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Old 02-12-2017, 02:27 PM   #1
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Necessary tools?

Could some of you experienced skoolie converters put together a list for someone with a tight budget of the most necessary tools for the conversion process? TIA!
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Old 02-12-2017, 02:50 PM   #2
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You should provide everyone with some requirements that you're looking at. For example, will you have access to water, electricity, a barn, heat, etc...? If you don't have electricity, then you would need a generator or cordless tools or both. I will leave a link to my Costs/Tools spreadsheet (I haven't updated it in a year though) as a start.
Costs/Tools ongoing spreadsheet
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:04 AM   #3
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A 30 gallon air compressor and an air hammer with chisels.

I got my almost new compressor off CL for $100 and the hammer from Harbor Freight.

If you are removing steel rivets it is a life saver! I am kicking myself for wasting $30 on a set of cold chisels at the beginning of rivet removal. Having the air tools at the begining of the project would have saved at least 100 hours and more shoulder pain than you know.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:06 AM   #4
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FYI - budget be damned, I should have bought this before the bus.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karrlot View Post
A 30 gallon air compressor and an air hammer with chisels.

I got my almost new compressor off CL for $100 and the hammer from Harbor Freight.

If you are removing steel rivets it is a life saver! I am kicking myself for wasting $30 on a set of cold chisels at the beginning of rivet removal. Having the air tools at the begining of the project would have saved at least 100 hours and more shoulder pain than you know.
Excellent advice.
I can't believe folks do whole buses with a hammer and chisel!
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:53 AM   #6
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Like it was said above, what is the environment and resources?

Personally, my primary tools have been:]
4" Grinder with a ton of thin and thick metal cutting discs and wire wheels.

Cordless Drill with about a thousand #12 star bits and a thousand standard bits.

Half a dozen 5g buckets, they are handy for heater fluid, trash, recycle, tool box, etc.

An old radio, music player, old phone loaded with music. Something to listen too and be calmed by when frustrated or bleeding.

You will need a ton of work space, storage, dump capacity. So, plan ahead and whatever should be enough, double it.

You can get by with just a few tools at first. The first big steps are simple, removing seats, screws or rivets and a lot of trips to the dump. Now, some buses have rivets on everything and other buses like mine, had over 1,600 star head screws inside holding the walls and panels in place.

Now all of that being said the most important things you need immediately are protective gear. A nice set of goggles, ear plugs and ear cans, get a nice respirator mask, a cap or hat, a face shield, solid leather gloves, take the time to make yourself safe.

I have pinched a cutting disc and had it jump and run across my bicep and chest. I've taken my filtered mask off before due to the temp and sweating and later could barely breathe from inhaling grinding dust and nasty fumes. I've had a cutting disc fracture and chunks of disc and metal burn into my eye, somehow getting around my goggles, glasses and hat. The op had to drill it out a couple of morning later. When using a wire wheel or buffing wire brush, wear leather or put plywood between you and the wheels, the wires fly off and like to find a home in your legs, forearms, torso or other soft tissue areas.

So, be safe and have fun. Dont rush your project, take your time and enjoy it.
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:26 PM   #7
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Tinyhousebus- Thanks for the spreadsheet. Very helpful! Work environment: outdoors with access to water and electricity.

Thanks karrlot!

New2 skool- after your description I have to admit I'm more than a little intimidated! ��
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:29 PM   #8
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I dont mean to intimidate, just a strongly worded warning from my lessons learned. So, put on the gloves, goggles and everything else and go slow. Have Fun
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:49 PM   #9
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I want to start by saying that everything posted here is very true. I want to add that it is also possible to convert a bus by hand but it would take an incredible amount of time and effort. The key here is to find the trade offs that are right for you and your build. Energy expended vs the cost of tools (whether monetary or time spent learning to safely use the tool).

On one end of the spectrum, for example, you could use a hammer and chisel to remove rivets. On the other you could use an air chisel that would save you the most energy. For us we used a corded angle grinder with an aggressive flap wheel. Was it the easiest? No, but we already had the tool, wanted to get started, and at 27 are young and full of enough energy to muscle through.

A conversion will take time, money, and effort; what amount of each is up to you.

People convert buses in different ways and for different reasons. My advice is to start with research. It takes time but it is free.
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:51 PM   #10
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I absolutely appreciate it! It's much better to go into a project like this prepared and armed with the lessons learned from others!
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