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Old 04-10-2019, 09:41 PM   #1
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Default Warping of aluminum skins when mounted to box

Iím building a motorhome on a Freightliner M2 chassis. I have the living quarters all framed out and Iím ready to skin it. Reading through 3mís installation instructions for using the VHB tape has me a little nervous. It says not to attach the top or bottom so the panel can contract and expand without warping. Just would like some reassurance from someone else who has attached aluminum panels to their build with VHB tape. Did you take precautions so your panels didnít warp? Iím using .050 aluminum and plan on using no rivets or screws just VHB tape to hold it on.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:18 PM   #2
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Warping can be avoided by mangling the sheet with english wheel and bending the edges.


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Old 04-11-2019, 02:03 AM   #3
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I don’t think crowning every panel would be the best option for me. I need it flat when I’m done. I’m asking more about if other people have secured the top and bottom with VHB and also about VHB’ing it to the horizontal pieces like around window and cross braces. I’ll try to get in touch with a 3m tech on the phone today and see if they have any guidance.
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:08 PM   #4
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The VHB tape is only designed to have the vertical surfaces bonded. You need to "float" the top and bottom edge within some kind of molding. Once you have the molding in place you can seal the seam (at the molding)with the flexible caulk of your choosing. Also you should invest in the correct primer and make absolutely sure you have cleaned both sides properly.

You also need to develop a flat jig to rest the panel on before you bond it. Once you stick it, there is no getting it back off to straighten it.
Lastly you need to roll the seams with a roller. The tape is semi anaerobic and you have to squeeze the air out of the foam and put a certain amount of pressure on the tape.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:33 PM   #5
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Showhauler use VHB tape to skin their coaches, and has done so fo years. If you watch one of their videos they touch on the subject briefly.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:55 AM   #6
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Do you have room to store the whole thing inside? You would make life a lot easier if you finished the inside walls first. then skin the outside last. Many of the big names do it this way. I had to build mine outside so I know the headaches of doing the outside first.
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:49 PM   #7
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When we did ours, we attached the outside panels with tape all around and then I did Sikaflex around the inside to be double sure they didn't come off. After that we spray foamed and put up plywood. We haven't had any issue with 9.5' high panels that are exposed to direct southern sun. They probably move a bit with expansion and contraction. We didn't use VHB but a competitive tape. I mis-calculated and have a bunch left over for where the panels mount to the frame and the 1" overlap. Let me know if you want some. We should write a book, 101 uses for double sided tape! We also used it help attach the plywood since a lot of the internal walls captured the plywood with windows, cabinet and trim. It doesn't work so well with wood on the ceiling but was good enough to keep it from moving when we screwed it up and then covered the screws with trim. It might provide a bit of a thermal break.
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