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HOW TO MEASURE YOUR VAN: sizing up our Ford Transit van for a camper conversion

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The huge advantage of CNCing your campervan conversion is you can build it to fit your van exactly right.

But in order to do that, you need to have measurements which are exactly right.

We have the Ford Transit blueprint drawings and found a basic Sketch-Up of our van (links below), but what these lack are accurate internal measurements.

So the first thing we did the first weekend of owning our new second-hand Ford Transit was measure her up by hand.

 campervan_conversion_how_to_measure_ford_transit

How we measured our Ford Transit interior

Tools for the job: 

campervan_conversion_how_to_measure_ford_transit

    Step one - remove the paneling

    We removed all the ply panels in the van with our Ryobi drill so we could get all our own accurate internal measurements.

    We did this to find where the structural parts of the van are. We would also needed to have done this to insulate it.

    campervan_conversion_how_to_measure_ford_transit

    Step two - major dimensions

    We used the Leica Disto d11 and measuring tape to get the dimensions for:

    • Wheel arches
    • Height from all angles
    • Width from all angles
    • Doors
    • Windows
    • Etc

    We’d strongly recommend getting a Leica Disto d110 (or an alternative brand) as it saved us so much time instead of messing around with a measuring tape which we only used for fiddly bits like the wheel arches.

    Step three - trace the ribs

    As a bit of an experiment, we made sewing patterns (kind of) of the Ford Transit ribs at the front and back of the van. This was so Jason can CNC them. Hopefully they’ll just then slot perfectly next to the ribs and we can use those to drill into.

    This step was a little fiddly and took a fair bit of patience as we found the best way was to stick the kraft paper to the ribs with double-sided tape, then trace around the metal and trim. We kept doing this with a bit of trial and error until they were a perfect match.

    campervan_conversion_how_to_measure_ford_transit

    Step four - putting the measurements into CAD

    We put the measurements into CAD to make an accurate 3D model of the Ford Transit so Jason can design the interior layout and cabinetry.

    Here is a great video about how you can 3D model your own.

    TOP TIP: this step is really important as the last thing you want is to have to engineer solutions because your measurements weren’t right.

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