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Old 04-01-2019, 02:41 PM   #1
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sheet metal buying tips?

So I've read enough on here to decide on 18 ga for skinning my windows. The best price I can find for 18 ga. of any type is just about $100 a sheet (4'x10'). I can get 20 ga about 15 bucks cheaper. I've called 8-10 sheet metal suppliers and shops. The main reason it is so high here in AK is because of shipping.

Any insider or experienced tips on how to get best price?
thx! Eric
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:50 PM   #2
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I used 18 gauge and I would be reluctant to go any thinner.

Now I don't feel quite as bad about paying $82 a sheet....,
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:59 PM   #3
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I used 18 gauge and I would be reluctant to go any thinner.

Now I don't feel quite as bad about paying $82 a sheet....,
Yeah...I was toying with 20, but 18 is what I'll do. The price range I'm getting is crazy. Anywhere from $100-150, and there really seems to be no rhyme or reason to the different prices in regard to type (paintlok, cold vs. hot rolled, galvanized). I'm waiting for a couple more quotes, but the paintlok for $100 is probably gonna be the winner.
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:35 PM   #4
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I used 20g on mine and it is plenty thick and sturdy enough for skinning. I'm paying $75 for a 4 x 10
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:56 PM   #5
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I used 20g on mine and it is plenty thick and sturdy enough for skinning. I'm paying $75 for a 4 x 10
what is the standard thickness of the exterior skin on a bus?
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:11 PM   #6
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what is the standard thickness of the exterior skin on a bus?
I can't weigh in on that one sled. I'm going to borrow by buddies calipers tonight to confirm mine. It seems like an odd spec of 19ga. is what lots of folks talk about here, but I've read people use as low as 16 and as high as 26.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:18 PM   #7
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Unless you plan to weld, go with galvanized material.
Unless you prime IMMEDIATELY!

Also, ask the clerk at the metal shop about any pre existing rust. I sourced metal from two different suppliers and ended up with very different materials rust wise.

I used 18 gauge for the sides.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:46 PM   #8
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what is the standard thickness of the exterior skin on a bus?
.
On an International the skin is .0675", or 16g.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:10 PM   #9
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Odd, Marc. All three of my IC's were skinned with 18ga.
I haven't mic'd the skins on my Thomas but they seem pretty thin.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:20 PM   #10
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On my 86 Thomas it is an oddball 15-guage.
I would find a local commercial heating and air shop and talk to them about there scraps and price buying what you need through them.
If you get galvanized you have to wipe it down good with vinegar at a minimum or the paint won't stick.
Primer sticks fine after that.
Make friends with your local to you heating and air shop cause they have the tools to cut bend it if need be and probably throw scraps away big enough to cover a window.
These were pieces to fit the window rib frame opening with 1/2" flanges bent in all the way around for screwing/riveting in the opening and sealed. No problems or leaks and galvanized wiped down with vinegar still holding primer.
When the pic was taken it had been about 3-years in and at 7-years still no issues.
Can you drive down and get it for cheaper?
I have done commercial heating since 96 so I have never had to ask/know what a sheet cost. Scraps are a plenty and if I need a sheet I just say hey boss I need a sheet and all I hear? is okay get it we will work it out?
Good luck
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:27 PM   #11
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I can get 4x10's of 18ga for 60-70 for anyone in FL.
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:28 PM   #12
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This place in Jersey (near Philly) has 4'x8' sheets of 16 ga for about $40 a sheet:

Joseph Fazzio Inc | Glassboro, NJ -
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:34 PM   #13
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BB also sports an "oddball" skin. Closer to 15 than anything else. Best bet for any replacement skin is to try and match what is around it as close as possible.
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaymcquaid View Post
Unless you plan to weld, go with galvanized material.
Unless you prime IMMEDIATELY!

Also, ask the clerk at the metal shop about any pre existing rust. I sourced metal from two different suppliers and ended up with very different materials rust wise.

I used 18 gauge for the sides.
thx for the tip Shay. I'm going to get the paintlok galvanealed sheets. Virtually same price & apparently takes to paint better than galvanized.
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:13 AM   #15
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19 gauge it is

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
what is the standard thickness of the exterior skin on a bus?
I bought a pair of calipers today. The sidewall sheet that tops out just below my windows is 1.05 mm. So referencing the attached sheet...it says I've got 19g. sheet-metal-gauge-chart.pdf The roof looks thicker but I didn't have a good spot to grab. I'm going to check it out when I tear out the emergency exits. I bought 6 sheets of 18g today.
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Old 04-02-2019, 05:49 AM   #16
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I just can't see why any manufacturer would skin a vehicle in 15 ga.
19ga definitely sounds about right.
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:04 AM   #17
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This place in Jersey (near Philly) has 4'x8' sheets of 16 ga for about $40 a sheet:

Joseph Fazzio Inc | Glassboro, NJ -
They have a lot of neat stuff there, a candy shop for adults...
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:09 AM   #18
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Can you drive down and get it for cheaper?
Drive where? Vancouver and Edmonton are about 2000 miles each way. 4000 miles is a bit of a drive, and there are no cities closer. Spend some time looking at a map of the vast emptiness of Alaska and Northern Canada...

I just bought steel in Fairbanks last week from All Steel - 18 gauge galvanized. They cut it to the right size for me (8x sheets of 29-3/8 x 25-1/4, 1x sheet 16-1/16x16-1/4, 2x sheets 12x12). Total price was $230 including cutting, using slightly less than 2 sheets.

It was more expensive than the lower 48, but it's high quality for skinning and I didn't have to buy cutting tools. So far, it's working really well.
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:11 PM   #19
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Find a good fab shop and have them shear and /or add a bend like a v grove to strengthen the sheet, then you could get away with thinner material if your dealing with weight issues. But having them shear to fit saves you time and lit will look good
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Old 04-07-2019, 02:38 AM   #20
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Find a local metal scrapping company. You'll be able to find a washing machine or drier, which is made of ~16ga galvanized steel, typically painted white. The 'body panels' are generally removable with a cordless screwdriver, and they're a good source of inexpensive, reasonably good quality sheet metal.
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