This was the first van project we tackled. We didn’t have the van yet because we were waiting for the dealership to install one of the rear heater hoses. While waiting I designed two bunk beds based on the factory measurements from the Ford website. I used 1.25 inch square steel tubing with .065 wall thickness (16 gauge). I went with the thicker wall tube because it includes the rounded edges and the thicker wall provides a much higher weight capacity. I wanted to be sure that if someone was jumping up on to the bed they wouldn’t bend it.
I designed the corners with a 45 degree cut to avoid sharp corners that could hurt when entering and exiting the van through the rear doors.
Close up of the corner welds showing how the design makes rounded corners. Also important to note that when welding these corners be sure your heat and wire speed is set appropriately so the weld penetrates into the corner. I had to re-weld several sections after grinding the corners because my weld wasn’t deep enough on the first pass.
After creating the metal exterior I drew lines on the 3/8 plywood and then cut them out, sanded them and sealed them with polyacrylic.
After grinding the welds I started to attach the metal tabs that would hold the base plywood in place. I made the tabs out of 1 inch by 1/8 inch flat bar steel. To weld the tabs I first connected them to the plywood and then tacked them on while they were screwed to the plywood. This made it easier to line up the tabs with the plywood holes. But if I do this again I would cover the wood better with something to protect it from welding slag.
The final bed frame before applying the finishing paste wax and before bolting the plywood to the frame.
Sewing the webbing to hold up the beds when connected to the L-track on the ceiling and the L-track on the sides of the van.
On this trip we used a temporary cargo strap for a friend to feel more secure when sleeping in the bunk. Don’t want the little ones to fall out at night.
Used climbing carabiners to connect the bunk beds. This way the beds can be removed quickly depending on the adventure.