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Science a n d M e c h a n i c s

Mobile camping platform provides plenty of high-and-dry cooking and sleeping area for a family of six on a low-cost camping vacation
Craft Print Project No. 340
ply ready for use at any time with or without unfolding the trailer. Trailer Chassis Kit, consisting of specially designed brackets into which you insert welded steel tubing or standard 2-in. black iron pipe, was used to build the chassis for the original model. The kit (See Materials List) includes wheels, tires, stub axles complete with rubber torsion springs, coupler, and U-bolts. Or, if you wish, you can adapt the Tent-Trailer bed (Fig. 2) to any available ½-ton chassis and axle assembly. Although standard iron pipe is more than adequate for the purpose, we used welded


ENT-TRAILER is designed as the result of years of family camping experience to haul and store all of your camping gear, while you and your family ride comfortably without luggage piled in the car. It has, moreover several surprise extras. First of all, the sides let down, providing a platform on which your umbrella tent is mounted ready to be raised in minutes for off-the-ground tenting. Cots, air mattresses, and even a full-size bed can be carried fully made up and ready to sleep in. Camp kitchen cabinet at the rear has an icebox, stove drawer, and water sup-







Tubular trailer chassis is assembled by joining pipe or tubing with channel-iron fittings supplied in trailer chassis kit. U-bolts are removed after joints are welded.

steel tubing because it weighs only half as much and is easier to cut, drill, and handle. Usually, however, the tubing must be ordered from steel suppliers near large cities and will be somewhat more expensive. Begin assembly by joining the side frames and the front and rear crossmembers to the corner sockets, temporarily securing the parts with U-bolts (Fig. 4). As a separate assembly, install the stub axles (Fig. 4) in 1-in. pipe and insert the ends of the crossbar in the upper spring arm socket. Position this crossbar between the side frames so its center is 54 in. from the rear of the chassis. Secure the subassembly with U-bolts, being sure the axle pipe ends fit tightly at the shoulders of the stub axles. Next center the tongue and tongue socket on the axle crossbar (Fig. 4) and place the crosstie fitting (Fig. 3C) between the tongue and the front crossbar. Make the radius rods by drilling 3/8-in.
With a Tent-Trailer, you can even have the luxury of one of Mom's meals while you're still on your way to the camp grounds. Just pull well off the road, open the cooking cabinet (A), and let down the table leaf—nothing to untie or fold up. When you reach your camping site, put down the screw jacks, remove the tarp, and lay the sideboards on the extended outriggers (B). Next crawl in through the tent opening, set up the poles, arrange your sleeping gear, and you're ready to go fishing while Mom (working again?) puts her finishing touches on the camp.

holes in the flattened ends of ¾-in. pipe (Fig. 3). Attach the brackets to the opposite ends and drill the assembly for 3/16-in. stove bolts. Position the radius rod brackets on the side frames (Fig. 3B) and then bolt the flattened ends to the lower spring arm with 3/8-in. machine bolts. Ready for Welding. After bolting the trailer hitch to the tongue, the trailer chassis is ready to be towed to a shop for welding where the entire chassis can be welded in less than 1 hour. When finished, the U-bolts are no longer needed and should be removed before painting the chassis with a rust-resisting enamel. Saw four trailer bed stringers (Fig. 2) to length, then lay out and cut outrigger notches (Fig. 5). Note that the outer stringers are the same length as the steel chassis and are ripped to 3¼ in. The inner stringers fit between the front and rear crossbars and are slotted 2 5/8-in. deep to clear the axle crossbar (Fig. 3). Doublers (Fig. 5) which form the slots for the outrigger slides are ripped from 1x4 stock and are attached to the inner stringers with #8 x 1½-in. fh screws. Position the stringers (Figs. 2 and 3) flush with the top of the chassis frame and attach with five carriage bolts through each frame side. Before tightening these bolts, notch the stringers and attach the fore deck supports (Fig. 3) to keep the stringers square against the pipe side frame. The outer stringers are reinforced and support provided for the outriggers by two lengths of steel channel (Figs. 2 and 5). First








attach the channel to the underside of the stringers with round head screws, then drill two 17/64-in. holes through the channel and stringers at each outrigger slot as in Fig. 5 for carriage bolts to be installed later. Next rip the end plates (Fig. 2) and attach them to the chassis by driving one self-tapping screw into a 13/64-in. hole drilled at each corner socket and ¼ x 4-in. carriage bolts through the front and rear crossbars. The outer stringers can now be fitted between the end plates and are secured with lag screws and washers at each corner. The V-shaped fore deck support (Fig. 2) is

bent from angle iron. Cut off 1 in. of the vertical flange at each end where it meets the notches in the end plate and drill for #12 x 1-in. rh screws. Drill a 5/16-in. hole at the bend and a matching hole through the tongue, then bolt the support to the tongue with 2-in.long spacers cut from ¾-in. pipe. The Tent Deck is made from three 4x6-ft. sheets of ½-in. fir EXT plywood (Fig. 3). Begin by attaching the front and center deck panels to the end-plates, stringers, and deck supports with #8 x 1¼-in. fh screws. The rear piece is cut in two and separated to form a drain slot between the tent and the cabinet.

Amt. Req. Size and Description Use AmtReq. CHASSIS 6 1 trailer chassis kit # 7 6 - T ($92.50) running gear 32 1 tail light and turn signal kit ($11) lights 4 (Above items available from Trailer Products Co., Kingsport, Tenn. 42 Size and Description ¼x ¾" stove bolts and nuts 3/16x 1" fh stove bolts and nuts 3/16x 1¼" fh stove bolts and nuts plated trim washers for #10 screws Use

Prices are F.O.B. Kingsport. Specify 6- or 12-volt lighting kit.) 1 1" iron pipe x 48 3/8" axle 2 ¾"iron pipe x 36" radiusrods *substitute 2 3/8" od x14-ga. radiusrods welded steel tubing 1 1 4 1 1 2 2 1 4 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 16 2 26 8 4 6 48

oval head #10 x ¾" wood screws woodscrews #8x¾"fh #8 x 1" fh woodscrews #8x 1¼" fh woodscrews 48 #8x1½"fhwoodscrews 36 # 1 0 x 2" fh woodscrews LUMBER 2 padlock type suitcase latches 1¼x 6" x 10' clear fir 8 ball cabinet catches (finished 1 x 5 ½ " ) outrigger slides 1pr. 3/8" inset-type cabinet hinges icebox hinges 1¼x 6" x 6' clear fir 13 pr. 2½x 1.687" light butt hinges sideboard hinges (finished 1 x 23/8") end plates 1 1" x 3 x 3½' glass fiber insulation (2x4) x 12' c.g. (constructionstringers and out1 roll 5/16 x 3.8" wide sponge rubber grade) fir rigger blocks weather strip icebox door (2x4) x 4' c.g. fir outriggers 1 3/8"copper tubing x 16" long icebox drain and (2x4) x 12' c.g. fir ridge pole spacers (1x4) x 12' c.g. fir deck supports, 1 ¾"iron pipe x 10" long awning sockets and doublet's spacer (1x4)x10' pine cabinet framing 2 3/16x 1 x 4" strap iron awning sockets (1x8) x 12' pine or fir stove drawer 26 sq. ft. 26-ga. galvanized steel icebox liner and ½"x 4 x 6' ext fir plywooddeck, cabinet tray ½"x 4 x 8' ext fir plywood front gate 2 ¾" iron pipe x 2 2 " threaded ¾"x 4 x 8' ext fir plywood sideboards both ends leveling jacks ¾x 14 x 72" ext fir plywood tailgate 2 ¾" pipe nipple, 2" long leveling jacks ¼"x 4 x 6' ext fir plywood cabinet 8 ¾" pipe floor flanges leveling jacks 1½x 1½ x 1/8" x 9'-6" channel outrigger support 4 ¾" threaded rod, 1 3 ½ " long leveling jacks channel 8 ¾" U.S.S. hex nuts 1¼x 1/8" x 6'6" steel angle front gate support 4 1/8 x 1" cotter keys 2 military type 5-gaI. water cans FASTENINGS 4 3/16x1" eye bolts tailgate support 5/16x 5" machine bolts and nuts ¼x 1" carriage bolts and nuts 3 ft. #3 wire link chain tailgate support ¼x 4" carriage bolts and nuts 14 ¼" eye screws tarpaulin tiedown ¼x 4½" carriage bolts and nuts 32 ft. lightweight sash cord tarpaulin tiedown ¼x 2½" lag-screws 4 Dot fasteners tarpaulin ¼x 2½" hanger bolts 8 3/8" brass grommets tarpaulin ¼"wing nuts and spares 1 10 x 10' umbrella tent ¼"washers 1 8 x 12' tarpaulin

42 1gr. 36 1gr.




Do not attach the rear part of this panel as it is used as the base of the cabinet (Fig. 3c). C-clamps will aid in positioning and holding the deck panels to the outer stringers while being attached. Drill ¼-in. holes in the deck to match the 17/64-in. holes in the stringers and install the ¼ x 4½-in. carriage bolts on each side of the out1 rigger slots. Make the eight outriggers (Fig. 5) from 1¼ x 6-in. clear fir and attach the support blocks. Make sure they slide freely in the stringer slots. To keep the outriggers from extending while traveling, drill 1-in. holes and install a ball-spring catch in the underside of each outrigger at the inboard edge of the rear channel. To keep the slides from being pulled completely out of the inner stringers, drive a screw ½ in. from the inner end so it projects 1/8 in. as a stop. Before installing the outriggers permanently, tip the trailer up on edge and paint the underside with a primer such Firzite and one coat of outdoor enamel. This is a good time to install the four ¾-in. pipe flanges for the screw jacks (Fig. 2) that support and level the trailer while camped. Bolt these to the underside of the deck, at each corner with carriage bolts. Hacksaw each of the pipes and the nipples to size, then assemble and weld as in Fig. 9. When weld62

ing the nut to the pipe, thread the nut on the shaft and put the shaft in the pipe to make sure they are aligned. In use, the pipe end of the jack is screwed handtight into the flanges and the threaded rod adjusted to place the pad on the ground. The lower nut is pinned or welded to the threaded rod so you can raise or lower each corner of the tent platform by turning the nut with a wrench. Camping Kitchen. The food storage and cooking cabinet (Figs. 2 and 6) is erected on the rear deck panel as in Fig 8, using ½-in. plywood over framing ripped from soft pine. After cutting each part and checking its fit, assemble the cabinet with glue, l¼-in. finishing nails, and #8 fh screws as indicated. Make the ice box liner (Fig. 10) from 26-gauge galvanized metal with a shallow tray of the same material for the ice. Note the ice tray is bolted to the side of the liner with spacers on the bolts to provide air circulation. Cut a piece of corrugated metal roofing to lay in the ice tray to keep the ice from sliding around or covering the drain hole in the tray. At no time is there any accumulation of water in the box. The food storage compartment is below this tray on shelves salvaged from junked refrigerators. Before installing the liner, calk all open joints inside the cabinet and paint the wood surfaces with two coats of aluminum paint. Then line the sides and bottom with 1-in.-thick glass fiber insulation. Locate and drill a hole for the drain in the deck and position the ¼-in.-plywood bottom (Fig. 10). Next slide the liner in place and attach it with weatherstrip cement and fh screws driven through the flanged edges. Insulate the top of the liner before attaching the cabinet top. Check the inside dimensions of the installed liner before sawing out the door frame (Fig. 10), because it must fit inside the liner with 1/16- to 1/8-in. clearance. Attach the frame to the door front, allowing a 5/8-in. projection at

each edge. Paint the inside surfaces with two coats of aluminum paint, then install the hinges and cover the door with aluminum or galvanized metal. If you prefer, a hardboard such as Presdwood can be attached with weatherstrip cement and screws. Cut the covering the same size as the frame and notch it around the cabinet hinges. A seal for the door is provided with 5/16 x 3/8-in. sponge rubber weatherstrip. This is available at auto supply stores and comes with a self-adhesive backing. Now hinge the door to the ice box (Fig. 10) and attach a casement latch for closing. Install Cabinet. Except for the tailgate and upper cabinet door, the cabinet is now complete and can be installed (Fig. 2) by driving woodscrews and bolts through the deck. Hinges for the tailgate are recessed flush into the tailgate and deck. Support the tailgate in its down position with link chains connected to eyebolts in the tailgate and cabinet. The upper cabinet door is built-up of ¼-in. plywood over a wooden frame, and two suitcase latches (Fig. 8) are installed to hold the tailgate and cabinet door together for traveling. Water storage is provided with two 5-gal., military-type water cans which set on shelves (Fig. 6) at each side of the cabinet. Water cans of this type were standard equipment on most army vehicles and have been readily available in surplus stores. Or you can purchase containers of the same size and shape in polyethylene plastic at sporting goods stores. If you use metal cans, you can solder a brass spigot in one can to make water available without lifting the can from the shelf. The ¾-in. fir plywood side boards and front gate (Figs. 2 and 3) project 1 in. beyond each end of the trailer bed and are hinged to the deck with butt hinges. Recessing the hinges flush with the surface is recommended but not essential. Use two bolts (Fig. 3C) to attach each hinge to the ½-in. plywood. Sideboards are held in the travel position with two ¼-in. hanger bolts and wingnuts at each edge of the front gate and two into wooden blocks on the cabinet (Fig. 3B). Drill matching holes in the side boards and elongate these as necessary to fit over the hanger bolts. A ridge pole (Fig. 3A) to support the tarpaulin while traveling and also act as a support while camp is set up for the cooking fly is made from a construction grade 2x4. In use, it rests in a slot cut in the back of the cabinet (Figs. 2 and 3) and a shallow notch in the edge of the front gate. Except for the painting, which you can do now, the trailer is ready for installation of the tent. Stretch out the tent with the opening to the front, then attach the hemmed edge to the deck and side boards with #10 x ¾-in. ovalhead screws and finishing washers every 15-18 in. Make up and install sockets (Fig. 9B) on the front gate to hold the tent awning posts
AUGUST, 1962

without guy ropes. For travel and storage, the trailer is covered with a standard 8xl2-ft. tarpaulin (Fig. 6A) in which you have installed extra grommets so there is one every 15-18 in. Then lace the tarpaulin with rope through ¼-in. eyescrews in the sideboards. We used Dot fasteners at the back to fasten the tarp to the top of the cabinet. The tarp then folds over in front and is pulled taut by the side lacing so no fasteners are required there. Next attach the combination tail light and turn signals to the tailgate, wrap the wires with plastic tape, and loop them through a hole in the end plate. Tack the wires in place along the stringers with insulated staples and then run them through the hollow tongue to the coupler. At this point, the wires are again taped and are attached to a connector so the trailer lights can be plugged into the car's lighting system. The receptacle for the connector plug is permanently attached to the car near the hitch. To ready your new camping rig for its maiden voyage, erect the tent at home and set up the sleeping gear you'll use. When you're ready to travel, slide the bed and other gear clear of the sideboards, then collapse the tent, leaving the poles inside. Next fold up the sideboards and spread an old tarp on top of the tent to protect it so you can stow the rest of your gear on top. Avoid sharp corners next to the tent fabric. Pack the heaviest items forward to balance the cooking cabinet. A properly balanced load will weigh 80 to 150 lbs. at the coupler.