2 Nov 2007
Gavin and Tracy (of hobohome.com
fame) arrive today. Their bus has a Mini Moke stored in the back,
it's a tight fit but the system works well.
The bus disgorges a moke.
The bus used to belong to other friends of ours
Mark and Gail (motorhominglifestyle.com)
and they engineered the emerging moke several years ago.
With their light weight, lowerable suspension
and convertible roof Mokes are ideal for this application. They're
getting hard to find though.
Sat 3 Nov
I'm working on infilling the frame, which is to say adding all the
short pieces of steel needed to support partitions, shelves, appliances
etc. It's very fiddly work that consumes masses of steel and before
long the truck has eaten about five lengths of 20x20 RHS. It's difficult
to see where it's all gone though.
Gavin helps by cutting the lengths so I just have
to measure and weld.
At night we sit around and talk motorhoming, photography,
and electronics, my favourite subjects, although I haven't done
much with electronics for several years.
Sun 4 Nov
I start on the
bedroom hatch doors today. Like everything on this truck it needs
a fancy hinge so there's quite some time involved proving that not
only the main shutter works, but also the parallel hinges that are
for the fly screens.
The blue parts are folded flat bar
that connects the body and the hatch to the continuous hinge.
The pivot point of the hinge has to be high so
the hatch folds over the adjacent solar panels (yet to be installed),
and the weird shape of the folded flat bar allows the roof sheet
(in green) to protrude lower than the hatch to help with waterproofing
(a timber surround to be added later will complete the overhang).
Mon 5 Nov
The bedroom hatch is mostly finished.
The bedroom hatch nears completion.
Having done that I return to adding fiddly bits
for cupboards etc. BOORING, and not worth photographing or talking
Thu 8 Nov
I confess to hitting a bit of a wall lately. Basically I'm getting
sick of having to figure out how to make things work and sick of
being showered in red-hot welding spatter.
Fortunately I'm within days of finishing the main
fabrication part of the project. Hopefully moving to the cladding
and fit out will help.
This "wall" probably explains why the
postings here have been a little less frequent of late, although
the other reason is that my interest in electronics has been rekindled
lately. It's been over ten years since I did any work with embedded
microprocessors and I've been spending time at night researching
what's going on in that world.
There's some pretty interesting stuff around these
days and I can feel some gadgets for the truck coming on, a speedo
would be nice (the current one is broken), some fridge temperature
and duty cycle monitors would be a plus, maybe a trip meter, battery
monitor, gas alarm...
Fri 9 Nov
One of the main jobs
lately has been the the motorbike box, but let me go back a few months.
Originally the idea was to just have the motorbike
stored at the rear of the lounge room and lower it from the ceiling
with a winch. However we decided that this would look too messy,
and instead we would store the bike in a box and lower the box with
So now we're starting to build the mechanism to
lower the box.
I need some runners to guide the box as it lowers,
mostly because the truck may not be level at the time. So I came
up with this design.
The runner will consist of a length of 50x50 angle
mounted to each side of the box and some bearings mounted to the
Two cross sections through the bearing
blocks and angle that form the runners. The top one shows the bearings,
and the bottom one the mounting bolt that allows for adjustment.
Adjustment is required because the two tracks (the ^ shape) must
be exactly parallel.
With the bearings at 45° I only need eight
as each effectively works in two directions.
Two close ups of the bearing assembly,
made from a piece of angle with a section removed and flat bar welded
After making four bearing assemblies I weld them
in pairs to some angle (to ensure they're aligned) then mount them
to the body.
Two of the mounted bearing assemblies.
This pair and the two on the other side of the body must be exactly
parallel, hence the adjustment bolts at top and bottom.
Sat 10 Nov
I start this morning by making the base for the motorbike box.
After some time though we think about what we're
doing and decide to scrap the whole idea and return to the original
So now we will lower the bike through the floor
of the lounge room. This is a massive saving in complexity and weight,
at the expense of being slightly less automated.
Wed 14 Nov
I built the bicycle storage today. We've had Mongoose folding mountain
bikes for several years but hardly ever used them and we were not
going to include them in the new design.
However we changed our minds a couple of weeks
ago and now have to find somewhere to put them.
The decision is to store them in the ceiling above
the deck. This will reduce the headroom considerably in this area
but our reasoning is that the deck area is mostly for sitting in
deck chairs and therefore headroom isn't an absolute necessity.
Of course this area is also an extension to the lounge room and
extra headroom would be nice when it's being used as such.
Bad luck, when you're trying to pack a lot of
stuff into a small motorhome you have to make compromises.
Thu 15 Nov
Having largely finished
the push bike storage it's time to think about the motor bike.
As mentioned before this will be raised into the
lounge room /deck through a trapdoor and I plan to use one of the
Superwinches we have. But when I try the winch it doesn't work.
Plan B is to use the hoist that we used in Wothahellizat
1. I've been wary of using it this time because I cannot find the
manufacturer or indeed any information about it, and I get paranoid
about using anything that has no support for parts etc.
The Uni Hosen hoist, made in China.
It's an increasing problem these days, a local
company imports 1000 widgets from China at a good price and sells
them off. Then they either drop them like a hot potato or the manufacturer
moves on to making something else. Either way you're orphaned.
To be fair this hoist has been reliable and as
it's rated at 400kg, only lifting 100kg, and used infrequently so
I'm confidant that it will be OK.
As a backup though I'll make sure that we can
use our block and tackle.
Anyway there are advantages to using this hoist,
firstly it's just that, a hoist not a winch, which means that it's
designed (and rated) for lifting dead weights. The Superwinches
work OK but they are not designed for lifting, just pulling. Secondly,
the hoist is 240v which means that I don't have to add a 12v battery
near the device.
The reason a 12v winch would need a local battery
is that it pulls 20-30 amps when in use and our system is mainly
24 volts with provision for only about 10 amps on the 12-volt circuit.
After some ado I can lift the motorbike into it's
The motorbike in place, Hugo's Unimog
in the background.
Fri 16 Nov
We've pretty much got the motor bike loading and securing sorted.
Now there's just a few things to work on (like adding mounts for
draw runners) and then we can undercoat the internal steel.
Sun 18 Nov
Most of the infill is done,
by "infill" I mean the myriad of steel pieces that are needed
to mount stuff.
I haven't posted any photos because it's not that
interesting and also really difficult to photograph. But here's
The skeleton of the utilities area,
pretty straightforward eh?
And here's a shot that's a little
easier to understand.
As you may realise it's all been painted which
was today's job, at least until I run out of paint at which time
we switch to cutting the the partitions and shelves from sheet steel.
Wed 21 Nov
I had a small computer scare today, things started acting
up until the machine rebooted itself, or at least tried to. It wouldn't
restart so after several attempts we decided to do what we usually
do in these situations, nothing. Often computers fix themselves
if let be for a while.
Meanwhile I'm wondering how long it's been since
I backed up (nearly a month) and how much work I've done in that
time. A lot as it happens, not to mention the last eight months
worth of truck construction photos that have never been burnt to
DVD and only exist on my hard disk.
Sure enough, half an hour later it starts just
fine, and its first task is to run a belated backup. When it comes
to backups I'm probably better than most people, but only because
most people never backup their important stuff.
My next job is to dust off my external hard drive
and mirror my working directory to it, a task that I'm supposed
to perform every night.
That was the best kind of scare, one that causes
no harm but that makes you get your act together.
Thu 22 Nov
It seems that I've
done nothing but sheet for the last couple of days, no no I said sheet,
I've been making the interior partitions.
One reason it's taken so long is that there has
been a lot of folding, cutting and thinking to do as I try to partition
the gas and water sections both from each other and from the rest
of the house.
This partitioning of gas and water is supposed
to contain and vent any leaks. Obviously it's important to allow
gas to escape, but It's also a good idea to give water somewhere
to go if a pipe bursts.
With the way the utilities area is designed any
stray water should find its way to the sump in the shower area.
Another complication is to provide an escape path
for hot air created by the hot water system.
All in all it's been something of a challenge,
but I think it's all done now.
A couple of views showing the new
partitions with a light coat of etching primer.
So far we've manage to do all of the partitioning
using off cuts of the .75mm steel we used for the roof and floors.
As you can see I construct most of the cupboards
and storage compartments from steel, they are an integral part of
the frame. This is probably harder to do than the "normal"
technique of building a box then fitting it out. However it makes
the frame very strong, and anyway, despite starting my working life
as a carpenter I'd rather work with steel than wood.
We used this method in Wothahellizat 1 and it
worked well, so if it ain't broke...