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Old 09-11-2013, 12:57 PM   #1
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Nottingham , Notts
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Self build replica Airstream

Hey guys!

As much as I would love to be able to afford a fully restored shiny 50's Airstream, realistically I can't.

However, my plan is to build one myself.

I fully appreciate it will be nothing on the real thing but it's a project I'm really looking forward to undertaking and will ultimately give me heaps of fun.

My reason for joining this forum is to hopefully share the project with you and gain some advice from the experts. I hope that is ok.

So far, I have acquired a fairly new chassis on a twin axle all in good galvanised condition.

In short, my plan now is to construct a frame from welded steel. The base / floor will be made from 35mm box section steel x 2mm thickness, and the frame of the body from 25mm box section. I will make the frame in four sections:
Base / middle body / 2 x end bodies.
I want to then mount it all on the chassis, drill, bolt and fix it together so it all fits, then take it apart and send it off for galvanising.

I have attached a drawing of the floor plan (the blue lines) that is my first step.

Once the frame is built I want to then clad it all in aluminium and hopefully achieve the Airstream look but with my own stamp on things.

I would massively appreciate any input or advice.

Many thanks, Robbie.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard! I applaud your intentions. The first problem which hit me was that you will be covering a galvanized steel frame with aluminum sheet, dissimilar metals in contact tend toward electrolysis resulting in corrosion; you'll probably have to have some type of separator between them.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:19 PM   #3
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Zinc is an anode to both aluminum and steel so that is as good as it gets. I think that the materials are going to cost you more than an old trailer in decent shape.

Consider making the frame out of all aluminum so you won't have to worry about corrosion and don't put any wood in the structure.

Here is a thread I started a while back about the perfect frame design.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...gn-100154.html

Perry
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:19 PM   #4
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Thanks!

Ah, never thought of that... To be honest, the aluminium cladding is the one bit of the project I have no idea how to tackle as of yet!!

I had thought to make my life easier I would build the frame and then clad the whole thing in 3/4mm ply first so that I've got something stronger to fix the ally to than thin steel poles. Again, I don't know if there are any reasons why this could be a bad idea.

I have read that ally can be screwed / bonded directly onto the ply, but expansion / contraction needs to be considered.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Zinc is an anode to both aluminum and steel so that is as good as it gets. I think that the materials are going to cost you more than an old trailer in decent shape.

Perry
Cheers Perry, I'm in England though... the price of Airstream's over here is astronomical!!
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:34 PM   #6
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You may be better off to buy several salvaged trailers and make the best of putting them together. For example, 31 foot trailers can be had quite regularly over here in the US for minimal cost. You may be able to have some of them shipped, or have them disassembled and then have the sheets and end caps sent over. You'll need to go back to the 13 panel design if you can't get end caps.

I've thought the same myself, but my plan was to buy a cheaper 31 footer, and take the center section out to shorten the body to something I was more inclined to use.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:54 PM   #7
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You may be better off to buy several salvaged trailers and make the best of putting them together. For example, 31 foot trailers can be had quite regularly over here in the US for minimal cost. You may be able to have some of them shipped, or have them disassembled and then have the sheets and end caps sent over. You'll need to go back to the 13 panel design if you can't get end caps.

I've thought the same myself, but my plan was to buy a cheaper 31 footer, and take the center section out to shorten the body to something I was more inclined to use.
By the 13 panel design I take it you mean the round end sections of the body made from triangular pieces of ally?

Is there a simpler way, or tried and tested set of dimensions to work from? Is this the most difficult bit to remake in your opinion?
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:02 PM   #8
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You may want to start out by learning how to post pictures, I hurt my back holding the monitor upside down to make out what those 2 bottoms ones were. I would be very interested in following your progress.


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Old 09-11-2013, 04:26 PM   #9
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You may want to start out by learning how to post pictures, I hurt my back holding the monitor upside down to make out what those 2 bottoms ones were. I would be very interested in following your progress.

Haha thanks...they were fine when loaded up my end..perhaps it cause I'm half way round the world?
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:23 PM   #10
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The inverted photos is a bug from Apple - their adherence to certain extended information guidelines that non-apple browsers ignore results in flipped photos.

Personally I vett all my photos using an editor, to zoom in on contextual important areas etc. for the convenience of my viewers...

Tig welding up twelve curved frame bows out of high-strength sheet aluminum may be challenging...
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