Customer Case Study: Micro-Caravan

We always appreciate it when our customers share their DIY stories with us. One of our customers, John Oliver, started his own project during lockdown! We love the hard work he put into it and the results are too good not to share.

Construction of a Micro-Caravan by John Oliver

During the Covid lockdown, I completed several small projects, before settling on the idea of building a micro-caravan, a project that took 6 months in 2021.

I had never built a caravan before, although two related hobbies have been classic car restoration and bicycle maintenance.

Where to start? When I started with blank piece of paper, I was sure about the caravan base (steel) and the framework for the caravan cabin (aluminium), but I knew virtually nothing about the materials for the many panels. Google duly presented ‘Cut Plastic Sheeting’, a versatile company that appeared to have the expertise that I lacked.

Without the help, products and expertise of ‘Cut Plastic Sheeting’, I would not have achieved the result that did – see photos.

Early on, I made several phone calls to ‘Cut Plastic Sheeting’ seeking advice. They sent samples, which helped a lot. There was much deliberation on my part as to the best materials and corresponding thicknesses to use for various purposes. My aim was that much of the strength of the lightweight micro-caravan was to derive from the panels. More telephone calls followed as I tried to envisage the structure I was trying to create and the corresponding panelling materials needed. Some panels needed to be strong and rigid; others needed to be strong and flexible; one panel needed to be transparent. Some panels needed resistance to ultra-violet light. All materials needed to be workable. I did make one major mistake in my choice, where I needed to replicate an order in a stiffer material. However, my learning curve was steep.

Overall, I incorporated 20 panels from ‘Cut Plastic Sheeting’ into my design. At the outset, it was important to be aware of the various maximum panel sizes of the various materials. Many of the measurements of the resulting micro-caravan were determined by these maximum panel sizes.

The most generally used material was Dibond, a very impressive aluminium composite material, used for all of the flat surfaces, where rigidity and strength were paramount.

Other materials used were ABS sheet, polypropylene, PVC and polycarbonate.

Many of the shapes needed in the Dibond were not simple rectangles; they needed to accommodate a door and windows. Also, the side panels needed to incorporate the quadrants of circles to provide some streamlining to the caravan. No way could I have cut any of the panels to the level of accuracy required. Thanks to the high level of accuracy achieved by ‘Cut Plastic Sheeting’ (by my reckoning – always to the millimetre), when assembling, I managed to get all of the panels to align as planned – albeit to my DIY tolerances. In places, the sealant and sealing tape is perhaps generous, but a ‘monsoon’ test confirmed that – thanks to the accuracy of the panels provided – I had achieved a waterproof structure. A ‘road’ test followed. The build has taken 6 months of hard, but rewarding work.

I strongly recommend ‘Cut Plastic Sheeting’ to anyone considering a similar project.

John Oliver

Princes Risborough

Get In Touch!

If you have recently undertaken a project using our cut to size sheet material, we would love to hear about it! Please send us any images or comments you have to!

Post By Cerys Furnival

Recent Posts