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Hot Rods Fifties Camper Made Out of 6061 Boeing Panels

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by runningiron, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. Hey Guys,
    Look what I found on craigslist. The previous owner told me the camper shell was built back in the fifties by a guy that worked for Boeing Aircraft. It is made out of 6061 aluminum, is riveted together, and has B-52 Bomber blueprints etched on the inside skin. The previous owner told me he found the etched blueprints after removing some wood paneling that had gotten wet. He told me he left it like that because it was too cool to coverup. I agree with him 100%. I bought it as I'm in the process of building a 1940 Chevy truck with WWII aircraft goodies. I have a B-17 Bomber .50 cal ring sight that I plan on using for a hood ornament. Recognition light assembly from a B-17. Tail lock assemblies, I'm going to adapt to inside door locks. The campershell is almost too tall for my pickup bed and would have to be cut down in height to be cab high, but thought it would look cool to have it on for weekend rod runs. What do you think?

    Attached Files:

  2. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,661


    Why in the world would Boeing put the prints on aluminum?
  3. You got me, that's why I put it out there. Maybe someone could enlighten me on that very question.
  4. Chebby belair
    Joined: Apr 17, 2006
    Posts: 828

    Chebby belair
    from Australia

    Something to do with print reproduction?
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  5. When we were growing up we rented a farm house and one of the barns had a bunch of metal sheets with newspaper pages on them, looked like that. it was part of the printing process i think.
  6. mr.smith
    Joined: Jul 1, 2008
    Posts: 203


    cool trailer
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
  7. Could've been blueprints left on a sheet of aluminum and the blueprints simply imprinted themselves on it, like a newspaper will, if you leave it wet and on a flat surface.

    Don't cut it down! Most early shells were taller than the cab of the truck they sat on. Very few back then were cab-height.

    That gun sight won't stay on overnight, if you park it outside.
  8. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,661


    Printing plates for offset printing (newspapers) are very thin. His camper panels are thick. Those panels were not used in offset printing.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2009
  9. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,559


    Those are called scribe coat prints. They do them like that for accuracy. Vellum tends to stretch while the aluminum is stable. It used to be done in the production of aircarft all the time.
  10. Silhouettes 57
    Joined: Dec 9, 2006
    Posts: 2,791

    Silhouettes 57

    Somebody that worked for Boeing will pop up here and fill us in on all of this just wait and see. This is some really cool stuff!
  11. RAY With
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,133

    RAY With

    That camper is way to cool. Consider it a great find!
  12. BangerMatt
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 465


    Yea, think . . "drill hole here".

    Also, this same method is used to make flat patterns for bent sheet metal parts such as, well pretty much everything in an airplane.
  13. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,428

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    as said a different way Hot rod 40 is on to the reason, scaled drawings can not be scaled on vellum after time and use, because its media is not stable, (dimensions when scaled will not be true, a thing an airplane definetly needs) The aluminum does shrink or expand if in different heat ranges or cold compaitively, but not enough to change the dimensions on the drawing as much. And im sure when they were using it to build the aircraft. it was a climate controlled environment where these prints were used.
    also these prints on aluminum are still here..(only used in a different and weird way)
    but the paper ones would look like crap in anything but the best preserved atmosphere

    I have some very important drawings done on plastic sheets, about 1/16th to an 1/8 th of an inch thick. For the very same reasons
  14. hotrod40coupe,
    Thanks, that makes perfect sense. I appreciate all the positive feedback and comments. I knew I was in the right crowd.
  15. evolvo
    Joined: May 18, 2009
    Posts: 144

    from Seattle

    Actually, offset printing plates CAN be read when etched onto the aluminum plate. This is known as the "positive", then through a series of rubber coated rollers that contact each other ink is applied and transferred from roller to roller until the last one, now "negative" comes into contact with the paper, transferring the image "negative" to the paper "positive". I just read thru the whole thread and didn't see any reference to how thin or thick the material on the trailer is. This process can be done either one sheet at a time "sheetfed" or on a continuous roll of paper "webfed". My dad was a "platemaker" in the litho trade after WWII till he retired in '72.
    I am unfamiliar with scribe coat prints, these could be them.
  16. Evolvo,
    The metal is about 1/16" thick.
  17. Just to add. I work with paper blueprints all day they look like ass pretty fast on the jobsite.

    That campers rules!

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