Composite camper - aluminum extrusion vs. FRP edges

MikeSkril

New member
I would be happy to find 3x3" FRP L profiles for a reasonable price in Canada. There are sources but I have not seen anything for small quantities.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Hypothetical question: What size L profiles would you be loocking for? I could see us stocking them if there is enough interest. Most likely pick up only from our warehouse.... (Shipping anything longer than 8' is VERY costly otherwise).
 

rruff

Explorer
Good to know, thanks! ...I'm having trouble so far finding a suitable FRP angle.
What are you looking for? Plenty of places sell 2 or 3" angle that is 1/4" thick. That is excessively thick, but it would be a better thermal expansion match to FRP skins than aluminum. I'd probably pick 1/8 aluminum instead though, as I think it would be ok. 6061-T6 is cheap and pretty corrosion resistant.
 

jwiereng

Active member
I'm in the early stages of planning a small DIY flatbed pop-up camper for a Tacoma.
I started looking at composite, then checked out aluminum constructions, self-made fiberglass, and everything in between....just to come back to composite. :) I'm a metal guy, so it took me a while to swallow this...but I think composite is just the best option. :cool:

At the moment, I'm reflecting on how to join the composite panels. I'm aware of the concerns and possible drawbacks of aluminum in this construction but there are a few practical advantages. I have these 2 possibilities on the table. 'A' is much easier to work with and not very costly. 'B' might be better because panels and FRP will contract/expand the same way and have less thermal transfer, but it will be more work and cost more. Companies have been building campers and commercial vehicles using method 'A' (without the XPS corner) for many years and it seems to work well.

Has anybody used either of these methods? Any other ideas? There might be other options available, but this is what is available to me (Canada)
...or maybe I'm missing other options?

View attachment 795416


The shape of option A is more appealing. FRP or Alu in this shape would be nice to find in Canada
 

MikeSkril

New member
Hypothetical question: What size L profiles would you be loocking for? I could see us stocking them if there is enough interest. Most likely pick up only from our warehouse.... (Shipping anything longer than 8' is VERY costly otherwise).
3x3, 1/8 thick (I'm no expert but 1/4 seems way too thick). I would need pieces longer than 8' because I plan the roof to be 10' long. Pickup is out of reach for me...I'm on the other side of the country. :-(
 

MikeSkril

New member
What are you looking for? Plenty of places sell 2 or 3" angle that is 1/4" thick. That is excessively thick, but it would be a better thermal expansion match to FRP skins than aluminum. I'd probably pick 1/8 aluminum instead though, as I think it would be ok. 6061-T6 is cheap and pretty corrosion resistant.
Yeah, 1/4 looks way too thick. 1/8 should do it for sure.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
3x3, 1/8 thick (I'm no expert but 1/4 seems way too thick). I would need pieces longer than 8' because I plan the roof to be 10' long. Pickup is out of reach for me...I'm on the other side of the country. :-(

1/4" thickness would certainly look too bulky. Shipping long narrow pieces is expansion and difficult. You basically need to crate the freight and ship by flatbed truck.
 

seahaul

Active member
I visited Pronghorn expedition vehicles a couple weeks ago. They have done a lot of this work and now sell predesigned kits up to full installs. They have all sorts of experience with different corners and extrusions etc. I think they now have moved to bevels. Anyway, I bet they can help? https://www.pronghornev.com/

btw. They used to do total composites but I understand they have moved on to sourcing their own supplies and products.
 

jwiereng

Active member
What do you mean, they have moved to bevels? I'd like to see how bevels can be used as corner panel connectors
 

simple

Adventurer
I visited Pronghorn expedition vehicles a couple weeks ago. They have done a lot of this work and now sell predesigned kits up to full installs. They have all sorts of experience with different corners and extrusions etc. I think they now have moved to bevels. Anyway, I bet they can help? https://www.pronghornev.com/

btw. They used to do total composites but I understand they have moved on to sourcing their own supplies and products.
Will keep an eye on it. Doesn't look like they have updated their website yet to sell these items.
 

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