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Michael Janzen’s Aerodynamic Tiny House Design

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It’s always exciting when Michael Janzen is up to something and he recently announced an aerodynamic tiny house design that he’s working on.

The purpose of a little home like this is so that you can enjoy more of the benefits of a traditional travel trailer which are lighter in weight and more aerodynamic in comparison to the stick built tiny houses on trailers that we normally talk about.

So Michael’s idea with this design is to not only make it aerodynamically shaped but also make an effort to lower its weight by using lighter materials to build with.

He’s going with a 20′ trailer to support it and it will still include an entry porch so you can stay dry during the rain while fetching for your house keys. Michael mentions in the article, “I do plan to offer framing plans of this sometime in the near future – but no ETA at the moment.”

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Michael Janzen's Aerodynamic Tiny House Design

Photo Credit Michael Janzen of Tiny House Design

Michael has more information as well as photos of the exterior and interior for you to look at along with the original SketchUp files that you can download. Click here to read the complete original article.

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 12 comments… add one }
  • August 2, 2012, 3:09 pm

    Very cool- I always dig Michael’s take on things/designs….

    • August 5, 2012, 3:51 pm

      Thanks, Deek. I love his designs too. Hope you’re well mang!

  • LaMar
    August 5, 2012, 3:04 pm

    Aerodynamic ?

    That amount of slope to the front would do little to reduce drag and greatly reduces the useability of that wall for storage and living space etc.

    A rounded front end nose cone that could be used for storage of propane bottles, batteries and a generator would be more aerodynamic without reducing the space in the house.

    Or the upper loft could be made to extend and collapse into the main section for transportation.

    I am working on some designs for that now 😉

    • August 5, 2012, 3:53 pm

      Thanks, LaMar. You’re right it’s not too aerodynamic but it has to be a slight improvement over the more traditional stick built designs on trailers don’t you think? Anyway- can’t wait to check out your design!! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  • jim sadler
    August 5, 2012, 3:19 pm

    Mobile homes often have stick built walls with aluminum skins. Really it is a bad idea.
    But travel trailers hopefully have steel instead of sticks as the frequent travel usage causes wooden units to fail. Sticks just don’t like the inevitable shake and bounce involved in travel.
    One consequence is when a storm hits an area the travel trailers that have steel instead of sticks tend to survive whereas the mobile homes look like they went through a shredder and flew out in chunks. To find forty year old or older travel trailers happens but finding mobile homes that are forty or fifty years old is rare. Think about it.

    • August 5, 2012, 3:54 pm

      Thanks, Jim, great points. I’m definitely becoming more open to steel framing these days. Someone sent me an excellent article he wrote about it that I can’t wait to share soon.

  • Edward
    August 5, 2012, 3:32 pm

    Mike must not know what the word Aerodynamic means!!! A truly aero trailer will have the outlines of a rain drop or at least when viewed from the side it’s top surface should look like an airplane wing with a bull nose front.

    There are plenty of wing templates on the web just slap that into google sketch up. That’s how I designed a small camping trailer I then built.

    • August 5, 2012, 3:56 pm

      Thanks, Edward. I haven’t talked to Michael about it but just from the looks of it I think he still wanted to keep it looking more like a house than a travel trailer but I’m assuming here.. Otherwise I’m sure he would’ve came up with a better design that’s truly more aerodynamic like teardrop trailers, TABs, etc. Hope we can check out your custom built camper soon! Thanks again!!

  • jerryd
    August 5, 2012, 4:39 pm

    Hi Alex,

    Actually it is worse than common tiny houses are sadly.

    Yahoo this

    spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2008/t_3.html and find the original testing reports will give you a better idea of how to do aero simply.

    Why yours is worse is it throws the air much higher with the slant front. The others are more rough which act like vortex generators limiting the sideways, upward airflow.

    Aero drag is how much air you move, how fast, far you move it. Slip into the air with rounded front corners and clean sides you can make a trailer that even makes the towing vehicle have less aero drag by cleaning up it’s wake.

    Done really light, strong and and aero there is no reason a trailer couldn’t take less power towing it than it saves in tow vehicle aero drag, thus no more gas needed to tow the trailer. Takes raceboat/aircraft style design, constuction but can be worth it with gas prices rising to $10/gal in 5 yrs.

    • August 9, 2012, 9:22 am

      Thanks for the links and info Jerry much appreciated!

  • Cal 20 Sailor
    August 6, 2012, 1:33 pm

    I think building truly slippery aerodynamic shapes would be very expensive and beyond the building skills of most DIYers, requiring techniques closer to boat building than regular carpentry. Door and window openings would also be almost impossible to keep water-tight for long with the continuous expansion/contractions of daily and seasonal temperture cycles. I Jay Schafer has the right idea of keeping designs “vernacular” — using designs and construction techniques proven over time and generations to be workable and reliable.

    • August 9, 2012, 9:23 am

      Excellent point, Cal, I agree with you. Thanks!

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