In this week’s episode, I talk planning and how I managed to use past skills/education to help me visualize this truck!
Moleskine Notebook Sketches
This was ground zero for my planning phase. I didn’t have the truck yet and I felt compelled to just write down and draw everything that should be included in the truck. By far it’s one of my favorite ways to get ideas down quickly.
Sketchup came in handy for the 3D modeling portion. There’s a small learning curve, especially if you’re coming from a CAD background, only because it’s more basic in functionality. However, this web app (free version) allowed me to visualize the space beyond the standard 2D from my drawings.
Ultimately, my goto program was Illustrator. I setup a grid system in the app so that every grid box was 1 inch, thus allowing me to easily design to scale. Make sure you know the dimensions of your vehicle space before you start designing. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a nice surprise when you realize your layout is incompatible.
Features of the Truck
- Murphy bed: this was chosen for the obvious reason of saving space. Most van conversions I’ve seen, have the fixed bed in the rear. This creates great storage space underneath for the infamous “garage” term that has been coined, however it literally removes half of the vehicle from being used without getting on the bed for some reason. I wanted something more fluid and easily changed. Murphy bed setups are great because the bed just folds into the wall when you’re done.
- Color scheme and feel: white/clean, wood, metal fixtures and lighting, ambience, greenery/plants, industrial loftiness, lots of light, cozy, warm (we’ll see just how warm ha!), welcoming, functional – these are most of the words and ideas that have been floating around in my head as I’ve planned this out. I can see the end result…or at least bits and pieces of it–slowly intruding my mind in more complete phrases every day.
- Shower and toilet: I will have a 32″ x 32″ shower in the truck that I’ll install next to a Laveo dryflush toilet or at least that’s the plan for now. The dry flush toilet has no smell and runs on a battery for the flush mechanism. Apparently it’s easy to change the cartridge too. The shower will be basic and on the outside I plan on having corrugated metal. I’ll need to get a water heater for that but I’ve already found one that runs off propane
- Kitchen: I will have a small sink (roughly 17″ square), a mini fridge with separate freezer and refrigerator compartments, and an induction stove top hidden under the counter. Very basic. If I can throw a window looking outward from the sink then I’ll do that. Still trying to figure that out.
- Floors: the floors will be a nice wood vinyl that I picked out early on in the process. The box of panels has been in my room the longest out of any of the other products I’ve purchased. I laid them down in the truck a couple weeks ago and they look really good. They’re 100% waterproof (which is important) and super sturdy. SmartCore is the type of vinyl paneling.
- Power: the truck will be powered by three or four, 100 watt Renogy solar panels and two 12V 200AH deep cycle batteries. A Renogy 40 Amp Charge Controller will handle the charging of the batteries and I’ll also have a Xantrex 2000 watt inverter to provide standard 120 Volts like you would find in U.S. households.
- Everything else: I’ll pretty much be building all other elements of the truck myself: flooring (subfloor), kitchen base cabinet and drawers, floating cabinets on the wall, shower enclosure, bookshelf, bench seating, murphy bed, electrical wiring, and switches
Below you can browse the images and drawings from the episode! Enjoy!