Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some Assembly Required

Okay, since it's been a few weeks, so I should show where it's at.  I find assembly and collecting all the materials a lot slower than planned.  The reason is I have to think through absolutely every detail as I go.  The plans are just a guide, and have to constantly be readjusted as the actual recycled materials are found.  Yesterday my friend Billy and some of the SLAC / CORE folks helped me put assemble the pallet racks.  Currently they're just sitting on the bed (no freeway driving!) but I'll get them bolted or welded down soon, probably later today.   There was a lot of discussion on what level to put the floor.  I appreciate the discussion, because every perspective helps.  I find it really fun to think through the details... these are things I never have to do or consider in my normal work of designing and engineering car parts and systems.

This view shows you the loose mock-up of the racks and an old pallet thrown on the cross-beams to simulate the height.  The brown cylinder is the proposed placement of the smokestack.  I am thinking it's too far forward, but maybe when the frame is built around the cab it will be more clear.  The height of the beams is currently at 5', and we did try putting them at 6'.  Ideally, higher would give a better view and allow people to use the space under the decking.  But once we were up that high (10 feet off the ground), the truck could be easily swayed by just one person.  The railings were also only 2.5 feet, which made it feel really unsteady.  The platform is now at 5 feet and that seems about right for this size of truck.  Maybe next year ambitions and construction skills will be for something bigger and higher, but this is it.  After setting the height, I then had to notch the uprights to make them fit with the bulkhead of the truck bed.  Here's the final positioning after the cutting:
Here's a view from standing on the new platform.  You can see how the framing of the bulkhead on the truck fits nicely with the new pallet rack structure.  The notch was required at the base.

The back end of the space is now 5 feet high.  It's probably going to be some kind of lounge / chillout space.  Nobody will be able to stand under there.  I'm thinking carpeting and a bunch of pillows.  Maybe bean bags or something like that.
The sides will just be clad in 1/4" plywood.  That (hopefully) will be the simple part of the project.  I also realized that I can't just invite a bunch of people over to get this done.  Each part requires too much measuring, planning, and practice with machine tools.  Near the end, when it's just plywood cutting and painting, will be the time to enlist a large group for help.  Until then, it's going to be just me and the occasional helper.  I'll probably need help again to move the rack around to get the holes drilled, but mostly it's a solo project for now. Only 7 more weekends available.  Anyway, at least it's shaping up!