If you are a fan of vanlife, you’ve probably heard of 97 Customs. This Vernon, British Columbia-based company specializes in van conversions. It transforms vans, like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and the Ford Transit, into superb recreational vehicles!
For his most recent DIY project, 97 Customs’ founder, the friendly Calvin, used tinktube tubes and connectors to build a DIY swivel table with a design that is as ingenious as it is ergonomic!
A fully-functional table
The table was installed between the driver’s seat and the second row of seats on one of Calvin’s vans. Calvin attached it to the wall of the van, and made sure it could be moved to the right or left, and swivel on itself. The height is also adjustable for added convenience. Talk about making the most of small spaces!
It can be used to enjoy a good snack after long hours on the road, or to play cards on a rainy day. (Vanlifers know that it’s a good idea to always have a pack of cards handy to bide time during inclement weather). In addition to being very useful for the van’s passengers, the table is completely removable.
All you need to do is remove the top and the mount, an operation that takes only a few seconds and doesn’t require any tools -there are better things to do than to hunt for a screwdriver in the bottom of the toolbox, when vanlife is waiting!
A solid table
Calvin’s project was inspired by a commercial swivel table made of aluminum and offering the same functionality. For the base, he used black tinktube tubes and connectors, and for the tabletop, he used a 12.5 x 20 inch (5” x 8”) sheet of birch plywood for a classic, timeless look.
The table cost him much less to make than had he bought the unit in a store. It’s just as strong, thanks to the steel tubes and an angle bracket installed between the vertical and horizontal tubes. His DIY creation can support up to 20 kg (45 lbs), which is more than enough for a laptop and several cups of coffee without the fear of spilling everything.
Easy to assemble
It took very little time for Calvin to assemble the structure, as if he had been doing this all his life.
In fact, the only real problem arose while securing the table to the van’s wall. It seemed very solid when screwed to a wall in his workshop, but it lost stability when attached to the van.
Calvin then realized that the van’s wall wasn’t as perfectly straight as the one in his workshop, but slightly curved. Knowing this, he was able to find the best place in the van to securely attach his table. Problem solved!
Anyone can do it
Even though Calvin is a handyman, he says tinktube products are available to everyone. If you know how to use a tape measure, an Allen key and a pipe cutter, you can create all kinds of structures, much like you would with LEGO.
There are also several tutorials on tinktube’s website to assist you. During his project, Calvin watched a few videos to make sure the connectors were properly tightened on the tubes.
In short, Calvin liked the ease-of-use of the tubes and fittings and their versatility. We’re thrilled to see he made the most of the product, using it to build an entirely custom DYI table, designed to fit the exact space available in the van. We can’t wait to see what he’s going to build next!
- Before starting your project, make sure you have a good plan, all the parts and tools required, but keep an open mind. As tinktube products can be used in many ways, your project may evolve along the way. You might even want to design a new one!
- If, during assembly, you notice that another connector would be more suitable, don’t hesitate to get it. The end result will only be better!
Do you have a van conversion project in mind?
To help vanlifers in their van conversion ventures, we’ve prepared a guide where you’ll find useful information on all things van related!
Adapt this project with the tinkpad!
Draw your project with this free printable tool which includes an isometric grid and our best tips to get started.