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CAPTAIN’S LOG 24 DECEMBER 2013

December 24, 2013

TRAIL OF TEARS…DROPS

Teardrop trailers are an American tradition.  From Wikipedia:

teardrop trailer, also known as a teardrop camper trailer, is a streamlined, compact, lightweight] travel trailer, which gets its name from its teardrop profile. They usually only have sleeping space for two adults and often have a basic kitchen in the rear.

Teardrop trailers first became popular in the 1930s, when magazines such as Mechanix Illustrated published plans. The first teardrops were designed around the idea of using standard 4 by 8-foot sheets of plywood with hardwood spars. Teardrop trailers remained popular until the mid-1960s, after which they disappeared from mainstream camping. However, in the late 1990s, plans became available on the Internet and in recent years teardrop trailers have made a resurgence and are again growing in popularity.

A teardrop trailer is generally small, ranging from 4 feet (1.2 m) to 6 feet (1.8 m) in width and 8 feet (2.4 m) to 10 feet (3.0 m) in length. They are usually 4 feet (1.2 m) to 5 feet (1.5 m) in height. Wheels and tires are usually outside the body and are covered by fenders. Since teardrop trailers are so light, usually less than 1000 pounds (450 kg), just about any vehicle can tow one and fuel consumption is minimally affected.

There is room inside a teardrop trailer for two people to sleep, as well as storage for clothes and other items. Outside, in the rear under a hatch, there is usually a galley for cooking. Teardrop trailers tend to have lighting and other electrical power supplied by a storage battery, although some have mains power hookups like regular travel trailers.

Some teardrop trailer owners participate in organised camping events for teardrop trailers, called “gatherings”. The teardrop trailer phenomenon is not local to any one country. Builders reside throughout the Americas, Europe, Israel, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. In Australia they are known as teardrop campers. Their popularity has resulted in the establishment of several commercial manufacturing organisations, and in the import of some North American models.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teardrop_trailer

TEAR3

UH…WHERE DO I SLEEP IN THERE?

TEAR2

 HEY…THE SILVERWARE DRAWER GOES UPSIDE DOWN EVERY TIME YOU FOLD UP?

IMG_1438

THE IRON MAN WAY…A TENT ON WHEELS IN THE SNOW?

My little cargo trailer has a frame assembled from a Harbor Freight kit.  It is adequate, but not very generous with room for traveling with all that gear.  I would like to pull off on jeep trails in the national forests for free overnight camping on long trips.  But I don’t want to lay on the floor and stick my feet right out in the snow in the morning.  I need room to sit on a real bed!

The steel Harbor Freight trailers are a little narrow for a good floor plan.  My earlier plans considered re-using the little trailer, but I found a great replacement.  Aluma makes an 8 foot ATV hauler with great ground clearance for trails.  Aluminum means only 700 lbs. of trailer that can carry 1,800 lbs. of cargo.  Being tall, it needs no wheel well openings so it offers a wide flat floor to build on.  It is also the little brother of the 16 foot Aluma trailer I targeted for the big “Solaris” design.  This will be a building block for the future.

So I bought the trailer, expecting to use the winter to do hardline design work on it.  I have many trailer service vendors in Arizona to learn from.  Back in Wyoming I can do the final design while fabrication can get started here while I am gone.  So I am entering the creative challenge of the teardrop trailer, but It has to go off-road too.  Most off road trailers are heavy steel units with few comforts.  We can do on and off road better.  So the design challenge is on!

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A CHALLENGER IS BORN!

Smaller Faster, Cheaper!

We will need some assets, so the Singcore panels offer light weight and high strength.  Aluminum is our friend unless the Wyoming wind takes over!  We have high ground clearance and more headroom, so the trailer will be taller than most teardrops.  Aerodynamics will be a big consideration in design.

Metal-Strong2

STRONG ENOUGH?

An early concept of the design may look like these preliminary sketches.  I am testing new computer design software for future use now.  This comes from Solid Works, which may be needed for our aircraft designs.  The trailer gives me a great project to learn new skills as we get ready for the next projects.

SW1

IMPROVED AERODYNAMICS

SW10

ROOM TO SIT UP IN BED AND STILL LOTS OF GROUND CLEARANCE

SW9

 A COZY SNOW CAVE?

The cabinet will be a bit Spartan in aluminum finish, but I like the “space capsule” look.  This prototype will be aimed at function and simplicity more than elegance.  Our objective is to cover highway miles by day and have a fast set up for nights in the national forest.  Free camping and good gas mileage still allow high speeds on the freeway.  Winters in Colorado are no problem with a 12,000 BTU furnace and foam insulation.

Well Christmas 2013 brings new tools, new transporters, and new vision.  The new year will bring even more revelations about the path of Exodus Aerospace…“We are leaving the planet”.

TEAR 1

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