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Old 12-02-2014, 03:01 PM   #1
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We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it anyway

Hey all! My husband and I are planning to purchase a bus in Jan. (Not picked out yet) We plan to hopefully make it "livable" by May. We absolutely have no idea where to start, as far as the conversion goes. We will have some help from friends but just wondering if you know of any sites,books or information for getting started. Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:54 AM   #2
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Re: We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it any

lol. i didnt know what i was doing either! and still dont! it seems with a bus conversion, you can plan all you want but end up just playing it by ear anyway. nothing in the bus is square or level, and once started, things wont fit where ya thoght they would. but, its fun and challenging at the same time. first install should be the beer fridge!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:19 AM   #3
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Re: We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it any

This website is probably one of the best sources. Here is a link to George Myers books, he and his wife are members of the Great Lakes Converted Coaches FMCA chapter that I belong to. Great People. http://busconversionbooks.com/publications

Perhaps this.
Quote:
nothing in the bus is square or level
is because of this?
Quote:
first install should be the beer fridge


Seriously they don't need to be,the stuff you add should be square with each other. Pick something that is, the chair ledge is probably your best bet, if you have a GOOD wooden floor it is kinda' level. Use string and carpenter square to make things square. I found that a really strong magnet is helpful in holding the string to the ceiling.

Dick
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Old 12-04-2014, 07:55 AM   #4
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Re: We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it any

Quote:
Originally Posted by claydbal
lol. i didnt know what i was doing either! and still dont! it seems with a bus conversion, you can plan all you want but end up just playing it by ear anyway. nothing in the bus is square or level, and once started, things wont fit where ya thoght they would. but, its fun and challenging at the same time. first install should be the beer fridge!!!!!!!!!!
I'd say that there are a few things one will need. An angle grinder, an air chisel/hammer, and lots of beer will get you started.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:56 PM   #5
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Re: We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it any

As Norm Abram always says,
"Before we use any power tools, let's take a moment to talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these safety glasses." - "And also hearing protection when necessary."
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:35 PM   #6
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Re: We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it any

This site IS one of the greatest resources out there. There are some awesome people here that bring all sorts of experiences and apply it all to one common goal, bus building.

I think the hardest part about building a home inside your giant tuna can, is keeping motivated and not feeling overwhelmed.

I have been using a program called Evernote to gather all of the pictures and text and links and ideas that I won't ever remember. I also use it to break down my bus into smaller, manageable, projects. It's great for finding good prices and remembering them. I also have a Timeline that is a work in progress, and I have a super simple spreadsheet that only has MAJOR GOALS on it. I also use Trimble sketchup (formerly Google sketchup) for all of my planning and building needs. my current sketchup file has four 'bus shells' with various layouts, each of which had changed several times over. I think i'm in revision 6 or 7 now.

Another good resource is to search for 'tiny house' or 'tiny home' then consume video. I do this just to get great ideas on how to save space, build better, build greener, cheaper, etc. "the movement" for better or worse, really has opened up a lot of opportunity in free flowing information and cultural acceptance.

On the subject, I have an expense list. This is a dangerous thing, because you don't want to really feel a "financial burden" that makes it feel impossible. But you should know what your bus is going to cost to build over the span of time you have. also this helps you find your priorities. Maybe an extra month or two is worth waiting to 'finish' if you really have that one item that's essential to your home, but ultimately out of your cost range for your time span. I find myself teetering on this line all the time.

Since you don't have a bus yet, i'll show you where I got mine. It was a relatively good experience.

http://ncschoolbussales.dpi.state.nc.us/

A good rule of thumb that I saw somewhere; if you're building every day full time, it will take roughly three months to complete a tiny house.

I only have weekends, but i get 3 days. So I figured in 6 months, 24 weekends, or 72 days that I can work.
Made a list of major projects, EG: Grind floor pan and bondo holes, Remove stop sign, patch holes, (reinstall?), etc.
Then I started assigning little projects to different days of the weekend, Now i never think "man, what should I do today" then end up wasting a day shopping for parts or whatnot, I can shop at work or other downtime, then have everything I need waiting and ready for my project(s) at the end of the week... Come visit my thread in a few weeks to see how it's working out.
(EDIT: just so you know, I feel this is a tight schedule for my goals and income, I will be doing almost nothing else until it's completed.)

Hope this information helps your process.
Most importantly, have fun building!
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:28 AM   #7
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Re: We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it any

Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyBus
As Norm Abram always says,
"Before we use any power tools, let's take a moment to talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these safety glasses." - "And also hearing protection when necessary."
Glasses always, goggles when appropriate, hearing protection too as said.

I have vision in one eye only so what's left is even more precious. Work smart. Beer after the day's work is smart.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:05 PM   #8
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Re: We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it any

I drink a beer or two while I'm working on mine. Goggles are best for actual eye protection. Over twelve years in fabrication work taught me that glasses are just ok. Crap always somehow gets right around the glasses if doing any kind of real work.
Gloves are absolutely a necessity as well.
But enough of the Hank Hill stuff.
I think, other than beer, some music can really make working long hours in the bus much more enjoyable. I like EVERY genre but Iron Maiden seems to be really good "bus demo" music so far!
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Old 12-18-2014, 06:41 PM   #9
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Re: We don't know what we are doing, but we are doing it any

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB
I drink a beer or two while I'm working on mine. Goggles are best for actual eye protection. Over twelve years in fabrication work taught me that glasses are just ok. Crap always somehow gets right around the glasses if doing any kind of real work.
Second. I was wearing saftey glasses with side gaurds still got metal on my eye & had to have toe Doctor numb my eye & use a mellon baller to scoop it out
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by allwthrrider View Post
Second. I was wearing saftey glasses with side gaurds still got metal on my eye & had to have toe Doctor numb my eye & use a mellon baller to scoop it out
What you talking about Willis?

A toe doc to work on eyes.....
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