The living box

The housing module or living cell, represents the final phase of the entire project. Its construction and related set-up will, in my view, require quite a lot of time and not a few problems. Below I will try to be as clear as possible concerning some basic details.

Building from scratch what will become your home in the future rightly requires careful planning in this regard. The first point I wondered about was its size. As a vehicle designed for long stays inside, I preferred to design it with comfort in mind, so that we would not feel trapped. Hence came the choices that led me to the famous "long wheelbase" as well as the choice of the single cockpit. In addition, the total weight of the vehicle I mentioned was also a determining factor in the choice of the truck. Having said that, its construction must also take into account road traffic laws and consequently the limits of its final dimensions.

The frame

The skeleton of the housing module can be made of different materials. Firms specializing in the construction of these modules, prefer materials such as fiber and aluminum for reasons regarding weight, and of course, not least, for an aesthetic factor. My choice is instead aimed at a galvanized iron construction. There are several reasons for this, first of all, I wanted a strong and durable structure that would give me security, like a Rollbar from Rally cars, just to make a point. Not that aluminum is not strong, we would miss it, but iron is iron! Secondly, the skeleton of our airframe will be designed with a peculiarity uncommon on these vehicles. Let me explain; my design involves building the entire living cell in such a way that it can be unloaded. In the event that one day the truck becomes unusable for various reasons, it will be possible (with the proper technical arrangements) to physically unload it from the truck and eventually reposition it on a new vehicle, or, on 4 outriggers. We are clearly talking about extreme cases, but the possibility of being able to "unload the house from the vehicle" puts my mind at ease! The basic concept is easily comparable to the loading and unloading of a regular sea container, just so we understand each other.

This gives rise to a number of expedients that I had to take into account in the design phase. Going into the specifics, the skeleton will be built on the principles of sea containers, namely with ISO 1161 corner blocks, which serve as anchors in this case. You therefore understand the importance of an iron structure versus an aluminum one. On the aesthetic aspect it will certainly not turn out to be a plus point, since the structure will be quite square and thus lacking rounded corners and so on, but in the technical and practical aspect it will certainly have its advantages.

The shell

Continuing on its construction, we encounter on the way the choice of materials. There are a variety of them on the market and suitable for this type of construction and accordingly according to one's needs. After a long search I stopped at a product by the name Styrofoam, or rather, Styrofoam sandwich panels. The choice comes from its excellent insulating properties and at the same time not too heavy. There are various thicknesses and coatings, in the end, I opted for 7cm thick for walls and 10cm for roof and floor. These panels can be commissioned according to one's specifications and later cut to size. Being a fairly easy material to work with, it lends itself later to any cutting or modification without any particular difficulty. In addition to these reasons, the validity of the product lies in the fact that a large number of transport truck cold rooms also use these materials. So I trust!

Windows and cell/cab passage

The windows specifically, will be double-glazed, basically like the ones at home but with the difference in the opening system.

These windows offer excellent insulation both thermal and phonic at the same time. Last but not least, anti-intrusion. For a matter due to the thermal insulation of the airframe, it is good not to install too many windows.

As for the airframe/cabin passage, it has two main purposes. In case of emergency, being able to access the cockpit directly from the living module is advisable on any vehicle of this type. Secondarily, but not least, it turns out at the same time a security to separate the two environments, let me explain: the day will come when, in order to embark the truck on the ship you will have to hand over the keys to the attendant for loading, therefore, you will be happy to be able to do it in peace knowing that at least from the driver's cabin he will not be able to access your home. Important detail.

The technical principle of this transition is exactly the same system we find on ordinary trains between cars. This "bellows" and therefore flexible solution is adopted because of a simple principle of compensating for movements between the driver's cab and the airframe, since, a rigid connecting structure would not withstand such oscillations.

Set up (basic idea)

Now that we have built the house, all that remains is to equip and eventually furnish it. As I explained, the concept of "jettisoning" the airframe in extreme cases led me to the further idea of conceiving of it as self-sufficient, whether or not it is on a truck. This total independence from the vehicle makes it in effect a mobile home. Electricity, water, plumbing and heating, will all be independent and functioning without a truck. Interesting concept and in my view safe from a housing point of view. As for the technical details, we may as well leave them out for now.... Let's say that I remain available for any questions you want to ask me. For now I can tell you that studying the interior layout was and still is one of the most difficult parts. As such, I am sure that during the construction phase I will invariably have to make changes here and there. In addition to the aesthetic and practical aspect of the interior layout, its critical point that should not be underestimated is a proper distribution of the weights over its entire surface, so that when the work is finished the vehicle does not incur excessive longitudinal and/or lateral overloads.

"Minimum load" clearly means the 'minimum ground adhesion to which the front and rear axles must be subjected. These percentages ensure proper operation of the vehicle and its respective maneuverability. On the other hand, as for the "maximum axle load," it is best to consult the vehicle's vehicle license.

Some features:

Total absence of propane on board. We are not propane lovers and never will be. We would rather invest a little more on the electrical system, but be so free of propane cylinders. In fact, depending on propane can prove to be a very tedious issue in certain parts of the globe. It is well known that cylinders and their respective connectors, often have different diameters, systems or different threads, so it is virtually impossible to provide a solution for this. In addition to this, I consider it from the point of view of safety a disadvantage.

In the interior design I wanted to include an ordinary household washing machine. The latter will save us money by exempting us from paid laundries. Clearly, energy and water consumption have been calculated in the respective systems.

The second vehicle that will allow us absolute independence from the truck will be a 4x4 Quad. At first I considered the alternative of 2 motorcycles, but in the end I decided on a 4-wheeler. The choice lies in its versatility and cargo capacity. Its garage was designed inside the airframe and not outside. This is because I wanted to keep the vehicle protected from dirt, weather and not least from theft. Clearly, the ATV will also have to have some features in common with the truck, namely that it will not be a modern vehicle but rather an "old one." For him, too, a detailed list of spare parts and spare wheels will be devised!

A Stealth Truck

I am clearly joking, by Stealth I am not referring to the technology of the term but rather to its philosophy. Indeed, there are different theories on how to adorn, paint, and make one's vehicle attractive. We have chosen to adopt a Stealth philosophy so as not to be too flashy. Our goal is to remain as anonymous as possible and therefore devoid of garish colors, since, in some countries of the world it is better not to be too conspicuous! So, our vehicle will be devoid of immense stickers on the sides and the cockpit will be painted an unremarkable color. Let's say that the whole appearance of the vehicle will look boring and tasteless. Our aim is to remain as spartan as possible. Last but not least, a wrong choice of the "coloring" of the living module for example, can compromise its technical insulating properties, thus leading the airframe to poor reflection of the sun's rays. In addition to these factors, let us not forget that these vehicles are built to travel, which means that they will surely be subjected to scratches, blows, and weather of all kinds. It follows that those who care particularly about aesthetics rather than practicality Will have made the wrong choice.

As always I repeat, these are strictly personal considerations!