Custom Camper van interiors
The goal was to come up with a new style of interior made from fibreglass for the classic VW camper van. Fibreglass is durable, lightweight, easy to clean, resistant to chemicals and mouldable to just about any form, this makes it an ideal material to for the furniture and is far better suited and longer lasting than the composite panels traditionally used. All work has been carried out in-house with the exception of spray painting and stitching the upholstery.
To begin with the van was completely stripped of its interior to give a blank canvas to work with, then work began…
The first step of developing the living space was to figure out the seating arrangement, an L-Shaped seat was opted for and work began. A full size mock-up was built inside the van to get a feel for the shape and size, this would eventually become the plug for creating the seat mould. The seat was designed to maximise storage space within the van, accommodate infills to make up the bed and house LED strip lighting around the floor. Recesses were also created in the back of the seat plug to enable the use of the original seat belt mounts, this allowed for the use of original seat belts in the rear when required and also allowed the lap belt to be stored out of sight when not required.
Buddy Seat/Cool Box
Next came the buddy seat, this was designed around having the option of a marine quality electric griddle or a coolbox, we eventually opted for the coolbox for this van. Like the L-Shaped seat, the buddy seat also was developed with storage, lighting and bed in mind. The final product would become a fully insulated cold sink with a drain leading below the van, this makes it easy to clean and ideal for cooling your beverages or using as a bait box for your weekends away.
The side panels
Once we were happy with the furniture arrangement we turned our attention to the panels. After trialing a couple of different readily available panels, none of which we were happy with the fitment, we decided to turn our attention to moulding our own and set to make GRP patterns directly from the van.
The patterns were then mounted on a base board, filled, fared, flanged and painted and moulds were taken, this ensured a perfect fit of the final product.
One thing required when heading away in your camper is storage, with plenty of this already available in the seats we decided to add even more and came up with the idea of a lockable backbox. Not only would this allow you to store much more out of sight but would also be a solid foundation for the backlit backrest and a nice feature to customize your van, we opted for the VW logo with winged stripes but left the mould a blank canvas for just about any design you desire.
With the design style and fitment of the furniture complete, the plugs were mounted filled, fared and painted in order to Prepare for mould-making.
Mould design is crucial for producing a quality product with minimal repair works. Flange locations were carefully selected to ensure there are no visible joints in direct view on the final product. This resulted in a 7 piece mould for the L-Shaped seat frame and a 4 piece mould for the buddy seat frame.
Laying the foundations
A GRP interior wouldn’t be complete without a GRP floor so the next step was to make one.
Starting with the engine bay, the floor panels were layed-up and fitted, then design work began.
The detail on the engine bay panels was made by moulding gel-coat into a textured non-slip pattern and handcrafted before being bonded down to the floor. The main floor was masked to follow the contours of the furniture and painted in a durable non-slip paint
The living Space
With the furniture mouldings complete and trimmed we carried out a trial fit-up and began working on mounting points, it was decided to bolt rather than bond, this allows for easy maintenance if required.
Storage liners were fabricated to finish the inside of the seating and rear box and recessed boxes within the liners fabricated and placed for housing the consumer unit and lighting and power arrangements, Lids are fitted with constant torque hinges to eliminate the need for gas struts, this allows maximum use of the available storage space.
Aluminium conduits with light diffusers were formed to the shape of the seat bottoms and backrests and place in the moulded rebates in the product. RGB LED Lighting strips were then run and separated by 4 circuits, the seat backrest, behind cab backrests, under-seat lighting and walkway lighting; this enables each individual circuit to change colour, dim, or be switched on and off or all to be operated simultaneously by a wireless remote that is stored in the seat.
A fully insulated Cool box within the buddy seat illuminates on opening and USB 3.0 and USB chargers are built into the L-Shaped seat and the passenger seat side, stow-able map lights built into the backrest and 230v sockets in the drivers seat side and L-Shaped seat.
The table is made from GRP with a teak inlay and a chessboard hand routed into it and poured with a blue epoxy border separating the chessboard squares and finished with a clear coat epoxy pour to give depth.
The leg is a removable marine grade telescopic leg that can be stored away inside the seat storage during travel. The table drops to seat level and acts as part of one of three infills that make up the 1.4m wide bed, wider than a standard double.
Setting up the bed is simple, simply loosen the table leg and drop the table into the locating ledge built into the seat and place the two infills to fill the gap. Cushions to make up the bed stow neatly into the custom made GRP headliner keeping other storage areas clear. The backrests behind the driver and passenger seat are easily removable if that little bit more leg room is required.
Something often overlooked in a build is the cab, with nothing much available on the market we decided to look at what could be done to tie in the works done in the living space.
The first step was to come up with a design, as with the living area, plugs were built in position to ensure a perfect fit. Bare GRP Patterns were made for the kick plates and Hand Brake, Centre Column and Under Dash covers plugged, flanged and painted before moulding.
The Dasboard, Gauge Bezel, Vents and Grab Rail were removed and painted with a ‘Soft Touch’ paint and Under dash gloss panels and textured kick plates fabricated from GRP. Door cards made from Fibreglass with a Blue Gelcoat finish, the upper section painted with White soft Touch paint and finished off with Stainless Steel trim.
For more information regarding our services or if you have a project of your own you would like to discuss please contact us