Scissor Steps Extreme

Aug 242017
 
scissor steps extreme

mobile tiny house truck one year laterLet me try to stick to the correct timeline though.

In the penultimate update on living in a tiny house with a large dog you saw this gigantic staircase floating mid-air...

Without doubt, this staircase was the most difficult object I've ever attempted to build - and luckily even successful in this case. Already while building the house ON the truck (not onto the truck, we'll get to this difference in a moment) I had noticed HOW HIGH UP the house would be! :shock:

Since that moment, and then for half a year, I was frequently contemplating how Miguel would get into and out of the house. I knew I could climb (if I have to, lol) but likewise I knew the dog wouldn't negotiate the altitude difference: 1.33m or 4.4ft!

  • The truckbed is 90cm or 3ft above ground
  • the house sits on top of the wooden planks (another 2in)
  • and then there's 38cm or 15in basement :mrgreen: for storage, batteries, and later a water tank hopefully
  • ...before we can step over the doorsill!

There was even more to tackle than this altitude difference:

  • Space is limited inside a tiny house, so the staircase has to be stored on the outside
  • But outside the truck is no space for such a big staircase
  • So, I wanted the staircase to fold into the bit of space that is accessable under the truckbed
  • And the staircase had to be easy & fast to use as we aren't stationary
  • Also, I wanted the staircase to be wider than usual as we have double "french doors"
  • Worst, the house protrudes 17cm or 6.7in beyond the truckbed on each side!
  • This excluded commercial stairs like these used on high-up RVs and motorhomes.

quick makeshift staircase
The initial quick makeshift staircase
made from scrap building material
Hence why it took me half a year :roll: to design and build a staircase that would replace the quick makeshift staircase that I had put together from scrap pieces left over from the housebuild, so that Miguel would be able to enter and exit the house from the start.

Finally, I had a plan how to proceed:

DIY scissor steps design idea

DIY scissor steps starting out

DIY scissor steps starting out DIY scissor steps starting out

DIY scissor steps starting out DIY scissor steps extreme finished

DIY scissor steps extremeSo there we are! :-)

The reason why the top step doesn't reach further into the space of the basement :mrgreen: of the house (below the door sill) is that under this truck's truckbed there is no more space, once the scissor steps are folded to be shoven under the truck. Else I would happily have either increased the distance between the steps further, or added a fifth step.

Regardless: Despite the occasional hesitation, Miguel freely negotiates this staircase. Unfortunately he often JUMPS up (more than WALKING up), which initially caused some rivets to break off every couple of weeks, and I had to repair it quickly:

DIY scissor steps - quick rivet repair

Then a lovely English camper neighbor - they do have a camper indeed, while we have a house ;-) - suggested to run a screw right through the precious rails (when pulled out, circled white) and since that time the entire staircase is very stable and rivets now rarely break.

I ended up shortening the bottom step scissors massively, to be able to park on (frequently) not level ground, and rather put some wedges underneath as needed (circled blue). Be aware that this staircase extends a massive 103cm or 3.4ft to the side, so I am not parking up close to anything. I am sometimes still amazed what an EXTREME staircase it is: from the right angle and in dim light it can look like an outworldly monstrosity. The entire thing is made of thick safe aluminum and weighs 12.4kg or 27lb. It can be entirely removed from the rails with just a click.

For anyone wanting or needing to build such monstrosity as well: Do not worry, even when a rivet breaks while you are on the step, you can't fall down. As the scissors have so many more connections, this kind of staircase still holds a man. Experience is everything. :mrgreen:

Price of materials and bending the steps and anti-slip rubber tops: about €120/$145 total.

Design: priceless.

Labor: free. Like here for MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG :roll:

Next mobile tiny house living update is here

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