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Old 05-13-2016, 06:25 PM   #1
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Window Skinning Input?

Hi all,

I had some reluctance about posting for your help, but I have read a handful of skinning threads and would love your guidance towards my plan to skin the bus.

My current plan is to purchase 20 gauge galvannealed steel at 47.88/4x10 sheet, I originally planned on getting 18 gauge, but do like the idea of drilling 1,000 holes in a thinner gauge sheet. I intend to loosely secure it with a handful of bolts to keep the metal up, as I proceed to rivet everything with a harbor freight rivet gun and 1000 of these 1/4" blind rivets that somewhereinusa used in his build.

I would like to space these rivet's 1.5 inches apart, and place them in holes drilled with 1/4 inch drillbit, between the metal and bus I will use some NP-1 polyeurethane sealant caulking as reccommended by reprobate in this thread.

Now for my questions the first two are related to this picture posted below.


1. RED: highlighted bars between windows aka "frame", should I rivet through here as well? Or only if it's for the edge of the skin?

2. BLUE: this top eyebrow/I forgot what the name for this is, should I remove this before skinning?
2a. if I remove this before skinning, should I secure the top sheet metal into the existing holes using the same sized screws that the eyebrow is secured with?

3. metal: what are your experiences with your sheet metal type/thickness? what gauge did you use?

4. cutting after: I later plan to put in dual pane RV windows, but I only have three at the moment right now. Will I be okay cutting the window holes after securing the new skin? If so how would you recommend I cut it? I assume a plasma cutter is ideal?

5. heating metal? I have heard that heating the metal with a heatgun is good before installing the skin, did you do this? What is your overall opinion regarding this? Now that the weather up here is getting close to 80, I'm starting to feel lazy about it.

6. spacing and drilling: what is your experience/opinion about how far apart to put in the rivets? Also do you have any techniques to have the holes spaced apart evenly? Also is one column of rivets will be enough for the edges?

note: I do not plan to take out the drivers side window at this present moment. Probably.

Thank you for reading this far, I look forward to your input!
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Old 05-14-2016, 02:15 AM   #2
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this roofing comes in many different colors.


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Old 05-14-2016, 06:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by luckychucky View Post
this roofing comes in many different colors.


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great idea, it wont flex with all them ribs.
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Old 05-14-2016, 03:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TAOLIK View Post
Hi all,

I had some reluctance about posting for your help, but I have read a handful of skinning threads and would love your guidance towards my plan to skin the bus.

My current plan is to purchase 20 gauge galvannealed steel at 47.88/4x10 sheet, I originally planned on getting 18 gauge, but do like the idea of drilling 1,000 holes in a thinner gauge sheet. I intend to loosely secure it with a handful of bolts to keep the metal up, as I proceed to rivet everything with a harbor freight rivet gun and 1000 of these 1/4" blind rivets that somewhereinusa used in his build.

I would like to space these rivet's 1.5 inches apart, and place them in holes drilled with 1/4 inch drillbit, between the metal and bus I will use some NP-1 polyeurethane sealant caulking as reccommended by reprobate in this thread.

Now for my questions the first two are related to this picture posted below.


1. RED: highlighted bars between windows aka "frame", should I rivet through here as well? Or only if it's for the edge of the skin?

2. BLUE: this top eyebrow/I forgot what the name for this is, should I remove this before skinning?
2a. if I remove this before skinning, should I secure the top sheet metal into the existing holes using the same sized screws that the eyebrow is secured with?

3. metal: what are your experiences with your sheet metal type/thickness? what gauge did you use?

4. cutting after: I later plan to put in dual pane RV windows, but I only have three at the moment right now. Will I be okay cutting the window holes after securing the new skin? If so how would you recommend I cut it? I assume a plasma cutter is ideal?

5. heating metal? I have heard that heating the metal with a heatgun is good before installing the skin, did you do this? What is your overall opinion regarding this? Now that the weather up here is getting close to 80, I'm starting to feel lazy about it.

6. spacing and drilling: what is your experience/opinion about how far apart to put in the rivets? Also do you have any techniques to have the holes spaced apart evenly? Also is one column of rivets will be enough for the edges?

note: I do not plan to take out the drivers side window at this present moment. Probably.

Thank you for reading this far, I look forward to your input!
Hi
They make a sheetmetal punch (used to be called a Hoffman punch) that will save some drill bits.
Mine is 15guage sheetmetal and I would go with that or better.
There is no purpose to pre heat before installing rivets. Unless your planning on hot rivets? Harbor Freight can't help with that and a torch not a heat gun is what you will need?
Sheet metal has to be worked and just not slapped up?
If you don't prep and work both ends at the same time you will end up with buckles,bows, puckers in the metal that even bondo won't hide.
Work both ends at the same time from the same point.
I like to drill/punch the metal one size bigger than the rib hole so I have a little wiggle room and use screws to get it right then remove one at a time to rivet. Never re-skinned a bus but have worked sheet metal for many years.
For the windows later I would pick a spot to drill a hole and use a jig saw, file down the edges for a rubber gasket windows and leave any finish thing inside removable or enough room to work the gasket inside and out.
For spacing of the rivets? If there is an existing hole then it would get a rivet especially if I was going with thinner metal?
Especially thinner metal requires more patience/time to prevent the puckering/bowing effect and in my head? if your bus is not sitting on close to level ground when the skin is done then it could any sheet metal/ thinner metal pucker and bow after it is moved? So you could drive it with the metal screwed and adjust it on asphalt/concrete and even put some rivets in the trouble pieces while on solid ground.
I like to use stainless steel rivets because they are harder than the metal I am putting them into, therefor it isn't the rivet that fails.
NP-1 is a great product. Don't use it if you ever plan on taking the thinner metal apart. And anything you plan on painting you need to plan on wiping it off because paint won't stick to it.
If you get it on you it loves plastic bags while it is wet or baby oil as it is starting to dry after it dries on you or anything else you have to wear it.
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Old 05-14-2016, 04:53 PM   #5
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i have decided to leave all windows. but after a ton of researchin on the idea i would have cut out shapes of the windows using this material

1" x 48" x 96" HDPE Sheet | U.S. Plastic Corp.

add aluminum L bars to the edges, just like the old window.
then install from inside out, just like the window did. then lexel clear the heck out of it on edges.

lets you leave the rivets out of equation = less chance to battle water leaks, and leave the vertical cover pieces between each window on the outside too instead of having to pull them then put right back on.

and NO rust EVER
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by luckychucky View Post
this roofing comes in many different colors.


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Hey Luckychucky, can you provide more information on this roofing material?

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Old 05-14-2016, 09:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Mine is 15guage sheetmetal and I would go with that or better.
There is no purpose to pre heat before installing rivets. Unless your planning on hot rivets?
Exactly the advice I was going to give. I went with 16 gauge and it went up great, no buckles or weird waves, was pretty easy to handle in nearly full sheets. And don't worry about a little bit of extra thickness in the sheet when drilling all those holes. Each hole will take only a couple seconds more to drill than the 20 gauge, it's not going to be deal breaker.
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Old 05-14-2016, 10:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by slaughridge85 View Post
Exactly the advice I was going to give. I went with 16 gauge and it went up great, no buckles or weird waves, was pretty easy to handle in nearly full sheets. And don't worry about a little bit of extra thickness in the sheet when drilling all those holes. Each hole will take only a couple seconds more to drill than the 20 gauge, it's not going to be deal breaker.
If you think about it, there's NO advantage to heating up the sheets of steel before you put em on. The .0000whatever percent expansion is lost by the time that any rivets are in anyhow.

Good advice, slaughridge!
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:26 AM   #9
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I've seen people pull the sheets really tight before attaching. Heating a sheet of steel like that sounds like a impossible task. How does anyone do that? I've got a toaster oven. Besides, isn't hot steel just making a difficult job more difficult? It seems like the ambient temperature of the vehicle would be the best temperature to bring two pieces of steel together for joining.
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Old 05-15-2016, 05:58 AM   #10
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Yes, I am not speaking from experience here but just thinking that if anyone advocates heating the metal before applying it then it seems to me it's be adequate enough to just install your sheet metal on a sunny summer day. You leave those bad boys out in the sun for a few minutes and I'm sure they'll be hotter than you can handle to install them! Seriously though, the whole heating them thing is an argument in contrast to installing sheet metal in the cold. It won't help at all if the ambient temperature is already 65 or greater. It would just suck though to skin a bus in winter then next summer it's all wavy and buckling.
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