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Old 10-16-2005, 09:46 AM   #1
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Plastic to aluminum

We stripped the vinyl off the walls in the front section of my 77 Overlander 27 feet. I wanted the entire section to be aluminum and was convinced that under the top/front /end-cap that there would be aluminum as well. Sadly there was nothing there but insulation. The end cap with shelves has now been destroyed, although the plastic was badly damaged, cracking before we got started. The only thing I will be able to salvage is the airstream digital clock. I would like to install aluminum in the front but have no idea where to begin. Where do I get the material? How to I bend and install it? Is the trailer less secure without the plastic? Have I totally screwed up? I have been practicing with the rivet gun, but am still shooting far below the mark of sharp shooter. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 10-16-2005, 10:59 AM   #2
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I'm in the process of replacing my inner end cap on one of my trailers. The resulting endcap will not have compound curves. The trailer that I'm doing the work on came this way originally - like 13 segment airstreams.

The basic plan is to make paper patterns and then transfer them to the aluminum. I'm using a heavy "roofing" paper. Since the area that you are working in does not have any ribs I'd recommend putting in temporary foam ribs where the panels overlap. This will allow you to pin the paper panels in place while fitting, using tape or clamps on the ribs and window frame. How many panels you use is up to you. My particular trailer uses three panels to cover a corner.

Transfer the paper patterns to aluminum and cut them out about 1/4" outside the line, then go back with a finish cut. Note which edges will be visible and make them as clean as you can. Mask the edges and head back to the trailer for fitting with clamps and clecos (temporary rivet). You'll need to "tip" the edge or make a bead (mine had a bead originally) along the panel edges that lay behind the visible edges so the riveting areas are flush. I'm at this point right now and can send pics.

Craig
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:57 PM   #3
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I would have suggested the same procedure, basically making paper templates, and then cutting aluminum strips to make a pattern.
Start at the center, and then work left and right, one at a time.
Just like the outside of a 13panel vinage skin.
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Old 10-16-2005, 02:32 PM   #4
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Craig,

I'd like to see your cap install if you could post some pictures.

Thanks,

Carlos Ferguson
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:40 PM   #5
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Sounds pretty straight forward. Will plan on that task next weekend. What type of aluminum sheeting do I buy? I would love to see pictures! Thanks for the information!!!
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Old 10-16-2005, 08:36 PM   #6
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English Wheel

Good idea doing the multisegmented thing. I was thinking it was all compound curves and you'd have to do it on an english wheel. The multisegmented method should be much easier (especially if you don't have an english wheel...I don't have one yet.) Good luck.

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Old 10-17-2005, 12:31 AM   #7
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If you are going to paint over the aluminum or polish I'd go with .032" 3003 h14. If you want a bare aluminum with a definate grain then 5052 h14 or 6061 t6. I have had very good experiences getting 3003, 6061 and 2024 from aircraft spruce. For this project I'm using .040" 5052 h14 from a local supplier. I try do get some pics up soon.
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Old 10-17-2005, 11:39 AM   #8
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Here are a couple pics.
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:48 AM   #9
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Here is a progress pic.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:40 AM   #10
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Craig,
That is awesome, what a wonderful job. I only wished you lived around my corner. I have not started yet as when the deconstruction started in earnest, I found everything leaking and enough floor rot to raise serious concerns about the integrity of my frame.

We have started the process of sealing from the top down. Then will start with the floor and frame. After that is the end caps. I have my Overlander in the autohobby shop here on post where I can do the work. There are lots of soldiers that are fascinated by the process. New streamers in the making.

Thanks for the post
Jennifer
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:51 AM   #11
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When I toured the factory, I was amazed to see a front cabinet assembly sitting on the floor, complete with the inside skin all the way back to the point where the straight portion of the body begins. The vinyl lining was already in place so that the assembly could be merely hoisted and screwed into the end cap to achieve a finished appearance.

That was where I realized that the curved portion of the end cap has no interior skin. The cabinet/interior liner assembly covers everything from the top of the front window all the way back to the linear portion of the body in one fell swoop.
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