Interview with Juan, who tells us how he built his own mini rolling stock (teardrop)
My name is Juan Tomás Arnau, I am 56 years old, I am from San Miguel de Tucumán (Argentina), a Civil Engineer by profession and I always liked crafts, (carpentry and blacksmithing) which is why through the years I was putting together a fairly complete workshop with woodworking machines and tools and blacksmithing.
– How did the idea of making the mini-rocket come about?
I have a great friend, Benjamin, with whom (when I can) I share some weekend outings, preferably mountains since we both have 4 × 4 trucks and we agree with that type of outing.
Searching the internet for camping items, about a year ago I came across this type of minirodante, also known as “teardrop” or “teardrop trailer”.
I have to confess that I never had a mini-rover closer than the ones I built myself since I made one for Benjamin and when I finished it I started with mine, both are of somewhat different characteristics, so on this occasion I wanted to tell details of the one I made for myself.
– Where did you get help in the beginning? Things like blueprints or manuals.
All the ideas came from the internet, not in the form of plans, but by viewing images, materials they used, construction details, etc., always googling “teardrop trailer” or “teardrop camper”.
The droplet shape was the one I liked the most of all the ones I saw so I adopted it, I also paid a lot of attention to the details of the tailgate.
On this website they show in detail the construction of a cute minirodante.
Here are several mini-rollers for sale where you can get ideas from the outer form.
This is a sequence of photos of a minirode model.
Youtube video with many models of mini-rollers.
RODANTEANDO forum, in the Mechanics and Maintenance part there is the Teardrops mini-forum with many people who tell about their experience and provide construction details etc.
Page with plans and photos of the construction of a fantastic teardrop.
Window and door manufacturer website.
Page with photos of the construction of a minirodante.
Page with some ideas of shapes and designs.
Forum in English with the story of the construction of a fantastic teardrop.
– What are the basic characteristics of your minirodante?
The total weight of the mini-wheel is approximately 480 kg without any additional load.
In the back it has three compartments under the kitchen counter, on the left side there are three drawers arranged one on top of the other with a total width of 40 cm and heights of 21 cm, 12 cm and 8 cm from the bottom up respectively, on the side On the right is a tray (also 40 cm wide) that moves on telescopic drawer guides in which a conservator is placed. In the central part, there is a space where I put the battery, the battery charger and a 30 cm by 40 cm grill, leaving there a generous space to carry what might be needed.
35 cm above the kitchen counter I put a shelf to place a grocer or something and to carry coffee, sugar, etc.
In the bedroom, I put a single quite generous 1.42 meter wide by 56 cm deep shelf.
– During construction, what were the difficulties you encountered?
The biggest difficulties were not of a constructive type, but were in the definition of the form, structure, construction details, above all to make this adapt to the possibilities and tools available to it and not find things impossible to solve by halfway.
Obviously, a good initial project with clear ideas about all the details greatly facilitates the construction process and the time required for it.
– Can you make a rough estimate of how long the construction took you and with how many people did you build it?
The construction took approximately 3 months of work almost every afternoon and some full weekends, we mainly worked 2 people, my nephew Bruno, with whom we shared many hours in the workshop and for whom a huge thanks go, since without his invaluable help and permanent willingness would have been impossible to carry out this project, this always cleared up and sometimes after long hours of work on other things.
– What was the approximate investment in the materials?
I estimate that I must have spent between $ 20,000 and $ 25,000 (Argentine pesos, at the end of 2013).
– Did you have previous knowledge of construction, materials, welding, etc. or did you learn on the go?
I have previous knowledge of construction of elements of woodwork, iron, all kinds of blacksmith work and I have a workshop with tools that I started to assemble approximately 40 years ago since I always liked these jobs as a hobby.
– What advice would you give to those people who want to start a project like yours and have little experience on these issues?
From what my experience dictates, I would tell you that with basic knowledge and common sense you can do many things, no one is born knowing that those things that are a little complicated for us can be consulted and thus carried out. The Internet is a wonderful tool that practically all of us have at our fingertips, an inexhaustible source of information, and for those who know little English there are translators who make things easier for us.
In other words, if there is the will to do something (mini-wheel or anything else), we look for the simplest way, the one that best suits our possibilities and get to work.
– Where did you premiere it and how did the minirodante behave?
My first outing was to spend the night at the “Río Grande” campsite in Tucumán, approximately 60 km from my house, the experience was very good and the mini-rider behaved wonderfully not only at the campsite but also on the route.
– What things of the design, after testing it, would you do differently in the mini-wheel if you had to start again?
The truth that does not require major changes, more than the placement of a pair of coat racks inside.