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Old 08-04-2009, 10:31 PM   #21
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

TygerCub: Thanks for the suggestion. Check!

Smitty: I actually asked the hubby this same question. Here's the basic explanation.

We are leaving the bare metal floor for the head (hubby wanted to let me know that, while I can call it a "toilet closet", it is actually called a "head" on a boat and we are doing it much like they do on a boat) and shower areas because we really aren't going to do the full plumbing for either right now. Instead, we will come back and do that once we are closer to being ready to take it on the road. He says it will be better to just put down the small section inside these areas with just a screw or two and leave them accessible for future construction than to lay it down permanently and work around it.

Just to let you know the plan: we are doing a composting toilet. Jim has come up with an excellent idea to have a fully operation composting system without spending a fortune on a pre-manufactured one. Problem is, this will take some time and thought and planning to pull off. In the meantime, we want to progress on the rest of the bus. So we've decided to go with a basic compost system (ummmm. a bucket and sawdust.) until we can build the entire system.

As for the shower, we aren't sure exactly how we want to build the inside. Fiberglass? Insert? But the size and location are pretty solid, so we are going to go ahead and frame it out and put the two walls in while we decide. And again, the floor needs to be accessible for easy plumbing once we make up our mind.

The rest of the bus will get a layer of insulated foam board and plywood as soon as we get the head and shower framed in. Then we'll work on the bunks for the kids, a bunk for us in the back, and build up the kitchen/living space. So all of that WILL be built on a plywood floor. Once everything is in place, we'll lay down the bamboo flooring in all the visible places.

Our main goal is to get the bus ready to take out for long weekend trips in October, a month long trip in February, and hopefully be able to take off next Summer. And even then, we honestly don't expect the bus to be "done". We really are going to live in it and lay everything out to where it suits us best. So basically we will build it as we go. But first we really do need the basics: a head, a shower, and some sleeping quarters. (And a floor, of course.) The rest will come naturally once we are spending some time in it.

Does it make sense? Or are we crazy?

Well, maybe you shouldn't really answer that second one.
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:37 PM   #22
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

I agree with tigercub that it would be much easier to lay the sub floor first at least...

I am interested in your composting toilet ideas. We are also going to build one but it will be in our cabin but haven't decided on how we want to do it (besides a seat on a 5 gallon bucket & like you said, sawdust... What did you guys have in mind?
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:23 AM   #23
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezbme
I am interested in your composting toilet ideas. We are also going to build one but it will be in our cabin but haven't decided on how we want to do it (besides a seat on a 5 gallon bucket & like you said, sawdust... What did you guys have in mind?
A while back, we watched this video () about long term enclosed composting toilets. Ever since, we have been trying to come up with a way to do something similar on a bus. Of course, the thinking has to be changed a little when considering the implementation on a smaller scale. But the principles and the idea are still the same.

We do intend to install a pee diverter and keep it separate from the rest. We will install a larger tank (~150 gallons) under the bus to collect the rest of the waste, just like you would a blackwater tank. The quicker the material dries out, the less room it takes up. So he figured out a way to install a passive solar heating system that will be mounted on the roof of the bus with a simple small fan to aid in the process of heating up/drying out the waste material. Inside the tank there will be an auger attached to either a crank or motor that will turn the material every few days and also push it to the back of the tank, compressing it to take up less space. The idea is that we should be able to go a year, or possibly longer, without emptying the tank. In that amount of time it will be fine compost for someone to use so it shouldn't be hard to find a place to dump it.

That's pretty much the general idea. I'm not sure how much of the specifics that could be explained in more detail. I may just have to get Jim, himself, to stop in and offer up more info if he has it.

I'm pretty stoked about getting the composting toilet idea to work. This will be a major "plus" for the bus, I think. Now if we can just make it work in real life the way we see it working in our heads.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:30 AM   #24
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernmistress
We will install a larger tank (~150 gallons) under the bus to collect the rest of the waste
150 gallons? Really? How in the world are you going to fit something that large under the bus? Even a 55 gallon drum is a tight fit as it hangs down a little below the level of the side panel. Are you special ordering it? If so, from where?

I'd like to put a 100 gallon fresh water tank somewhere on the bus, but when I went looking, 50gallon was the largest RV type tank I could find, and the 100gallon tank (from NorthernTool) was too bulky to consider. Unless, of course, I put it up top, or on a back porch. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how safe I'd feel with that much weight (1gal water = 8.35lb) sloshing around on the roof in addition to a roof deck and various buckets of my "stuff". And I want the deck for the motorcycle, so... bummer. The alternate plan is to keep the center of gravity low by hanging two 50 gallon tanks on each side of the bus, evenly distributing the weight - and consequently allowing me to put the shower on one side, and the kitchen sink on the other. Haven't figured out where to put the greywater tank yet. But that one will be relatively small since I hope to use grey water for feeding house plants and washing the bus.

Please do keep us updated on your composting toilet design! Even the bucket & sawdust method. It's a touchy subject for some, but good information for those trying to stay away from blackwater troubles.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:59 AM   #25
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TygerCub
150 gallons? Really? How in the world are you going to fit something that large under the bus? Even a 55 gallon drum is a tight fit as it hangs down a little below the level of the side panel. Are you special ordering it? If so, from where?
Hmmm. Maybe I am mistaken about the size. Could be he said 100 gallon instead of 150. I'll have to ask to confirm. I know he's talked about building a custom tank, since - like you said - the larger tanks are bulky and not really easy to put under a bus. Like I said, this is mostly in the "idea" phase right now. It could be that many adjustments to said "idea" will have to be modified before it's actually fully implemented and working correctly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TygerCub
I'd like to put a 100 gallon fresh water tank somewhere on the bus, but when I went looking, 50gallon was the largest RV type tank I could find, and the 100gallon tank (from NorthernTool) was too bulky to consider. Unless, of course, I put it up top, or on a back porch. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how safe I'd feel with that much weight (1gal water = 8.35lb) sloshing around on the roof in addition to a roof deck and various buckets of my "stuff". And I want the deck for the motorcycle, so... bummer. The alternate plan is to keep the center of gravity low by hanging two 50 gallon tanks on each side of the bus, evenly distributing the weight - and consequently allowing me to put the shower on one side, and the kitchen sink on the other. Haven't figured out where to put the greywater tank yet. But that one will be relatively small since I hope to use grey water for feeding house plants and washing the bus.
We are thinking of putting the fresh water tank in the very back, probably along the wall behind or underneath our bedframe (depending mostly on how we lay out the back bunk area). Have you considered the possibility of something similar?

And by doing something like that, you could mount two greywater tanks on either side to even out the distribution of weight underneath. An idea, maybe? I'm thinking it may work for us, as well, because we'll have the shower on one side and the sink on the other. Hmmmm. Thanks for the thought.

I like the idea of using the grey water for washing the bus. And feeding house plants. I'm still trying to figure out how to put some plants on the bus. I'd LOVE to have a rooftop garden of some sort, but I'm not really sure that will work. Then again, who knows? Anything is possible in the Skoolie world, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TygerCub

Please do keep us updated on your composting toilet design! Even the bucket & sawdust method. It's a touchy subject for some, but good information for those trying to stay away from blackwater troubles.

Oh, I'm sure you guys will get tired of hearing about compost toilets before it's all said and done. This is one part of the conversion that I am bound and determined to make work. I'm convinced there HAS to be a way to do it, even though I can't find anything even close to what we want to do. Hey, someone has to do it first!

I know I've read a couple of things elsewhere on the forums about others wanting to incorporate the same kind of system. Maybe we can eventually get enough interest and start our own little forum thread about composting toilets and throw around ideas back and forth.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:50 AM   #26
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

Hi ya'll I got a 110 gal. water tank from Ebay. the shipper was out of Canada. The tank was $140.00 and another $105 to ship it. The tank is just over 7' long and apprx. 12"X14" It will go under the bed frame across the back.
That leaves me a 50 gal. blackwater tank on the pass. side and a 50 gal. greywater on the drvr. side (mounted underneath) Actually thinking of a pee diverter to run to the graywater tank. No compost toilet, but pee water would be "watered" down conciderably by sink and shower water and tank be emptied out in a lot more places than the blackwater tank. So, the only thing going into black tank would be poop and minimal water to flush it. Call me crazy - You would'nt be the first.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:37 AM   #27
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papabear
No compost toilet, but pee water would be "watered" down conciderably by sink and shower water and tank be emptied out in a lot more places than the blackwater tank. So, the only thing going into black tank would be poop and minimal water to flush it. Call me crazy - You would'nt be the first.

That's not crazy. I think it's pretty smart, myself.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:44 PM   #28
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

A pee diverter? Would you have room for some kind of urinal setup? I'm guessing that a pee diverter for sitting would be somewhat "interesting" for fabricate and possibly use. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about either. But a men's room-type urinal wouldn't be too complicated.

Ben.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:55 PM   #29
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

Pee diverter? Us truckers call it a gatorade bottle-
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:34 PM   #30
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Re: Delurking to introduce ... "Resurrection Fern"

This is Jim.
Yes, the size of the designed tank is 100 gals. or a little less, to be built from marine plywood (or other suitable weather resistant wood) and lined inside with fiberglass. Sized to exactly fit the area on the passenger side between wheel well and bumper, and held in place by a steel frame. The uncommon use of the tank is forcing the home built aspect, although that tank Papabear got sounds really interesting, just the right size.

NewSkewlHauler: Yeah, a pee diverter is kinda different, but human anatomy is kinda universal in the respect that in a sitting position, pee comes out the front and poo comes out the back. Most composting toilets are set up with two chambers below the seat, a smaller one forward, and the other more to the rear. And it doesn't have to work to perfectly keep the pee completely diverted. A little in the wrong chamber won't hurt. Just as long as the other way around works good, and no "non pee" goes it the wrong area. So young ones that just barely fit the seat may have to find other accommodations. A urinal would be good, but I doubt there will be room. So there will be lot's of well watered trees, for those with too much macho to just sit down.

And as to the floor, I have tried to cut sheet metal under plywood before, and it is deadly to hole saws because of the heat, etc. so the floors in the head and shower will be removable and precut to fit. I have no problem making a few extra cuts during fabrication, to save lot's of headaches later. Jigsaws and sawzalls could make the holes, too, but also are a {insert your favorite word} to control cutting plywood and steel at the same time, plus melting the insulation.
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