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Old 04-03-2017, 08:23 PM   #1
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steel tubing for cabinet framing

Using 2x4s for framing and bulk heads does cut down on usable space, a couple of inches at a time. Has anyone tried building their cabinet frames out of steel tubing, then facing them with plywood? I've tried to do a search on this without luck, either google or otherwise. I do find some lovely outdoor kitchen welded frames, but nothing for a bus?
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Old 04-03-2017, 08:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CCurran88 View Post
Using 2x4s for framing and bulk heads does cut down on usable space, a couple of inches at a time. Has anyone tried building their cabinet frames out of steel tubing, then facing them with plywood? I've tried to do a search on this without luck, either google or otherwise. I do find some lovely outdoor kitchen welded frames, but nothing for a bus?
I think the broccoli bus build has something about that.

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Old 04-03-2017, 09:26 PM   #3
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One method is to turn the 2x4's sideways. Attach them by screwing a narrow steel stud to the ceiling and wall, and placing the 2x4's inside of the steel stud.

Worked for me,

Bill
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:07 AM   #4
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It you need a hollow wall for wiring, pipes etc. Rip 2x4's into 1.5x1.5 or even 1x1. Or simply use 3/4 plywood for a wall.
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:36 AM   #5
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simplify and just use 3/4" plywood.

keep the wires or pipes in the bus side walls, and just build everything "European cabinet" style out of 3/4" plywood.

a series of boxes screwed together gets surprisingly strong.

a few builds have done metal frame and ply paneling. build with the material you are most comfortable with.
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:36 AM   #6
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If you don't have experience welding framework together, 3/4" plywood is extremely strong and totally fine. If you were building a sailboat, you'd construct all the guts out of that and fiberglass the stuff together to make a really strong composite.

Also consider that it doesn't need to be "full" panels of plywood - router out the center of the ply. Use kreg jigs or other joinery - it will be very strong.

I used steel frames instead of cabinet grade ply, because I am not skilled at wood working, the overall cost for me was cheaper to use steel (as compared to sanded cabinet grade ply)

The thing that really pushed me in favor of steel over ply was connecting the walls,cabinets,and other structural items to the bus. It made far more sense to have bolt-in flanges and hardpoints made from steel, and just have the rest made from metal as well.

A little more regarding cost: to construct a "composite" steel and wood frame, I would fab up a roughly 25"x78" rectangle with an angled top (to fit in the roof curve), and a couple mounting flanges that bolt to the bus body.

The linear inch cost of the steel in the volume I bought for the project meant that panel cost me approximately $25 in steel. When attaching a panel, I used a sheet of luan with a sheet of waterproof plastic that is sandwiched with FRP adhesive.

The back side of the wood is painted, and then the wood panel is screwed into the steel frame. The total cost of this sandwich is probably $60, but it is durable, strong, and waterproof. I suppose it could be done with simply a sheet of 3/4" ply that has been varnished, but this is the way I did it. Dimensionally, the steel lends itself to being bolted together erector-set style in any way I can think of, and it has proved to be incredibly solid when driving.

I've used 1/2" plywood for the cabinet faces. "in the future" I may re-do the cabinet faces again with 3/4" ply when I have more time and money and the current ones get worn/broken by the occupants.

The steel frame will last forever compared to the wood, though.


All the cabinetry in these photos is steel framed. The wood is just a replaceable skin.





Quote:
Originally Posted by turf View Post
simplify and just use 3/4" plywood.

keep the wires or pipes in the bus side walls, and just build everything "European cabinet" style out of 3/4" plywood.

a series of boxes screwed together gets surprisingly strong.

a few builds have done metal frame and ply paneling. build with the material you are most comfortable with.
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