Build Your Own Shipping Container

Introduction: Build Your Own Shipping Container

About: New twists on old ideas

Ok, this Instructable doesn't just promise the crazy.... It's gonna DELIVER!
Ever want to make your own cargo/shipping/pod style container? Well, now you can!

Container can be lifted from trailer at any location by two people.
Trailer can then be rolled out from under and used for other work.

Very Rough Specs:

The walls and roof are 4 1/2" thick.
Can fit 3 1/2" of insulation boards with 1 1/2" air gap.
Floor is an insulated sandwich using 1.5" foam board.
Uses roughly 180 2x2x8 furring studs. At $1.33 each that's $239 total for the framing.
540 lbs framing weight (not counting insulating floor deck and wall coverings)
16 sheets outer siding (example: RV style 4x8 metal @ $60 a sheet is $1000)

I've been on a building kick lately with 2x2x8 "furring strips". Basically they are 1.5" x 1.5" x 8' mini studs. You can build all manner of structures and things from them.

Link to check realtime stock at Lowe's:  Click Me

You need to use "premium" versions of these. They come strapped in bundles of 9. The wood will stay straight if kept strapped. Make sure you bug stores to stock these highly useful construction elements. Home Depot might be a strikeout for you. They stock inferior lower grade 2x2's most of the time.

This is an Instructable that will be developed over time. I just want to get it out there and fill in pages as I go. There is a LOT of detail to build with this method. I've developed a clever system for making 2x2x8 construction super rigid.

There is nothing hard about this method. And no fancy parts or tools are needed. All components and tools can be bought at Home Depot/Lowe's and Harbor Freight.
You could literally make this with only hand tools. I recommend a decent power miter saw and a good jig saw though.

After building half of a car using this method, I'm pretty confident about how tough it is.

The Google Sketchup file is here: Click Me
Drawing will be updated daily.

If you don't know how to use Sketchup...DOWNLOAD AND LEARN IT NOW
I can't stress that enough. Forget blueprints, 3D models are the way forward from now on.

The Sketchup model shows enough to build the container.
If you OWN a 16 foot flatbed trailer and want to build this like "right now', send me a pic of yourself with the trailer and we can talk via Skype etc. Please have Google Sketchup installed and be familiar with it.

Tool wielding apes unite!......Or something like that.....

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Step 1: Gather Trailer - Tools - Materials


7 x 16 foot dual axle flatbed car trailer

Tool List:  (Trust me on this stuff)

Miter Saw - Dewalt or  Makita   Good blade for 2x2 cutting: Freud Ultimate 80 tooth

Jig Saw - Bosch 1590EVSK or cheaper model if you can't afford anything else. Ryobi cordless will work "ok". Try to get a good one though.

Cordless impact driver with bit holder (this or this (cheaper at HD).

Industrial type glue gun and high temp glue sticks (yellow) or polyamide glue sticks (brownish)

Spax #8 - 2 1/2" Torx head gold wood screws (Home Depot).
Alternate: Midwest Fastener Saberdrive #9 - 2 1/2"(smaller hardware stores)

Spax are Germany/USA made and better patented quality.
MF Saberdrive are China made cheaper knockoff but sold in 5 lb. bulk.

These serrated shaft screws do not split the wood when going in. No pre-drilling needed.
Pre-drill only when it's a super critical area near an edge.
Once you use these type of screws, you will NEVER go back to plain screws.
Anything else is uncivilized....

Step 2: Some Background...

Here was the original inspiration for the 2x2 method. Mega Van.
I built this machine to roam the country one year. This was the inital pic.

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    9 Discussions


    7 months ago

    Tried to download the Sketch-Up file from the Dropbox link, but received error within Dropbox. is this file still available??? (Oct-2019)


    1 year ago

    2 people? 540+ lbs? ... two strong people.


    4 years ago

    I have always wanted to have my own shipping container in my backyard! I think it would be perfect for a hangout place for friends and family to come over on the weekends to just relax and unwind. The ample space inside would provide so much storage to accommodate a nice dining area plus other necessities in there. Furthermore, the foundation is pretty strong so I need not worry about harsh weather conditions blowing the whole place down.


    5 years ago

    On your own compared to buying a used one


    5 years ago on Step 2

    What happened? where's the rest?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I wanna see more of Mega-Van. Do you have a build log or photo album someplace I can look at? I'm also interested in doing some kind of pax/cargo van conversion, maybe even a van fully converted to pick-up, and a custom slide in camper specifically for it. Nice thiing about vans is starting with a 15 passenger version, you can have a 10-12ft long bed.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Clicked on the link for the file, and it wasn't there, except some thing called Dropbox.No File!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Any updates on this one? I am looking at potentially building one of these as a shed/workshop at some point, but it would be nice to see the finished instructable to work off of.