Airstream Tool-less Curtain Quick Release

Many new Bambi/Caravel 16RB owners are turned off by the ‘wet bath’. I was also initially a little frustrated with it –

  • Wet, cold floor after showers, especially when you need to use the bathroom after you go to sleep.
  • How easy things can fall out of the medicine cabinet and into the toilet, which seems to be designed to catch your toothbrush.
  • Such a hassle to take the shower curtains off to wash them.

But it also offered many opportunities to make the trailer significantly better. After a few not-so-complicated DIY projects, all these problems were taken care of, and we have been very happy with the overall experience of it.

I will make separate posts about how I tackled the first two problems. In this post, I will present a neat solution for problem #3. This is an itch I meant to scratch for some time now. It actually takes quite some effort to remove the curtains, especially the window side one – unless you have a mini ratchet wrench. Regular screwdrivers can’t reach the plastic end cap screw of the curtain track, so you need to remove the entire track first, then you will find that also very difficult, as the access to the right-most screw on the curtain track is blocked by the medicine cabinet. I know many people after taking the track off, they flip the track 180 degrees so the end cap screws would face down, which would be easier to take off with a screwdriver. But this method also has its own problems; I’d have to drill new hole(s) onto the aluminum wall – as the middle screw hole isn’t precisely centered. Also, these plastic end caps have pretty flimsy tabs for screws to bite into; sooner or later it will break if you screw/unscrew them too often. For this reason(and laziness, of course) I didn’t wash the curtain at all for the entire 2021, just imagine how much shampoo, soap scum ended up on these two curtains…

A few days back, I sat down for a good 4 hours and designed a quick release for these curtain tracks; it replaces one of the plastic end caps on each track – see the pictures below.

Now opening the track and sliding the curtains out have literally become one-finger operations – pull the rotating arm to open, and push it up until it snaps in place to close.

Here is how you can make your own with a 3D printer (they are fairly reasonably priced, ~$250 for a pretty decent one).

  1. Download the STL files (For personal use only, please.)
  2. Load the files into your favorite slicer software, see the screenshot on the right for orientation of the parts on the print bed, make sure you follow this for optimal strength. Note you will need to enable support as there is an overhang around the arm rotation axle.
  3. Some slicer parameters –
    • infill: 20%
    • infill pattern: honeycomb (don’t use Rectilinear as it almost offers nothing for screws to bite into)
  4. It takes about 1.5 hours to print all 4 parts (for 2 tracks). After it’s done, remove them from the bed, remove supporting material, then firmly press the rotating arm onto the axle.
  5. Depending on your printer, settings, and printing material, the locking ‘catch’ (that question mark shaped thingy) might be a little too tight – you can trim it back a little with a utility knife or a piece of sandpaper.
  6. I didn’t design a screw hole on the quick release, because after looking at the screw holes of existing end caps, I was convinced that the Airstream assembly workers just eyeballed the position and drilled it will a hand drill – they are not precise at all. So you will have to use the holes on aluminum tracks as pilot holes to drill a small hole into the quick release main part. I have some thin, double-sided carpet tape in the garage, so I used that in the U channel of the track to keep the quick release from moving when I drilled and drove screws into them.
  7. Once you have the pilot holes drilled, to drive the screws through the aluminum track and into the quick release, you need to flip the track, so the quick release faces down, press it firmly against a table when you drive the screws into them.

That’s it.

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