Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Designing a bunkbed for a caravan

  1. Oct 29, 2006 #1
    I have been given a project to design a bunk bed for a caravan. This must in some way be stored when not in use against the wall and fold out over the permanent lower bunk or could perhaps be integrated into the lower bunk as a sandwich design and could be moved up and fixed into position when in use.

    I was wondering if someone could throw some general ideas my way regarding the mechanisms i could use. I have sketched 2 rough ideas and i could scan then and send them via e-mail if someone could give me a bit of help with them. Or give me a link to some eng drawings of folding/sliding mechanisms etc.

    My first idea involves a bunk folding from a position fixed to the back wall and the legs could fold down and lock into place over a permanent lower bed, i need to be specific on the mechanisms to use now - advice would be much appreciated. Also my second idea involves a sandwich design where the user pulls the bed up on sliders fixed to the back wall and it locks into position....

    Thankyou very much..
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The sandwich design sounds interesting. It could have interesting applications, since the bottom bunk does not have to be at any particular height, and the top bunk in the down/sandwich position could be at a good seat height for use as a sofa. Alternately (and this is what I would probably design) you could use the lower bunk as the seat of a couch/love-seat, and the upper bunk as the back cushion of that seating, until it is swung up into position as a bunk. That way it would provide seating for several people (assuming you have company) in the daytime and sleeping quarters for two at night. This has the advantage of leaving more room under the lower bunk (for storage) and gives some utility to the upper bunk when it is not needed for sleeping.
  4. Oct 29, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I like Turbo's idea. As one who likes to absolutely maximize storage space, I would further recommend that you make the upper bunk/seat back hollow with the cushion hinged to the rest so you can stash stuff in it (stuff that doesn't mind being reoriented repeatedly, like towels).
  5. Oct 29, 2006 #4
    You could have the bunks on rotating spindles and have them spin around and the lower drop to the floor and the top go to the ceiling/roof. This would of course be combined with a pulley system which makes the top one move up as the bottom one is pushed down, possibly motorised with an air-raid siren sound and a red flashing light.

    I would then have a leather rotating arm chair, with a button that you push to activate it.

    You could have it stop half way for a table (on the reverse side) or a secret gambling/casino table.

    This design is similar to some boat/yacht tables, which slide along poles for stowing (except the siren Dr Evil bit...).
  6. Oct 29, 2006 #5
    The backrest/top bunk idea sounds interesting but if it simply folded up from a back rest position it would leave too little space between the top and bottom bunks......
  7. Oct 29, 2006 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Think. What is the width of the bunk? If it is 30" in width, it will leave a space of 30" (less the frame thickness) of gap between the two. If you want more space between them, instead of hinging the top bunk to the wall, you could attach it to arms that would pivot up, leaving it higher. This introduces possible design problems because such a design would be more difficult (or more complicated) to secure so that the top bunk does not collapse during use. A simple modification would be to make the top bunk wider than the bottom, so that when hinged upward, it would be higher up. You could put a couple of kids up there that way without crowding them.
  8. Oct 30, 2006 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    That's exactly what we did with the van my familly used to travel around in. The seats in back were long benches along the walls with backs as tall as the bench was deep. The upper bunk did not need legs, because we put hooks in the cieling and hooked the seat-belts into them.

    Even that factor for the thickness of the frame turns out to be untrue, if the seatback is hinged at the top by the frame. The hieght of the top bunk is determined entirely by the location of the hinges on which it swings up.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2006
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook