Box Construction

Heavy! more or less sums this part of the project up. Each of the larger panels was a struggle for four moderately bulky blokes to carry around. Consequently there were time delays involved that I’d not anticipated in getting on with the build.

Nevertheless, the panels were slowly but surely assembled in the order that I’d worked out would be best. The bulkhead panel was first just mocked into place which allowed the floor to be laid accurately in position. The floor panel needed a slight buzz-over with a power plane on a couple of edges but otherwise dropped neatly onto the bed. This was then glued down using Sikaflex 252 (chosen for its very high bonding strength). Once in position, the floor then set up a fairly-easy-to-align (if difficult to muscle into position) build process for the rest of the panels.

The bulkhead and then sidewalls were the first to be bonded into place, followed by the roof, rear upper panel, and finally the rear lower panel. Sikaflex 252 was used as the main bonding medium on all of the panels but was supplemented with Sikaflex 512 which was retrospectively pumped into any gaps to fully seal and further bond all the joints. As Sikaflex needs to retain some ‘volume’ to work properly (it doesn’t bond if squished out of a joint) I used wafer headed screws at strategic locations around the build to make sure that the closest the panels could register would be 2mm. This was one of the headaches that had to be overcome at the design stage and I had to revise my original dimensions to accommodate the ‘box expansion’ caused by factoring the adhesive’s requirement in. Aluminium cappings were finally bonded to the perimeter of the box to protect and weatherproof the exposed edges.

With great credit to CVR and Transport Windows, the panels and doors popped into place without hardship. I had anticipated needing to spend time to get everything to fit properly but, apart from squaring off the floor, it just wasn’t the case. Even the window apertures were absolutely spot on allowing the Seitz windows to slip in without any drama whatsoever.