Wow, what a week. I had to pretty much wait all week before I was able to put more time into this project. It sucked because I realized just how obsessed I am over this. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Oh, I should have done this instead. Oh, maybe if I laid it out this way instead, it would be a bit stronger. Oh, this was a bad approach. I second-guessed everything, and during the days and nights…yes, I actually lost sleep over this…I had torn it apart and put it back together a half-dozen other ways in my mind.

I drove myself crazy, but the good news is that I didn’t undo it all after all. In the end, I convinced myself that it would be just fine with the approach I’ve been taking. It may not be the best design, but that’s okay. I’m sure it’ll be strong enough to hold the weight of two sleeping adults when all is said and done.

No, I didn’t tear it apart and start over, but I did undo just a little bit. If you’ve read Part 2, you’ll notice the two support 2x4s closest to the front of the car. I’m sure that would have been good enough to continue building, but I thought I could do a little better without undoing too much. I found a couple perfectly sized chunks of 2×6 from a previous project and thought they would be just what I needed. After removing the old 2x4s, I put in the 2x6s, but instead of them being parallel to the sides of the car, I made them perpendicular. I also fastened the existing frame to the edges so that it rested on it rather than secured it to the inside edge. It seemed much stronger this way. While doing this, I also took the opportunity to wedge in a longer piece of 2×4, which would eventually become part of a system that will help support the very front piece, which I’ve yet to build. Anyway, in this picture, you can see the changes.

I replaced the two 2x4 legs nearer the front of the vehicle with 2x6s
I replaced the two 2×4 legs nearer the front of the vehicle with 2x6s

I’d get back to working on that part of it soon enough, but I switched gears and built out the sides making the middle section a little wider. I want to get as much possible sleeping space as I can. I’m a big dude. Part of these little “wings” don’t have a lot of support, but the front ends of them were able to rest on the longer piece of 2×4 that I had installed between the existing frame and the new 2×6 support legs, and that will help a lot.

Adding "wings" nearer the front to widen the frame for best use of space.
Adding “wings” nearer the front to widen the frame for best use of space.

I thought this was starting to look like something that might actually work and I was getting excited. Still, there was so much to be done. At this point, I got back to work on the little system for securing the front piece. By the way, that front piece was one of the things that kept me up at night. I couldn’t think of a solid design that would allow me to easily flip something over from the top, or up from underneath. The dimensions I had to work with just didn’t allow for it. To flip up something big enough from the top, I would have needed much more clearance. The ceiling was too low. I could have made it a bit smaller, but this whole thing demanded I claim as much space as I can. I had similar logic problems trying to design something that would flip up from underneath. I’ve convinced myself that I can make this platform almost the dimensions of a full-sized bed, but I didn’t have that figured out just yet.

Designing the "lip" that the front piece would rest on
Designing the “lip” that the front piece would rest on

The idea I came up was to make this sort of a lip on the front end. The front piece would basically be another rectangular section of frame, that would not be connected to the main section when not in use. Instead, it would be strapped down on top of it until I needed it. To set it up, it would be unlatched and then lifted forward, where it would rest on that lip. I’d figure out a system to latch the sides of both pieces together so they wouldn’t wiggle around, and then I’d install some legs underneath the very front edges of the free-standing front piece. I’ve yet to do that work, but I did clamp the front frame in place just to get an idea of how it would look. Look at all that space! Is that awesome, or what?

Visualizing the completed surface.
Visualizing the completed surface.

It’s coming together. Since the last entry, I’ve purchased six more lengths of 2×4 for $12.65. The total amount spent so far…at least from what I’ve used and documented here on this site, is $21.08. I have bought a few other things that I may or may not use at some point. I’ll add in those costs as I use them in the project. I’m excited about the progress, but I’m bummed that I might not have a lot of time to put in on it in the coming weeks. I’ll post more when I can.