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Old 02-17-2018, 09:37 AM   #1
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Creating new openings in '67 airstream

I have a client project of taking a 67 airstream and turning it in to an office space for a local nursery. They want two hinged openings on both sides for desk areas for customers to walk up to and ask questions.

I think in my mind I know how to do it but wanted to see if anyone had some advice on this. My guess is like a house where you remove a supporting wall you need to add a ďbeamĒ in its place. So add extra support above and along the sides of the openings is where itís at.

Has anyone made new ribs and supports if so what were they made with and how?
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:05 AM   #2
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Ive not cut a new opening in the walls of my rig but being a carpenter I'd say that the structural load is quite different than in a stick building. The "beam" you speak of is called a header, you install it to carry the vertical load that the studs were carrying before you cut them out for the new opening. The load in an Airstream is carried by the ribs and the horizontal framing between ribs is there to stiffen the aluminum skin.

I would take a close look at how the existing openings are framed and repeat that for a new opening. I don't think you need a "header" but rather framing around the new opening to stiffen the skin and give you something to attach to.....whether it be a window, door, or whatever you're installing in the new hole.

Personally I would design the new opening in a manner as to not disturb the existing ribs.
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:09 AM   #3
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The part I cut out will be the part that is hinged and opens like wings.
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:06 PM   #4
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another option:

Hi:
I've done a lot of restorations on AS's.
Look at the door on the unit and try to mimic the
structure around it.

Now here's another option: I have a complete door and all the
framing associated with it, main frame, door, screen door, interior
trim and hinge. The lock is shot though. it came off a 1972 so
it'll fit your project.

Why not just have two opposing doors which will leave the structure
intact and strong. And also people can enter and exit from either side
for a more personal meet with the desk person?

Just a thought. $800.00 plus shipping from Bellingham WA. and it's
yours.

I also saved all the curved body frames which may also help. Buy the door
and I'll include whatever you need at no extra cost. I wont separate the door from the body frames as whomever ends up with the door might likely need them as well.

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Old 02-17-2018, 01:14 PM   #5
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Interesting thought but this is what they want to do

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Old 02-17-2018, 05:58 PM   #6
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Two ribs, 3 sections of square stock or u channel all aluminum.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rugjenkins View Post
Two ribs, 3 sections of square stock or u channel all aluminum.


Using either I assume you bend the stock. How would you attach the solid stock?
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:53 AM   #8
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An opening that big and hinged from the top will require some serious strength. I recommend framing it with substantial welded frame on all four sides. Then tie the existing remaining framing to the new framed opening. That new framed opening should be strong enough to hold and operate that door and mechanism as a stand alone unit. Then you know it’s strong enough and will not flex the rest of the wall when opened. Looks like you will be bending heavy aluminum angle stock or square tubing so you will need the appropriate benders and a welder to weld aluminum. I wouldn’t trust a frame to be strong enough if just riveted or bolted together for that type opening.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:10 AM   #9
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An opening that big and hinged from the top will require some serious strength. I recommend framing it with substantial welded frame on all four sides. Then tie the existing remaining framing to the new framed opening. That new framed opening should be strong enough to hold and operate that door and mechanism as a stand alone unit. Then you know itís strong enough and will not flex the rest of the wall when opened. Looks like you will be bending heavy aluminum angle stock or square tubing so you will need the appropriate benders and a welder to weld aluminum. I wouldnít trust a frame to be strong enough if just riveted or bolted together for that type opening.


Good call. Itís not going to be moved much if at all so I might just use steel.
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