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Old 08-23-2007, 07:36 PM   #1
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Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

I plan on raising the roof on my bus 12-16 inches. I will make the final decision as to how much when I finish gutting it. I plan to try and get this done before the weather sets in up here in the Cascades. After the roof is raised I would also like to get the sides skinned and the windows and door set. This would leave me a shell to work inside of (and under) this coming winter.

What gauge sheet metal is best to use when filling in the sides of the bus when the windows have been removed? Why that gauge? Where is the best place to purchase it? Do you order it cut to size or does it come in sheets?

I am also wondering about riveting the metal together...it seems that is the preferred method but I have worked with steel stud framing for many years and have screwed that together. Has anyone tried wafer head self-tapping screws by chance?

Rattles what methods have been found to quiet them? Backing the sheet metal with 1/4" plywood, foam or sheet insulation? Probably a combination of all three..

Caulking...what type is best?

Anything else I have forgotten?

All replies will be read with great interest.

Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2007, 12:42 PM   #2
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

I have found a great website here. It will calculate material sizes (sheets up to 4'X 10') for you, weight and price. Many different materials to chose from. The down side is the materials I need are to large for them to ship UPS but the website still offers good pricing information. If you live in Minn. or Fort Worth Texas you could pick up your order yourself.

http://www.discountsteel.com/
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:01 AM   #3
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

I see nobody has replied to this, so I'll give it a shot and a bump.

Shipping of steel would be expensive. Look in your Yellow Pages for "steel", "steel suppliers", "steel fabricators", etc. Or find a local welder. A welding shop can order what you need from their local steel warehouse operation, and usually buy enough that they get free delivery on a weekly schedule by the distributor's company trucks. The steel supplier should be able to shear it to size for you. Places around here will shear a sheet once for free, and charge per cut after that. Shearing will give you the cleanest/straightest cuts. Most of the sheet goods come 4x8' and/or 5'x10'. Plan the height of your lift, and the size steel you order to cut from, so you have the least amount of scrap... (12"/16"/20"/24" will all evenly divide into either 48" or 60" wide stock). You don't want to have to pay for the 6" strip left over if you, for instance, order 3 pieces 14"x8' cut out of each 4'x8' sheet.

I would go with something along the lines of 22ga (real thin, IMO too light for this) 20ga, 18ga, or maybe even 16ga (thickest of the 4, and starting to get on the heavy side).

I saw a good tip somewhere on this board about preheating your panels with an infrared heater to get them hot, so that after you screwed/riveted (work fast) they would then contract and tighten up and be wrinkle-free and not oilcan.
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:23 AM   #4
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

I agree shipping is out of the question. I included the link as it calculates price and wieght of several different materials and gauges, which I thought was helpful. I will find a local source.

I am looking at a few options, 18ga. with some light gauge angle iron reinforcement. 22 to 24 gauge over 1/2'' plywood. Or RV/Travel trailer siding over 1/2" plywood. I have another week or two of prep work to do before I raise the roof so that gives me some time to research and plan the skin. I have 6' 4" of ceiling clearance right now, so I think I will raise the roof 14". That will give me all the room I need for insulation, much more room for upper cabinet storage and that "open" feel to aid the floor plan.
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:54 AM   #5
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

find a local sheetmetal shop, go in the shop (not the main office) and talk to the shop foreman. You'll get your best deal like this. Ask about a product called paint-grip or paint-prep. 18 or 20 gauge will be sufficient. Good luck!
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:07 AM   #6
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdavis441
find a local sheetmetal shop, go in the shop (not the main office) and talk to the shop foreman. You'll get your best deal like this. Ask about a product called paint-grip or paint-prep. 18 or 20 gauge will be sufficient. Good luck!
I had read over your website awhile back and remembered the mention of "paint prep" but I could not recall which site I had read about it on. I have it book marked now. You used 20 gauge metal then? That would sure be nice to work with, what did you back it up with, angle iron, flat stock, plywood? Did you have any rattles? Very nice looking conversion you built there.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:32 PM   #7
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

On my last bus, I didn't skin the windows, I painted them black from the inside. I'm a sheetmetal worker (specialty fabricator specifically) so I do things of this nature quite often. I recall seeing someone else on the site here who I believe used 20 ga. The actual name of the type of metal in question is galvannealed. It is a form of galvanizing that is specially prepared to accept paint and offer the corrosion resistance of galvanizing. Paint-grip and paint-prep are brand names. It's great stuff. I formed my under-bus propane storage out of 12 ga. paint-grip and never got around to painting it. It looked just as good a year later with no additional protection. I'd be careful with heating panels and then riveting them on, the contracting metal can produce enough force to shear or worse, partially shear your rivets and possibly lead to future failure of the rivets. If you leave posts between the windows, you shouldn't have to add any additional bracing.
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Old 12-01-2007, 10:43 PM   #8
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

This thread has some great information. After looking at available metal, I am wondering what the difference between "cold rolled" and "hot rolled" is and which would be preferable for bus skinning. Any ideas?

thanks - Tony
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:04 PM   #9
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

good question!
Cold rolled starts out as hot rolled and then goes through another rolling process after cooling that gives it a slight work hardening and a smoother finish. It is more expensive. Hot roll has a finish that is good enough for most uses, But I'd strongly recommend a galvannealed metal to protect the backside of the panel that won't be painted. (galvannealed is coated hot-roll)
Hope this helps clear things up.
Brad
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:55 PM   #10
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Re: Skinning...Sheet metal, where, what and why?

ah ok - thanks for the explanation! Just to clarify, Is there such a thing as cold rolled galvannealed metal (rolled after being coated)?
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