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Old 11-24-2011, 02:47 PM   #1
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Rolling Motel Room

Well, I've been hanging around here for about 5 or 6 years and never posted a conversion thread, and I found my camera while cleaning out a compartment so I thought I'd post a few pictures.
When I started this I was just shooting for simple, as the title said, a rolling motel room, and lo and behold, that's what I got.

Naturally, the camera batteries went dead after just a few, so I'll post more later after a trip to town.

Just a general overall shot -

Hard to get good shots of a bathroom, but here goes -

Homemade "granite" countertops (looks like it's time for new towels too )-

Shower stall is to the left of the toilet - no picture, looks just like a shower stall.

Actually, it's darned hard to get the angle for ANY piucture in a bus -
Here's the "stateroom" -

Pay no mind to the ceiling - it's still on the to do list, has been for 6 years or so, seems to get no closer to the top somehow.

Just another angle -

Another angle showing the electrical monitor panel, switches to the left of the meters are for the battery banks and the inverter.

The lower cabinet below the drawers hold bedclothes, when I get up in the morning I just slide the covers into the cabinet and snap the panel in place. Not so much because I'd too lazy to make the bunk up in the moning (which I am really ), but it's plenty dusty out here where I normally am parked and it keeps the covers from get full of dust.

SImple galley -

No sink, I had one, but when I went to plumb it I noticed that I had two sinks and they were within pretty much within arm's length of one another - so I thought about how much I actually use a kitchen sink, turns out not so much for the space it wastes - and took it out. Ditto for the stove, have a three burner gas stove, but the camp stove works just fine, so I never put it in. Just painted the camp stove with high temp black paint to match a little better than the green.
The cabinet to the left is a gen-u-wine ice box. I have a refrigerator, but one place I worked had free ice for the field crews, so I looked into how actual ice boxes are made, like on sailboats. Simple to build, it's made out of foam insulation and off the shelf plastic tote boxes for the inside compartments. It uses a bag (7 pounds) of ice a day in the summer (low hundreds out here every day during the summer and no air conditioning). About the only thing I refrigerate are eggs, dairy stuff and left overs. Lots cheaper than the electric frig.

Some space savers -

The cream and sugar retainer is a piece of 1/2" x 1/8" aluminum (handy stuff to have around) and the salt/pepper thing, including the metal rack, is from the 99 cent store and just screws to the shelf with a couple of cable clamps.
The pan is on a double coat hook. Doesn't bounce as much as you'd think on the road, doesn't make any noticable noise.

Cup hook for the hole in the handle and a little more aluminum strip -

Well, that's about it 'til I get new batteries ...

The Rolling Motel Room
Where DIY meets WTF
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Old 11-24-2011, 05:20 PM   #2
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

NICE! Very simple and open, and no cramped 2-foot wide passageways!

I'm playing mental ping-pong trying to balance a design including 1.) extra insulation, 2.) built-ins, and 3.) wide aisles.
I'm currently thinking a 3-foot shower/lav, 3-foot aisle, and cutting counter tops down to 20 inches.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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Old 11-24-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

Very nice. Great looking lights illuminating the rooms.
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Old 11-24-2011, 08:35 PM   #4
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

Nice "thinking outside the box" features. A few words of caution to others... when cutting down countertop, take into account of the depth of appliances (like cooktops/ranges) and sinks. Also aisle width... you need an aisle wide enough to get your appliances in/out. That is if you have to move your appliances down an aisle to get it out.
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
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Old 11-24-2011, 08:48 PM   #5
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

Thanks for the kind words.
I use the side door as the main door as well, just to get a little further from the 'shotgun shack' model. I think if I was gonna do one that way with a narrow aisle, and if I was short enough I'd take a lookl at a side aisle, like an old pullman car.

Redbear -
I'm currently thinking a 3-foot shower/lav, 3-foot aisle, and cutting counter tops down to 20 inches.
You hit my dimensions almost exactly at the galley - countertop 19 1/2", aisle 35", head wall just shy of 36".
In the stateroom, just to put the numbers to the picture - bunk 32", countertop on the right 16", aisle - whatever's left
I never measured them before that I can remember, just built it. Laid in the showerpan, gave it it's width and built the wall, set the cabinet in it's place and cut a countertop to fit and that was that. Never had a floorplan, just fit the constraints of the bus and the materials at hand.

Downsouth -=
I have a 2' passage and it gets annoying.
Yeah, I watched too many WWII submarine movies when I was a kid to enjoy that.

Thanks about the lights Accordian - took about a bazillion shots to get that to look right, with ambient light they kept coming out all fuzzy, with the flash it looked like a crime scene photo.

I put this up at night to save some heat (yup, I'm cheap - er - frugal ...) ...
Moving blanket, Harbor Freight about 8 bucks, nice and thick,

Snaps into the ceiling and wall with these
These snaps will go into a blind rivet perfectly - run a #8 sheet metal screw into the rivet to get the leftover mandrel outta the way, take it out and run in the snap.

I use a 'Buddy' propane heater set on low (4000 btu/hour) and this morning when I got up it was 72 on the heated side, 48 on the unheated side and 33 outside, so the blanket works pretty good.
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:19 PM   #6
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

Everything looks great! Love the openess of your design.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:27 PM   #7
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

REally like your spacious open layout!! We're just starting the whole process, and were intrigued by your icebox. How do you make one? Do you have a way to drain it, like a hole in the floor? And how do you wash your dishes without a sink?? (Just wondering about that!)
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:14 PM   #8
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

Easy one first - the sink -

I have a bathroom sink, i just left out the one in the galley - a sink's a sink. I put a kitchen sink faucet on it.

Hope I can explain the icebox OK -

Pictures first -

On the left is just what it looks like in use - ice chamber stacked on the food compartment with a coupla 2 litre bottles and a carton of 1/2 and 1/2 on the right. The ice chamber will actually hold 2 bags of ice.
The right photo shows the ice compartment removed.
The gray liner is a Rubbermaid storage box.
The ix2 collar around the top to the liner makes a smooth surface for the weatherstrip on the lid to land on.
All the space you see between the gray liner and the outer cabinet is filled with styrofoam. How much to have is gonna be the hard part and comes later.

On the left, the ice compartment, just a simple Sterlite box with lid, on the right is the ice compartment on stacked on the food compatment as they sit in the liner. The food compartment is a Rubbermaid file box with the lid removed.

Left side is the liner with the food compartment and the ice chamber removed, on the right is = oops looks like I got that one in there twice

AS to how much insulation you need/want and so forth - that was kind of a juggling act because normally you'd calculate the R value that you want based on the liner size, how much ice you want to use, how long you want the ice to last, and the temperature difference you want to maintain. Then build the icebox by wrapping insulation with that R value around the liner, then building a cabinet to hold it all.

To get how much R value you need is pretty simple (don't think you can do formulas here, so I'll just write this out) -
(liner area in sq. ft. x the temperature difference you want to maintain) / (melt rate of the ice x latent heat of melting ice)
For example a 1' square liner, you want to maintain a 50 temperature difference between the inside of the liner and the outside and you want to use 7 pounds (standard bag) of ice and have it last for 24 hours.
Surface area of liner = 6 sq. ft.
dT = 50 degrees
Melt rate = 7/24 = 0.3
Latent heat of ice = 144 btu per pound
So you'd need an R value wrapped around the liner of (6 x 50) / (0.3 x 144) or R-6.

Well I already had the outer cabinet and wanted to build the icebox inside it -
So you can kinda see the dilema - I don't know how big the liner should be 'til I calc how thick the insulation should be and I can't calc how thick the insulation should be until I know the liner size.

By a happy accident I ran across the Rubbermaid liner that someone had tossed at work and it wsa perfect for what I wnated, waterproof and durable - so I just calc'd an R value for it using 7 pounds of ice in 24 hours hours and got an R of 15 give or take. I checked the dimension to see how I did with the outer cabinet I had 5" in depth, 6" in length and 7 inches in height. Lo and behold plain old styrofoam has an R of 5 per inch, so I only needed and inch and a half around the liner - plenty of room for that all right.
I used enough foam on the bottom to bring the liner up about 2" short of the top of the outer cabinet. Used 1-1/2" of foam for the lid, glued a 1/2" thick piece of foam rubber onto that then glued the foam rubber to the inside of the outer cabinet lid. THe foam rubber gives the styrofoam lid some wiggle room so that it lands flat on the collar and keeps pressure on the foam to keep a good seal.

That's my way anyhow, here's a good link if you want build one the 'right' way -

As for the water - waste not, want not - I use it for cooking and coffee - I use a windshield washer pump to put it into a gallon jug. If you use an ice chamber with a decent lid it won't spill when on the road and you only have to get rid of the water when you add ice. ..

This got a bit windy I guess and probably left some stuff out. If you want any dimensions or anything let me know. I didn't make any plan for this or anything, I just built it.

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Old 11-27-2011, 02:09 PM   #9
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

A few more pictures -
Lounge - the couch was built to take 4 of those storage bins with shallow trays above - see it better in the next photo

When I first started this thing I lived about an hour and a half away and came out on weekends to work on it. I hated to waste all week doing nothing on the bus, as well as a half a Saturday in Home Depot, etc, rather than working, so I got these 4 storage things and threw them in the Jeep. During the week I'd figure out what I wanted to do on the weekend, shop for stuff, and then just throw it in the bins to keep it together. That way I could just breeze through Lowe's and pick up lumber or big things on my way out Friday night. When I got out here to work I just tossed the bins in the bus and I was ready to go.
When it came time to build the couch I had these perfectly good bins, so just built the couch to fit 'around' them. There was a little extra height so I made storage trays under the seat.

I tried two different ways to make these 'doors'. I tried velcro, which worked OK - you just pulled the whole panel off when you wanted to get to a bin. And the one you see, I just stapled the upper 'flap' of carpet to the front rail and used it for a hinge.
That way worked out better than the velcro.

On the right, just behind the drivers seat is a 'general' storage place. THe right side is a file cabinet I found, the panel on the left comes off for access and the top is upholstered with vinyl over 1/4" foam, is hinged and lifts for more access. Yes, that red thing is my entire 'toolbox' , except for a coupla power tools and no, that's not where the TV sits when in transit

Dining area - a twofer on the refrigerator. With an upholstered top it's also a seat.
The other seat is a rolling TV cart (WalMart special). Just added some padding and fabric to the top to make it a bench. Dooesn't roll when moving, because of the carpet, and it's handy if you have the urge to sit at the end of the table - just roll it around. Makes a handy roll-around footstool or whatever as well. And by a happy accident my cooler is a perfect fit underneath. It does double duty as well - little bit of extra storage space when I'm not using it as a cooler.

The thing under the table is a recent 'find' - it's a swamp cooler. Found it laying out here in the desert, has a squirrel cage blower - broken where it attached to the motor shaft - fixed it with some epoxy, ran it for about 4 hours - no problem, works great. Also have people that give me stuff - I think it's an excuse for them to clrean out their place actually, but that explains the barstool - wouldn't have bought that, but it's too good to throw away, so I made a bigger top for the side cabinet to give the stool some where to go.

Storage st the foot of the bunk -

These are a coupla Big Lots specials. I needed a coupla deeper drawers, I made a couple 'double' depth by knocking the bottom outta the one above and fastening the frames together, shown on the right photo. Long as you're not storing sand, lead shot or beads in them the space between the frames is no problem.
The panel above is just a decorative panel that covers holes left by a TV wall mount experiment gone horribly wrong.
The light on the soffit at the upper right of the left photo is made out of a Sterlite shoebox size container. Made some aluminum brackets for the back and it slides back and forth on the soffitt (more indecision - couldn't figger out where to mount it ) Another hat tip to cheap - I was in the grocery store and they had those curly light bulbs that they're trying to shove down our throats for a quarter a pop - couldn't walk past that, bought a dollars worth. Got home and realized I had no 120 volt lamps, so casting about found enough junk to make this one.

Why no, as a matter of fact those valences at the windows aren't done. Got the padding on, put 'em up to check the fit and putting the finish fabric on is slowly creeping up my to do list.
Seems the more pictures I take the longer the to-do list gets. I was pretty satisfied with the whole thing 'til I started taking pictures

I've read a few posts about 'crappy Walmart stuff' around here and I've found that the stuff is actually pretty good if you just look at it as a box of pre-cut parts. Assembled better than the instructions show and finishing it the way you want turns out a pretty good piece of furniture, with a lotta work saved.
Small drawer unit, cabinet painted, coupla coats of polyu on the drawer fronts and a top finished to suit -

Looks good, it's reasonably durable as long as you don't try to bang out horseshoes on the top or run into it while you're cruising around inside your bus on a Zamboni.
I added some rails on the back and bolted it to the wall like a kitchen cabinet.

One more quick one and I'm done - promise ...

Easy side table/footstool whatever. Refinished top of a broken TV tray and a $5 WalMart beach stool. Study, not hard to look at, and stashes easily (behind the cabinet in the right photo) when you're not using it. Coupla coats of polyu on the stool.

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Old 11-27-2011, 04:23 PM   #10
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Re: Rolling Motel Room

Wow, nice job!

You da man.

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