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Discussion Starter #1
Over the years, I've thought about building several projects that would be tube-chassis vehicles, but would have some sort of functional pickup beds. Now I'm thinking about this problem again because I'm designing a small enclosed trailer, which I want to overbuild without making stupid-heavy. Planning on building a tubular 'rollcage' and then using lightweight aluminum panels to enclose it. But I want to be able to walk on the roof. More specifically, I want to be able to PARTY on the roof without worrying about anyone falling through it.

The corrugated sheetmetal beds in pickup trucks are probably a pretty good starting point. What about other materials though? A long time ago, when I was working for a guy building super-touring racecars, we had super lightweight laminated composite honeycomb panels that were cut to fit between the rollcage tubes. They hardly weighed anything, and were intended to keep things from piercing into the cabin in a crash. Don't know what those panels were even called though. All I remember was that they were insanely expensive. What else is out there? Maybe I should think about cutting foam panels to fit in between the tubing and then covering the core in fiberglass?

What about the layout of the tubing? Traditional X pattern-type cross-bracing leaves big holes in the middle of the larger triangles.

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This type of cross-bracing just makes me gag, but it seems like the obvious answer. Is there some other kind of geometric pattern that I should be thinking about? I guess it's really just a simple strength-to-weight question. This is kinda like trying to figure out how to make the largest enclosure with the least amount of fencing materials...
 

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what about going simple - and using 1/8" aluminum (just for the roof)
 

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I'll see if I can dig it up, or maybe someone else knows the product...

There was an RV place making aluminum panels, they were very thin aluminum with a polymer type compound sandwitched between.

I stood on a 4x4' sheet in the middle and it only drooped about 1"...
 

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A fabricated structure would be your best bet. Something like 2 sheets of aluminum seperated by some bent up aluminum c-channel...a few mil. stich welds and plug welds and you are set.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sort of like a boxed sheetmetal upper/lower A-arm? Yeah, that's a good suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Keep running into this problem. Right now I'm thinking about how to build a new bed for this truck. Any ideas?
 

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We use stuff called dura sheet to make fenders out of for semis at work. Its two thin galvanized sheets with about 3/16 of plastic inbetween. We buy it from a company that makes enclosed trailers. Its pretty strong stuff. we mount air vibrators to it to shake off hundreds of pounds of mud that will stick to it.
 

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I used to build trailers with a 1" Styrofoam core with Aluminum sheet contact cemented to the Styrofoam. A 4x8 panel was strong enough to walk on the roofs of our trailers and weighed only A few pounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the suggestions, you've given me some good ideas and stuff to research.
 

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why u gota over think it.....

what ever bracing you end up with..........
weld in 1/4 in expended metal and cover with 20 gauge aluminum
 
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