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2003 Honda Element AWD EX 4AT "Galapagos Green Metallic"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love Fifth Element Camping's stuff but I've got to be honest -- can't afford it. I'm in the process of doing my own cabinet inspired by FEC's. Using photos and known dimensions (36" width), I was able to "reverse engineer" the face of the cabinet but not the sides.

Would anyone out there who has a FEC cabinet be kind enough to measure the height on both sides and the depth of each side? I estimated a 12" depth with 34" height for the side that faces the front of the vehicle (right) and 30.5" for the side that faces the rear (left).
 

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I guess the only way to get this site back to life is to start using it. I wanted Fifth Element cabinets too, but way out of my price range. On youtube there is one video in particular by AmyMakesStuff (I think) she includes CAD drawings of a cabinet/table she made for her E. I have downloaded the drawings and am in the process of modifying them to my liking. Many cabinet makers use CAD/CAM to build their cabinets. I might give that a try.
 

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2003 Honda Element AWD EX 4AT "Galapagos Green Metallic"
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey tjjoiner- have you had any luck or continued your project with a DIY cabinet? I would like to do the same.

Thanks!
Sorry, I'm just now seeing your reply. Check the link in my signature. Built the cabinet last year and use it to hold my cooking stuff, clothes, food... Stealth camped full time for 2 months after it was built. It's not on par with Fifth Element Camping since I don't have a CNC table but I will say that it functions just the same. I think it only cost me about $125 for the plywood, hinges, latches, polyurethane, screws, etc.
 

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Sorry, I'm just now seeing your reply. Check the link in my signature. Built the cabinet last year and use it to hold my cooking stuff, clothes, food... Stealth camped full time for 2 months after it was built. It's not on par with Fifth Element Camping since I don't have a CNC table but I will say that it functions just the same. I think it only cost me about $125 for the plywood, hinges, latches, polyurethane, screws, etc.
Hello! Are you able to share the plans on how you made that shelving unit? I too would love that since me and my girlfriend are putting a full size bed in the back and would love any space we can create.
 

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2003 Honda Element AWD EX 4AT "Galapagos Green Metallic"
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I won't lie -- I researched the Fifth Element Camping (I'll call them FEC from here on) cabinet and studied all of their photos HEAVILY. I used known dimensions of the FEC cabinet combined with my experience as a graphic designer to reverse engineer and figure out the unknown dimensions. From there, I made what I felt were improvements. Or rather I should say I made changes from FEC's design to better fit my own wants and needs. For instance, I removed the bottom drop-down cabinets so I could use that space to hold my folding mattress and solar batteries.

Anyway, enough rambling.

I did print a full-size paper template for this, however I threw it away once the cabinet was done. I figured I didn't need it anymore. Had I thought about it, I would have shared the knowledge and posted the file on EOC. But then I might have been looking at a lawsuit from FEC.

I'll try to remember to take measurements over the weekend and send them to you. The template and dimensions for the sides ended up not working and I had to cut and trim bit by bit until they fit. The face of the cabinet was easy but there was a LOT of trial and error for the sides.

Some tips:
  • Don't go cheap on the plywood. 3/4" birch ply is stronger and often lighter than cheaper pine or oak ply.
  • I bought expensive marine-grade latches because I wanted to shamelessly copy FEC as much as possible. You could get by with other (cheaper) kinds of latches.
  • If I were to build another, I would use piano hinges instead of the cheap, basic hinges on there now.
  • Be patient and take it slow.
 

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2004 Honda Element EX 261k+
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I won't lie -- I researched the Fifth Element Camping (I'll call them FEC from here on) cabinet and studied all of their photos HEAVILY. I used known dimensions of the FEC cabinet combined with my experience as a graphic designer to reverse engineer and figure out the unknown dimensions. From there, I made what I felt were improvements. Or rather I should say I made changes from FEC's design to better fit my own wants and needs. For instance, I removed the bottom drop-down cabinets so I could use that space to hold my folding mattress and solar batteries.

Anyway, enough rambling.

I did print a full-size paper template for this, however I threw it away once the cabinet was done. I figured I didn't need it anymore. Had I thought about it, I would have shared the knowledge and posted the file on EOC. But then I might have been looking at a lawsuit from FEC.

I'll try to remember to take measurements over the weekend and send them to you. The template and dimensions for the sides ended up not working and I had to cut and trim bit by bit until they fit. The face of the cabinet was easy but there was a LOT of trial and error for the sides.

Some tips:
  • Don't go cheap on the plywood. 3/4" birch ply is stronger and often lighter than cheaper pine or oak ply.
  • I bought expensive marine-grade latches because I wanted to shamelessly copy FEC as much as possible. You could get by with other (cheaper) kinds of latches.
  • If I were to build another, I would use piano hinges instead of the cheap, basic hinges on there now.
  • Be patient and take it slow.
Can you send me measurements too? Please!
 

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My wife and myself are hoping to do a US parks trip late summer (hopefully post-COVID.) We are in our 70's and I would love to build a cabinet to accompany our already built sleeping platform.

Would you share pics/dimensions of the cabinet you built? :sneaky:

Do you know of a way to take this conversation off-line?

thanks
 

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I won't lie -- I researched the Fifth Element Camping (I'll call them FEC from here on) cabinet and studied all of their photos HEAVILY. I used known dimensions of the FEC cabinet combined with my experience as a graphic designer to reverse engineer and figure out the unknown dimensions. From there, I made what I felt were improvements. Or rather I should say I made changes from FEC's design to better fit my own wants and needs. For instance, I removed the bottom drop-down cabinets so I could use that space to hold my folding mattress and solar batteries.

Anyway, enough rambling.

I did print a full-size paper template for this, however I threw it away once the cabinet was done. I figured I didn't need it anymore. Had I thought about it, I would have shared the knowledge and posted the file on EOC. But then I might have been looking at a lawsuit from FEC.

I'll try to remember to take measurements over the weekend and send them to you. The template and dimensions for the sides ended up not working and I had to cut and trim bit by bit until they fit. The face of the cabinet was easy but there was a LOT of trial and error for the sides.

Some tips:
  • Don't go cheap on the plywood. 3/4" birch ply is stronger and often lighter than cheaper pine or oak ply.
  • I bought expensive marine-grade latches because I wanted to shamelessly copy FEC as much as possible. You could get by with other (cheaper) kinds of latches.
  • If I were to build another, I would use piano hinges instead of the cheap, basic hinges on there now.
  • Be patient and take it slow.
This information would be very helpful.
 

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Consider being inspired by the FEC design, rather than trying to rip it off. Respect the work they鈥檝e put into it, and if you want to make your own version, go for it. Helping each other with practical matters and with innovation is great!
 

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2003 Honda Element AWD EX 4AT "Galapagos Green Metallic"
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Consider being inspired by the FEC design, rather than trying to rip it off. Respect the work they鈥檝e put into it, and if you want to make your own version, go for it. Helping each other with practical matters and with innovation is great!
Sorry guys. As @Bright Day said "helping each other with practical matters" is great but, as an artist, graphic designer, and someone who enjoys building things, I respect FEC too much to lay out the blueprints and facilitate the mass cloning of someone else's product. I explained how I acquired the overall measurements. The rest was trial and error with lots of fine tuning until it fit the way I wanted it to. It was primarily their method of mounting the cabinet that I was interested in way back in 2019 and I used FEC's cabinet as inspiration to make a version that fit my personal needs.
 
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