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Step #2.1 – Prepare to move. From truck to house

  • This topic has 43 replies, 18 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Ciro.
Dave Hakkens davehakkens

Step #2.1 – Prepare to move. From truck to house

02/06/2018 at 22:26

The plan is to find a piece of land, live there and build an offline community. To start of I need to move 2 things there, my house and our existing workspace. The workspace is for later, the house starts here. Inspired by @mattia-io living in his Van it seems like a good solution for this project. I can fully prepare it in the Netherlands and drive it onto the land. Boom ready. In this way I can fully focus on setting up infrastructure and building a proper house on arrival.

So I got into old army vans! They are build super decent and the engines are often in good shape since they are maintained very well and driven very little. Its crazy how many there are around, they come in huge batches. (also goes for old firemantrucks) I found a 1989 Mercedes 609D Ambulance from the German army. Its been outside for quite a while in the last years and rusty as hell, fun project for the summer! Convert it into a camper/house.  I’ll post the progress here. It will also be used to drive around and research existing communities in Europe this summer.

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03/06/2018 at 01:47

Sounds like a fun project and living in a van is something many people actually enjoy, however, when you add more than 1 person into the mix things start to get uncomfortable. I should not be speaking for others, but If I recall correctly you have a fiancée and having her move with you into a crammed van with all her stuff might not be as fun, unless you plan to buy her a separate van hahaha

03/06/2018 at 12:42

Hi just a 👍 to @davehakkens
what about the price of this palace?


If the fiancée is aware and share the idea, this will be a minimalist staff…
What’s about a whole family? So we could visit you in Costa Rica…

03/06/2018 at 19:25

@dbougas It would be fun having the whole family crammed in one of those vans and then start a farts challenge

03/06/2018 at 20:06

Living in a Van seems to be quite sustainable, you only use a tiny space to live and you can drive it close to work so you commute less everyday. But before buying a Van I was wondering what makes more sense:

1: Buy a newer Van which is more comfortable has stuff like airconditioning higher top speed, less noise but most importantly is more efficient (less gasoline)
2: Get an old abandon Van which is less efficient but already exists and doesn’t need to be produced saving on materials and energy to produce it. (the newer the model the sooner you replace the old materials)

Its hard to find proper research on this topic and the infrastructure of manufacturing cars is very complex, watch video “fuel of electric cars” to get an idea. But it basically boils down to this. >How much are you going to drive. < If you are going to drive a lot it makes more sense to get an efficient one, reducing fuel. If you park it somewhere and leave it there for a long time it makes sense to save materials and energy to produce it. But there should actually be a third option.

3: Convert an old Van to electric. This is just an most awesome option that should be done more. In this way you save all the resources from the old  Van (tires, glass, metalwork, chairs etc) but get the efficiency of our latest technologies.

However even the last option requires new resources/materials/lithium and only makes sense if you are going to drive it a lot. I’m going to do one tour around Europe and then park it at Project Kamp, not driving that much so an old Van seems to make more sense. However if i end up driving more often i’ll convert it to electric (challenging but fun 🙂

This was my thinking. Hope it makes sense, lets see. For now the green beauty below is what we are dealing with 💥

* @xxxolivierxxx, me and Lieke are not together anymore. good friends though. So plenty of space for one tall Dutch guy doing a farth challenge on his own.


03/06/2018 at 21:43

However even the last option requires new resources/materials/lithium and only makes sense if you are going to drive it a lot.

I’m guessing it won’t be too long before you can find those new resources at the dump as well, unfortunately.

04/06/2018 at 02:28

Don’t forget to give backpackers a ride whenever you can!

05/06/2018 at 21:55

Ok I note invitation in Costa Rica with whole family… For a fart challenge …

06/06/2018 at 09:55

Sounds like a plan! It sounds efficient for living in the summer and mobility but! What are you going to do when the seasons change? Once winter sets in it’s not going to be that efficient to live in a van without proper insulation.

Or you’ll have to go down south where the climate will be much drier and warmer during the winter like the south of Spain or Morocco.

Currently I’m designing a tiny house, either to rent out or to live in. The budget will be around 20.000,- euro’s. which is a bit more expensive and doesn’t have the mobility a van does. But it will be a properly insulated house, more space, more facilities like a kitchen, shower, office, toilet, Solar panels, electricity, Wood stove!

No removing rust and restoring old sheet metal, easy communication with counties since tiny houses are gaining in popularity. I can put in as much urban mined and reused materials as I can get my hands on and I won’t have to drag it everywhere I need to be.

I also thought of converting an old city bus into a house for 2+ people. But it is a lot harder to get planning permission from a county and neighbors in comparison to a tiny house which comply’s to most of any building regulation’s.


Here some screenshot’s of the bus idea. (drawn in sketchup) It’s an old DAF MB200, Another problem with this plan was insulation. It would cost me a lot of space and money to make this machine winter proof and still I’d have condensation problems all over the place since the windows were to thin and during construction I’d would have to avoid so many metal cold bridges which would also give me condensation problems.

All in all considering I’d like to live off grid and enjoy the possibility of mobility. The plug in play house is great if you arrive on the plot of land. You can start on infrastructure immediately.








06/06/2018 at 10:00

Here are some more bus screenshots 😉 Also including a roof to collect water and a washing machine will really add on the value of a plug and play instant parkable house. All the basic living facilities will be accounted for!

07/06/2018 at 18:40


09/06/2018 at 22:39

The plan for the Van: Strip out the unnecessary parts from the inside, remove the wall in the middle for that spacious villa feeling. And fix up all the rusty holes. Turns out there are a bit more of those than expected 😀

09/06/2018 at 22:43

Not stripping the dashboard though. That is already quite..minimalistic

10/06/2018 at 15:14

Can probably try a trailer … which would extend & expand the logistics. Van can be office or storage space (for water, electricity, communication …etc), while the trailer can be living spaces and probably allow you more space. Google Tiny House

10/06/2018 at 15:28

Location: May not be Netherlands … Cost of living is a Consideration. You might want to moved to 3rd World country in Asia.

Developments along Mekong River have frustrated communities (need to relocate) due to Dam Construction (Joint China Project). Government in affected countries are trying to quell people (lost of income, jobs, space, freedom, friends, cultures & traditional practices along river  …etc due to the relocation). Providing Opportunity in Recycling where landfills are limited, but increasing posed health problems are opportunities for Precious Plastic to Change Lives and Provide Future Directions for Locals and informed World-Wide Publicity.

3D Printing can Challenge Recycling Projects … Properties of Plastic, Meaning (Values & Principles of Co-existence … 3R’s Reduce, Reuse and Recycle; helps Human Function better through living and thinking about what we do … Example: After eating, recycle and not throw on the ground or bin) and Concept of Recycling Plastics can Change these external forces.

13/06/2018 at 23:19

Stripped the inside of the truck and removed unwanted stuff. Most of things came of easy and well sometimes..not. Hammer time. Not a big fan of glassfibre insulation. Dont really trust it, it says don’t touch with your hands but here you are sleeping right next to it. You guys have any thoughts? Anyway I also don’t want to waste it since its already there. So decided to keep it for now..

14/06/2018 at 09:31

Nasty stuff, but it is pretty rot and moisture proof. Most flexible insulation materials are itchy and dusty. Sheeps wool is the most natural way to go! (a bit expensive though)


It can hold a lot of moisture/condensation but I would not recommend it installing it directly onto the outer metal shell which will produce a lot of condensation buildup when it is warm inside and cold outside!



14/06/2018 at 09:58

Glasfiber or glasswool are very common heat/cold insulation materials and there’s nothing wrong with using them as long as you use it in between the interior and exterior layers of your van, it should be “sandwiched”. Your van has an external metal chasis, then there should be an internal glassfiber/glasswool cover, and finally you should upholster the inside of the van with fake leather, wood, or anything else you like (like recycled plastic sheets perhaps? 🙂   )

14/06/2018 at 12:48

Hello, Dave!

My name is Vladimir and I am from Moldova.

Inspired by the Precious Plastic community, together with some friends we’re almost ready to launch our own workshop, here in Moldova – so thank you for that!The reason I am writing is that here in Moldova we have a lot of beautiful and relatively cheap land which could be the home of ProjectKamp.

The land could easily be somewhere in nature but within a 30 minutes drive to the capital. Our climate is sweet tempered, our soil is rich and people are welcoming.Our country is situated on the border of EU, so we have different opportunities for cooperation and financing from EU programs, but also the cost of living is close to developing countries (around 100-150EUR per month for 1 person from village).We’ve got working NGOs that promote zero waste, sustainability, organic agriculture and such, and they’ve started an ecological “village” as a place for (co)working and educating- EcoVisio (run by a great German guy).

ProjectKamp could be located in their vecinity as there is a lot of land waiting to be used.There are quite a few NGOs working to make our country and the world better, but there are even more challenges and therefore, opportunities.

But, to be onest, I should warn you about several problems:

1) Not really effective Goverment
2) Corruption
3) Not really good infrastructure
4) Some things like Electro Engine can cost more than in your country (we bought 2 of them (3 Kwt and 2.2 Kwt) for 200$ for our PP machines).

But we have also an eco settlement (several families, developing permaculture and living on the land, which is given by goverment to them). And I don’t see the reason, why we can’t also get some lend for the Project Camp :))

If you are interested, we will be glad to assist you and work with you in finding a place for ProjectKamp.

All the best,

[email protected]
[email protected]

15/06/2018 at 23:04

Working on the outside of the van. Some very very very rusty areas. The roof was a disaster. Specially when you start digging in with a screwdriver to remove it you realise the areas around it are rusted as well. They don’t look like it yet, but underneath the paint its all rust. So removed all the rust, cleaned it up with a grinder and sketched out the surfaces to weld sheets on top

15/06/2018 at 23:10

I’m always proud when something is repaired and think we should show it more. So wanted to just weld a sheet on top of the rusted areas and don’t use putty or other chemical resin to smoothen everything up and hide the repair. Like a scar of dedication and love 🙂 This is my first time repairing a car and welding was trickier then i imagined. Very thin metal and still some paint and rusty surfaces here and there which kills the clean weld. Next time better cleaning dave! For now i’ll fix it up a bit with the grinder

20/06/2018 at 19:24

If you ever get to the electric transformation, count me in!!!


It has been a long delayed project, that I’m actually thinking on starting soon.

21/06/2018 at 23:44

All the rust and metal is cleaned up. Next step is a proper paint job.  I really wanted to do clean one since its my first ever car I painted myself. I mean thats needs to be decent right..  But not a big fan of taping things to avoid paint on it. I stripped of everything i could.  With a bit more effort disassembling  parts you get a cleaner paintjob and save masking tape. And in the end i believe you actually save time and frustration.

But probably the main thing to do properly is sanding.. always a pleasure 😓Coincidentally Eduardo and Andrea from Precious Plastic Shanghai dropped by in the workspace and asked to help out with…something…. didn’t take long to connect those dots. thanks guys! 🙏

22/06/2018 at 21:29

When is the painting plan?
Thanks for sharing

23/06/2018 at 22:11

Painting plan is here! Really dislike picking colors. A million different options out there. Too many choices for what my tiny brain can handle. Did a few test ate some chocolate to boost to moral and went for…green. I was a bit sceptical to paint it myself using a paintroller (not spraypaint), but honestly its super fun to do and actually quite easy as well. Only need to make sure its not warm and there are not too many dust particles flying around. Besides this super easy!. And obviously, left a mark for the next person.

23/06/2018 at 22:16

Looks so fresh again! 💥💥💥💥

24/06/2018 at 06:42

Is that hand painted? Looks too good to be true :O

27/06/2018 at 19:29

yes! Although I’m not sure whats the real definition of hand painted. I mean I did use a roller brush not my….hands..

27/06/2018 at 19:47

dude, no idea where you going but whilst at it, you will need storage capacities on the roof, the place where you want your inflatable boat, or just another tent for snoring girlfriend. on the side you also want large sun shades extension (make sure you can close all up so you have mosquito protection ). we had 2 sqm solar panels, enough to run a party for 48 hours 🙂

28/06/2018 at 23:37

I hear you @anne-barrier! Found an old rusty roofrack somewhere. I want one so i can sit on top of my roof 🙂 Plus its good to mount a solar panel and move big stuff around,  Fixed it up this rusty old beast, welded the open holes and repainted. Installing it on the roof turned out to be quite a challenge, these things are heavy! But with some creative thinking (binding straps around bushes on our workspace roof to lift) I managed to get it up there

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