New Wheels

What a score!

I’ve been thinking about what style of wheels to put on the camper because looks play a huge part in what the end result will look like. I found these awesome looking Cheviot 14×7 alloys on gumtree and just collected them after work this evening. With a bit of a polish, they should come up a treat.


New Proton Ute For Handyman

Raising funds to buy a Proton Jumbuck Ute

I’ve been working hard growing my weekend handyman business helping friends, family and people with disabilities with their home maintenance jobs before finally getting back into the camper project. It’s time to upgrade my existing car so I’ve taken to crowd funding to help raise the money needed for a PRE OWNED Jumbuck ute.

Please visit my page ( for more information and show your support by sharing on facebook, twitter and social media.

Many thanks for sharing.


New Proton Ute For Handyman

Starting on the frame…

Merry Christmas for 2013. A few weeks ago I decided it was time to order the steel for the frame of my camper. I chose 50 x 50 x 2.5mm RHS. As I don’t want to waste any resources, I thought I’d just order enough to weld the outside of the frame only. this will give me perspective on size. As you can see I’ve laid it out on the ground and put the slipper springs in the approximate location to where they will end up. I used the 1/3 rule for balance given that a kitchenette will built in the back. Looking good.



Summer 2013

Spring is here, summer is on its way, and many people are dusting off their tools and preparing to get back into building their camper van. I am one of those people who are really looking forward to making some progress this summer. I at least would like to have a rolling chassis complete by summers end.

Mainly due to the cost of mandrel bending, I have decided to leave the mandrel bending until my next project camper. I have instead opted to go back to the standard square frame with weld on draw bar however, I work with few a guys who are welders by trade. Hopefully they will be kind enough to teach me how to weld using my own equipment.


Mandrel Bending the frame

Working as a product sourcing specialist has it’s advantages but one thing I’m still trying to get my head around is the minimum quantities suppliers charge for their products or services. In relation to the frame on my camper, I need to source a company who can  mandrel bend 50 x 50 x 2.5mm steel rectangular hollow section tubing (RHS) in mild steel. There is only 1 company in Perth who can perform this task and will only bend RHS with a minimum wall thickness of 3mm. Why? maybe it has something to do with retaining the structural strength of the frame. Anyway, the price is around $450 to perform 2 bends. This is because $450 is the minimum they will charge. To put this in perspective, a single bend is only $45 excl. of the ol’ Johnny Howard (GST) so effectively, I’ll be paying 5 times the going rate for a single bend… and to rub salt in the wound, the cost of the steel for the entire frame is a fraction of that. What to do???

So what is a Mandrel Bend?

A mandrel bend is simply a bend that maintains a consistent diameter throughout the bend. Mandrel bending is used where the inside radius of the tube must be bent without wrinkling or deformation. This is achieved by inserting a flexible or solid fixed “mandrel” to support the interior walls of a tube during the bending process. The walls are supported internally with either a flexible mandrel that bends with the tube, or a fixed “bullet” mandrel set internally at the pivot point of the radius die. Mandrel bends are commonly used in the manufacture of automobile exhaust pipes, turbocharger intake and outlet tubing, and custom exhaust systems. It can laso be performed on square of rectangular tube.Image

This is an example of mandrel bent rectangular hollow section tubing.

Colour Dilemma

I’ve spent a long time thinking about what colour I should paint our camper once it is finished. I used to own a 1979 Nutmeg Brown MkII Ford Escort Sundowner Panel Van as pictured. Bit sad I sold it. A lot of power in a little package… it was great. I liked the original Ford colour and am considering it as it is a retro colour and would suit the shape of a teardrop. I’ll post an update on my final colour choice later.

I emailed ford last week to get the colour code

Roof Ventilation

The Micro Whiz ventilation fan is designed for preventing condensation, mould, mildew, musty smells, dampness etc… in smaller areas e.g. boats, caravans, horse floats, vans, trailers and the like. In warm weather Micro Whiz will also help control the temperature for these applications. The fans are entirely powered by the sun, and operate without any cost. The Micro Whiz is made of marine grade stainless steel – and are designed in such a way that water will only enter if the fan is submerged! Making it ideal for marine and outdoor applications – as well as aesthetically pleasing with its very low profile and sleek design.

The Micro Whiz comes supplied with high quality Ni-MH rechargeable battery for day/night operation. There is no wiring, plugs or noise associated with the use of a Micro Whiz; and once installed no running cost whatsoever either. It is 100% Safe and pollution free, water resistant and fully automatic.

Fish Plates

I’m not a fan of wasting parts and don’t see the harm in reusing components if I can. Here, I have bought the new 12mm U-Bold to suit the axel however, the holes for the fish plates are only designed for 10mm U-Bolts. Time for some drilling and rustproofing.

Old Fish Plates U-Bolts










I also went to the local hardware store and bought a plug for the sink, chain for the plug so it doesn’t get lost and some clips to fasten the sink to the bench top when it is made.

Sink Bits

Great news!!

A few weeks ago I found a Cigweld MIG welder that had been placed on the verge ready for the council verge collection. I scooped it up thinking this will either work or I will need to recycle the parts. I took it to a Cigweld repair agent in Perth (ArcForce) who tested the unit and replaced the necessary parts for me. Tested and welds fine. It may be an older model but for the sum of $127- I now have a working welder and am ready for the next phase of my camper… the frame.