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Old 03-07-2016, 11:23 PM   #15
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2007 20' Safari SE
Berkeley , California
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Posts: 13
Great ideas!
Yes, we've talked with the kids a bit, but this is a good reminder to fully bring them into the decision making fold! : )
I actually love the under-the-dinette idea! I'll have to double check, but I'm pretty sure the leg folds out of the way and I suspect that the littler one will really like that space.
And, GammaDog, I'm going to skip right over to your pictures and check out your setup! It sounds perfect - I hadn't considered anything over the main bed!

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Old 03-08-2016, 12:25 AM   #16
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2007 20' Safari SE
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Oh, GammaDog, I just looked at your pictures and I love the setup! Rubber suction cups are brilliant for protecting the insides. Now I just have to figure out where to squeeze it in - the layout of my in-laws trailer has the bed across the front (90į to your layout) with hamper/storage at either end. But I have some ideas... Just need to get over to the in-laws' to really look at the space!

I have a few (ok, a lot of) questions - I hope it's okay to ask here!
First, what issues came up as you designed/built/used the bunk? I get using the PVC for workability. I imagine it is good for keeping it light, too? Or was weight not a concern?
You mentioned that you changed the feet - was this to fix a problem with the smaller surface area of the pipe ends? And are you saying you put 1/2" ply under the new, flanged feet or elsewhere?
Have you had any issues with stability? It looks totally solid, but seems so simple! And, related, are there any issues with it moving in transport, or do the rubber suction cups take care of that?
Finally, how did you attach the webbing? (Brilliant material choice, by the way!)


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Old 03-09-2016, 01:56 PM   #17
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Vero Beach , Florida
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I don't mind sharing my bunk building experience here. Hopefully oters won't mind either since it is on topic to your original question.

First off, weight was a big consideration for me. When loaded for travel, our 25FB maxes out the tongue weight of our Tundra. This bunk is in the far front, so 2/3 or more of its weight becomes tongue weight. Material cost and availability were important too. So was workability with common tools.

I would have used a good grade of cot like the disco bunk cot (google that too... Although I think you mentioned it in your post) but no standard length cot would fit in the space.

Aluminum tubing and railing fixtures would have been my first choice for this project. They were heavier and more expensive. Workability was a bit of a challenge too compared to PVC.

Furniture grade pvc is a good choice because it is far more rigid than plumbing or electrical grade tubing. It is generally uv protected. The fittings tend to be finished better and look better. Oh... But it's more expensive than the stuff you find at home improvement stores.

If you google "furniture grade PVC" you'll find a ton of links and suppliers.

I had to span 5' directly above the foot of our bed. There is a post in each corner there. The opposite side of the bed is along the wall of the trailer. There I have three posts.

There may be structural data out there for the various diameters of tubing, but my uneducated guess says an adult bed should not go more than 3' of length or width between posts. Standard tee fittings make that easy. 2' would be even better especially for a modern American sized adult.

The webbing I used is standard, old fashioned lawn furniture nylon webbing. I secured it with lawn furniture webbing clips which I intended to set into holes which I would have drilled in the PVC. I learned that those clips only work on thin walled tubing, so I used them anyway but I used 1/2" self tapping sheet metal screws through them and the webbing.

As for the feet, I wanted to have a simple design so I put caps on the end of each leg and added a rubber non skid furniture pad to each cap. The legs are 42" tall and that became like a bed on stilts - somewhat wobbly and creaky. So in version 2.0 I added the plywood base and flanges screwed to it. Much more stable.

If your project allowed the weight and other factors, I would probably scrap the webbing all together and use a 1/2" cabinet grade plywood sheet screwed across the frame. It would be easier to build and the plywood would eliminate a problem the webbing brings... The sides want to pull toward each other when the bed is occupied.

If that doesn't give you what you need, let me know.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:03 PM   #18
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thank you! this is exactly the information I wanted to know - your details, considerations, etc. And the changes to the feet make a lot of sense. I can't wait to get down to the in-laws next week and really see what we can do. I'll update here!
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Old 07-13-2016, 08:42 PM   #19
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bunkbed followup

We finally put together our "solution" and gave it a test whirl over the weekend! A few minor changes and I think we're solid! Thanks again for all the suggestions, folks!

For those interested, here's what we did:

- We ended up springing for the Disc-O-Bed, since we have a use for it after our trip. But I think our solution could have been easily made out of furniture grade PVC or another material as suggested by GammaDog.

- I cut the length of the cot to fit the dinette - I first tried it on the backs of the seats and quickly discovered that was not a good idea! So I got the leg extenders from Disc-O-Bed and re-cut the cot to fit snuggly inside the seat backs. The cot material scrunches up a bit, but not so much that it's a problem.

- I ended up buying a foam mattress for the bottom bunk and taking out the cushions. As I mentioned, this AS is on loan, so I'm not making permanent changes. The existing cushions needed to be seriously muscled in place as it was, and then with the added thickness of the cot legs it was pretty much impossible to fit them in flat. Plus, putting a foam mat on the bottom bunk had the added benefit of being thinner (more room between beds), and narrower (downstairs kid gets a little bedside "table", upstairs kid gets a step).

- I also sprung for a thin mat for the top bunk, but I suspect we would have been just fine without it.

- We found that the table easily moved and became tippy. I used two small "progrip rope lock tie downs" to lash the table in place.
- It's not easy to set up and take down. That said, it doesn't move, even in transport. This works fine for our family - we are tent campers used to using campground tables - but I suspect if we were used to using that table we'd have a hard time giving it up.
- The Disc-O-Bed is not cheap! But, it certainly is a solid piece of furniture.

Otherwise, I think it's a good solution to our specific situation (temporary loan of the AS, 6 week trip, and specific model). Hopefully this information is helpful to someone else out there trying to figure out how to fit more bodies into their AS!

Finally, here's a picture of the setup, with the kids (for reference, they are approx. 100 lbs & 75 lbs):
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