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Old 06-26-2016, 07:11 PM   #1
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Let's talk framing!

Alright, I'm getting to the point in my build where I can legitimately say we'll be framing in walls soon. What is everyone using for framework? I'm trying to find the cheapest route to accomplish the task. I have a table saw, so if ripping 2x4s down is what I have to do, it can be done. I just want to get the most for my money, not looking to cut any corners with chinsey workmanship.

Note: I have 10 sheets of 3/4" ply on hand, I bought them for replacing the floor, but the floors are solid and don't need replacement. Too late to take it all back, so I have to find a use for it somewhere. How can I use this to my advantage?
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:59 PM   #2
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I'm goin metal...that's all I can say on the subject.
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Old 06-27-2016, 11:29 AM   #3
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I'm goin metal...that's all I can say on the subject.
If you have access to a cheap MIG welder and cut-off saw, steel is the way to go. It's light, strong, can get bolted in very securely and 1 inch square mild steel tubing takes up a LOT less space than a pine 2X4. This is very important considering the small spaces in short School Buses. I also think steel is a bit cheaper.

The negatives include the obvious ... you have to know how to weld, but you also have to be careful to mount your steel in a way that it doesn’t pickup heat from outside the RV and bring it inside.

The attached is the combination head and slide out storage unit in my RV. I'd like to post a couple more pictures, but just now the database for this forum won't let me.
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:53 PM   #4
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I'm going with metal where I'll be needing to route water lines or electrical in walls, you can get metal framing in 2 1/2 "
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:46 PM   #5
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If you have access to a cheap MIG welder and cut-off saw, steel is the way to go. It's light, strong, can get bolted in very securely and 1 inch square mild steel tubing takes up a LOT less space than a pine 2X4. This is very important considering the small spaces in short School Buses. I also think steel is a bit cheaper.

The negatives include the obvious ... you have to know how to weld, but you also have to be careful to mount your steel in a way that it doesn’t pickup heat from outside the RV and bring it inside.

The attached is the combination head and slide out storage unit in my RV. I'd like to post a couple more pictures, but just now the database for this forum won't let me.
Yeah, I have MIG/TIG, hydraulic benders, manual arc benders, you name it. Between the off the shelf metal studs for commercial and doing a 1x1 framing, the freedom to not have to build on "squares" in terms of design feels pretty free to me. My bus will be having quite a bit of metal uses throughout, even for surfaces/seating/etc.

The issue is certainly of conducting heat into the interior though. I'm weighing how much of a REAL factor that'd be, as I don't think many real world results are known. Most people here built out of wood.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:49 PM   #6
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Yeah, I have MIG/TIG, hydraulic benders, manual arc benders, you name it. Between the off the shelf metal studs for commercial and doing a 1x1 framing, the freedom to not have to build on "squares" in terms of design feels pretty free to me. My bus will be having quite a bit of metal uses throughout, even for surfaces/seating/etc.

The issue is certainly of conducting heat into the interior though. I'm weighing how much of a REAL factor that'd be, as I don't think many real world results are known. Most people here built out of wood.
Sounds like you have nice shop!
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:10 PM   #7
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for the busses with al lthe steel tubing covered in nice finish materials.. are these busses noisy going down the road? not that a sachool bus is quiet anyway.. things rattle.. but does the metal framing creek and clang and bang alot?
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:11 AM   #8
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for the busses with al lthe steel tubing covered in nice finish materials.. are these busses noisy going down the road? not that a school bus is quiet anyway.. things rattle.. but does the metal framing creek and clang and bang alot?
-Christopher
You are right ... any material that isn't assembled correctly or securely bolted down is going to make all kinds of noise. I think you could also say, anything that isn't braced properly can rack and distort, leading to even more noise.

Whichever material a builder uses, wood or steel, both have the capacity to be noisy going down the road.

Therefore, it is important that the builder builds in braces to prevent racking and mounts his structures securely and in such a way that they don't have any chance to do rattle, clang and bang.
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:42 AM   #9
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not that school busses in general dont rattle anyway... a month or so ago I was in a 2016 IC CE300 with less than 1000 miles on it and it rattled over the bumps... I think the windows and the metal ceiling are big culprit in the rattles... at least on that new bus...

-Christopher
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:36 PM   #10
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Sounds like you have nice shop!
I've been building custom forced induction systems, tube chassis', headers/intake manifolds since the late 90's. Just accumulated what I needed over the years. I had a lot more, but my last cross country relocation forced me to sell of a lot of lifts, my chassis dyno, etc. Trying to build back...


I think it's possible that some of the real impact of having "conductivity" to the outside of the bus, is a bit potentially over stated. I have no doubt that insulating the bus to the greatest extent possible is in your best interest. I just question that having some contact with the roof material is going to impact your internal temperatures to that extent. Mild steel is not a great conductor for one, and I think windows are far more of a weak point, than metal contact points are.

That said, I'm not 100% on my "fastening" approach, when it comes to walls, pieces, etc. Rattles, shaking, etc is a concern, and the more structural in the nature the metal framing is, the more solid the entire structure will become, going down the road. That said, do you weld to the floor and the ceiling...not sure on that one, but I do think, in my case, welding will be involved.

One thing I don't think many consider is, in such a small space, wood 2x4 framing takes up a hell of a lot of room. Metal can give that kind of structural solidarity, with far less footprint, and likely equal to or less weight. That said though, I don't think "skoolie conversions" have really laid out a, what to do and what not to, type of guide yet.
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:04 PM   #11
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I've been building custom forced induction systems, tube chassis', headers/intake manifolds since the late 90's.
Same here ... but I started a bit before you did. Roll cages, suspension systems and etc.

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That said, I'm not 100% on my "fastening" approach, when it comes to walls, pieces, etc. Rattles, shaking, etc is a concern, and the more structural in the nature the metal framing is, the more solid the entire structure will become, going down the road. That said, do you weld to the floor and the ceiling...not sure on that one, but I do think, in my case, welding will be involved.
No, not yet on this project anyway. I've found sufficient room for backing plates and through bolts in most spots. When I have to, I use nutcerts. They are handy as all get out ... but are not strong enough, in my opinion, and I never use them as the "sole means of support". I'd hate to stand on the brakes one day and have 200 pounds of shelving or whatever bust loose, fly through the windshield and hit the vehicle I was trying to avoid.

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One thing I don't think many consider is, in such a small space, wood 2x4 framing takes up a hell of a lot of room. Metal can give that kind of structural solidarity, with far less footprint, and likely equal to or less weight. That said though, I don't think "skoolie conversions" have really laid out a, what to do and what not to, type of guide yet.
When you are dealing with a total living space of about 515 cubic feet in a short skoolie (11 long, 7.5 wide, 6.25 high), every inch saved means a whole lot. This made steel an easy choice for me.

I noticed that Harbour Freight has their real cheap MIG welder on sale this month. Yeah ... it ain't the best ... but it's pretty much what I started with a long time ago. Combine this with flux-cored wire and almost anyone can build mild steel framing.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:46 PM   #12
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Fabricate cabinets, boxes and walls as single parts as much as possible. Use nutserts to join into assemblies, but each unit is generally free-standing.

The chair rail in school busses is extremely strong. Use that flange to make your mounts and attachments. Add a hard point rail in the subfloor that itself is fastened to the steel decking.



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Same here ... but I started a bit before you did. Roll cages, suspension systems and etc.



No, not yet on this project anyway. I've found sufficient room for backing plates and through bolts in most spots. When I have to, I use nutcerts. They are handy as all get out ... but are not strong enough, in my opinion, and I never use them as the "sole means of support". I'd hate to stand on the brakes one day and have 200 pounds of shelving or whatever bust loose, fly through the windshield and hit the vehicle I was trying to avoid.



When you are dealing with a total living space of about 515 cubic feet in a short skoolie (11 long, 7.5 wide, 6.25 high), every inch saved means a whole lot. This made steel an easy choice for me.

I noticed that Harbour Freight has their real cheap MIG welder on sale this month. Yeah ... it ain't the best ... but it's pretty much what I started with a long time ago. Combine this with flux-cored wire and almost anyone can build mild steel framing.
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Old 07-02-2016, 02:00 PM   #13
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Same here ... but I started a bit before you did. Roll cages, suspension systems and etc.
I built mostly gokarts...

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Old 07-04-2016, 03:20 PM   #14
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I built mostly gokarts...
That looks like T-R-O-U-B-L-E on four tires!

For a fiberglass body? Street or track ... or both?

I can see my driver's license disappearing in a thick cloud of tire smoke.

Again.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:46 PM   #15
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We provided them turnkey, custom based upon customer request. Some were built as track dedicated, some with street legal and DOT approved equipment. Generally they came in at 2300-2650lbs, depending on options. The car shown was an LS3 twin turbo. Make 630whp on 8psi and was already a bit much for the chassis, but that's what the customer wanted. I exhibited that car at SEMA and LA Auto Show.

My partner was an older guy. IRS raided us after a 10 years ongoing investigation into him he failed to tell me about. They threw him in prison and my entire life went up in flames...lol (interesting that I can "lol" these days). Barely got out with any of my part of the business....lost all the cash, nearly all the assets (well into the 7 figures), a lambo, 2 ferrari's, a porsche c4s and more. Worked like a summbitch, finally was gettin there and just like that...all gone.

But hey...I drove and built a lot of fast sh*t. We'll see what I can pull off next I guess.

This was the first one we built...001. Built LS7, 553whp, 530wtq, 2450 or so. We got this on Speed Channel in 2010 on a show called Battle of the Supercars. Show misquoted the hp and all that business but...that's tv for ya. The show was all bs and Tanner Foust said the car was terrifying...in some good ways and some bad...as that car was too "young" to be ready for a tv show but, that's life with a partner who was a glory hound.

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Old 07-05-2016, 09:09 AM   #16
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We'll see what I can pull off next I guess.
... and THAT is the very essence of a life well lived.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:09 AM   #17
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BTW ... that is a heck of a good looking car.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:51 AM   #18
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Yeah, it was a ride. Just gotta get to the next page is all. Now a couple years later, after a cross country move, I'm building a bus to reduce these living costs. I have a shop in place, but my current location isn't the place I need to be. I'm doing another cross country relocation in a year, so in the meantime...gotta get my bus done, my M3 finished and my Corvette back in order (for 4th time...lol).
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