A couple of weeks ago I picked up the last batch of panels. To be exact on the 28th of July.

Kitchen bench and doors, CNC cut as per DXF files and a couple more. one for the work area desk and cabinet, the bathroom cabinet and another 10mm panel for the solar panel mounts.

I also received the trim for all the panels and can now finish the kitchen. The priority is to finish the last slide-out to get to lock up, but apart from that I will not be able to do much on the van until my commercial project is finished, at least in its first phase, and that is another 3 months at least, but such is life. I don’t mind, we are not in a hurry and that project is both challenging and rewarding.

Here are a couple of pics of the bench which I put in. The middle of the bench is the cover for the cook top which is still a little bigger than needed. I left it that way because I was not sure about the space I need for the trim etc, and one cut is ok on my saw when the rest is square. The other opening left of the sink is for the bins. This is a door to lift for access to the two bins.

The benchtop fitted perfectly especially the sink opening, it was an absolute perfect fit, could not have done it with my tools. Now I need to put the trim around the doors and the bench top and the kitchen will be finished. There is still a cover missing on the newly installed roller door in the middle .. it is the cover for the right rail.

I roughly calculated the panels I used. A bit over 100 sqm outer panels (Vanglass) and another 100sqm of interior panels, 2.4 x 1.2, 9 Duralite panels and 26 alu honeycomb panels of different thickness and surface between 6mm and 30mm. This is a total weight of roughly 800kg or so and that includes the surface to mount the solar panels, which can be lifted and tilted. This does not include the weight of the trim which is another 50kg (inner and outer) and around 45kg glue all together. So body and all interiors walls and cabinets including slide-outs and trim should be around 900kg. The chassis came in at around 1850 and that included all the tanks, pumps etc. which brings the total weight to 2750kg so far.

Will be interesting to see the actual weight. This does not include, hot water system with solar panels, fridges, seating, batteries, solar panels, inverters and controllers, satellite dish for Internet, cables, TV, aircon and other appliances, windows, baggage doors and entry doors, which will add up to another 1000kg.

The target weight (calculated) is around 3900kg including everything, which gives us 600kg payload without water. Not too much, but it will be sufficient. My heavy running gear has eaten into the payload a fair bit. Around 300kg could have been saved with lighter gear like the US 5th wheelers. This is one of the reasons why I was hanging the motor bike off the truck and not the van, 140kg moved to the rear of the truck. Spare tyres, shuttle tanks etc are on the truck and the payload is purely for clothing, sports gear, food and what ever we think we may need. Tools are also on the truck to shift the weight and if worse comes to worse I can move one battery bank onto the truck. This is another 100 kg, but I am quite certain this is not necessary. I have lots of sports gear, but this is all pretty light but bulky. So the front storage will be fairly filled up but not with a huge weight.

The edges for the bench top and doors are made from alu extrusions and I also have the matching corner pieces made from plastic. Using the corner pieces makes the doors less pointy and smoother at the corners and eliminates the need to mitre cut the profiles. However it is still quite some effort to finish all the trim. Quite labour intensive and I can imagine that no caravan manufacturer wants to use this concept, due to labour cost. Trailstar, a former WA company used this product and I had it seen there for the first time, but they are not around anymore. It is an expensive solution especially when one cannot buy seconds at a drastic reduced price. I was lucky enough to get the bulk of my panels as seconds .

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The bench top is finished on one side. The door in the bench top  next to the sink is for the rubbish bins. One can open the door and have direct access to the bins which can be emptied from outside.

At the moment I fit the rest of the doors and will do the left side of the bench.