I have a 6'x10' trailer with metal sides that extend 4' high along its
I would like to build a canvas top that would be supported by a metal
hoop skeleton that would support the fitted canvas top.
How would you recommend constructing the metal hoop skeleton so it is
easily removed when not needed?
What should one make the skeleton out of....pipe, conduit, angle?
I would also like it to store in pieces in the trailer along with the
canvas top so it would be available when needed.
"Too_Many_Tools" wrote: (clip) How would you recommend constructing the
metal hoop skeleton so it is easily removed when not needed? (clip)
I suggest making a series of steel bows, which you could slip into holes
along the top edges of the trailer sides. You would insert and remove them
one at a time, and store them loose (or in a bundle) in the trailer when
they are not in use.
The hoops would be individual pieces that would fit into sockets
installed on the trailer sides. You could probably do ok with 3/4" EMT
conduit for the small span involved, but given the need for a ring
roller and a bender to form them I suspect it's probably cheaper to just
buy them pre made from a company with the equipment to mass produce them
properly. The canvas top would be where you could save on the DIY I
Or hit the second hand stores and pick up a bunch of umbrella tents for
$3 and use the graphite/fiberglass stays.
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them;
the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."
- Proverbs 22:3
Short chunks of pipe welded along the sides (vertical) at 12"
intervals or so, then bend some rebar for the bows. A small washer, or
even another little chunk of rebar welded onto the rebar at the top of
the pipes will keep it from slipping too deep into the pipe "pockets".
What you describe sounds a lot like a covered wagon kit for a flat bed
semi trailer. Look at a few of them for a tried and true design.
They typically have 4 foot sides made with plywood that slips into the
uprights and cross bows that also slip into the uprights.
You can have the cover made at a canvas shop. They aren't as expensive as
you might think.
Do a google search for flatbed side kits.
OK, you asked for it. :)
I started my project by searching the internet. I found out that airplane
builders use an interesting technique to make the body and wings of their
planes. They use foam which is easily formed to the complex shapes, then
adhere fiberglass cloths over it. The composite is very lightweight, and
strong enough to lift a plane off the ground, :) It's also pretty easy to
create complex shapes.
I've adapted their techniques to save some costs. First, I'm using
polyisocyanurate foam. It is foam insulation that I bought at Home Depot in
1/2" sheets. It comes with a foil attached to it that must be removed so the
fiberglass will bond with the foam. It costs about $10.00 for a 4 X 8 sheet.
Thicker foam will give more rigid results, as will added curves to your
geometry. Be careful what kind of foam you use. Many foams will be eaten by
Although the plane builders tell me it's not needed, I built a metal frame
work for my tank.
thought it would be easier if I had something rigid to glue my foam to
before I started fiberglassing. My foam isn't as thick as they usually use,
so it bends and flexes more. The metal frame helps to hold the foam in
place, and gives me added roll over protection.
I used construction adhesive, hot glue, and duct tape to hold the foam in
Once all the foam is in place, I cut the windows, but not the doors.
I intend to add 3
layers of 10 ounce fabric to the outside, and cheaper mat to the inside.
Then I'll do some testing to make sure it's strong enough before getting
ready to paint. After the fiberglass is added, I'll cut the doors out and
put some hinges on the panels.
Presently, I am putting the fiberglass cloth on one layer at a time. I'm
told I can do all three layers at once, but I find it difficult to get it to
stay where I want it because of the funny angles on my tank (which is really
an m1117 asv
). Basically, I
cut the cloth to size with a standard pair of scissors, then I lay it into
place and mix about 8 ounces of resin (I'm using vinyl ester resin). I take
a cheap paintbrush, and dab it onto the cloth until it turns clear, then I
take a plastic spreader (like what they use to apply bondo) and squeeze out
the extra resin. (Repeat) I'm told that extra resin adds weight, but not
strength. When I get it all applied, I'm going to add microspheres to my
resin. Basically they are very tiny, light weight balls of glass fiber. When
you put them into the resin, they create a very light weight, VERY strong
body filler. I'll use that to smooth out any overlaps, and bad spots in my
body. That stuff is VERY difficult to sand, so depending on how good of a
job I do, I may use bondo as a final layer cause it sands much nicer.
"Dave Lyon" wrote: (clip) Be careful what kind of foam you use. Many foams
will be eaten by the resin. (clip)
When styrofoam ice chests first came out, I tried fiberglassing mine.
I've seen trailers with a 4 to 6 foot piece of large PVC pipe across
the tongue. Screw on plugs on the ends. Some folks put awnings,
fishing, antenna kinda things in it.
My old pop-up had a square bumper with a hinged cover at each end for
the same use.
W§ mostly in m.s -