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Old 01-21-2012, 10:42 PM   #431
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Re: Hal The Van

Side Window Framing continued:

Next job is to cover the panel with the blue velour fabric I bought from Sportsmobile. This one will be more difficult from the other panels because of the window opening. I sacrificed a section of fabric working out how to do the opening.


Probably the best way to do this would involve a sewing machine and some skills I don't have. Instead I did it this way. Cover each of the inside corners with cloth and glue down.


To get the cloth to lie flat on the inside corner there has to be several radial cuts.


Glue down the fabric making sure there are no wrinkles.


Cut around the window opening leaving 2" - 3" of border. Make three cuts at each corner. Don't cut too far in.


Glue and tape the straight sections of the window opening. Use the tape to pull the cloth so there are no wrinkles.


Carefully glue and tape each of the inside corner wedges. Don't get any contact cement on the visible parts. Again use the tape to pull cloth tight.


Wait a day for the contact cement to dry then remove all tape. Everything was secure. I'm not 100% happy with this method but it does work. The cuts in the corners blend in with the previously attached cloth to where you don't see them unless you look for them. I might revisit this at some time but will live with it for now.


continued-
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:42 PM   #432
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Re: Hal The Van

Side Window Framing continued:

Looking ahead a bit, I've used cut out panels of Reflectix as window shades before want to try something different. To attach my new style shades to this window I'm going to use magnets embedded in the panel. For this to work very strong magnets are needed. I happen to have a source close at hand.

If you're like me, and I'm sure you are, there are a bunch of old computer hard drives just laying around.


If you disassemble those drives, among the various parts you'll find metal platters and very strong rare earth magnets.


Each drive will have a pair of magnets mounted within brackets like these. Size and shape will depend upon the drive model and manufacturer.


Carefully pry the magnets from the brackets. Here is an example of how strong they are.
The only thing holding them in place on each side of my fingers is magnetic attraction.


Don't let your fingers get in the way if a pair start to snap together. It will hurt.
Take four of the magnets. One for each corner. If the magnets in this picture weren't attached to the metal table they would flying towards each other.


On the back of the panel cut away a small square of foam insulation to expose the back of the fiberboard. Glue the magnet to the fiberboard then plug the hole with the trimmed down piece of foam that was removed.


That's the end of the prep work for the window panel. Screw it into place in the van.


To cover up the screw heads I ordered some sample colored caps from a company called Pro-Dec Products.


Color #146 seems to be the closest.


Here's how it looks with the colored caps installed.


That finishes the work on the window panel. I still have to re-epoxy the anchor square tube when warm weather arrives. Like I wrote before I'm not 100% happy with the panel and may redo it sometime. It will do for now.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:04 PM   #433
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Re: Hal The Van

very cool idea with the magnets...i have a bunch myself...i was going to use the platters for a lamp idea i saw but the magnets are useful too.

word to the wise though, be careful when working with them. especially around sensitive electronics.

also, if they snap or break they tend to "shear" like shale. incredibly sharp.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:04 AM   #434
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Re: Hal The Van

Hard drive magnets, genius. I love it.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:45 PM   #435
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Re: Hal The Van

House battery frame and venting.

Not yet finished this next project but am far enough along to where I'm going to start posting about it. Hit a real slow patch which I'll go into in more detail when the postings get to it.

For the house batteries using four Energizer GC2 6 volt golf cart batteries bought at Sam's Club for around $71 each. These are the lead-acid flooded cell type. Need to create a way to secure the house batteries inside the van along with a way to vent the hydrogen gas lead-acid batteries emit while charging. Had previously built a wooden box for the batteries along with a Plexiglass vent lid back in February of 2010. Here's a link to the older project.

Considering that I've taken up welding since then, thought about revisiting this design and making the battery holder from metal. In the original battery box the four cells where in a single row with long sides adjacent.


After some reflection decide to reconfigure the battery layout into two rows instead of one. Like this.


Welded the framework from a combination of 3/4" and 1" angle iron.


The batteries will be lowered into the frame. It's not a tight fit in case the batteries expand with age. The frame will bolted to the van floor so there is no bottom. To help hold the batteries in place welded a couple of inverted bolts to the top of the frame.

A better design would have been to drill holes into the angle iron and weld nuts underneath. Didn't feel the 3/4" angle iron I was using was wide enough to allow a hole for the bolt without weakening it. If I'd used 1" instead it would have worked. Too late to increase the size without cutting on the already finished frame. Live and learn.

Welded a washer onto each outer short edge near the bottom. This will be used for the vent lid bungee cords.


Prime and paint.


Next up is to find the exact location where I'll be installing it on the floor. It's position relative to the sofa-bed is crucial. The gas tank filler hose hump placement also came into play.


I have a layer of rigid foam beneath the wooden floor for insulation. I didn't want the batteries on top of this layer so I decided to cut a hole in the wooden floor and foam layer for the batteries and the frame. This way they will sit directly on the rubber mat layer.




Also removed a bit of flooring between the battery frame and the van wall.


Good fit.


As usual I was under direct supervision while working.


continued:
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:15 PM   #436
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Re: Hal The Van

House battery frame and venting, Post 2

With the battery frame in place on the van floor I figured out the best places to locate four bolts that will hold it in place. This required locating the frame's exact position while under the van to be sure the drilled holes won't conflict with something else.

Once I was sure of everything drill the holes in the frame. Use pilot holes then work up to full sized ones.


I'm using four bolts to be sure the frame stays put. In a sudden stop all that battery mass is going to want to keep moving.


A few things had to be done before the frame could be bolted into place. First the extra fuel tank for the heater had to be dropped part way down.


This was for safety reasons since I'd be drill through the floor right above the tank and also accessing the bolt hardware will be easier with it partially lowered. Just had to loosen everything up and drop one end of the tank. The fuel line wasn't disconnected.


One end of the underfloor conduit had to be moved a few inches to clear the battery frame..


By now I'm getting pretty good at making and patching holes in the van floor. Notice the small hole just to the left of the new conduit location.


This is one of those loose ends I'd planned to get back around to sometime. Now's the time. The hole is for the wire that runs to the fuel tank sending unit. It's hard to see in the picture but I've added a rubber grommet to the the hole. The grommet protects the wires from the sharp edges. The hole is sized to match the grommet.


Found that trying to bolt the frame through the van floor wasn't one of those job I could do by myself.


Hey Bob. You'll give me some help right?
Bob.... Bob, where are you going? Darn cat!


Luckily my neighbor came over and lent a hand.


With the four bolts in place this thing is rock solid.


Since I was already messing around under the van might as well tackle a couple other projects. Drill (another) hole in the van floor then use a wire wheel to remove the paint from around the hole.


Add a copper bolt, nut and washer. I removed the paint to get good conductivity to the van body. I'll be using this bolt like a grounding rod for the electrical system.


Another loose end. When I installed the protective shield below the extra fuel tank I used these industrial strength cable ties. Now seemed like a good time to upgrade to something more permanent.


Cut out two strips from a sheet of 16 gauge steel.


Use a hammer and a vise to put a nice 90 degree bend in the ends of the strips.


Hand bend the strip into a somewhat round band just by eyeballing it.


Check how the bands fit around the tank and shield.


Drill holes in the band ends then bolt them up.


Looks good.


Prime and paint the metal bands. What the heck, I'm in a painting mood. Brighten up the shield while I'm at it.


continued
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:21 PM   #437
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Re: Hal The Van

House battery frame and venting, Post 3

In the last post I showed a copper bolt attached to the van floor that was going to be used as a grounding point. A couple of people pointed out that the bolt should also be grounded to the frame. That made sense so in the last couple of days took care of it. And surprise, surprise. I have pictures!

Ordered a two foot length of 1 inch wide flexible grounding strap from McMaster-Carr. It's $4.80 per foot. Listed as comparable to 1 AWG. It's probably overkill but at that price, why not.


Once more unto the breach, dear friends. It's back under the van I go.
You can see the copper bolt on the left. I want the grounding strap to run from it to...


...the frame beam here on the right. The bolt end won't be a problem but the frame end will. One problem is the emergency brake cables. Nothing I add should interfere with them.


Another problem is that the gas tank is right up close to the other side of the frame beam.


And on the inside of the beam are vent lines that run to the emissions canister. Between the vent lines and the gas tank It's impossible to get my hand up behind the frame beam to do any work.

Need an anchor point for the frame end of the grounding strap. With the gas tank and vent line in the way, drilling a new hole is out of the question. Have to make use of one of the holes already in place.

This picture is looking straight up from under the van. The best candidate seems to be the slot you can see to the right of the painted over bolt.


By the way, thought of using the painted over bolt but once I got to working on it found it so rusted it would probably shear off before coming loose. Then I'd have a new problem so let it be.

The slot is just big enough, and I do mean just, to get a small length of angle iron through. Use the angle iron as backing for a nut. Slide it through the slot then rotate 90 degrees. This will hold the nut in place. That solves the problem of not being able to get my hand back there. Cut and drill the angle iron then weld on a nut for a 3/8" bolt.


Prep the ends of the grounding strap. Cut out a strip from a piece of .0162" thick copper sheet I had on hand.


Wrap the copper around the strap then crimp the end.


Fold over the crimp.


Apply flux to the end of the strap where it enters the copper end. Use a propane torch and solder to seal where the two meet.


Drill a hole for the bolt and do a test fit under the van before trimming the strap length. Then do the other end.


Want to make sure there is good electrical contract to the frame so need to do some work around the slot. No room to get my usual favorite metal cleaning tool, angle grinder with wire wheel, up in there so used a flat bastard file instead. And yes, it's really called that.


Took some upside down elbow grease but I got all the old undercoating and rustproofing from around the part of the slot that the strap will contact.


Next used sandpaper to get a clean surface. After that it was as simple as bolting each end in place.




OK, that last line was a lie. When maneuvering the angle iron with the welded on nut into place it fell in between the beam and the vent lines. Much cursing ensued. Luckily one of my tools is a magnet mounted on the end of a goose-neck style rod. Even with that it took at least 15 minutes to fish it out.

continued
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:49 PM   #438
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Re: Hal The Van

Screwed down the wooden floor today. This is a BFD since up to now I was always pulling the wooden flooring up to do some work or change my layout. With the floor screwed into place I'm now officially locked into a specific design. Tomorrow I start on the vinyl flooring.
I partially re-did the opening into the basement before I finished. With the new opening I found I was able to get completely into the basement. I'm six feet tall so it was tight fit. That's not why I changed the opening. Just wanted to see if I could fit.

Anyway, the real reason for the post today is because with the floor done I'm looking ahead and need some advice. My current plan is to fab up a six gallon gray water holding tank that will go under the van. The only thing that drains into it will be the kitchen sink.
How would you vent this? I was thinking of a simple curved ridged overflow hose (metal or plastic) at the top of the tank to allow air to escape when water is draining into the tank and air in when the tank drain is opened.
Is there much of a smell issue with a gray water tanks?
Thanks
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:50 AM   #439
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Re: Hal The Van

You can just tee the vent off the sink drain pipe. That pipe is never 100% full unles the tank is backing up. Route it up and out the side of the van. If you make the vent about 2-3" above the bottom of the sink, you will see the sink back up before it runs down the side of your van. Then you know you HAVE TO drain the tank. The vent must be below the rim of the sink to prevent disasters.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:59 AM   #440
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Re: Hal The Van

i was giving the hepvo trap consideration but its pricey. i found a cheaper alternative but for the life of me i cannot find the link nor do i recall the name...searching for it via google this morning has not been fruitful....

i am at the same point in my build...construct the galley and water system



edit: this might have been it http://www.amazon.com/Camco-37420-Flexi ... 600&sr=1-1
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