The Minimal Mobile Home has been designed for homeless people – it provides the essentials for a life in dignity: privacy, standing headroom, stowage for personal belongings, a raised bed, a folding table and a toilet.

It can be built from cheap and readily available materials – one sheet of plywood and 14 standard boards (1x4x96″), two wheels and a 50 $ tent. The materials for the prototype cost less than 200 $.

The building itself doesn’t require special tools or skills – the only power tool used was a cordless drill. All the tools used to build it fit easily into the cart and when unfolded, it can be used as mobile workbench.


Construction starts with cutting the boards – lengthwise cuts with a handsaw are not exactly fun, but feasible.

Construction of the bottom – getting the spacing and right angle right was the trickiest part – a cardboard template with markings helped, but this part of the process definitely has to be simplified.

Assembling a platform and fitting the toilet bucket in. Lesson learned: Don’t make plans before having the exact measurements of the bucket.

During my first test drive I saw a slightly larger mobile home and couldn’t resist taking a comparison picture.

I very spontaneously decided to submit the Minimal Mobile Home as exhibit for the Bay Area Maker Faire one week before the event. I was pleasantly surprised that it was accepted although the deadline had long passed!

The editor of Makezine even featured it in the Live Blog – thank you, Sophia!

The platform without mounted tent – in the stowage compartment there is a large carboard box, the tent, an air mattress and a sleeping bag.

Unpacking near the test site – all the tools that were used to build it fit easily inside the cart.


Prototype Plans

These are the initial plans drawn for the prototype – several changes that have been made and other changes that are already planned are not reflected in these plans. Building plans will be published as soon as I am confident the design is ready for rollout.

The overview drawing showing the view from top (with tent) and from the entrance side (front):

The center part (the crate):

And the platform (here only the more complicated side, with the toilet, is shown):