Camper made from SIPs - advice?

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Re: Camper made from SIPs - advice?

Postby JacksonCBall » Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:25 pm

Just realized the mattress link is Ikea in Australia... but I know the guy who originally bought mine got it from an Ikea store in the U.S
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Re: Camper made from SIPs - advice?

Postby Xanthoman » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:23 pm

Curious to know the results of the SIP discussion. Is there a beautiful little teardrop roaming around yet? I have done SIPs for houses and plan on a composite method for my teardrop, so interested in how this panned out.
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Re: Camper made from SIPs - advice?

Postby Andrew Herrick » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:56 pm

Might I also suggest that the primary benefit of the SIP, which is its superior cellular insulation, is mere overkill in a teardrop trailer?

LONG REASONING: Insulation is critical in a home because it protects the heat stored in the thermal mass of the house. All the kitchen pots and pans, furniture, clothing, even the structure itself, acts as a passive heat engine when the air outside gets cold. Also, since a house is so big compared to a teardrop, heated air will remain inside the house for quite some time.

In a teardrop, the heating and cooling situation is totally different. Because its so small, the only real source of heat, passive or active, inside a camper is the human! And if you crack open a window or an exhaust vent, the cabin will recirculate its air every few minutes, not every few hours. In fact, in a teardrop, the main thing is to prevent radiant heat loss from the occupants to the walls and ceiling - and that honestly doesn't take a whole lot of insulation to make happen. In fact, just adding a 1/2-inch of rigid insulation reduces heat loss by about 3-4x!

It's not a bad construction technique, per say. I just worry you won't reap the benefits of your labor!
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Re: Camper made from SIPs - advice?

Postby Bogo » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:58 pm

SIP panels done right can be the whole non frame structure of the trailer. There are travel trailer manufacturers who do this. Making one at home you'd need a perfectly flat table a bit larger than the largest panel you want to make. I was thinking of using a 1/2" thick plate of glass or steel on top of a bunch of saw horses shimmed to support it flat. Whatever unevenness in the table will be built into the panels so it really needs to be flat. Then a vacuum bag system is used to provide the clamping pressure when laminating up a panel. Panels that have wood borders can be joined by tongue and groove.

Tongue and grove attachment of 2 SIP panels. The tan piece is a strip of wood that keys into a grove in both panels. It provides extra gluing area to increase the strength of the joint, and also makes the joint have multiple planes. That means when one is in shear loading, another is in compression or tension loading. That allows the glue in compression or tension to support the glue in shear. Notice the face material is oversized on one panel so it can cover the edge of the other panel. If the face material is aluminum, then it is possible to bend it over and edge and have the surfaces glued together for a water tight seal. I'd use that for the roof joints.
SIP to SIP panel joint parts
joint-detail-001.jpg (15.51 KiB) Viewed 1219 times

Detail showing the parts all mated together.
joint-detail-003.jpg (15.96 KiB) Viewed 1219 times
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