Go Fast Campers Turns Trucks Into Tents With Autodesk Fusion 360

Heather Miller August 15, 2022 4 min read

A look inside how the Go Fast Campers team designs and manufactures truck-top campers — from 3D modeling to robotic automation.

The Go Fast Campers Platform Camper RTT. Image courtesy of Go Fast Campers.

For years, Wiley Davis made many treks to Baja, Mexico. Packing up 4X4 trucks with motorcycles, bikes, and surfboards, he and his buddies would head south from Montana for off-road adventures and remote, surfside camping. 

Davis loved these trips except for one part—the sleeping accommodations. At 6’4”, he simply doesn’t fit in the back of most truck beds. He’d already founded a couple of small businesses designing and manufacturing gadgets and off-road parts. Now, it was time to solve the Baja bed problem. 

Go Fast Campers is born

“About four years ago, I was sketching a way to do a truck topper shell that I could actually sleep in comfortably,” Davis says. “At the same time, I wanted to find something that would force me to learn how to work on a more complicated project with a lot more people.”  

The Go Fast Campers Platform Camper RTT. Image courtesy of Go Fast Campers.

Back home in Montana at his shop, Davis teamed up with a fabricator next door who worked on large expedition vehicles. Within a year, Go Fast Campers was born. Their debut product was a one-of-a-kind, truck-top camper, which was manufactured in a small, rented shop space. “We had to turn it sideways to get it out the door,” Davis says.

Now, they’ve moved into a much larger manufacturing space and grown from three people to more than 70 employees. And it’s all thanks to the commitment to thoughtful design, quality, innovative manufacturing techniques — and just being good people. GFC is exceptionally transparent on its website, from a detailed look into its manufacturing process to visible salaries. “We pay [our employees] the highest starting wage of any manufacturer in the area, if not the state,” reads the GFC site.

The GFC Platform Camper

Go Fast Campers’ products are all designed and manufactured in the United States. The campers are minimalist in their look but rich in details, features, and durability.

The GFC Platform Camper is the flagship product, featuring the “pop-top magic” for effortless camping. According to the company, it’s a Swiss watch masquerading as a truck topper with obsessive attention to detail, down to the hinges and latches. “Nothing on a GFC is an afterthought,” states the GFC website.

The Go Fast Campers Platform Camper. Image courtesy of Go Fast Campers.

They also offer a chase frame for the truck bed and a rooftop tent, which is essentially the upper version of the platform camper.  

“Everything is made out of metal with the exception of obviously the fabric inside the cushions and the honeycomb composite roof and floor panels,” Davis says. “Many of these things would have been made with wood, glue, staples, and stuff that will rot. With our campers, you take the cushions out, you open them up, and you can literally hose them inside and out. It’s not going to hurt anything. It’s very different, and people really like it.” 

Best of all? Even 6’4” Davis can get a comfortable night’s sleep.  

Manufacturing 140 Versions of a Product 

Image courtesy of Go Fast Campers.

Innovating, designing, and manufacturing three core products is already an impressive feat. But when it comes to providing the campers for individual vehicles, it gets complicated because every truck model is different. Go Fast Camper’s products are customized with parts for over 140 unique truck models. That takes a lot of CAM—and Autodesk Fusion 360 is their chosen platform for all of it. 

“Because we were using Fusion 360 for CAM and generating so many parts, we switched to using completely Fusion 360 even on the modeling side,” Davis says. “The parametric modeling in Fusion 360 is to the point where we can use it for whatever we need. Not having to reimport models and regen or redo all the CAM for every model change saves us a ton of time.” 

Bringing Automation Into the Mix 

Image courtesy of Go Fast Campers.

For Go Fast Campers, there isn’t a debate about automation. Robotics is an essential part of the business. From the beginning, robots were integral to the design process. The company has a few Universal Robots robot arms in action on the shop floor.

“Robotics is what allows us to have lots of parts and really nice, small, machined aluminum parts instead of something molded out of plastic,” Davis says. 

With over 600 parts in one camper, that’s an intensive manufacturing effort — especially for a small business. One person runs five automated machining cells, and they can change parts in under five minutes.  

“Without the robots, we wouldn’t be able to do it,” Davis says. “We’d have so many people standing at machines all day putting parts in and out of machines. These campers would cost twice as much, and it wouldn’t be a viable product at that point.” 

Image courtesy of Go Fast Campers.

The combination of Fusion 360, the Fusion 360 Machining Extension, Haas Automation machines, and robotic arms makes automation increasingly accessible for manufacturing companies of any size. 

“With Fusion 360 for our production process and CAM, we essentially have the entire robot system modeled in there,” Davis says. “When we program a new part in Fusion 360, it’s all systematized around a template. You can program a part, and no one has to re-indicate or set up a machine differently. You just program the part machine and the job and run it.”

Check out an overview of Go Fast Campers’ design and build process below:

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