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Old 09-23-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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New converter, looking for feedback.

Hello Skoolie! I'm in the planning process for my first conversion, with the intent to make it a permanent home. I'd like some feedback regarding the plan so far, and any problems I should take note of.


The above floorplan is a first draft, squares are 1ft. As you can see, a large portion of the floorplan is being dedicated to an automated aquaponics system. This system is being built as a standalone far beforehand and moved into the bus during construction. If anyone has experience in portable aquaponics please let me know, as the vast majority of my information is based on stationary aquaponics. Note also that the plan is a 40x8 area, meaning I'll likely be missing a few feet of space depending on the bus I end up procuring. I'm willing to wait up to 5 years for the right bus though, so I'm looking for the closest to a 40x8 interior that I can get.

The aquaponics system will require a small amount of electricity (enough to power a water pump for a short period twice a day, plus sensors) and space is a serious concern. The theoretical output of an aquaponics system is 100lbs of fish and 500lbs of produce per 25sqft/year, but I doubt this will reach even half of that due to modifications needed to make it mobile.

The bedroom is the second largest individual space, being a combination of sanctuary/office/bedroom. The deskside popout has a window, allowing my portable solar charger to put in some work during the day.
The bed is a queen, and will be on its side against the wall when the popout isn't deployed. The room has enough space (barely) to hold the bed and desk even without the popouts deployed if necessary, but would require going over the bed to reach the aquaponics.

The bathroom has no seperation between toilet and shower, being a single room with a drain in the center, effectively making the toilet a seat to wash from, with space to stand next to it. Advice on toilets is greatly appreciated.

The kitchen sink and shower share the hot water heater (an on-demand propane heater, stored in the triangle in the hallway)

The space marked as storage is likely overkill. How much have you needed?

The booth's table is lowerable to chair level, and the cushions push inward to create bed just short of 4x7. This bed or the booth can be moved into the popout when parked.

The area marked "Sill" is reserved for a service window, as the bus will double as an organic fish taco truck. If you have any information on required permits for such a thing, let me know!

The space between the Bed Popout and the Booth Popout, as well as all the space between the Desk Popout and entrance, have a system similar to this:
, but much lighter (roof portion is just a frame with canvas for shade, and bottom portion is similar to a folding table and only goes up half of the bus height, both are mounted externally on the bus instead of being made from the bus wall).

Thanks for reading everyone!

EDIT: Fixed formatting for second picture. Credit to mci102 for that picture.
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:02 AM   #2
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

Bumping this since it has been multiple weeks since I posted
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:03 AM   #3
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

never saw it, need to look at pictures at home

Your first 5 posts have to be approved, so that may of been the problem


neat concept...I can't do it tho' I can grow cactus and cats

so if we hook up we can do a stir fry with prickly pear leaves and fish

oh and welcome
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:39 AM   #4
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

Welcome! The pop-outs are an ambitious feature; I assume you are mechanically/technically skilled if you are going to build them, and look forward to seeing your progress. I can only think of one or two people that made slide-outs on a bus. One is called "bus with no name" or something like that, but searching for that term didn't yield a result in the forum. Does anyone know the one I'm talking about - roof raise, beautiful woodwork, amazing sky blue and yellow paint job? I hope it didn't get lost in "the big purge" . That bus had a rear slide-out, I think, for the bed. And then there is Ol' Trunt, who is building a 1935 bus with a slide out. He stopped posting to his thread here though, you can find details of his slide out here: http://www.nomadicista.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2658.
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Old 10-11-2013, 12:06 PM   #5
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

I think it will be fold up overhead cover and then a fold down "table" all attached to outside of bus...I think
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Old 10-11-2013, 12:41 PM   #6
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

I know nothing about aquaponics, I did a search and looked at the pictures.and some questions come to mind

It looks like most are in greenhouse type structures. Will you be able to supply enough light without cutting the roof off?
It looks like there is a lot of water involved. How many gallons at 8.35 lbs per gallon would you require?
If you are in fact going to need a lot of water, that looks like a lot of weight behind the rear axle.
How are you going to control water slosh in the fish tank and for that matter the plant beds when moving?
Are you going to need to carry extra water to make up for evaporation, since I assume you wouldn't add water from just anywhere?

As to the layout, it will probably work,but more questions.

Are you not going to have some sort of refrigerator?
Space on passenger side immediately behind steps looks to be wasted open space.Possibly put the booth there? What is the purpose of the slide out where the booth is?
You indicate that you want this as a full time residence, I have never talked to anyone who had one that liked a toilet in the shower arrangement, even for a short time.I have one in a camper and hate it.
Quote:
The space marked as storage is likely overkill. How much have you needed?
MORE!!!!
In the picture it looks like the floor must fold up ? and the roof fold down into the side for travel making a smooth sided trailer. Not sure how you would do this on a bus. If you add it to the outside with that much bracing you would surely be over 102" which is the max for the US. With a canvas roof you could brobably get by with one side. Check my build, I drew some plans for such a thing a while back and posted them.

I assume you are single and you indicate that this is a long term project. Are there no plans for a wife?
Check out Lornas posts she has much info about mobile food service.

Dick
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Old 10-11-2013, 12:48 PM   #7
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa


How are you going to control water slosh in the fish tank and for that matter the plant beds when moving?

Dick
A Baffle!!!!
.
.
He could make an artificial reef by sinking model tanks and trucks
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:42 PM   #8
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
I think it will be fold up overhead cover and then a fold down "table" all attached to outside of bus...I think
The side area is a single hinged piece with embedded foldout legs (like a collapsible table), while the roof part is a tarp on a roll, attached to 2 foldout bars in the same fashion as the bottom, but much lighter. The picture is just for comparison for the general concept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
It looks like most are in greenhouse type structures. Will you be able to supply enough light without cutting the roof off?
Cutting the roof is definitely an option for the rear area of the bus. The aquaponics bay scales vertically, allowing good use of all the space.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
It looks like there is a lot of water involved. How many gallons at 8.35 lbs per gallon would you require?
If you are in fact going to need a lot of water, that looks like a lot of weight behind the rear axle.
250 Gallons (a little over 2000lbs) of water. This is a serious concern, as I'm not well versed in the structural capabilities of buses beyond a basic understanding of GVWR. The good news is that this system is dirtless and uses 90% less water than a traditional garden, since all water unused by the plants for growth goes back into the tank.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
How are you going to control water slosh in the fish tank and for that matter the plant beds when moving?
Water slosh isn't a large concern with the system since the walls of the tank are high enough to control it (being curved inward at the top edges) and the plant bays are going to be secured during transit. Also as Bansil said, a baffle helps a LOT.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
Are you going to need to carry extra water to make up for evaporation, since I assume you wouldn't add water from just anywhere?
As long as the water isn't chlorinated and has minimal suspended solids, any water will do. PH balancing is a normal part of aquaponics upkeep as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
Are you not going to have some sort of refrigerator?
The refrigerator is under the counterspace in the kitchen area. A second system (for keeping vegetables longer) may be installed in the same area if electrical limits permit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
What is the purpose of the slide out where the booth is?
The booth actually doubles as a second queen size bed! The table is built with a shaft/pin system similar to an a Parasol or Basketball stand, allowing it to be lowered to the same height as the booth seats. The back cushions of the booth are removable, being placed over the table to create a mattress and allowing just under 7 feet of space from head to toe in the booth area. Extra blankets and pillows are also stored behind those cushions and there is storage under the booth seats. The entire system IS the popout actually, becoming a separate sleeping area when parked.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
Space on passenger side immediately behind steps looks to be wasted open space.
This area is "extra" space to absorb the inevitable inefficiencies in the build in other areas. It will likely disappear or severely lessen in size as the build is defined further.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
MORE!!!!
Duly noted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
I assume you are single and you indicate that this is a long term project. Are there no plans for a wife?
Comfortably taken, but even when I was single my goals were the same. I will never tolerate being in debt to a bank or company that can ruin me. This bus is how I aim to achieve a life free of mortgages and burning years of my life paying just to be allowed to live.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

Bumping one last time before I do the second draft tomorrow and make a a Project thread for this.
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Old 10-20-2013, 07:40 AM   #10
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Re: New converter, looking for feedback.

AWebb,

I must admit I dismissed this as a crazy idea when I first saw it-- I must have forgot where I am, there's no such thing as crazy ideas around here. Either that, or they all are. I've been thinking about aquaponics myself since I read it, and I must admit I'm intrigued. Do you have a seperate location where you discuss the aquaponics setup you have? Have you started it yet?

More questions/feedback on your design:

Are you planning a roof raise? Seems like you could save some floor space with overhead storage.

Why three total popouts? Very few here have slideouts, even fewer have pop-outs. I'm planning one myself, more similar to the pic you included, but I had planned on doing one big one vs three small ones. Seem easier mechanically and for weatherproofing.

You might check out some of the 'toy hauler' threads. I'd think that carrying a small car/multiple ATV/motorcycles in a rear 'garage' would be pretty similar to the challenge of your aquaponics set up. Here you have water sloshing about, but I think the floorplans and weight issues are similar.

-JDecker
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