Equipment Truck Ideas
We built about a half dozen trucks over the years for camera, lights and grip.
Until the last one they all ended up over-loaded. Delivery trucks hold too much
volume of movie equipment that is heavier than bread and donuts. Working in
dryer climates we removed most items out of their cases and made them accessible
from the outside with separate doors. Space was not wasted inside for access.
We always left the swinging back doors for miscellaneous stuff like dollies.
Our last design was copied from "Aggi" Agular who used roll-up doors on the
sides and rear swinging doors. Plywood, ladders and long pipe was stored in
individual compartments front to back in the middle accessible through the rear
doors. This space would have not been very accessible from the side roll-up
doors. We had a roll-up RV canopy on the side walk camera side. The roof stored
dolly track, scaffolds more pipe etc. Ready made containers such as milk crates
and open front plastic bins held a lot of smaller stuff. Drawers held bolts
and small items. We used plywood for many shelves and dividers with 1" x 1"
aluminum angle and 10-32 screws. Using only the needed thickness of plywood
saved weight. Boat resin covered wood areas were these was wear. Pipe racks
were bent metal.
Our last truck had a dropped swinging door compartment in the rear lower than
the back axle. It made loading dollies easier with no lift gate. We opted for
a smaller diesel engine and 10 MPG mileage. It was slow on hills, but did 65
on the flat. The next bigger engine got 6 MPG.
In wet climates roll up doors might not be desirable and more walk-in space
necessary. We had few dust problems. A small fan can slightly pressurize the
box and keep dust from coming in. To design a truck, make a miniature scale
model of each item and look at a lot of truck designs. We saw a converted horse
trailer in Wichita that looked good. 5th wheel trailer designs have many advantages;
no driveline that limits close-to-the-ground access, low cost and they can be
pulled by a big pick-up. I have also heard about converted 5th wheel beverage
Having easy access and a place for everything saves time. Height and length
are factors for getting in tight locations. Over-all weight is a consideration
for drivers license requirements. It's about 28,000 lb. in California for a
Creature comforts for drivers are important. We often sent the truck thousands
of miles. A lot of our stuff was non-standard and not available locally
Alarms, engine heaters for the cold, a small generator or battery pack are considerations.
Around LA generators are easy to get, but in Oregon we found that two 6500 watt
Honda's did almost every job. They were crystal controlled for HMI's and had
a decreased rating to about 5000-watt. A smaller 800-watt plant worked for tools
or one single FAY light.
A CB radio entertained the drivers and a company frequency FM radio was included
for caravaning. Some drivers traded off sleeping in the back. We always sent
two drivers on long drives.
Consider carefully if buying a truck will pay for itself considering insurance,
license, etc. Having shelves, carts, and easy access boxes might make renting
a standard truck a better deal. Today in LA there are a lot of grip trucks begging
© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.