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Jocklandjohn

110 lifting roof (has begun in earnest)

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out of interest where did you get your roof hatch/light thingy mo bob from

that would be perfect for my brothers campervanbulance hes making atm

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Force Four storm hatch here. Not cheap £166 + VAT (£8.99 delivery). I looked at Seitz ones that are used on the fancy camper vans and yes they're nice but they're pretty flimsy, and for the price I'd rather have bomb-proof. So a boat deck hatch seemed ideal - very robust, 12mm thick perspex, solid alloy frame, tough as old boots hinges and the seals are designed to withstand prolonged marine use and thundering seas crashing onto the thing so I figured it 'might' not leak on a LandRover! And I'm fitting it over where my head will be when I'm sleeping so thought a decent size and easy operation would be nice to have. Sometimes it's worth using some of the savings you make by doing things yourself to splash out a bit on some of the fittings that make it more comfortable. For me cost-cutting on something like this is pointless.

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if fitted to a boat it would be leak proof but for some reason anything will leak when it sees a landy haha

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This is my initial idea for the roof rack, combined with guide for the dropping roof section.

rrack.019.jpg

Basically a triangular plate that extends up to the level of the roof bars. Roof bars are ally pipe spanning the roof and inserted at each end through the a flat bar (or L bar) running longitudinally on the roof edge. The ally pipe will protrude far enough through the flats on either side so that it can 'rest' in the shaped top of the triangular plate.

rrack.020.jpg

And the triangle plates will be bolted through the new alloy side, into a large bracket I'll weld up from steel which will be firmly fastened to the curve of the old roof underneath, and will hold the whole plot rigid. These will also be fastened to the interior fittings and bed enabling the whole thing to have considerable integrity. This method means that the weight of stuff on the roof bars - my sea kayaks, or open canoe - will not be supported solely by the new roof, but will have the load transferred down into the gutter and through the bolts and bracket to the vehicle interior.

rrack.021.jpg

And of course these triangle plates protrude up quite far so they'll be perfect guides for the lifting roof as it is lowered. I'll put in a Delrin or similar strip, cut to a wedge shape, on the back of the triangle plate to allow a nice smooth slide in. Nylon from cheap chopping boards is quite good for this.

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could you not build the strength into the roof itself? effectively vertical braces so when shut the top braces are resting on the lower braces, compressing through down to where the roof meets the old one and therefore the gutter?

just a thought. and would enable you to fit trailer type ply down and use pretty much the whole roof as a bearing surface?

and you could insulate that roof very well a it sits using kingspan type stuff in the top and solid sections of the sides, not quite sure on how to insulate the canvas parts though

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I could have used heavier alloy for the roof but my calcs came up with quite substantial weight as a consequence. I reckoned I could do it lighter. After a lot of deliberation I went for relatively light material and the method I've chosen gives me maximum strength, minimal weight and pretty good versatility.

I only need four bars across for the roof-rack. The front and rear ones will be supported on the stronger ends, so its really only the other two which need some bracing. To be honest the roof will probably be fine without as all the weight is coming down into the gutter, but I want to be on the safe side.

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A slightly off topic question if I may, I notice the clasps are available in 100 and 76mm lengths, where abouts is this measured? They will be ideal to hold by ifor canopy on but I'm not sure how to calculate the size required.

Back on topic the roof looks fantastic, a really nice robust looking peice of fabrication using materials not often used by the DIYer. Between you and mike you could manufacture some truly impressive things!

Will.

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Thanks Will. This type of work is mainly dependent on a few vital things - plans - so you can work out what you're doing, a decent tape and sharp pen - to make sure the marking/cutting is accurate - and a sense of humour so you can laugh at your cockups!

The clips I've used are the shorter ones but not entirely sure if they are 76mm ones. The marine chandlers recently changed supplier so the ones shown in the website are probably NOT what they'll supply. The website ones have no hole for padlock.

The body of the ones I got is 50mm long. That's from the top of the main clip body (top end of screw thread in this pic) down to the end of the curved bit that you lift up.

clip2.jpg

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May I differ from John slightly.....I had no drawn plans for my trailer.....Just the initial ones BUT I made a full size mock up.

Yes a sharp pen, well I used pencil.Even measure twice-cut once didn't always work. Generally masking tape to mark on, it was easier for me to see...There's a bin full of cock ups here :rtfm::hysterical::hysterical:

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Mike's not differing in the slightest!

I made full-size wooden templates of the 'awkward' bits - the curve over the windscreen across the roof, and the bit at back door with the curve upwards where the door top goes up in the gutter line. It's much easier to do it that way. I actually made a paper template of the curves which I transferred to the ply, which I then transferred to the alloy!

I found doing the drawings (which I posted previously) a really useful way to think around what was going on and where I might trip up and get a sense of how it might evolve.*


Edit* EVOLVE is the word because things will change as you progress and either realize 'planned' things dont work, and unplanned things make more sense. I'm sure Mike will have had the same experience.

I started with the intention of using alloy glues but the reality of doing it properly in my situation - outside in all weathers - made it impractical, and that changed the physical design quite substantially.

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Yes John

The evolution of a trailer build in my case.

How often did you LOOK at things, then go back and LOOK again before you made your mind up ?

Only to change it later

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Thanks Mark. I wanted to make this 'real' and let folks see that its not all guys-with-workshops-and-all-the-tools that can do this stuff. And that meant all the wee steps that make it happen, and the cockups.

I've been hugely frustrated with some other builds I've seen on forums where it reads like a join-the-dots straightforward exercise, and all that does is put off those of us who're not 'professionals' because it makes it seem you need all that gear to get a job done correctly.

Mike's trailer is a great example of how to do it right - both the build and the recording of the process. He's set the bar very high with that excellent piece of work, and record of its build.

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Bit of a hiatus recently, sorry folks.

When you start doing something like this you accept that there will be interruptions. All sorts of stuff will intrude and keep the balloon on the ground. I accepted that reality, happy to work around those little problems. However did not expect what happened this week. It's a long story, but it has resulted in my partner ending up on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit of our local hospital with a degree of brain damage. To save me load of writing you can read some of whats gone on here. And there are other update posts since then if you want some more info., all on the same blog.

But I need to keep my head in the real world, think ahead and plan for the time that all will be well and we can go off and use the new lifting roof.........so the work continues, and I arranged to go to the welders on Saturday for an hour to get the re-aligned roof section rewelded where I'd cut the joints. It worked just fine. Bit of a bow in the alloy (upwards at each end) where the heat has slightly dipped it but nothing that wont pull out when clipped down. And I still have an inverted L section to bolt longitudinally on each side to act as the support for the roof bars. This will be substantial alloy section and should help to 'flatten' the roof and also provide considerable rigidity. The lifting roof section is so light I can lift it on and off on my own, move it about and generally manipulate it with ease (despite a bad back!).

lid1.jpg

Cut joint ready for reweld. This is the front end of the lifting portion.

lid2.jpg

Stevie the welder does the job on Saturday.

lid3.jpg

Realigned box bracing attached with pop rivet so the roof stays correctly aligned until welded. Drilled them out later. You can see where the old weld was and get an idea of how far out of alignment I managed to get it. Lesson learned! What I should have done was to pop rivet the box sections at each end in the first instance and add the bracing bars across each corner so that it was exactly the shape of the lower section, then when lifted off for welding it would not have 'shifted'.

lid4.jpg

Cut joint ready for reweld on the rear section of the lifting bit.

Today I got the grinder out and smoothed off all the top welds ready to put the alloy roof skin on, before going back to the hospital in the evening - where there is some real progress, my partner has emerged from induced coma and after they switched off the sedative delivery and raised the temp on the 'chiller' (they dramatically lower body temperature to counteract brain swelling) and she is giving big smiles, eyes working, limb movement, comprehension and attempts at speech (but because of the tracheostomy for the ventilator she cant talk). But it is all happening in slow motion for her. But we did not expect this a few days ago. We have been told by doctors to expect ups and downs, they are concerned about fits. But at the moment although starting to 'emerge' she is very very tired - experiencing lots of sadness and elation and confusion as she struggles to understand what happened. One moment she was walking along, and she woke up in ICU three days later connected to a vast array of machinery. Strange days.

When you've parked up your adventure wagon tonight, here's what I suggest. Hug your partner, and tell them you love them. Then go out and plan your next excursion together. And do it. Just go and do it.

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Ive just read your blog on duckrabbit and i have to agree the kindness of strangers and the vast array of skills different people have can somtimes be the most inportant thing in the world

your story was very moving and remined me of a few things i shouldnt have let slip to the back of my mind

thanks john

i hope melanie makes a full and proper recovery as soon as possible

also your lifting roof is looking ace :)

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Wishing Melanie a speedy and full recovery.

Exactly as CW said - I'll be thinking good things for her.

Very moving story.

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Oh bugger...not what you want to hear, hope all goes well for you mate, I had a similar hard time of it last year with an adopted Uncle. Wishing her a speedy recovery

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Sorry to hear about your wife John, I hope she gets well soon

John

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Thanks lads, appreciate your thoughts. She's awake and smiling, trying to speak, moving all the bits that need to move. Slow though. Last night forecast was snow. I've got a potential swimming pool sitting on the 110 roof - the whole lower frame, plus the lifting lid on top, BUT....no top alloy sheet to seal it. Aargh!

SO last night between hospital visits as the first snow shower came over the mountains I made a mad dash outside and wheeched the sheet onto the roof, stuck a few battens across and a set of tiedowns. Just in case.

Its white this morning! I had visions of it filling with snow and freezing inside and getting heavier and heavier so I'd be lurching about like some road-going Titanic but carrying my own iceberg.

But, crisis averted for the time being! Phew.

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Things are improving slowly with Melanie, still no idea what caused it but she makes good progress daily. Going to be a long road to recovery though as there is some brain damage.

But I decided to press on and today was able to get the top roof sheet fixed on. I had been offered a neighbour's garage but the weather was fair so I decided to go for it on the drive again, which saved me a load of hassle shifting it all across the road, and carting all the tools over too.

Started by drying it all off - lots of condensation everywhere, but a good soft towel and blast from the mapp gas soon had it dry.

stick2.jpg





I then started to cut some packing pieces to fill the difference between the top of the box sections alloy and the outer rim, 3mm caused by running the box under the rim alloy. I then decided this was a waste of time and would add a considerable hassle factor I could not be bothered with so instead decided to just glue and rivet all around the edge.

stick3.jpg



stick4.jpg

So I laid the sheet onto the frame, got it as a accurately aligned as a I could and drilled a couple of holes in two corners and stuck a rivet in to hold it secure and then marked it up and worked out distances between rivets to keep it neat. Then drilled all the holes. The top sheet has a plastic protective sheet on it so I cut a narrow piece of the edge of the sheet only, to retain the covering over the majority of it so when I get round to etch-priming it I can pull it off and have minimal cleaning to do.

stick5.jpg




Once the holes were all drilled I brushed off all the loose shavings and put masking tape all along the edge of the top sheet, stuck to the perimeter frame. The tape will give me an accurate line within which to stick the sealant, and when the sheet goes down on the sticky stuff any residue pressed out will be caught on the tape and then easily removed so I don't mess up the alloy and have to spend ages cleaning it.

Drilled all the holes and then pulled the sheet off to clean all the burrs off the back and give both it and the frame it one final clean, dry and heat with the mapp gas torch.

Then it was on with the sealant (a PU flexy adhesive sealant) and a final blow with the mapp before the top sheet was lifted into place and dropped down using the masking tape as a guide, then pulling it into position with a rivet in a hole in one corner and then getting one in the other three. I had a neighbour help with this bit as I didn't want to make a pigs ear of it and have mastic all over the place, or drop it and bash the corner.

stick6.jpg



My neighbour shoved rivets in all the holes and I went round behind him with the riveter and whacked them in. Three hours and it was done and lifted back onto the roof. I'm not entirely sure if I need to put 3mm packing pieces between the box sections and the underside of the sheet as I can stick the rigid structural insulation to the back of the sheet and that will keep it from lifting and rattling and will save me putting more rivets across the width. I may even just glue a 3mm packer in from below if I need it. I dont want to have a 'dish' on the roof that will gather water and be all slimy and horrible.

stick7.jpg


stick8.jpg


stick9.jpg

Tomorrow when the sealant has cured I'll pull the masking tape off and will hopefully be left with a clean edge.

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I'd stick some 3mm packers from underneath like you say, the thought did occur about squeezing thicker in to encourage it to run of, but I don't think it's worth it. For water to still pool with 3mm packers, you'd have to be parked with the flat roof dead level, and even then just driving along would blow it off.

Looking very smart

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Aye EJ I think you're right.

There's a few differing dimensions involved in this, only a few mm difference between each but those will 'accumulate' and make their presence felt at some point if I dont consider them.

The box section subframe is 19mm sq. the thickness of the surrounding (perimeter) frame is 3mm thick so I've got the 3mm gap due to the box being located underneath the perimeter for welding.

Then the kingspan structural insulation sheet is fitted into the spaces between the box and its 25mm thick so I'm needing to 'find' 6mm - the difference between the box section (19mm) and the kingspan (25mm). So 3mm packer on the top of the box and a few 3mm strips on the bottom to screw through should mean its flat on the top and not 'pulling' the interior ply sheet up when its screwed on (which can cause the screws to 'pop' through the ply).

I'm using stainless cs self-tappers with a cup to hold the ply on inside. It's always useful to be able to get it off easily if something goes pear-shaped (but there will be a fabric lining of some sort on the ply - maybe thin automotive carpet).

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Hi Jocklandjohn,

Most importantly best wishes to your family and I hope Melanie a speedy recovery.....

This thread is one that I often look out for - it's a great project your building and I'm sure many others like me love the fact that it's down on the driveway and not in some super swanky workshop - I'm lucky to have a double garage t work in but even this time of year I think twice about working out in the cold - typical wimpy southerner I guess!

All the best and look forward to some progress on the project when the family are back on the road to recovery.....

Darren

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Well - new rivets are on their way. The closed end ones. It's been pointed out to me that the ones I used - the open ended ones, leak - I checked today as I drilled and countersunk the stainless steel clips (It was tipping it down - proper winter rain so a good chance to check for leaks) and it leaks!

Not too much of a hardship to swap the rivets - it'll be an hour well spent.

The stainless clips have three holes but only one is in the correct location so I needed to drill another one beside it. Luckily the steel is not too hard so it was fairly easy. Countersinker made a nice enough job. Not perfect but enough to recess the screw head so it wont take slices off my fingers when I close the clip.

Note for anyone following me and having a go at this: fix the clips first and use them to hold the lifting lid in the correct location for welding up,
THEN fit the 19mm box section and pop-rivet it in place. That way you are guaranteed that the top and bottom match. I'm nearly there with mine but it would have been a lot easier to do had I thought to do that first time round.

csink1.jpg

csink2.jpg

csink3.jpg

csink4.jpg

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