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Element Microcamper v2.0

10639 Views 33 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  ElementFanatic
Hello all- I know a few of you followed my "Microcamper" thread a while back, and I'm proud to announce that a new, greatly improved Element Microcamper package is under development! Design stage is complete, and parts are arriving. Expected unveiling in two weeks! Stay tuned.
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That's good news. I like your spirit.
I have a 2009 EX and looking for ideas.
Nice !

For those that do not remember the original post of his, This is the thread!

Update, preview pics...

Well, I managed to suffer a setback while trying to get the new camper design together... I got all my metal and plastic from the supply store, removed the interior panels that were necessary for the install, got my custom parts made...

And then... Fell and fractured my ankle...

Ok, so I didn't just FALL... I was getting a bit of exercise and got a little competitive and overzealous on the basketball court and cross MYSELF up...

Boy, did I scream like a little girl... :oops:

ANYWAY... I made a new post to my blog, and decided to update the thread here as well. Before I was unable to walk, I picked up the custom rapid-prototyped parts from the fused deposition modeling machine in the lab. I've since painted it black with white letters, and installed the switches, outlets, and battery meter, but attached is a pic of it in its raw form.

I'm basically showing this to calm the masses that post/message me with "ZOMG WHEN R U GONNA BE DONE!? POST PICS ASAP!"... Also, I hope it gives you guys an idea of how seriously I'm taking this project and the professional fit and finish level I plan on giving it. ;-)

And yes, as soon as I can hobble down the stairs, I'll be cutting, riveting, forming, and gluing until I'm either done or my brain explodes.


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"I picked up the custom rapid-prototyped parts from the fused deposition modeling machine in the lab. "

Oh, I do that all the time....;-)

Sorry about the ankle. It HURTS, huh?
Ahh to be a mechanical engineering PhD student...:rolleyes:

I'm jealous :D

Rapid prototyping...

See, the secret is to take a fellowship position... that offers ridiculously long work hours, an insanely demanding nazi-like advisor, virtually no pay, forces you to be a professor for 5 classes a semester that you haven't seen the material for in 6 years...

You get to live in a shoddy apartment, dine on leftovers, bike to school when you have no gas, and still accumulate $4k/semester in addition to your $160k plus academic debt... ...even though they told you the fellowship "payed for all tuition and expenses"...

Oh, but yeah, THEN you get access to go ape**** crazy in the labs when no one is around. :p
With my overly fertile imagination, it sounds like an even trade to me :razz:

another approach is to get a job at a company that has one, then you get PAID (instead of accumulating debt) AND you can use it for stuff when you need :D
Yeah Metra has a few of those things. they make prototypes of all sorts of neat stuff with them. they have one that spits out green and one that spits out blue.
Hope you recover quick! GL and nice panel!
Update... some progress.

Hi guys,

I've just started getting around again, but in the meantime I was able to finish some of the interior components for the microcamper setup. Pictured below is my power panel, complete.

I hope to spend some more time tomorrow morning working on things- mostly laying out wiring and removing the trim panels in the back that will be replaced. As always, I'm doing this so it will be completely reversible, so it sometimes takes a little time to figure out how to go about doing that while keeping the mods looking slick.

(Sorry about the ratty iphone pic. I hope to get a proper camera soon.)

Top left- External charge enable (for when on shore power)
Middle left- Battery desulfator (keep deep cycle battery healthy)
Safety switch- Bus tie (ties main 12V bus with auxiliary bus)
Top Right- USB (for charging phones, etc with USB)
Bottom left- 120VAC External Power
Bottom right- 120VAC Inverter Power
Right- 12VDC Battery condition meter



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Got some more work done today...

I managed to spend a few hours down in the parking lot working on Ellie. I removed the rear trim panel that I'm replacing with the microcamper utilities, and began measuring/cutting/riveting the aluminum that will comprise the frame.

Attached is a photo. It had just started to get dark, and the iphone camera is virtually useless, but... It shows a little. I've photoshopped in some captions that will make virtually no sense to anyone until I make further progress. In any case, here it is and perhaps with a little imagination you can guess where I'm going...

And remember, the brackets you see that are actually attached to the trim panels are done so with 3M trim mounting tape. My rule is "no permanent modification" no matter how nutty the ideas get.


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I hope you are making prints for this setup. I know that someone will want to replicate it in the future.

As if you have nothing else to do, a wright up of the entire procedure would be helpful to anyone that wants to do the same thing. Trying to reconstruct this project from this thread would be quite a task. Not that your not doing a good job of explaining what's happening. You are! However, the information is somewhat vague for actual construction.

Nice looking work by the way!!


I do plan on making a comprehensive writeup of this build as soon as it's done. I imagine it will be quite lengthy, but I don't think it will be impossible to do. Perhaps it will end up in the how-to's here. If it's too much of a pain to host all the pics and a long writeup, I'll also put a copy of the process on my blog page.

Oh- as an added bonus, I'm borrowing a decent camera for the rest of the project. The diagrams and photos are going to improve today!

Thanks, everyone, for your continued interest!
Sorry for being so lazy...

I wanted to continue working on the microcamper setup, but as it would have it, I ran into a few hiccups this past week. My starter motor went bad, and since I have to remove the intake manifold and all that jazz, I decided to just take apart the whole front end (well, sorta)...

I'm replacing the manifold with an RBB off a TSX, and since I'm getting the injector body manifold and throttle body as part of the deal fo' free, I'll probably polish those guys up before I put them back on to replace the current RAA and stock TB. I'll post in the performance mods forum to ask if the hondata gasket is worth it, and if so, I'll wait a few days for it to arrive.

Also, I pulled the front bumper off too, thinking that I may just go ahead and install the fog light kit I picked up a while ago... Hell, while I'm at it, I might just pull off all the plastics and give them a spray.

In any case, sorry I've not posted the updated pics of the project. I just sorta got sidetracked and decided to fix the things that are "mission critical", i.e. keep the Element rolling...

Thanks for looking in, if anyone still is!
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It happens to all of us.

Pics of framework

Life gets in the way for some, but I try not to let it happen with such fanatical devotion to chopping up my vehicles and making them better/funner!!!

Anyhow, here's a few pics I snapped of the framework I've finished riveting together for the project. This will be covered in plastic paneling eventually. You can see a few features, including the blue cooler that doubles as a sink and the frame section that folds out (which will support a table top as I finish this up). I also threw in a shot of the element, looking in from behind, so that you can see how much space this project does (not) take up in the cargo area.


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Water tank completed

This afternoon I had some spare time and decided to install the water tank into the framework. Because I am attempting to minimize the space taken up by the microcamper utilities, I ended up with an interesting problem: To get the 5-6 gallons of water storage I wanted, I would have to fabricate a very strangely shaped tank.

Because I didn't have the plastic manufacturing that may have done the job at my disposal, I decided to take 4" diameter PVC and snake it through the usable space. Overall, I used 80 linear inches of 4" PVC, which should give me about 4.3 gallons. The additional 90degree bends and fittings store enough volume to get me into the 5.3-5.4 gallon range, which I deem acceptable.

The pictures below show the piping, which is yet to be supported, but will have support structure added to bear the weight of the water without stressing the pipe. The two reducing fittings terminate in a 2" cleanout plug, which I will use as a fill plug. The other end of the pipe is covered in a knockout plug that will be cut up in order to insert the pump, water out line, level sensor, and related wiring that comes out of the tank.


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