to short for me i built up my own.
I built a skeleton with 2x6mm mulilayer wood for the outside (complete surface) and with 12mm multilayer a skeleton inside. So it is not so heavy than a full material and very stiff.
Than i bought a mattrass at a local foam material shop. They also made a multilayer foam form me. 40mm foam with a solid of 35/55 (no idea if your messurement of it is same) and a 40mm viscoelastic foam (memory effect)
so complete a 80mm (3,2") mattress.
Now my girlfried and me sleep in the car better than in the house...


Total cost wood, polyurethane adhesive plus color about 250 USD, mattress 200 USD. And a lot of work
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