Sink Build Notes
Things you will need:
½ sheet of plywood.
2 Reliance Products Aqua-Pak 2.5 Gal. Plastic Water Container
Alegacy Steam Table Pan, size “Half”, 25 gauge
1 Lasco -Sink Drain MPN – 03-4571
12V DC mini Submersible Water Pump (for the sink tank)
Switch for the pump
12V Portable Submersible Water Pump 840L/H (for filling the sink tank from another water container. Not necessary, but a big help.)
Paint or wood finish.
2 each 17” long aluminum bar 1” x 1//4”
¼” thick HDPE sheet 15 5/8” x 12 ½”
Use ½” plywood. We like the lightweight Sande Ply from Home Depot. Note however that the plans assume ½” wide wood, and materials like Sande Ply are slightly thinner. Adjust the end board’s width as necessary to fit the width of your wood (the width of the front and back pieces).
Pin and glue together with either a pin gun or wire brads and a small hammer. Use Titebond 2 or equivalent.
The top of the box tilts to the drain corner, so the top of the side and front/back pieces won’t perfectly fit the part called ‘Top’ unless all those cuts are made with a slight angle. That seems too complicated, so if you can’t live with the slightly imperfect fit (indeed it’s virutally invisible it’s so tiny), but an idea is to 3M 77 spray glue some sandpaper to a sanding block and sand the entire top to fit the angle. You might make a sanding block out of a flat piece of wood and two full sheets of sandpaper glued to it. Or, you might glue four sheets to a big flat area and rub the box, upside down, over the big flat sandpaper area. 80 grit would make very short work of it; it’s a very tiny angle that’s needed.
The sink design uses two Reliance Products Aqua-Pak 2.5 Gal. Plastic Water Container. You can find two-fer deals on eBay and Amazon. One is for fresh water, the other for gray.
The sink is a Alegacy Steam Table Pan, size “Half”, 25 gauge from https://www.chefwareessentials.com/products/anti-jam-steam-table-pans?variant=32573167108199 or also available at Smart and Final and Cash and Carry.
Some modifications need to be done to both the water container’s spin on caps, and to the Steam Table Pan to turn it into a sink.
The sink needs a hole drilled with a hole saw in one corner of the bottom and Lasco -Sink Drain MPN – 03-4571 installed.
The drain’s big nut needs a spacer between it and the bottom of the sink. You could make it out of aluminum, HDPE (preferred) or Red Oak. There is a drawing in the plans for it. A couple of hole saws is good for making it, and then there needs to be a bit of relief on the inside because of how the drain pipe has a bit of a curved area that sticks through the bottom of the sink and the collar has to clear that.
One of the water jug’s spin on caps will need it’s center hole opened up to fit the sink drain. I do this with a lathe and make a perfect fit, but I’m sure you can figure out how to make the hole in a piece of plastic bigger with tools at your disposal (maybe just a drum sander on a Dremel tool), but if you buy these plans and want to send me your lid I will turn it for you on the lathe for free except for the shipping cost please.
The other jug’s lid, the fresh water jug, needs a hole drilled for the wires of the little water pump that goes in the water jug. These wires will run to a switch and 12vdc power. If you sort by the cheapest “12V DC Submersible Water Pump” on eBay, you’ll find them for under $10.
For power I first used 4 18650 rechargeable lithium batteries in a holder, which was pretty cool, but now that I have power in the house section of the van, I ran a two conductor wire from my fuse panel to a quick disconnect plug, and from their to the sink. If you install a long enough wire, or create a wire extension with a couple of extra plugs, you can put the sink outside the van on a table should you wish.
Two ideas on switches I have done: I have used a foot switch. That worked out great. The way I currently have it setup is with a small switch mounted on the side of the sink box.
One could certainly fabricate or use a commercial faucet kind of setup, but I’m using a length of vinyl tubing. This gives me something that reaches to a pot on the stove or muddy boots. Note: if using a length of tubing like I am, raise it above the tank after turning the pump off to drain the water in the tube back into the tank. Otherwise it may (probably will) siphon.
I store a length of vinyl tubing and a larger water pump coiled up on top of the water tanks, underneath the sink. I carry two 7 gallon refill bottles between the front seats and use this additional water pump to quickly refill the 2 1/2 gallon tank. If you search for “12V Portable Submersible Water Pump 840L/H” on eBay you’ll find what I’m using. I’m using the one that has a cylinderical shape and the wire comes out the same end as the water outlet tubing connection. It drops right in the 7 gallon water container’s opening.
Cutting Board Notes:
You can source the aluminum bar on eBay.
Make the bar channels with 1/2″ plywood and either make kerf cuts on the table saw or use a router in a router table to cut the relief.
The cutting board is made from a piece of 1/4″ HDPE. Use 3/4″ hinges to attach it to the end of the sink box. Attach the hinges by laying the cutting board on the extended aluminum bars, lay the hinges in place, and drill. Attach it on the wood side with 1/2″ long screws, diameter to match what the hinge needs, Attach the hinges on the cutting board side with 8-32 screws and either nuts and lockwashers, or anti-vibration nuts.
To hold the cutting board in the stowed position, first mark where you want the bolt/magnet system to be (centered left to right, and 2″ down), and drill through both the cutting board and the box so they are match drilled. Open up the hole in the cutting board to 1/4″, and attach a 1/4-20 conical head screw (or just a regular bolt) through the cutting board with a washer and an antivibration nut on the box side of the cutting board. This nut will fit through a hole in the box to engage a neodymium magnet embeded 1/2 way through from the inside of the box. Cut the excess bolt flush with the nut, and in fact maybe take a bit of the nut off too to make as big and flat a spot as you can to contact the magnet.
On the box side, open up the pilot hole to a size big enough to clear the nut on the cutting board, and then open up the back side 1/4″ deep large enough to fit the magnet. Rough up the magnet with sandpaper and glue it into the recess with 30 minute epoxy.
It is true I don’t really use it as a cutting board per. se. It’s not the solid kind of surface I want to do any serious chopping on. But it is an extremely useful additional food prep area that deploys instantly and takes up virtually no additional real estate in the van.