Toyota Chinook Documentation

It started with a dream….and a bunch of Sketchup drawings. Chinook owners advise against modifying anything unless you intend to rip out everything.  These old RVs were made kind of poorly.  One thing leads to the next once you begin tearing into it. In my case I was focused on rebuilding the kitchen and the bed.
Chinook Kitchen CNC DesignThe kitchen would have propane, running water, and a fridge.  Also, expandable counter space.

Modular Hexagonal BenchThe bed would be a flexible thing, like the tread of a tank, or a bike chain.   It can roll up or down depending on the mood.  The small modular panels make it possible to use small scraps of fabric (cheap or free).  Its attached with staples to the back of each hexagon so you don’t need to employ a sewing machine.
IMAG0204I cut the components with my cnc machine.  You can see it coming together.  Now I would advise against using a 1/2″ plywood construction.  The weight adds up quickly.  This thing ended up using 2 sheets of ply.


Heres a couple details of various parts.  I scored a bunch of free mirror plexi, so I had to use it.

IMAG0281Here tis in the shop, replete with psychedelic spice rack.   The fridge on the lower left is designed to be extra green.  The thermo electric cooler (TEC) draws around 100 watts, so its pretty taxing to run off the batteries.  With good design I shouldn’t have to run it as often.  The opening for the fridge is pretty unique, allowing you open it slightly and retrieve what you need in a tight space.  The top access allows the cold air pocket to rest like water in bucket, not spilling out.

IMAG0801Here it is installed.  I matched the profile to the window shape.  Fits perfect. IMAG1083 copy

This is one of the few shots I have of the table leaf mechanism.  The drawer opens and has a track for a bearing that draws out a support armature.  This action releases the mirrored leaf which is stored vertically below.  You insert the leaf on top of the drawer.  You can see more in the CAD drawing at the top.

IMAG1300_1Here’s my spread.  On a tangent, I made a carved wood relief trip to cover up that nasty raw steel frame.  It provides a shallow hood for the LED strip lights that line the interior.
IMAG1238_1Here’s a detail of those carvings.
IMAG0936This is a bench / speaker box / containment for my electrical systems.

IMAG0940I harvested the speakers from the trash, ripping them from particle board boxes.  I had to rebuild the covers, so I thought “why cant this be a study of the primordial tit?”  I painted them pink and made a gold shield.
IMAG1077I made a tool holder for the lid…again harvesting these straps and buckles from a backpack that was in the trash.  I thought that a Makita 18v tool set would be useful around the car.  Drills, boomboxes, flashlights, etc can run of these batteries.  Buying disposable batteries is wasteful and expensive, so I plan around it.  In this enclosure you can see all my electric.  I chose to use a 125 amp hour VMAX battery off Amazon.  This is a deep cycle marine battery used for solar power, boats, rvs, etc.  The battery is charged by my alternator.  I dont have a charge controller to give me read outs on the load im drawing or the remaining charge.  All I can say is that its been sufficient.  Even without solar, it might be useful to buy a solar charge controller that has all these functions, along with an emergency cut off switch in case you leave the lights on.  Draining the battery all the way can destroy it…so I’m at risk right now.  The battery goes straight into a fuse box for all the appliances.  Im running a high quality 300 watt pure sine inverter, which is good for electronics.  It turns `12vdc into high quality 120vac power.   I could go on, but I will stop here.

IMAG1204Real cozy.  I thought Id have to revamp the feng shui, but the original chinook designers did a really good job with the layout.   I just rebuilt and enhanced the original.

IMAG1291Heres some good bad photography.  The LED strips in full force, illuminated kitchenette, with camp fire outside, high on a Colorado hill side.
IMAG1082And how could I forget the ceiling?  I wanted to work with an aperiodic tiling system.  Dodecagons, squares and hexagons converge on a single plane, sliced a million ways to make what appears to be unintelligible chaos with secret order.  I used more of that dumpster score mirror plexi.  I mixed it with quarter inch birch paneling so I wouldn’t loose the warm feel of wood.
IMAG1229I carved fixtures from some old wood.  I disassembled some LED car blinkers and soldered them in.  I love the corn cob shape and have used it in my art for a while.  These blinkers are two tone (cool white and amber ), so I can switch between business and pleasure.
IMAG1210Here’s a nice overall view of the assembly.   My friend Kitra sanded a hole through the fiberglass when we were ripping things to shreds.  Instead of fixing it this was the perfect impetus for installing a sun roof.
IMAG1213There’s always something good framed up in the sunroof…in this case, clouds.
IMAG1044The final step was installing these people that I know.
IMAG0986Now I’ve begun work on a ’78 Newport that my friend purchased.  We have the largest gathering of Chinooks on the eastern sea board.