Message posted by M64LNF on 06/10/2017 at 12:22am
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Conway Cruiser 1989
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Well, for your project you could always look at improving the base engineering concepts used by folding campers & trailer tents.
Much of the technology used in the chassis of a trailer, other than alterations due to cosmetic changes in the superstructure, hasn't really improved from the 70's.
As such, you could try blending compatible engineering concepts from other industries with the idea of a trailer tent to create something truly new and unique.
Here's a few ideas:
1)replace the solid aluminium/steel chassis and plywood/grp superstructure with a magnesium alloy partial monocoque - this will be both lighter to tow than a traditional al-ko chassis based design, and more resistant to damage/wear and tear. Upper bodywork could be replaced by Aramid/resin castings (lighter and more resilient than GRP) or carbon fibre & poly-carbonate panels, as budget allows.
2)Most campers have solid steel/aluminium frames or poles holding up the canvass, usually arranged in squared off "n" shaped hoops. Try replacing these with inflated geodesic beams filled with air. Whilst the increased amount of fabric required to form the air poles will make the canvas heavier, the removal of the metal poles will cut the overall weight of the camper.
3)Most campers and trailer tents require quite some physical exertion to manually erect, via unfolding or unwinding, which can be beyond the capabilities of older users. As such, this could be replaced, in conjunction with #2 above, with pneumatic air rams to unfold/slide out the beds, powered by a small compressed air bottle. This would allow the tent to be erected in a similar manner to an inflatable life raft, at the push of a button. Again, replacing the steel/aluminium hinges & slides used in a manual system with nylatron low friction bearings, rollers and skid pads would be a weight saving.
4)The weight of the fabric could be reduced by replacing the cotton canvas with a metalised thin film polyester, (somthing similar to mylar).