Spacekap Diablo 6 Build

simple

Adventurer
Spacekap Diablo 6 Build

spacekap graphic.jpg

I love the idea of open source so I'm going to attempt to document some of the things I did in my build so that others may draw from my experience.

Last year I purchased 2 Spacekaps with the intention of building a couple different prototype layouts for testing to determine the feasibility of producing them commercially. I built one that has been working out quite well and have decided that moving forward to market with Spacekap does not make sense for me.

I am moving away from Spacekap for my commercial camper design partly due to logistics: they are located on the other coast making warrantee issues and shipping difficult and costly. The other reason is that this product is made primarily for the construction and delivery industries and in my opinion the fit and finish isn't good enough for the RV market.
 
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simple

Adventurer
What I started with. Spacekaps come strapped to a giant pallet.

spacekap delivery.jpg


I ordered one of the shells with every window from Spacekap to to get a feel for what they offered.

windows.jpg

Next step after an initial mockup was insulation. I bonded 1/2" closed cell neoprene to the inside of the shell and then bonded boat hull liner on top of that. The performance is good and I like the finish. I tried a couple different adhesives with similar results. Both were rated to maintain strength over 190 degrees F


test sample.jpg

neoprene and hull liner.jpg

Here is a shot of framing with aluminum extrusions. The industrial interior is to utilize the utility nature of a Spacekap. Take a few camper bits out and you can still use the shell like a van to haul stuff.


framing interior.jpg

Here is a pic of the bed platform coming together. It is honeycomb composite panels with aluminum edging and printed plastic corners. These panels are light and store away when not in use. The bed area is a little larger than a queen in length for tall people. The cut out is so you can put on your shoes and have a place to stand with the door closed.

bed platform.jpg


That is it for build pics. Next post is how it looks finished.
 
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simple

Adventurer
The idea of this build was to stay really basic and use this camper like a hard side tent with heat, a sink, battery, lights, solar panel, water. It also needed to stay versatile for hauling gear for different adventures.

The nose area is large enough for a kid to sleep and is where we store the bedding.

nose.jpg

Here is the kitchen setup with sink and diesel heater.

kitchen.jpg


This is the fridge side. There are tie down points on the bench platform to so the fridge can be moved up off the floor. There is also a storage compartment for the bed platform panels under the bench (not shown wasn't complete in this photo).

fridge side.jpg


The fuel tank for the diesel heater is mounted on the back door for easily filling and keeping drips and smells out of the interior.

diesel tank.jpg

Lots of L-Track for tying cargo and securing bikes. 2 bikes fit inside for clean secure transport.

bike transport.jpg


Different combinations of bed panels can be used for making a shelf system for hauling extra gear. This configuration also makes a lounge seat when sleeping pads are propped up against the cab.

inside night.jpg


The End.

bridge.jpg
 
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simple

Adventurer
Dole commented "That came out surprisingly nice for what you started with. I am impressed. How did it go installing those windows?"

All of the windows were installed by Spacekap. If I was to do it again, I would delete the front windows in the nose making it easier to finish the interior in that area. On the sides I would install smaller arctic tern windows that fit between the vertical ribs. Spacekap cuts the ribs out in that area when installing windows. The side windows are single pane and condensate but it isn't bad with insulated covers over them. I like the look of the windows in the rear doors although they are single pane and create condensation. Depending on build, it could go either way with factory rear windows or an after market window.
 
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Spencer for Hire

Active member
Spacekap Diablo 6 Build

View attachment 759664

I love the idea of open source so I'm going to attempt to document some of the things I did in my build so that others may draw from my experience.

Last year I purchased 2 Spacekaps with the intention of building a couple different prototype layouts for testing to determine the feasibility of producing them commercially. I built one that has been working out quite well and have decided that moving forward to market with Spacekap does not make sense for me.

I am moving away from Spacekap for my commercial camper design partly due to logistics: they are located on the other coast making warrantee issues and shipping difficult and costly. The other reason is that this product is made primarily for the construction and delivery industries and in my opinion the fit and finish isn't good enough for the RV market.
Very nice final product! You mentioned moving away from Spacekap. What other cap companies are you looking at instead of them? Thank You
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
The other reason is that this product is made primarily for the construction and delivery industries and in my opinion the fit and finish isn't good enough for the RV market.

I beg to differ after seeing the bare Spacekap Diablo shells in person. Not necessarily the best overall shape or interior finish for an RV conversion but a quality shell product none the less.

The fit, finish and quality of today's mass produced RV's is just as TERRIBLE or worse than it has ever been. There's only so much lipstick you can put on a pig and that's what the RV Industry continues to do to move the product!
 

simple

Adventurer
I beg to differ after seeing the bare Spacekap Diablo shells in person. Not necessarily the best overall shape or interior finish for an RV conversion but a quality shell product none the less.

The fit, finish and quality of today's mass produced RV's is just as TERRIBLE or worse than it has ever been. There's only so much lipstick you can put on a pig and that's what the RV Industry continues to do to move the product!
Agreed. If I produce campers they need to far exceed RV industry quality standards. The status quo is not acceptable. I can't stand the practice of producing consumer land fill.

Spacekap shells are great for DIY. I'm very happy with my build concept and really dig my van style / camper hybrid design. I'm not sure how much of a market there is for it though. I think most people still want a traditional RV style camper. Sleeps 4 and has a bathroom.

It will be interesting to see where the industry goes. The Covid economy opened some doors for new innovative products that people were paying cash for. I'm not sure how long that will continue in the future and everything may go back to the finance model.

Regarding other shells. I want to visit Tuffport as they are much closer to my location. The shape of their shells may be better for converting although their mounting system is not refined and will require an add on design. Spacekap has evolved their mounting system and it is pretty slick.

6 years ago I built a composite panel prototype and sourced panel suppliers. I didn't proceed to production because at the time it didn't think the market would pay enough for a basic shell build to make it worth while. That has changed as a few of the pioneers have trudged on and carved out a niche market for this style of build. I am circling back and taking another look at this style of construction. Many years ago I designed foam core carbon fiber wheelchair wheels. I took them through ANSI testing, life cycle testing and production so I'm somewhat familiar with composite materials. I'm curious about the longevity of this style of construction for slide in campers. My guess is that it meets or exceeds current camper standards but will be interesting to see what it looks like after heavy use for 10 or 15 years. I think slide in camper design is different enough from rectangular habitat boxes that they need their own focus.
 

jrubicon

New member
just came across this, thanks for sharing your build. I agree with you, the quality of rv , especially ones that come form the rv capital Indiana, are horribly built. I have a 2018 Travel Lite 610 truck camper, while i love how it serves me soooo well, the longevity factor is just not there. i am at a crossroads, i have a perfectly working rig that serves well since Feb 2018 to now, or sell and start from nothing on a Spacekap build. I dont want a project, but this would just be a long term type rig that will continue to serve my purpose. Did you discuss here how much the spacekap was ?
 

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simple

Adventurer
just came across this, thanks for sharing your build. I agree with you, the quality of rv , especially ones that come form the rv capital Indiana, are horribly built. I have a 2018 Travel Lite 610 truck camper, while i love how it serves me soooo well, the longevity factor is just not there. i am at a crossroads, i have a perfectly working rig that serves well since Feb 2018 to now, or sell and start from nothing on a Spacekap build. I dont want a project, but this would just be a long term type rig that will continue to serve my purpose. Did you discuss here how much the spacekap was ?
Spacekaps are around 10k. The killer is shipping and depends where you live and current rate. I paid 4k for shipping to the PNW. 3 shells will fit on one truck so if you order more, the shipping cost / each is lower.
 

simple

Adventurer
I beg to differ after seeing the bare Spacekap Diablo shells in person. Not necessarily the best overall shape or interior finish for an RV conversion but a quality shell product none the less.

The fit, finish and quality of today's mass produced RV's is just as TERRIBLE or worse than it has ever been. There's only so much lipstick you can put on a pig and that's what the RV Industry continues to do to move the product!

I was avoiding being specific but I will share my experience with quality. There were build / quality issues with both units that I think could be variable depending on the particular assembler / builder and quality inspection personnel that I will skip the details of but an example is a door hinge installed upside down. I'll focus on issues with design and construction methods.

I ordered two shells so I only have 2 data points.
  • The design of the rear door seals are such that rain water leaks in on both units. Day 1.
  • The door bulb seals sag down a few weeks after install and catch on the door latches causing them to tear. 1 month.
  • A large crack appeared in the gelcoat at the stress point created by the end of a vertical rib. 6 months and first long trip.
  • The truck cab slider window installed at Spacekap leaks. First time out.
  • One of the side windows installed at Spacekap leaked causing the bottom of the plywood ribs to swell creating 4 bulges in the side of the shell. 8 months.
  • There is some kind of rusty color stain dripping out from behind the trim that is applied over the seam of the top and bottom halves of the shell. 8 months.

Regarding Spackap customer service, I believe they will do their best to make things right for their customers. For me it has been many phone calls and emails and pulling teeth and still not sorted. Given the issues I had from the start it wouldn't be feasible to offer a camper with a warrantee and provide good customer service.

The ultimate takeaway is that they build a product for a different market that is satisfied with it. They are not interested in making changes so that their product meets the requirements of the RV market. Totally understandable as they are currently running at capacity and have no incentive to change anything.
 

kkstell

New member
What I started with. Spacekaps come strapped to a giant pallet.

View attachment 759627


I ordered one of the shells with every window from Spacekap to to get a feel for what they offered.

View attachment 759630

Next step after an initial mockup was insulation. I bonded 1/2" closed cell neoprene to the inside of the shell and then bonded boat hull liner on top of that. The performance is good and I like the finish. I tried a couple different adhesives with similar results. Both were rated to maintain strength over 190 degrees F


View attachment 759628

View attachment 759629

Here is a shot of framing with aluminum extrusions. The industrial interior is to utilize the utility nature of a Spacekap. Take a few camper bits out and you can still use the shell like a van to haul stuff.


View attachment 759631

Here is a pic of the bed platform coming together. It is honeycomb composite panels with aluminum edging and printed plastic corners. These panels are light and store away when not in use. The bed area is a little larger than a queen in length for tall people. The cut out is so you can put on your shoes and have a place to stand with the door closed.

View attachment 759632


That is it for build pics. Next post is how it looks finished.
how did you bond the boat interior product to spray in foam?
 

simple

Adventurer
I didn't use spray in foam. The foam I used is 1/2" thick closed cell neoprene sheet. It is most commonly used for insulating ducting in HVAC systems. It is also used as insulation on welded aluminum boats. There are a few different manufacturers. I think the product I used was made by Armacell. The adhesive is a high temp spray glue. I tried a few different ones. For a small job like this I used at least 20 cans. I think the easiest one to get is one of the 3m products that is rated for automotive interiors and over 190 degrees F.
 
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xyzzyxch

New member
Thanks for posting your build! I'm also in the process of building a 8' Spacekap Plus. I really like your insulation solution. There are so many curves and shapes to the camper and it's hard to build the frame around it to insulate it. I'm wondering if the HullBlanket you used will act as the vapor barrier or if you used something else? Thanks in advance!
 

simple

Adventurer
Thanks for posting your build! I'm also in the process of building a 8' Spacekap Plus. I really like your insulation solution. There are so many curves and shapes to the camper and it's hard to build the frame around it to insulate it. I'm wondering if the HullBlanket you used will act as the vapor barrier or if you used something else? Thanks in advance!
The purpose of the hull liner is to hold moisture in micro droplets on a large surface area allowing it to evaporate quickly and not form large droplets that run down the walls. The closed cell foam keeps moisture from getting between it and the fiberglass shell. There is no air gap between the foam and the fiberglass.
 

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