I saw this little camper floating around and thought it was not only odd, but pretty neat too! I liked that the ball was on the roof, which gave the car a lot more maneuverability. The camper was from 1974 and was designed for small cars to take on a quick trip with the family.
I just got back from my trip to Portland where I nailed down some of the details for the Tiny House Conference for April 2015. We will be having the next conference in the city of Portland itself. The city is a great place and I think you’ll like it too when you come to the conference.
Before my flight out I had to move out of my apartment, but I’m still making some sawdust in my tiny house while I finished the walls and install the floor. I also needed to treat the walls with Tung Oil and then I can at least move into my house. I’ll finish the kitchen, but most of the cutting will need to be done outside the house.
Since I wasn’t quite ready to move into my tiny house yet I started to think about my next project and what I might want to do. It lead me to getting an enclosed trailer which I was able to load my personal belongings into and would later serve as the start of my next project. The trailer is a 7×12 foot dual axle trailer, which can hold 5,500 lbs of weight. A convenient thing is I can drive my smart car into it, so when I later decide to go on long trips abroad or need to move I can park my smart in it to be safe while I’m away.
I drive a Smart Car which can’t tow my house or my trailer, but the truck cost me $65 a day in the city and with my Smart covering 99% of my needs and being only $13,000 I am glad I didn’t buy a truck now, especially after seeing how it guzzled gas. One thing to note is that I had to rent a truck, but most car rental places don’t allow you to tow with rental cars. I found a local company that allows you to tow, but if you’re looking in your area try calling the commercial arm of some of the rental companies.
So when I got back to Charlotte I have a house that needs to be finished, its now very hot and humid here and I’ll need to figure out a gym membership so I have a place to shower and then I’m going to have a water service come out for a while until the water gets hooked up. For the time being I’m going to have to use my generator while I figure out solar, read all about my woes with the city.
Tomorrow I’m meeting with a guy to go over laying down some gravel and clearing a spot for my tiny house.
Picking up my trailer was a very surreal moment for me. I think when I saw the trailer for the first time it finally hit me that I was committing to this project. It was a weird mix of emotions… excitement mixed with a touch of oh s%!$ I have to build a whole house! Even though I have been inside a Tumbleweed Fencl before, when I saw the trailer it seemed small. The interesting thing is now that I am building on it, it’s size seems to get bigger feeling. Even though it seemed small for a house, it was huge on the road! I had to go down this little side road to get home; at one point I looked in my side mirrors and my right tire was on the pavement’s edge and the left side was a foot into the other lane!
So now the nitty gritty details for those who want them.
The trailer is a 18′ utility trailer, its a 8,000 GWVR made by Kaufman trailers. Between the fenders it is 82.5 inches which is really important for to make sure your house is as wide as possible. Basically if you have you maximum trailer width, minus the tires, clearance from the axle/wheel wells you get about 82″. The decking is treated lumber and I opted to get a heavier duty trailer so I could just leave all the decking on instead of fooling with removing some of it like many houses do. This also means that I have a (almost) solid chunk of wood underneath my insulation which adds to the R value of my house. According to a web search this will add about R-3 to my already R-13, add the almost inch of flooring and then a 1/2 finished flooring we are looking a total of R 18.8 for the floor.
I took my trailer to a welder to add the tie downs and remove a bunch of parts. I had him cut off the rear light arms that you can see in the above photo, also the spare tire bracket and one part of the front “I” beam to make it flush with the front of the trailer. The tie downs are 4 bolts in the front, 6 threaded rods on the sides and two plates on the back. Check out the video below for more.
Here (below) is the front “I” beam that the top right arm of the “I” was cut off, you can see them cutting it off in the above photo.
In the above photo notice that I made the tie downs go in line with the cross members of the trailer. I will have to tweak the wall framing to accommodate, but it is much strong at this point.
Since the house extends about 6″ off the back of the trailer I needed more tie down spots and support. Above and below are photos of the rear tie down plates. I left them without holes because I wanted to be sure to place the hole exactly where I needed it to tie into the framing once it is built. Because of this I made the plates out of 6″ C channel and then had gussets welded onto them. These plates ended up being slightly too long, but I will just sheath this section of the house twice: the first layer will extend the surface beyond the plate’s edge and the second will hand down to attach the siding and hide the trailer from sight.
Some times it is really useful to look at campers and boats for great ideas, in both their cases they need to deal with efficient use of space because of limited availability. So today we have an interesting trailer that for some might be interesting in its own right, for others it will be useful for design ideas. For me the awesome fold down faucet was a pretty neat thing I hadn’t seen before. Below is also a video.
This concept has been floating around for a long time and to be honest, like most concepts, I thought I’d never see it actually made. But I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this video of the Sydney Opera Trailer.