Custom Convertible Sofa Bed in a Camper Van

Custom Convertible Sofa Bed in a Camper Van

Having a custom convertible sofa bed is great for anyone who plans to spend a significant amount of time working, living, or hanging out in their van. The primary benefits to this design include: a more open space, views out all windows, comfortable and spacious seating, and comfortably fitting a queen size bed. Below we will discuss the design features, show 3D models, and provide an itemized list of parts for making the bed (separated into frame, storage, and cushions).

Itemized Parts List Excel Sheet

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Components

Building the convertible sofa bed involved four stages: frame, storage, cushions, and electrical. The electrical will be discussed in a later article.

 Click on the points to learn more about each component.

103 Hours

$1,744.59

Note: Below this point, the frame will be depicted using three shades (silver, grey, and black) to help differentiate between each section.

Design Features for a Convertible Sofa Bed

Many people add a platform bed in the back of their van to maximize storage space. However, because we work out of our van and knew we would be spending a lot of time inside it, we wanted to make the space was comfortable. So, we came up with a different sofa bed design.

The design features we wanted to incorporate include:

  • Open space — bed converts into a sofa
  • Views out all windows — sofa is located behind driver’s seat
  • Comfortable and spacious seating that reclines — quality foam cushion material and segmented into three parts
Fold Out Couch Reclining

The cushions can be reclined by pulling a 1/3 of the frame out further and the sofa can be converted into a bed.

  • Comfortable cushions for sleeping on — two different densities of foam for the right amount of firmness
  • Cushions that don’t separate throughout the night — cushion covers that zip together
  • Bed that is quick and easy to setup and put away — cushions can be folded such that they never need to be unzipped (except for transporting)
  • Bed that can be setup without opening any doors — width of bed is slightly smaller than the width of the van
  • Floor doesn’t need to be cleared to setup bed — frame segmented into three parts with support legs not being joined
  • Queen size bed — almost, -5″ in length
Futon in Bed-Mode With Supports

Left – Cabinet support for anchoring the fridge.  | Right – Vertical, movable post.

  • Leg supports that won’t wear the floor overtime — used ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW) as feet for the legs
  • Easy to clean cushion covers — easily removable with zippers and being divided into three segments
  • Storage underneath — compact frame allowing room for a built in drawer and long-term storage space
  • Access to all storage areas — hinges in frame allowing for the top of the frame to be easily lifted
Custom Convertible Sofa Bed Lift Frame Detailed

Detailed view of the frame from underneath.

Custom Convertible Sofa Bed Lift Frame

Top part of frame being lifted on hinges.

Frame

The frame consists of three movable parts, as well as, a stationary base (silver) that is anchored to the floor and wall. The top of the frame rotates on two hings, allowing access to the storage space underneath. The black section of the frame is bound between the bed slats and grey section of the frame (hard to see in the figure below) and moves in and out, forming the second 1/3 of the bed. The 3/4″ Euro Poplar sheet rotates on a piano hinge forming the third 1/3 of the bed. It rests on the section of cabinet anchoring the fridge to the van and a vertical leg.

 Click on the points to learn more about each part. | * The 1″ Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene is depicted incorrectly (as metal feet) in this model.

Extruded Aluminum

Most of the bed frame was built using extruded aluminum from 80/20 Inc. Not only is extruded aluminum easy to work with, but it is lightweight, very strong and easy to anchor to the van’s frame. 80/20 Inc. sells extruded aluminum at a reasonable price and provides an option to machine all of the parts for you, which will save you time.

Product Name Source Part # Specs Machining Qty Cost
3.16″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile 1 $2.68
16.5″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore x2 3 $30.75
17.313″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore x2, End Tap 3 $37.14
17.5″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile 1 $5.98
17.5″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore 1 $8.23
18.5″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore 1 $8.46
21″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile 3 $20.34
21″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore 1 $9.03
21″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore x4 3 $47.34
21″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile End Tap 1 $8.73
22″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile 2 $14.02
23″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile 2 $14.48
38″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile 1 $10.69
68.68″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile 1 $17.75
68.68″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore x4 1 $26.75
71″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore x4 1 $27.28
73″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore x4 1 $27.74
75″ Extruded Al (4 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1010 1.00”x1.00” T-Slotted Profile 2 $38.40
68.68″ Extruded Al (6 Open T-Slots) 80/20 Inc. 1020 1.00”x2.00” T-Slotted Profile Counterbore x2, End Tap 1 $37.04
Total $392.83

Joinery, Wood, Support Pieces, Etc.

The bed slats and bed platform were built from 3/4″ Euro Poplar to save weight. Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene was used as feet for the support legs to keep from damaging the floor.

Product Name Source Part # Specs Qty Cost
Short Double Anchor Assembly 80/20 Inc. 3090 10 Series 10-32, Zinc 15 $78.75
Push-In Fastener 80/20 Inc. 3272 10 Series, Plastic 3 $0.39
Bolt Assembly (w/ FBHSCS) 80/20 Inc. 3321 1/4-20x.5″, T-Nut, Steel, Zinc Plated 21 $10.50
Standard Anchor Fastener Assembly 80/20 Inc. 3363 10 Series 10-32, Zinc 11 $44.00
Bolt Assembly (w/ BHSCS) 80/20 Inc. 3393 1/4-20×0.5″, T-Nut, Steel, Zinc Plated 44 $17.60
Bolt Assembly (w/ BHSCS) 80/20 Inc. 3479 1/4-20×0.75″, T-Nut, Steel, Zinc Plated 2 $1.06
Roll-In T-Nut w/ Ball Spring 80/20 Inc. 3668 M6, Stainless-Steel 8 $20.40
Slide-In Economy T-Nut 80/20 Inc. 3675 1/4-20, Centered-Thread, Stainless Steel 50 $30.50
BHSCS 80/20 Inc. 3688 1/4-20×0.375″, Stainless-Steel 8 $2.32
Straight Flat Plate 80/20 Inc. 4118 10 Series 3 Hole, Anodize 1 $4.30
Gusseted Inside Corner Bracket 80/20 Inc. 4132 10 Series 2 Hole, Anodize 14 $55.30
Wide Gusseted Inside Corner Bracket 80/20 Inc. 4134 10 Series 4 Hole, Anodize 5 $28.25
90º Angled Squared Flat Plate 80/20 Inc. 4152 10 Series 7 Hole, Anodize 4 $30.60
21″ Standard Sliding Door Glide Profile 80/20 Inc. 6710 10 Series, Standard, UHMW 3 $45.54
2″ Angle Profile 80/20 Inc. 8212 1″x0.188″, Anodize 2 $5.42
Standard Stainless Steel Hinge 80/20 Inc. 12094 10 & 25 Series 4 Hole, Stainless Steel 2 $37.80
FHSCS 80/20 Inc. 17-6712 M6x12mm, Stainless-Steel 8 #3.20
End Cap w/ Push-In Fastener 80/20 Inc. 2015-plain 10 Series, ABS 7 $8.40
Hex Drive Flat Head Screw McMaster-Carr
92210A542
1/4-20×1″, Stainless Steel 50 $8.84
Spring-Loaded Ball Fastener McMaster-Carr 47065T226 1/4″-20×1″, Zinc-Plated Steel 24 $38.20
Aluminum Sheet McMaster-Carr 8975K599 1/4″x2-1/4″, Aluminum 2 $21.59
Tight Clearance Piano Hinge McMaster-Carr 11555A68 6’x3″x0.075″, Stainless Steel 1 $59.54
Phillips Flat Head Screws McMaster-Carr 90294A244 #10×5/8″, Stainless Steel 50 $7.77
3/4″ Euro Poplar Downes & Reader
Hardwood Co., Inc.
4’x8′ 0.65 $39.64
Wood Paste Wax Home Depot 203 SC Johnson Fine Wood Paste Wax, 1lb 1 6.47
1″ Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Amazon 12″x12″ 0.021 $1.13
Total $624.12

Storage

 Click on the points to learn more about each part. | Left – long term and electrical storage. | Located underneath the sofa. | Right – drawer for storing items.

Product Name Source Part # Specs Qty Cost
20″ Steel Drawer Slides McMaster-Carr 11435A26 Steel, 100lb load capacity 1 $21.63
Southco plastic pop-out knob Amazon M1-2A-13-5 Black 1 $12.63
1/4″ Euro Poplar Downes & Reader Hardwood Co., Inc. 0.074 $2.67
1/2″ Euro Poplar Downes & Reader Hardwood Co., Inc. 0.748 $32.61
1/2″ Red Oak Downes & Reader Hardwood Co., Inc. 0.258 $15.14
Total $84.61

Cushions

We chose to use three cushions, instead of one, so that they could be both a bed mattress and cushion with a back for the sofa. To join the cushions, three cushion covers were sewn and joined by zippers.

 Click on the points to learn more about each part.

 

Product Name Source Part # Specs Qty Cost
24″ Firm Foam Foam N’ More Inc. 75″x3″, Luxury-Firm High Density Custom Order 1 $54.71
18-13/16″ Firm Foam Foam N’ More Inc. 75″x3″, Luxury-Firm High Density Custom Order 1 $44.94
17-3/16″ Firm Foam Foam N’ More Inc. 75″x3″, Luxury-Firm High Density Custom Order 1 $42.99
24″ Premium Foam Foam N’ More Inc. 75″x1″, Luxury-Premium Medium High Density 1 $22.21
18-13/16″ Premium Foam Foam N’ More Inc. 75″x1″, Luxury-Premium Medium High Density 1 $19.21
17-3/16″ Premium Foam Foam N’ More Inc. 75″x1″, Luxury-Premium Medium High Density 1 $18.61
Grosgrain Polyester Binding Sailrite 105421 Black, 1″ 300 $55.51
Thread Nylon V-69 Sailrite 106137 UV Bonded Black 4oz 2 $33.41
Sunbrella Canvas Regatta Fabric Sailrite 5493-0000 54″ Upholstery Fabric 14 $300.10
#10 One Way Separating Marine Zipper Seattle Fabrics 72″, Black 2 $17.00
Vislon Metal Sliders Seattle Fabrics #5, Black, Single 3 $1.50
Vislon Zipper Tape Seattle Fabrics #5, Black 6 $12.00
Queen Size Mattress Cover Amazon B007BFKNUE Hypoallergenic, Waterproof, Vinyl Free 1 $21.95
Total $644.16
Custom Convertible Sofa Bed In Camper Van
2018-10-13T01:07:13+00:00

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