I haven't seen anyone build a bed frame quite like this one! I like that it gives me access to storage underneath and feels super sturdy.
Total Cost: $
Total Time (hrs):
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After doing extensive research on van beds, I knew I did not want a bed/dinette situation in mine. Everyone I talked to said they never used the dinette because it was annoying to need to change the bed around every day in a small space. Additionally, I knew I needed the storage underneath the bed to house my extensive gear collection.
Though I did not want to create a modular system in the van, I did like the idea of having a couch in my van. My back doors fold all the way to the side, so being able to sit on a couch and face outward to the word while working sounded appealing, and being able to angle the couch inwards towards the van also sounded like a good idea.
I noticed in my friend's van that accessing gear that was underneath his bed was difficult, and could only be done from the outside. I decided to also address this issue with my design.
I first cut down two lengths of 15-series aluminum extrusion to the width of bed I needed (full size). The angle brackets are what mount to the half profiles attached to the van wall.
Here's what the extrusions looks like attached to the side rails. This created a stable support to mount the rest of the bed to.
I then created two halves of the bed, so that I could fold the mattress "like a hot-dog"
I cut out plywood to fit on top, and mounted it together. I drilled holes through the plywood to allow for airflow through the mattress and minimize mold risk.
Here's what the two sides look like together. You can see these have little angle corner brackets which I orginally put on the bed frame, and later moved directly onto the van frame.
Here is what the bed looks like mounted in the van. It fits just right in terms of having enough clearance on the side walls when folded up. I bought the pivots and spring struts from McMaster which is what allows the pivoting.
After install, I'm sure there has to be some better pivot than the one I had selected. If you secure the screws on it, it is so tight it barely wants to pivot at all. The spring struts are also juuust good enough to hold up the weight of the bed frame + mattress on it, but I think I can reposition them to do better. I believe each is rated to 90lbs holding force.
Here's what it looks like folded inwards with mattress on it.
Yeeeees... Though after several months of use this design has proved to be both practical and sturdy, I am going to redo the bed to mount it directly onto the electrical and plumbing boxes. This will allow me to save a bunch of material (4x 55" lengths of extrusion...) and be net sturdier. I also learned after living in it for a month that while the bed length is just perfect for me, for my boyfriend it is annoyingly too small. Once I get a counter in the van, I have some ideas of how to create a pull out in it in order to expand the bed and sleep lengthwise instead.
The ability to raise either side of the bed has been useful in being able to access stuff underneath, especially when I needed to do some emergency repairs on my electrical system. The gas springs are not quite strong enough to support the full weight of me leaning back and using it as a couch, but I think I may be able to reposition them later in order to provider better holding power.
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