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Old 05-21-2010, 05:36 PM   #191
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Re: Hal The Van

Sofa-bed continued:

I left this off the last posting. After drilling the finger holes for the hatch covers I sanded down the rough edges of the hole.


I have finished upgrading the End Pieces and creating and installing the hatches and panels on the Platforms.


Put the sofa-bed pieces together again. New longer screws will be needed in some places.




Looks OK.




Giving it a test spin with Bob.


It was at this point while testing how to attach the lifter I damaged the 6 inch actuator. I covered this in a previous posting. Just look under "bonehead".


Did you ever have one of those project that you know you should do but keep trying to talk yourself out of. That describes my feelings about the Center Support at this point. I had been messing with this one piece of plywood a lot. Making little cuts here and there and drilling extra holes for the lift mechanism and the actuator base. After seeing how much I liked the doubled up End Pieces I knew the original Center Support's days were numbered.


Started with a couple pieces of plywood from the scrap pile bigger than the 30"x12" needed for the final size. Glue them together then clamp.


The new Center Support will be a different thickness so I'll have to make changes to both the Kick Board and the Middle Brace. Here I get a lucky break on the Kick Board. I had previously mentioned that I made a mistake because I glued the support block for the Center Support to the Kick Board. Well guess what. When I go to remove the support block, thought I was going to have and cut it off, I find it wasn't glued! So I hadn't made that mistake after all. That means I get one UNMISTAKE credit.


The Middle Brace was another story. It was glued and there was a couple of other issues so I just decide to make a all new one.


One change I made to the Middle Brace was at the end blocks. Before I had notched the blocks to fit over the pieces of metal angle on the End Pieces that support the Back Platform when in the bed position.
I changed it by notching the metal angle instead. This way the top of the metal angle rests on the top of the corner block. I think this will give a better fit.




While the glue on the new Center Support dries disassemble the sofa-bed and prime and paint the Platforms, hatches, Middle Brace and part of the Kick Board.




After the Center Support is ready, use the table saw to to bring it to it's 30"x12" final size.


Use the same bar and clamp method I used to make straight cuts with the circular saw but this time with the saber saw.


Notch the front of the board where it will fit over the Kick Board.




Then paint it too.

continued -
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:39 PM   #192
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Re: Hal The Van

"un-mistake" credit...


I like that...


but I call it LUCKY...
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Old 05-23-2010, 12:04 PM   #193
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
but I call it LUCKY.
No argument from me.

Today's Safety tip.
Don't wear shorts while working on the sofa-bed.
The exposed bolts can do a number on you before you've even noticed.

When it's all finished and installed they won't be a problem. But for now, lesson learned.

Slept on the sofa-bed last night in the garage for the first time. Not bad at all. Slept straight through the night.




I am going to make a couple changes. I had bought 3" thick foam padding. Nothing special. Just what they carried at the local Fabric & Foam store. I've read a lot of nice comments about Memory Foam toppers. So I bought one of those planning to add it to the foam on the sofa-bed. When you get the Memory Foam home it's wrapped up into a tight ball. The instructions are to roll it out then let it expand for 24 hours. The best place for that was on top of my regular bed.
Here's the problem. After it expanded and I got a chance to lay down on it I found it so comfortable I decided to add it to my regular bed. So now that I know how much I like sleeping on one I'm going to have to get another one for the sofa-bed.

One other change is the Top Brace you can see in the above pictures at the back of the sofa-bed. It was supposed to do three jobs. Provide support for the Back Platform when in the sofa position; help align the Back Platform as it moves into the sofa position and give rigidity to the top portion of the End Pieces.
Problem is the Top Brace overhangs the sleeping area when the sofa-bed is in the bed position. I think I'll be able to eliminate it from the final design. Now that I've beefed up the End Pieces they are already plenty rigid. The Back Platform is more solid since I added the two recessed panels. Just using corner blocks on the End Pieces should be enough to fully support the Back Platform. if I want more back support once the sofa-bed is installed I can just attach something to the van wall at the appropriate height.

I was never quite happy with the Top Brace design. Spending a night on the sofa-bed helped me come to a conclusion. I guess this is a literal example of the phase, "If you have a problem you should sleep on it".
More food for the bone pile.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:58 PM   #194
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Re: Hal The Van

Sofa-bed continued:

First up a picture of some of my latest toys, I mean tools, from Harbor Freight. REAL center punches to replace the big nail I've been using, which as you can see from the photo is starting to get bent from use/abuse.


On with the build. I've created a new Center Support and painted it white. Here it is laying on the original Center Support after first having removed all the slider hardware.


Arrange the slide hardware on the new support and drill and bolt everything in it's proper place.


One advantage of redoing the support is I can correct some earlier problems. One is the bracing I installed to stop the actuator from moving off center. In the first go around I wasn't too happy with the amount of the "L" bracket that was under the edge of the metal "Z" angle. I want to increase that so first I make a all new "L" bracket. You can see the old one to the left of the new one.

The hole for the locking pin in now lower on the new "L" bracket.

With the new "L" bracket I must realign the actuator.


Try to make it so it's a straight "draw".


The new alignment puts the mounting hole for the actuator base close to the edge of the wood.


To reinforce the mounting hole cut off two piece of aluminum flat stock.


Then drill a new hole to hold the reinforcements in place.


Next problem. When I go to mount the actuator I find the head from the bolt securing the reinforcements piece sticks up too high so I have to grind it down.




Bolt the actuator base into place.


In this picture you can just see that I've added lock washers to the bolts that secure the square tube to the metal angle.

On the old support I bolted two metal angles to form a "Z" shaped assembly which restricted the movement of the "L" bracket so to stop it from swing off center. I'm chucking that design and doing something different.


Use a piece of the U-channel I bought for the home-made slider and a piece of flat stock. The u-channel raises up the flat stock just enough so it fits just inside the edge of the "L" bracket. Due to the way the "L" bracket is constructed the lower side, in this picture, is longer that the top side. So this gives more surface area for the metal stock piece to contact if the actuator starts to go off center.


I'm happier with this design.


Use the angle grinder I bought for the paint work. Put on a metal cutting wheel and take off the excess threads from the bolts on the opposite side of the Center Support. I'm removing the threads so I can mount the Back Platform lifter closer to the middle of the sofa-bed. This will come later.


A quick note on the newspaper in this picture. Using either the grinder or the cutting wheel produces a gritty powder. I try and set the newspaper like a backstop to catch as much of this grit as I can.


A side note. When I bought my house it came with a stack of old yellowed papers. You not supposed to recycle yellowed paper so I've been using them up other ways over the years. The problem when using them is that they are such a interesting time capsule I sometimes get distracted from the job at hand.
Looks like stamps are going all the way up to 15 cents!


Hey! Isn't that Tom Selleck selling Salems?




That finishes work on the new Center Support.


continued -
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:53 PM   #195
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Re: Hal The Van

Campground, Campground? We don't need no Stinkin' campground!





View from the almost completed sofa-bed.

Monongahela National Forest.

I can understand why so many of you have vans with 4X4. I had to back off to the side of a narrow forest road to turn around. I got out and tested the ground first and it seemed OK. Well what seemed solid enough for my feet wasn't solid for a full sized van. While it's not a replacement for 4x4 the limited slip differential I had installed just paid for itself. In full. Without it I'd been stuck for sure. Live and learn.
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:15 PM   #196
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVvan
While it's not a replacement for 4x4 the limited slip differential I had installed just paid for itself.
I love me some LSD. 4 out of 5 of my vehicles have been 4x4... It's hard for me to go 2wd much less sans LSD. I think you made a very wise investment.
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:52 PM   #197
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Re: Hal The Van

While I do love biking, hiking and camping, this van isn't going to convert itself. Back to work.

Sofa-bed continued:
In my last posting I'd finished a rebuild of the Center Support.


I had to also make a new Middle Brace for the new support since the support's position will change.


The Middle Brace is 3" high so cut a "corner block" to match. Because of the hardware attached to the Center Support some modifications have to be made to fit the corner block.
First problem is the bolt on the side of the support.


Use the router to cut a notch in the corner block so the block will fit over the bolt.




The corner block will be permanently attached (screwed and glued) to the Middle Brace. So It can disassembled, bolts will be used to attach the block to the Center Support. Since the block is only 3" long I don't have much leeway in were I can place the bolts.


One bolt has to go through the top metal angle. Problem is the bolt head would interfere with the movement of the square tube.


So I'll have to cut a notch int he metal angle for the bolt head. Only way I know to do this is to partially disassemble the Center Support that I just got done building. Since I used the grinder to cut off the excess threads from the bolts I want to keep the bolts in orders.


Notch out the metal angle just enough for the bolt head to clear.


Test fit looks OK.


Second problem. The head of the second bolt will hit the locking pin.


That one's easier to fix. Use a wood bit to countersink the bolt head.


Now to find the new location for the Center Support. Put the previously built battery box in it's intended position. Use it to guide the Center Support's placement. Check that there's enough room to remove the acrylic top so to service the batteries.


Once the Center Support is lined up and level -




clamp the center block to the Middle Brace and screw into place.


Follow similar steps for re-positioning the Center Support to the front Kick Board.


Looking at the Kick Board this pic shows how far I've moved the Center Support to the left.


This change in position is because when I first laid out the design for the sofa-bed I had no idea how the drive mechanism would work. Now I do.

Bolt and clamp the bed platform into place and check alignments.


Change of subject.
Last weekend on the Appalachian Trail within the Great Smoky Mountains Nation Park.


View from Charlies Bunion.


I hear it doesn't start to get crowded until this week.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:18 PM   #198
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Re: Hal The Van

Sofa-bed continued:

With the Center Support bolted in it's new position, use clamps to attach the drive metal angle to the Bed Platform for alignment testing.


When both Bob and I are happy with the alignment -


drill new holes for the metal angle through the Bed Platform.


I found it pretty tight working under the sofa-bed so I tipped the whole thing on it's back. Even in this position I found it very sturdy.


After bolting the Bed Platform using the new holes I did some more testing. The drive mechanism worked fine most of the time but occasionally the Bed Platform would get at an angle and start jamming. This jamming has bedeviled me from the first. So I gave the problem some pondering. I'm going to try adding springs.

Stop by the local Ace Hardware and see what they have in stock.


Most of the springs in this display didn't work for me since there is 12" of travel on the platform and the springs won't expand that far.
Number 59 seems to be the best for my application. $2.24 each. Bought two.


Installing the springs was easy. Just used a bolt from the Middle Brace to anchor one end and a bolt for the Bed Platform for the other end.


The springs work like a charm. If the platform starts to move sideways it causes one spring to expand longer than the other. This causes a pulling force on that side of the Bed Platform in relation to the opposite side and it brings it back into alignment. Wished I'd thought of this in the beginning.


One set of springs proved to be enough. The bed hasn't jammed since I installed them. If it jams again I'll just double up on the springs. I feel confident I've finally got his one problem licked.

Put down my three inch thick foam pads.


Give it test. Not bad.


I next started working on the Top Brace. I spent a lot of time getting the placement just right.




Wanted to be sure that the Back Platform with foam in place would clear the brace when it raised into the sofa position. Drew lines on the End Pieces to mark out it's arc.


Once I had the Top Brace positioned just perfect I decide to do one more test before I bolted it onto place. Spend a night sleeping on the sofa-bed in the garage.


By the morning I realized I didn't like the Top Brace at all. Felt like it was intruding into my sleeping space. So I removed it and moved to plan "B".
Instead of a brace across the back of the sofa-bed I'll install end support blocks at each of the End Pieces.


The Back Platform is sturdy enough so that the two end blocks give it sufficient support. Problem is the blocks overhang the edge of the End Pieces so there isn't a lot of wood to bolt through. I'm going to add a reinforcing block to the end blocks.
First get the thickness of the End Pieces.


Use that measurement to set the table saw. Then trim down two corner blocks so they're the same thickness as the End Piece. Notice use of the "push stick". Don't get your fingers near a spinning table saw blade.


Figure out the proper alignment of the reinforcing block to the end block then glue and screw together.


There will be one set for each end.


After everything has set up check their alignment on the End Pieces.


Clamp them in position then screw and bolt them to the End Pieces.


Writing this up I realized I didn't have a finished picture of the support blocks so I just went outside and took a couple pictures in the van. The exposed threads from bolt end will be trimmed up when I'm done.




I've slept on the sofa-bed with these new block and they aren't intrusive at all like the Top Brace was.

continued -
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:26 AM   #199
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVvan
When both Bob and I are happy with the alignment -
Bob looks as tho he thinks he could have done it better.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:03 PM   #200
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
Bob looks as tho she thinks she could have done it better.
I get the impression that both of them think they could do a better job but since they're cats it would be just to un-cool for them to try.

Sofa-bed continued:

Since my previous tries at a mechanical lifter for the Back Platform didn't work out I'm moving to a second actuator. A design where the actuator was mounted directly below and parallel to the Seat Platform would have been nice but I was worried about the strain that would put on the hinges joining the two platforms. Especially in the first few degrees of lift. So with some help from Sgt. Wookie at the AllAboutCircuits forum I came up with this design.



The Metal Angle is used to join the Plywood Rectangle to the Seat Platform. The Plywood has the Metal Supports bolted to it. On the end of the Metal Supports the Actuator is mounted and allowed to pivot. Not shown in the drawing is the Back Platform which is hinged to the Seat Platform and raised and lowered by the Actuator.

First step is to cut out the Plywood Rectangle then drill holes through it and the Metal Angle. I'll use bolts to join the two.


I hadn't yet received my new center punch so was still using a nail to indent the angle.


If you take your time as you drill through the aluminum angle you can play the "See how long of a metal shaving I can make" game. Here's my entry at over 4 inches.


With the Metal Angle bolted to the Plywood rectangle start to construct the Metal Supports for the Actuator.


I had previously purchased a length of 1" wide by 3/16" thick steel stock to be used for the construction of the mechanical lifter. I'll use that for the Metal Support. I didn't have enough unused stock so I'll use reuse one of the lifter pieces. It's not as long as I'd like but I'm sure it will suffice.


The pivot hole on the base of the Actuator is 1/4" wide which is the same size as the hole already in the reused piece. Problem is the two holes don't line up so a little grinding needed.






Have to drill a hole in the other piece of stock for the pivot point. Will need both pieces of metal stock that will comprise the Metal Support to stay together so the pivot hole and the other holes I'll be drilling for the bolts all line up.


Clamp the two pieces together.


Then clamp them to the drill press -


and oh so carefully line up the drill bit with the previous hole.


Then start drilling all the holes I need. Moving the metal stock as needed.




When I'm drilling through steel I use 3-in-1 oil as a cutting oil. You can buy true cutting oils but this works for me. The purpose of cutting oil is to reduce the heat on the bit and help remove debris from the cutting edge.


It does make things a bit messier but you can actually feel the difference the oil makes via the capstan wheel. The capstan wheel is the three spoked handle on the side of the drill press that you rotate to raise or lower the drill bit. When I lower the drill bit onto the metal stock it first feels like it's "skating" but after adding the oil the bit seems to "bite" more. It's almost counterintuitive since oil is a lubricate but hey, it works.


After drill all the holes I cut and filed these grooves in the pivot end of the Metal Supports. The grooves function is to allow the actuator end to pivot.


Figure out where to place the one of the Metal Supports on the plywood then clamp into place. Next drill holes through the wood.


WARNING: THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION!

As I was drilling through the wood the drill bit caught on the edge of the metal stock and without warning snapped right off.


As you can see from this photo the edge of the broken bit is wickedly sharp. Imagine a piece of that flying into your eye. And yes it can happen. I've seen the after effects in person.


Without further incident, and a new drill bit, finish with the holes through the wood. Then bolt the Metal Support pieces to both sides of the Plywood.


Since the base of the Actuator at the pivot point is wider than the thickness of the Plywood I used a couple of washers to spread apart the Metal Supports at the pivot end.


Attach the Actuator with a locking pin (I've recently found out they are also called "detent pins") and check that it is able to freely pivot.


I could lie and write that I got it right the first time but no. There was much fitting and filing before I got it how I wanted it.


This is all the movement that I needed.




All done.

Poor Tiger. Supervising me from the top of the basement stairs is such hard work, NOT.


continued -
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